International Relations and Languages BA (Hons)
BA Hons International Relations and Languages
If you're interested in the history and politics of different countries and the way nations interact with each other, this BA (Hons) International Relations and Languages degree course is the perfect choice.
You'll study a foreign language and learn about the countries and cultures where it's spoken. You'll also examine issues such as global migration, terrorism, climate change, the rise and fall of major powers, state collapse, global development and the factors that trigger global protest movements.
You’ll spend a year overseas in a country speaking your first-choice language, have the chance to learn another language and develop transferable skills in areas such as collaboration, analysis, communication, time management and project management.
With this degree, you'll be a strong candidate for careers in areas such as international diplomacy, business, journalism, research and translation.
BA (Hons) International Relations and Languages degree entry requirements
Qualifications or experience
- 96-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
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.
What you'll experience
On this International Relations and Languages course you'll:
- Study one MAIN language from French, German, or Spanish at either beginner or post A level (or equivalent); or Chinese (Mandarin) or Italian from beginners level only.
- Use our professional-grade conference interpreting suite and language labs, where you can manipulate video, sound, text and Internet sources
- 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
- Immerse yourself in the cultures of the country where your chosen language is spoken – in the classroom and on your work or study placement abroad in year 3
- You may choose to explore a second language from those listed above or Arabic, Japanese and British Sign Language (BSL) as part of the degree in the second year (and ‘for interest’ outside your degree in the first and final year)
- Keep up to date with the latest topics and issues in international relations by taking part in 'pop-up seminars' with staff and your peers
- 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
Careers and opportunities
When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills and cultural experience to work.
What can you do with an International Relations and Languages degree?
Graduates from this degree have gone on to careers in such as:
- the security services
- international organisations like the UN
- international charities such as Amnesty International or the Red Cross
- policy research
- media and international business consultancy
- political risk analysis
- public relations
- voluntary organisations
- banking and financial services
- marketing and sales
What jobs can you do with an International Relations and Languages degree?
Job roles they've taken on include:
- politician’s assistant
- public affairs consultant
- bilingual consultant
- multilingual project coordinator
- social researcher
- information officer
- conference producer
- local government administrator
What you'll study on this BA (Hons) International Relations and Languages 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.
Core modules in this year include:
- Either Grade 1 and 2 General Language plus Grade 1 and 2 Language in Use (beginners) or General Language Grade 3 plus Language Project (post A level)
- Key Themes in International Relations
- A History of Political Thought
- Performing like a Pro: Skills for Academic and Professional Success
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Either General Language (Grade 3 and 4) or General Language (Grade 4) and Language for Professional Communication 1
- Analysing Foreign and Security Policy
- International Thought
Optional modules this year currently include:
- International Politics of the Middle East
- Russian and Eurasian Politics
- US Foreign Policy: From the Great War to 9/11
- Intercultural Perspectives on Communication
- Democratisation in Latin America
- Comparing Extremist and Populist Movements in the Western World
- France: Crisis, Renewal and Reinvention (1936 to the Present)
- People on the Move: Migration and Borders in Europe
- Bending the Truth a Little? Researching Politics and International Relations
- Revolution and Repression in Spain
- Germany in European and Global Context (1871 to the Present)
- East Asian States and Societies
- Guns, Glory Hunters and Greed: French and British Colonisation in Africa
- A second language
- Learning from Experience
In your third year, you'll spend a year in a country where the main language you're studying is spoken.
On your year abroad, you can study at a university or organise a work placement, depending on your chosen language. In some cases, you may be able to do a combination of study and work.
We'll help you secure a study or work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You'll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Research Project
- General Language Grade 6
- Translation Theory and Practice
Optional modules in this year currently include:
- Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future
- Autocracy and Democracy
- Strategic Studies
- Security Challenges in the 21st Century
- France in the World: Global Actor or Global Maverick?
- The French Exception: Contemporary French Politics and Society
- Nazi Germany
- Transitional Justice & Human Rights
- The Politics and Culture of the Hispanic World in 20th Century Literature and Film
- China & East Asian Economies
- Germany in the American Century
- The City: How Culture Becomes Urban Form
- Ethnicity, Class & Culture in the Developing World
- Africa Revisited: Nation Building and ‘State Fragility’ in Post-Colonial Africa
- Rethinking Aid and Development
- Learning from Experience (LiFE)
- Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates
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
- practical exams
- coursework: essays, reports, case studies or book reviews
- oral presentations
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 may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
- Year 1 students: 15% by written exams, 26% by practical exams and 59% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 15% by written exams, 3% by practical exams and 82% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 100% by coursework
- Year 4 students: 7% by written exams, 17% by practical exams and 76% by coursework
After your second year, you’ll take a work or study year abroad. This gives you a worldview and cultural awareness that will help you stand out from other candidates when you begin your career.
We have links with universities and employers in countries and regions such as:
- Latin America
We also have partnerships with the British Senegalese Institute and development organisations in Dakar, which provide opportunities for work placements in Senegal on your year abroad.
We’ll help you secure a study or work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
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.
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.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- independent study
- work placement
- group work and debates
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.
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.
At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.
A typical week
We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your BA Hons International Relations and Languages degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 11 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.
The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- May to June – assessment period 2
Extra learning support
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 face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:
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
- 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 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 English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.
Tuition fees (2020 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £14,300 per year (subject to annual increase)
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.
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.
In your third year, you’ll need to fund the costs of travel, transport and accommodation for your study or work placement abroad. The exact costs will depend on the destination.
If you study at one of our partner universities, you won’t need to pay fees at your host institution, but there may be other costs, such as visa, insurance or extra tuition.
If you work abroad, our Placement and Internship Centre will help you source an internship, which may be paid or unpaid.
You’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your University of Portsmouth fees. Currently, this discount is 90% of the year’s fees.
The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.
How to apply
To start this course in 2020, apply through UCAS. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – LR29
- 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
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS or apply directly to us (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). 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.