International Relations and Politics BA (Hons)
BA Hons International Relations and Politics
Do you want to understand the causes of war and conflict in the international system, and why some states are poor while others are rich? Are you also interested in what democracy, freedom and equality mean to different people? Do you want to understand developments in British politics, and the relationship between the UK and the EU?
If so, an international relations and politics degree may be right for you. This degree offers the opportunity to study all of these issues, and many more. You'll enjoy an excellent balance between the analysis of global trends and the investigation of issues closer to home in the UK and Europe.
The knowledge and skills you develop on this course could lead you to a career in local and national government, security, teaching, lobbying, academic research, the charity sector and the media.
93% Graduates in work or further study (DLHE, 2017)
91% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)
What you'll experience
On this course you'll:
- Combine your interest in politics with the skills and knowledge you need for a successful career
- 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
- Visit parliament and take part in our Model United Nations through our Academic Enrichment Programme
- 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
- Have the opportunity to publish your work in our student journal and present at our student conference
- 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 units 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) and University of Szeged (Hungary)
Careers and opportunities
When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry or support you in identifying postgraduate study opportunities.
Graduates from this degree have gone on to careers in areas such as:
- the security services
- international organisations like the UN
- international charities such as Amnesty International and the Red Cross
- policy research
- think tanks
- media and international business consultancy
- political risk analysis
- public relations
Job roles former students have go on to include:
- parliamentary researcher
- political advisor
- public affairs consultant
- social researcher
- political risk analyst
- conference organiser
- local government administrator
After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
I've worked for the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, the United Nations, before ending up leading a new team at Uber -- and I’ve found the skills I developed on this degree have been highly adaptable, and helped me change direction when I’ve needed to.
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:
- Political Thought
- Analysing Politics: Britain and Beyond
- Global Development
- Key Themes in International Relations
- How to Study Political Science
- Performing like a Pro: Effective Professional Practice
There are no optional units in this year.
Core units in this year include:
- Analysing Foreign and Security Policy
- International Thought
Optional units in this year currently include:
- Bending the Truth a little? Researching Politics and IR
- British Political Leadership
- Democratisation in Latin America
- Erasmus Study Abroad Programme
- Ethnicity and Conflict Resolution
- From Revolution to Dictatorship: Russia and the Soviet Union 1917-1941
- Germany in European and Global Context - 1871 to the Present
- Guns, Gloryhunters and Greed: French and British Colonisation in Africa
- Home and Away: USA Foreign and Domestic Policy
- International Politics of the Middle East
- Languages (University Wide Option)
- Learning from Experience (University Wide Option)
- Politics and Policy in Action
- Russian and Eurasian Politics
- State and Society in East Asia
- The End of the European Order? Challenges & Threats to European States and Nations
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
For your core unit this year, you'll have a choice between doing a dissertation or major project in an international relations or politics subject area.
Optional units in this year currently include:
- Africa Revisited: Nation Building and State Fragility in Post-Colonial Africa
- Autocracy and Democratisation
- Autocracy and Democratisation
- Chinese and East Asian Economies
- Comparative Public Policy and Public Administration
- Digital Media and Democracy
- France and Africa: Decolonisation and Post Colonial Relations
- France in the World: Global Actor or Global Maverick
- Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future
- Global Journalism and Human Rights
- Learning from Experience (Faculty Wide Option)
- Looking For Utopia, Finding Dystopia? Ideas and Ideologies in the New Millenium
- Migration in East Asia
- Money, Government and Power
- Nazi Germany
- Negotiation and Lobbying in the EU: A Simulation Game
- NGO's and Social Movement
- Rethinking Aid and Development
- Security Challenges in the Twenty-First Century
- Strategic Management and Leadership
- Strategic Studies
- Transnational Justice and Human Rights
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.
I have certainly chosen the right course - I find it interesting and exciting, with a good balance between politics and IR studies.
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.
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.
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.
Previous students have been on placements to organisations such as:
- The Ministry of Defence
- The House of Commons
- National Museum of the Royal Navy
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
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
If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- independent study
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to mid-May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- Mid-May to early June – assessment period 2
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.
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 may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
- Year 1 students: 25% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 67% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 25% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 68% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 3% by practical exams and 97% by coursework
Tuition fees (2019 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £13,900 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.
To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – L250
- our institution code – P80
You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.
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.
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.
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- Subject area
- History politics and international relations