Armed services personnel using a drone
UCAS Code
L253
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2022

Overview

Do you ever look at the issues the global community faces and wonder why they haven't been dealt with yet? On this BA (Hons) International Relations degree course, you'll learn skills and knowledge you need to help solve these problems.

You'll examine international issues such as the causes of conflict, the challenges of managing migration and the global rise of populism. You'll look at current problems, and the response of government agents.

This will set you up for a career in government, security and intelligence. You could work with international institutions, such as the UN or international charities. You'll be equally suited to take your studies to postgraduate level.

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

Entry requirements​

BA (Hons) International Relations degree entry requirements

Typical offers
  • A levels – BBB–BCC
  • UCAS points – 104–120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
  • International Baccalaureate – 25

See full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

I enjoyed being able to explore different aspects of international relations, especially topics such as ethnic conflict and strategic studies. By taking different units I was able to find a rich area of research in conflict and strategic studies, which I hope to pursue for years to come.

Jemma Humphries , BA Hons International Relations student

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Analyse the latest topics and issues in international relations by taking part in 'pop-up seminars' with staff and your peers – recent topics include terrorism in West Africa, nuclear security and global development. 
  • Learn from staff who are members of the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR), the UK's largest research centre of its kind
  • Take modules informed by your lecturers’ research, covering topics such as security challenges in the 21st Century, or the future of global capitalism
  • Have the opportunity to publish your work in our student journal
  • Develop career-enhancing skills alongside your academic study with skills training, opportunities to do work experience and the chance to learn another language
  • Do a detailed academic analysis of major recent international events, such as the Ukraine Crisis, the 'Occupy' movement, the rise of ISIS and the effects of the Arab Spring
  • Tailor your degree by choosing optional modules that match your interests and career ambitions
  • Have the chance to study abroad at one of our partner institutions – for example, Science Po Strasbourg (France), Maastricht University (Netherlands), Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), Nebraska Omaha (US), and University of Szeged (Hungary)

Optional pathways

On this course, you can study history or international development alongside your international relations degree. This will lead to one of these awards at the end of the course:

Simon's story
"I've enjoyed my time here thoroughly..."

Simon got a lot out of his time studying international relations and politics with us, including an invitation to present at an academic conference. Find out more about Simon's experiences at the University of Portsmouth.

00:00:00  I think the best thing I've managed
00:00:01  to do at Portsmouth that's been part of
00:00:02  my degree is I've been invited to 
00:00:03  attend an academic conference so after
00:00:06  my first year I did quite well on an essay
00:00:07  and I was invited to present this to
00:00:09  fellow students as well as visiting 
00:00:11  A-level students.
00:00:12  I've said plenty of times to people that 
00:00:14  I've enjoyed my time here thoroughly
00:00:16  everything I've learnt in my degree has
00:00:18  been incredibly relevant and 
00:00:19  incredibly useful, not just academia
00:00:21  but also applying for jobs.
00:00:22  What I've loved the most about studying 
00:00:24  my course is the relevance to contemporary
00:00:25  political debate, I have a particular
00:00:27  interest in political economy, in
00:00:29  particular the 2008 financial crisis
00:00:31  and the impact this has had on
00:00:32  political discourse in the years after it. 

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can support you in identifying postgraduate study opportunities or help you find a job that puts your skills to work.

What can you do with an International Relations degree?

Graduates from this degree have gone on to careers in areas such as:

  • government
  • the security services
  • international organisations like the UN
  • international charities such as War Child, Amnesty International and the Red Cross
  • policy research
  • media and international business consultancy
  • political risk analysis
  • public relations

What jobs can you do with an International Relations degree?

Job roles former students have gone on to include:

  • Director of Language Studies for an international school
  • parliamentary researcher
  • political advisor
  • public affairs consultant
  • social researcher
  • political risk analyst
  • local government administrator

You’ll also be well prepared for further study.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course. We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary roles that will complement your studies.

We'll also be available to help, advise and support you for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option. This means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you do alongside your study.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience.

Previous students have been on placements to organisations such as:

  • The Ministry of Defence
  • The House of Commons
  • National Museum of the Royal Navy
  • Otra Cosa (Peru)
  • Freedom from Torture
  • Victim Support London
  • International Council on Mining and Metals
  • Tools for Self Reliance

Students have also taken on Student Union sabbatical roles.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

The staff were just amazing, they are super friendly and really have a passion for their individual interests as well as what the students are interested in. The best thing I did at University of Portsmouth was my dissertation. It was so open and so free that I could really choose what I wanted.

