BA (Hons) International Business - University of Portsmouth
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BA (Hons)

International Business

UCAS codeN123

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Gain an understanding of business issues and develop skills and knowledge related to international business

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This course is the ideal choice for would-be international business high-flyers. The changing business world is becoming more global and is constantly looking for essential cross-cultural business awareness.

With a strong contemporary feel, you’ll learn to relate theoretical explanations of business to the practical issues facing today’s global business managers.

This course enables you to demonstrate significant real world working and international experience through its integration of a year abroad study placement and year working experience. 

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Do a one-year placement working in a paid full-time role overseas
  • Take your studies abroad to one of our partner universities in Europe, the USA, Australia or Asia for a year
  • Deal with current real-life topics such as developing businesses across borders, dealing with business issues on an international basis, cross cultural management and a wide range of business options to complement the experiences gained
  • Work alongside an international cohort including visiting exchange students throughout your programme and engage in a range of extra-curricular events

What opportunities might it lead to?

The course has EPAS accreditation, which is a scheme operated by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) a European network that promotes and enhances excellence in management development internationally. This means that you will benefit from studying a course which is recognised for its high quality student experiences of internationalisation and corporate engagement.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • Business Consultancy 
  • International Project Management
  • International Sales
  • Financial Risk Analysis
  • Regional Management


Joshua MacMillan, BA (Hons) International Business student 2015

My favourite aspect of the course was my time abroad at a US university. I strongly believe it gave me an advantage in securing my placement at IBM.

Joshua MacMillan, BA (Hons) International Business student 2015


Business and Management

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Insight into different aspects of the business world
  • Lecturers who are experienced in their field and are passionate about sharing their knowledge
  • Excellent work placement opportunities and careers support

Browse all courses in Business and Management

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

This common first year among some of our business courses provides you with a broad understanding of how business operates.

Core units in this year include:

  • Business Accounting
  • Business Innovation Development Project
  • Business Operations and Systems Management
  • Economics for Business
  • Managing People in Organisations
  • Marketing Principles and Practice
  • Quantitative Methods and Data Analysis
  • International Exchange Workshops

Portsmouth Business School is a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Accredited Study Centre. In your first year you will have the opportunity to gain the CIM's Introductory Certificate in Marketing alongside the Marketing Principles and Practice unit.

Year two

This will be spent at one of our partner Universities which the students will bid for in a ‘tender response’ style: Once nominated, the student will select and agree a suitable portfolio of units at the partner university to undertake and pass. At the students decision (and partner facilities) this may be taught and assessed in English or local Language.

  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Scandinavia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • China
  • USA
  • And many more

Year three*

If you opt to do a work placement, you’ll return to your final year with great first-hand experience of an international business environment. You will consolidate your studies through a final batch of international business subjects as well as a unit on Strategic International Management. You will also complete an independent study project on a topic of particular interest to you.

Core units in this year include:

  • Contemporary International Business
  • Strategic International Management
  • Business Enterprise

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • International Market Analysis and Strategy
  • Advertising and Publication Relations
  • Business Ethics
  • Business Intelligence
  • Business Research Project
  • Cross Cultural Awareness for Business
  • Managing Equality and Diversity at Work
  • Project Management for Enterprise
  • People Resourcing
  • Company Law for Business
  • Global Marketing
  • Professional Selling and Sales Management
  • Management and Information Systems
  • Scenario Planning for Business

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement).

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


Our teaching approach involves a varied structure of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. We aim to provide a stimulating environment that encourages use of IT teaching methods as well as participation in group discussions, presentations and projects, alongside individual study.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 24% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 76% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 10% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 40% studying independently and 50% on work placement
  • Year three students: 18% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 82% studying independently and 0% on work placement


You will encounter a combination of assessment methods to suit differing learning styles. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • examinations
  • analysis of topical case studies
  • written reports and essays
  • presentations
  • practical artefacts such as small websites or systems

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 58% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 42% by coursework
  • Year two students: 17% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 75% by coursework
  • Year three students: 17% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 83% by coursework

Tutor's view


Mike Buchan
Business and Management

The BA International Business offers students a great opportunity to explore develop skills and knowledge which is key to business on an international setting. This is coupled by the opportunity to undertake a study abroad year and work placement year which will allow the skills and knowledge to be backed up by demonstrable experience and networks which will provide a desirable and sought after CV at graduation.

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Facilities & Features

Placements Office

Take advantage of our Placements Office. Providing you with a huge portfolio of employers offering great business-related placement opportunities, the experienced team is always on hand to offer advice on everything from producing high quality applications through to preparation for a company assessment day.

Academic Skills Unit (ASK)

ASK will help you become a successful university student. Our workshops are designed to improve a number of essential academic skills from essay writing and understanding plagiarism to revision and exam techniques. This is a great way to enhance your academic performance and make a smooth transition into university study.


We have invested heavily in open access computer suites across campus. Great working spaces with high-spec PCs, Macs and printing facilities.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Most electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

For the placement abroad, in your second year, you will need to fund the costs of travel, transport and accommodation. The exact costs will depend on the destination. Some extra expense is to be expected for communications and in some destinations (e.g. the Nordic regions) special clothing may be required and costs will depend according to type and amount chosen.

There are discounts offered to students electing to spend a second year abroad at one of our exchange partners and during 2016/17 this was a 90% discount on that year’s fees. If you are an Erasmus program participant there may also be opportunities to receive contribution towards extra costs of between 200 - 400 euros.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

This course is an excellent starting point for a range of career choices particularly in multinational organisations, and your placement year will set you ahead of other recent graduates when you begin to build your career in the business sector.

Your practical skills and familiarity with a broader international setting will open up opportunities across the employment spectrum.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • Commercial Officer GKN Westland
  • Corporate financial specialist for Accenture Ltd
  • Account director for UMD Media in Finland
  • Pilot for Astraits Ltd
  • Stock loss project manager for Excel Ltd

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

Boost your degree with the opportunity to undertake a one-year placement working in a paid full-time role spent in industry either abroad or in an international business role in the UK. You will benefit from the contemporary business experience that employers demand, making you highly employable upon graduation.

With employers now seeking key business competencies and experience alongside a good degree, work experience is more vital than ever. Due to its very nature a placement year is the best and most involving type of work experience you can do during your time at university. As such, a placement will help ensure you are as employable as possible upon graduation.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
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Portsmouth PO1 2UP

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