International Politics and Military History

Key Facts

Code LV2H
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBB with B in any subject

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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For as long as there has been war, people have been fascinated by the history of how those wars have been fought, why and by whom. This degree scheme provides an opportunity for an in-depth study of warfare as it has developed since the time of Napoleon, reflecting changes in society and technology. For example, how and why has the nature of war changed, from nations in arms through the age of total war to wars of choice? How has technology changed war, from steam through nuclear power to computers and nano-technology? Students taking this degree will also learn about how war has been studied and about the evolution of key ideas about the nature and conduct of war: the principles of war, the role of battle, the importance of leadership and the power of industry. The focus of Military History at Aberystwyth is on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and it is placed in the context of the international political world.

Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of International Politics (NSS 2016)
Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of History (NSS 2016)
95% student satisfaction on our International Politics and Military History degree scheme (NSS 2016)

Department of International Politics: 95% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from the Department of International Politics who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Modules
  • Employability
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Student Views


Why study International Politics and Military History at Aberystwyth University?

Founded in 1919 after the end of World War I, the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth is the world’s first university department of International Politics. The Department has over 30 academic and research staff whom are all research active and contribute to the undergraduate teaching programme. The Department's vibrant and cosmopolitan learning environment welcomes students from all over the world, and provides a lively venue for contemporary and international political debate.

The Department is renowned for its pioneering research and is recognised as number one in the UK for the study of international politics. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), the Department of International Politics was placed best in Wales with 76% of publications submitted rated as world leading and internationally excellent.

Our lecturers are committed to excellence in both teaching and research, providing you with an outstanding and dynamic learning environment. Research excellence feeds directly into undergraduate teaching, so that you are exposed to the very latest and most innovative ideas in the field even before they have become generally available through publication. We firmly believe that the synergy between research and teaching makes for a thought-provoking education.

The Department operates a prestigious Parliamentary Placement scheme, enabling you to gain valuable experience working alongside an MP (House of Commons, Westminster) or an AM (Welsh Assembly, Cardiff) for a period of 4-6 weeks during the summer. During this time you will write reports and speeches, undertake research projects, and respond to constituency issues. There may be further opportunities for you to get involved in elections and various international issues.

The Department also has links with carefully selected universities in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia, offering you an excellent opportunity to expand your academic and social horizons by spending a part of your university experience abroad.

The Department is also home to Interstate, the oldest student-run international politics journal in the United Kingdom, providing a unique opportunity for you to publish your work (particularly advantageous if you wish to progress to postgraduate study) or gain valuable experience working as part of the editorial team.Stimulating student societies foster a strong sense of community within the department, offering a programme of political debates, visiting speakers, conferences and workshops - even the opportunity to take part in UN peacekeeping courses - alongside numerous social activities such as an annual ball.

Last, but not least, the Department also offers a number of degree schemes and modules taught entirely or partially through the medium of Welsh. Further details may be obtained from the Department.

Our Staff

Lecturers in the Department of International Politics are all research active and qualified to PhD level, and most also have a PGCHE.


Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Modules delivered partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh

Dulliau Ymchwil + Traethawd Estynedig


Career prospects
Your BA in International Politics and Military History opens up a wide range of careers in the political and public affairs arena, such as Security Service officer, Government research officer, public affairs consultant, social researcher, and Civil Service fast streamer, but would also be useful for such roles as local government officer, journalist, public relations officer, market researcher and work in the diplomatic services. The research and analytical skills you will develop during your degree will also provide a sound basis for postgraduate study and for a career in academia.

Transferable Skills
Studying for a degree in International Politics and Military History will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement
• research skills

Throughout your degree you will develop a wealth of core and other skills that can be easily transferred into almost any graduate or professional employment situation. For instance, you will learn to critically appraise historic political decision-making in case studies and apply the lessons in scenarios and papers. This sort of analysis and application of learning will equip you for any job in the political arena or in generic graduate employment.

You will also have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines. A major feature of this course is the excellent written and oratory skills that you will develop.

Year in Employment scheme (YES)
The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

GO Wales
GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

This BA in International Politics and Military History is designed to help you develop a comprehensive understanding of global politics with a focus on war and security issues. You will consider both historical perspectives on war and contemporary debates regarding on-going conflicts.

In the first year you will study a range of modules which will establish a firm foundation for your further studies. A core module will introduce you to the study of international politics and enable you to critically assess central approaches to the study of international relations and apply different methodologies to the analysis of topical issues in world politics. You will also be able to choose other modules from a wide selection reflecting a broad chronological and thematic range, so you can study the topics that appeal most to your own personal interests.

In the second and third years, as well as your core module, you will be able to tailor your study through careful selection from an extensive range of elective modules. You will have the opportunity to make detailed case studies of the conflicts that shaped the twentieth century and are defining the early twenty-first, such as the America at War: a Military History of the United States, the Cold War, Total War, Total Peace; and Britain and Ireland in war and peace since 1800. A compulsory dissertation in the final year will allow you to demonstrate your substantive knowledge in your chosen subject area, deploying critical research skills and independent enquiry.

As you gain subject-specific expertise, you will develop a valuable collection of study skills. In tackling each module, you will learn how to assimilate demanding topics quickly and accurately, and how to analyse and respond to political strategy and debate persuasively in written and oral forms. Your ability to interpret data, construct convincing arguments and justify your decisions will form just one part of a wider collection of transferable skills that will benefit you in any governmental, political or other professional employment.

How will I be taught?

Our International Politics degrees are usually taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures introduce a topic and raise key points, while small-group seminars allow for more informal discussion and in-depth analysis of a topic. Seminars, therefore, are an invaluable means for you to test out your ideas or reflect on your own experiences, as well as sharing those of others.

Crisis Games play a very important role in the life of the Department, and form part of a twice-yearly residential course away from Aberystwyth. The Department of International Politics was the first university in the UK to use crisis simulations to connect classroom learning with the real-world complexities of international politics. In recent years the Crisis Games have been based on the humanitarian crises in the Congo and Darfur, an Arctic environmental disaster, nuclear testing in North Korea, Saudi Arabia and the politics of the Middle East, the Northern Ireland peace process, the Us presidential election, and war between Russia and Georgia. During the course of the simulation you will learn about aspects of international politics which cannot be taught in lectures and seminars, especially the constraints which political leaders face in responding to various crises. For many students, the Crisis Games are the highlight of the course.

Most modules are assessed through a wide variety of methods and combinations, including essays, reports, examinations, book reviews, learning logs, and presentations.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

I love that I get to explore subjects that are of personal interest to me. The reading can at times be in abundance, but it is always interesting to get new perspectives on things I thought that I already knew. The seminars are good too - discussing the topics and finding out what my fellow classmates have interpreted about the subject-matter really helps me to develop my own answers and understanding, which then enables me get better scores when it comes to essay and exam time! Adam Curtis

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBB with B in any subject

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
30 points overall

European Baccalaureate:
70-75% overall

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