International Politics

Key Facts

Code L241
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBB with B in any subject

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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International politics stands at a fascinating but difficult historical juncture, one that we all need to understand, explain and, in part shape. With the relative decline of the ‘West’, the emergence of new powers, and the increasingly complex and intertwined nature of both local, national, regional, international and global problems, ‘international politics’ (i.e. politics between states) is entering a new era. Power is becoming spread horizontally across several regions and vertically across different kinds of actors (states, but also international formal and informal organisations like the IMF and the G20, non-governmental organisations like Amnesty International, non-state actors like terrorists or billionaires like Bill Gates). The degree in International Politics offers students the opportunity to study the concepts, practices, histories and areas that make up international politics as a discipline and to explore the ways in which, as well as the extent to which, all these factors are undergoing radical transformation in the twenty-first century. International Politics is the broadest of all degree schemes offered by the Department. It is fundamentally an interdisciplinary subject that draws on several subjects, including politics, history, philosophy, law, geography, and sociology. In doing so, International Politics offers a plural, in-depth and distinct understanding of the world in which we live as well as the problems it confronts.  Its main aim is to foster among our students the desire and ability to understand, explain and help shape this domain and its futures.

Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of International Politics (NSS 2016)
92% student satisfaction on our International Politics 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 at Aberystwyth?

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 all of whom are research active and all 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 an International Student Exchange Programme based on close 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, 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


Whether you have clear plans for your graduate career or are open to the wide range of opportunities an Aberystwyth degree offers, we will enable you to develop the skills employers’ value so highly.

International Politics students in Aberystwyth are strong contenders for future careers in leading public sector roles within national and local government, the European Union, the United Nations and NGOs, such as Amnesty International. They also make successful candidates for alternative career routes within areas such as cyber security, political lobbying, risk consultancy and intelligence analysis.

From your first week in Aberystwyth we prioritise your career development. To ensure services are tailored an academic staff member works closely with our link careers adviser offering a range of careers education, employer exposure and individual based support.

Getting involved in the department’s annual Crisis Simulations will give you the opportunity to work in a collaborative team on a ‘true to life’ scenario, where there is an urgent need to respond in ‘real time’ to an unfolding international crisis based on current affairs.

Engaging in our ‘Parliamentary Placement Scheme’ offers first-hand insight and experience in to careers in politics and public policy. This long established scheme sees students in their second year working alongside MPs and AMs in the House of Commons or the Welsh Assembly.

The Department encourages students to seek internships and offers funding through the ‘Student Internship Support Award Bursary’alongside focused careers support to help you identify and source the right work experience opportunity to support your career goals. Each year the Department hosts the institute work experience competition where students are encouraged to share their internship experiences. International Politics students also have access to the University Alumni e-Mentoring Programme enabling direct contact with alumni who work in a range of careers.

For those looking towards a research focused career or who are simply curious as to what this might entail we offer the InterPol Scholars Programme. Open to high academic achievers, this programme provides a unique opportunity to work alongside world class academics and research groups; the perfect introduction to a professional research career.

Engaging more widely with the careers service provision can also improve your chances of success from employer events on campus, convenient access to careers advice and guidance, comprehensive resources on the web and schemes such as GO Wales and the Year in Employment Scheme YES. Each year International Politics students take up the Year in Employment Scheme. This University-wide scheme enables students to take a 12 month graduate internship between their second and third years. In recent years these included graduate roles within the Welsh Government and the government affairs department with Airbus. The Careers Service also provides further opportunities to engage in work shadowing and paid summer placements through their dedicated GO Wales team.

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

This BA in International Politics is an innovative course designed to help you develop a comprehensive understanding of global politics. You will analyse key debates and theories regarding politics in the global age, and you will apply your learning to case studies that reflect the urgent nature of regional and global policy-making.

In the first year you will take an introductory module which explores the development and progress of international relations during the twentieth century, and will 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 have the option to investigate themes such as the making of the modern world, political theory, contemporary political problems, and war, strategy and intelligence.

In the second and third years as well as your core module, you will be able to tailor your programme of study by choosing from an extensive range of elective modules. Subjects include globalisation, cyber warfare, the EU, espionage, Latin America, the Cold War, military history and contemporary warfare, and the reconstruction of states, amongst many others. 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.

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.

As you gain subject-specific expertise, you will develop a valuable collection of study skills. In tackling each module, you will learn to assimilate demanding topics quickly and accurately, and how to analyse and respond to political strategy and debate persuasively in written and oral forms.

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

The lectures, seminars and the Department’s supportive staff will greatly assist you in your political training. You will also benefit from the many opportunities within the department and the university to develop your academic rigour and professionalism so that, upon graduation, you are perfectly positioned for the next stage of your career.

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 the International Politics course, because it's a subject that attracts a wide range of people from around the UK and internationally, meaning you encounter a wide range of people and opinions. The seminars allow for great discussion and learning, and the lectures themselves are interesting with just as interesting lecturers! Roxy Taylor

The Department of International Politics has provided me with a new-found understanding of the world through modules on issues surrounding concepts of globalisation and the lives of women in the Third World. With experts in so many fields it is great having such an approachable set of tutors. My three years here at Aberystwyth have been educational as well as enjoyable and I would recommend studying here to anyone. Hannah Mitchell

Great lecturers, great building, great people on the course! Matthew David Bold

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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