Jemma Humphries, BA Hons International Relations student

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) International Relations degree

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Modules

Core modules in this year include:

  • Analysing Politics: Britain and Beyond
  • Global Development
  • Key Themes in International Relations
  • Political Thought
  • Politics and IR: Academic Enrichment Programme
  • Professional Practice: Skills for Academic and Professional Success

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Analysing Foreign and Security Policy
  • International Thought
  • Politics and IR: Academic Enrichment Programme

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Bending the Truth a Little? Researching Politics and International Relations
  • China and East Asian Economies
  • Contemporary Populism: Friend or Foe of Democracy?
  • Decoding Cultural Space
  • Democracies Under Threat: Global Perspectives and Responses
  • Development and Democracy in Latin America
  • Digital Cultures: Exploring the Digital in the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • East Asian States And Societies
  • Empire and its Afterlives
  • Introduction to Teaching
  • Learning from Experience
  • Modern Foreign Language
  • People on the Move: Legacy, Integration and Development
  • Politics and Policy in Action
  • Russian & Eurasian Politics
  • Soviet History and Politics
  • Study Abroad
  • The Rules that Structure the World: The Politics and Governance of Regulation
  • US Foreign Policy: From the Great War to 9/11
  • US Politics
     

Core modules in this year include:

  • Dissertation / Major Project
  • Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future
  • Security Challenges in the 21st Century
  • Politics and IR: Academic Enrichment Programme

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Autocracy and Democracy
  • Digital Media and Democracy
  • France in the World: Global Actor or Global Maverick?
  • Germany in the American Century
  • Global Health
  • Learning from Experience
  • Looking for Utopia, Finding Dystopia? Ideas and Ideologies in the New Millennium
  • NGOs and Social Movements
  • Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates
  • Strategic Management and Leadership

Want to know more about what you'll study on this course? Over on our blog, senior lecturer Aishling McMorrow explores what an international relations degree involves. 

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 modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • written exams
  • coursework
  • article reviews
  • essays
  • projects
  • briefing papers
  • individual and group presentations
  • 10,000 word dissertation

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed will depend on the modules you select throughout your course. Here's an example from a previous year of how students on this course were typically assessed:

  • Year 1 students: 25% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 67% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 35% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 58% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 3% by practical exams and 97% by coursework

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • independent study
  • work placement
  • plenaries
  • simulations
  • roundtables
  • guest lectures

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your BA Hons International Relations degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 9 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting your learning

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.

Learning development tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Dr Angela Crack, Senior Lecturer

Angela's research interests include NGO accountability, NGO self-regulation, NGO-donor relations, global civil society and transnational advocacy networks. She has also produced policy papers with EADI (European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes) and INTRAC (International NGO Training and Research Centre) on cross-regional threats to civil society space.

Angela is part of the Global Advisory Board for Transparency International's ECHO-funded research project, CREATE (Collective Resolution to Enhance Accountability and Transparency in Emergencies), and has been on the Expert Advisory Group on accountability for World Vision. She has also served for several years as a Trustee of Amnesty International UK, and as a member of the International Issues Sub-Committee to the Board.

Dr Paul Flenley, Senior Lecturer

Paul's main research interests are in the areas of Russian Foreign Policy - particularly Russia-EU relations; Russian nationalism and national identity; the Russian Revolution, and early development of the Soviet state.

He's recently carried out funded research projects on comparative revolutions contracted by the Defence Human Capability Science and Technology Centre for the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Paul also regularly contributes reviews to a wide range of journals on the above topics and is an editor of the Journal of Contemporary European Studies.

Dr Melita Lazell, Interim Principal Lecturer

Melita's research interests include the securitisation of development aid and its impact on recipients. She has published in various academic journals on this subject and is currently engaged in 2 major research projects. She teaches principally on the themes of Political Economy, Security and International Development, and coordinates Global Development (level 4) and Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future (level 6).

Professor Wolfram Kaiser, Professor of European Studies

Wolfram's main research interests are in contemporary European history and politics, especially European integration and the European Union, and Europe's international relations past and present. He has authored and edited many books and articles for journals including Comparativ, Contemporary British History, Contemporary European History, Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht, Historical Journal, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of European Integration History, Journal of European Public Policy, Journal of Modern History, National Identities, and Revue d'histoire diplomatique.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (2022 start)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £16,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

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

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.

For optional placements or placements abroad, you may need to pay additional costs, such as travel costs. These costs will vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. They'll range from £50 to £1000.

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – L253
  • our institution code – P80

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.

This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close