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.
What you'll experience
On this course you'll:
- Study French, German, Italian, Spanish or Chinese (Mandarin) as a beginner or at intermediate level
- 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
- Have the opportunity to study a second language, including Arabic, Japanese and British Sign Language (BSL)
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Tuition fees (2018 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £13,200 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 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
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.
If you do any placements outside of the EU/EEA, you’ll need to cover the travel costs. These costs are usually around £1000. You’ll also need to cover the living costs, which will vary depending on the duration and location of the placement.
You’ll also need to meet any additional tuition costs for units of study you take outside of your agreed study abroad programme. This normally costs around £200.
What you'll study
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.
Core units 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 units in this year.
Core units 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 units 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
This year consists of spending a year studying abroad in a country where your target language is spoken.
Core units in this year include:
- Research Project
- General Language Grade 6
- Translation Theory and Practice
Optional units 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 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.
As well as support by faculty teaching 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
Teaching methods on this course include:
- independent study
- work placement
- group work and debates
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:
- Autumn teaching block – September to December
- Spring teaching block – January to Easter
- Assessment period – Easter to June
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. There's no teaching on Wednesday afternoons. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
The time you spend in teaching activities such as lectures and seminars varies year on year and will depend on which optional units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:
- Year 1students: 28% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 72% studying independently
- Year 2 students: 26% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 74% studying independently
- Year 3 students: 100% on work placement
- Year 4 students: 15% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 85% studying independently
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 units 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
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.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can 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.
Want to start this course in 2019?
To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 5 September. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – LR29
- our institution code – P80
Not quite ready to apply?
Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.
If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.