BA (Hons)

International Relations and Languages

Examine international political forces and learn a language

LR29UCAS code 4yrsfull time 1yrabroad

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

This programme offers an in-depth knowledge of the way national and transnational economic and political forces shape our lives, and how to negotiate your way around it. You will study individual states and issues that transcend national boundaries - the global environment, international debt, world poverty - alongside your chosen language.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Choose your foreign language from French, German, Italian*, Spanish or Chinese (Mandarin)*
  • Study or work abroad for a year
  • Undertake work or research placements, volunteer roles and internships alongside your study

* only offered at Beginner's level for new students.

What opportunities might it lead to?

Students at Portsmouth who took a degree in this area have gone on to careers in:

  • global business and banking
  • the European Commission, the EU and other international organisations
  • teaching
  • postgraduate study

As European expansion and integration progresses, and the world becomes increasingly a global village, the possibilities for employment in transnational organisations and commercial companies will keep on growing.

Fahad Atalla, BA (Hons) International Relations student

I like the freedom of choice this course has, including a wide range of options and the option to study abroad for a year.

Fahad Atalla, International Relations student

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Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
4 years full time with language year abroad
The UCAS tariff for 2017 entry has changed. See how this affects your tariff score A LEVELS
96-120 points from 3 A levels or equivalent. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £9,000 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*

International students
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000 p/a**
2017/18 entry: full time: £12,600 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 5566
School of Languages and Area Studies
Programme specification


History, Politics and Social Studies

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

  • The diverse spread of subjects offered and ability to complete your own research
  • The critical thinking, analytical and debating skills you’ll develop
  • The passionate lecturers with a wide range of specialist research expertise

Browse all courses in History, Politics and Social Studies

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

Year one provides the essential skills to study international relations and the chosen foreign language.

  • EITHER General Language (Grade 1 & 2) OR General Language (Grade 3) & Language Project
  • Introduction to International Relations: States, Conflict & Cooperation
  • 3Introduction to Political Thought
  • Studying At University
  • Global Issues

Year two

Year two develops the core subjects of international relations and the study of your language area. You also select optional units alongside a compulsory unit in Career and Research Management that prepares you for the writing and submission of the dissertation in the final year.

  • EITHER General Language (Grade 3 & 4) OR General Language (Grade 4) & Language for Professional Communication 1
  • International Politics

Options including:

  • International Relations Theory
  • Global Environmental Issues and Concerns
  • Democratisation in Latin America
  • US Foreign Policy: Ideals and Self Interest
  • International Politics of the Middle East
  • Conflict and Disaster
  • Foundations of the European Union
  • Language
  • Learning from Experience

Final year*

The final year provides opportunities for specialist study through the dissertation, alongside core units in language and international relations..

  • Dissertation/Major Project
  • General Language Grade 6
  • Language for Professional Communication 2
  • Global Political Economy
  • One option from:
    • Democracy and Democratisation
    • Strategic and Security Studies

*On this programme you will spend your third year in a country where your target language is spoken.

Teaching and Assessment

Our staff are enthusiastic specialists who are active in research, and many language teachers are native speakers. They will enthuse you about their fields of expertise, provide advice and guide you to appropriate learning resources. Our virtual learning environment and Sony Virtuoso multimedia digital classrooms support knowledge and skills developed in traditional lectures and seminars.

Students are encouraged to work in small teams analysing primary documents and debating contemporary issues so that all students learn from a range of opinions and interpretations and increase their academic abilities in a genial environment.

How are you assessed?

Our assessment methods are varied, with relatively few formal examinations. The emphasis is on continuous assessment, with assessments designed to measure the learning outcomes of your various units. Most assessment is done through submission of essays, reports, case studies, book reviews or other pieces of written work. Some units are assessed by means of projects, which can be particularly useful to build up your career profile. Some language-based tests are oral presentations to measure your progress in oral communication.

Dr Janet Bryant

Tutor's view

Dr Janet Bryant
International Relations and Languages

What a combination! Take French, Spanish, German, Italian or Chinese to the highest undergrad level, spend a year in a country where that language is spoken, AND learn about the contemporary international system, and the key issues, conflicts and controversies which make the relations between states so fascinating.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Year Abroad

On this programme you will spend your third year in a country where your target language is spoken. We have well-established links with universities in France, Germany, Spain, West Africa and Latin America if you wish to spend this period studying, or, with University approval, you may arrange a work placement abroad. Students who cannot undertake the Year Abroad because of changes in personal circumstances transfer to a 3 year 'with Languages' variant.

Labs and LRC

We have four state-of-the-art Sony Virtuoso Language Laboratories, where you can manipulate video, sound, text and Internet sources in a rich, multimedia language-learning environment. You may also use the Learning Resource Centre, which provides access to texts, space and  software that can augment your learning.

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. Many 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 placements abroad that are taken in countries outside the EU/EEA, you will be required to meet travel costs. These costs will be in the region of £1000.

You will also be required to meet any extra tuition costs for units of study taken outside of your agreed study abroad programme. These costs will be in the region of £200.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

You can expect to find work in areas as diverse as management, banking, marketing and sales, commerce, export, tourism and the media, or in local, national or international government, as well as teaching or lecturing, research, voluntary organisations and NGOs. Many also enter areas such as advertising and marketing, PR, media, banking and financial services.

Roles our graduates have moved into include:

  • politician’s assistant
  • public affairs consultant
  • bilingual consultant
  • multilingual project coordinator
  • translator

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
Employment boosting opportunities

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which lets you earn credits toward your degree for work/research placements, volunteer roles or internships undertaken alongside your studies.  The option gives you the opportunity to enhance your employability skills, to reflect on the ways in which you've done so, and to learn to express this to potential employers.

The School of Social Historical and Literary Studies can offer you a number of work experience opportunities in a range of local organizations during your degree course. Currently these include projects at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the New Theatre Royal, with local government departments and political groups, and a number of our students have worked on small research projects for the local community.

You may also be able to undertake a work placement as part of your year abroad. Whether you work or study, the period spent abroad enhances your intercultural awareness and fluency in your chosen language, both qualities increasingly appreciated by employers in a globalised economy.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

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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Our Open Campus Events are every Wednesday from 30 November 2016 - 25 January 2017

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