International Politics and Strategic Studies

Key Facts

Code L251
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBB with B in any subject

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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Among the central concerns of International Politics are questions of war and peace. Why does war happen? How can wars be ended? Is it possible to avoid conflict altogether? Studying this degree provides important insights into these fundamental questions by considering the basic tool of war: the use of force. This degree examines the application of force and its impact on societies and people, from the advent of nuclear weapons to the post-9/11 Global War on Terror and the emergence of cyber warfare. The course is also about how wars might be prevented and how weapons might be controlled, including questions of disarmament and arms control. This degree at Aberystwyth University will allow you to explore the central questions of war and peace.  

Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of International Politics (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 Strategic Studies at Aberystwyth?

  • Our department is ranked in the top 40 in the world for academic reputation. (QS, 2017).
  • Taught in the world’s first department of international politics, founded in 1919 after the end of World War I to help the world understand the world.
  • A UK top ten Department, and best in Wales, for student satisfaction (NSS 2016) and research excellence (REF 2014).
  • Taught by lecturers who are enthusiastic, committed in providing you with an outstanding and dynamic learning environment.
  • Opportunity to take part in our prestigious Parliamentary Placement scheme alongside an MP (House of Commons, Westminster) or an AM (Welsh Assembly, Cardiff).
  • Participate in our renowned ‘Crisis Games’; a three day role playing exercise in political, economic and diplomatic manoeuvre, developing negotiation and communication, critical thinking, team work, and problem-solving skills.  
  • Contribute to the oldest student–run international Politics journal in the UK ‘Interstate' which is based within 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.



Employability is embedded within all courses provided by us. Our degrees provide a solid foundation for a vast array of careers across a range of sectors. In a rapidly shifting global economy, our graduates are adaptable and able to draw on a range of transferable skills, ensuring that they are always in demand.

The skill sets include:

  • Effective problem solving and creative thinking skills
  • Information technology skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Time-management, organisational skills
  • Communication skills both written and oral
  • Self-motivation and self-reliance

What opportunities are there for me after I complete my degree?

Here is an example of what some of our graduates are doing:

Roles in the development sector, local and national politics, the Civil Service, Government research, Social researcher, roles in the third sector such as with NGOs, work with international organisations, journalism.

What opportunities are there for me whilst studying at University? 

Employability is embedded across our teaching. We teach our students to aim for the career they want, not the job that they can get.

  • 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 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.

What work experience opportunities exist whilst studying? 

Click here to find out about the various opportunities that our Aberystwyth University Careers team offer.

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and YES (Year in Employment Scheme) managed by our Careers department. 

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

The breakdown below will provide you with an illustration of what you may study during the three year degree scheme.

In your first year you will have the opportunity to explore:

  • Key issues in the fields of War, Strategy and Intelligence
  • The development and progress of international relations during the twentieth century
  • A range of perspectives and approaches to the study of international politics
  • Contemporary political problems and how they are portrayed
  • The different methodologies to analyse topical issues in international and domestic politics

In your second and third years you will have the opportunity to study:

  • The study of war, politics and strategy
  • The key concepts, theoretical explanations and historical events as they relate to important questions about strategy, war, peace, and the use of force
  • A range of optional modules covering different aspects of warfare in modern age, national and international security, intelligence, conflict and post conflict environments
  • And undertake a compulsory dissertation in the final year to demonstrate your substantive knowledge in your chosen subject area.

How will I be taught?

We deliver this degree through the medium of lectures and seminars.

We will assign you a personal tutor who will be with you throughout your degree, this person will help you any problems whether these are academic-related or personal issues.

We assess our students through essays, reports, examinations, book reviews, learning logs and presentations.

We encourage our students to take part in the Crisis Games, which is a twice-yearly residential course away from Aberystwyth. Crisis games have been based on humanitarian crises, the Northern Ireland peace process, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the US presidential election, an Arctic environmental disaster, war between Russia and Georgia. The Crisis Games will allow you to 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. This is no doubt, the highlight of the year. 

Student Views

The main thing I love about International Politics & Strategic Studies is the uniqueness of the subject as well as the breadth of options that are available to students. Strategic Studies allows you to examine the nature of conflict, why it occurs in society and what role it plays in the international system. Strategic Studies also allows you branch out into subjects such as geopolitics and national strategy. The course is fantastic, with a wide range of modules you can take to tailor your degree to suit you. Career-wise, the uniqueness and rigour of the modules ensure that future employers take your CV seriously, especially in defence-related areas. All in all, the International Politics & Strategic Studies degree offers a rigorous and fascinating education with great prospects. Alan Jeffrey

What stands out for me about the International Politics department at Aberystwyth University is the excellent standard of teaching, research and environment that the department encourages from its students. The staff are all experts in their field, and the students are passionate about their subject which makes for very enjoyable seminars, very interesting lectures and an all-round excellent experience as a student. I couldn't fault the International Politics department on the standards it upholds: it's a stellar place to study and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the field! Mathew Calfe

Typical Entry Requirements

A Levels BBB with B in any subject

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:

UCAS Tariff:
114 - 120

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
30 points overall

European Baccalaureate:
70-75% overall

Applicants are considered on their individual merits and offers can vary. For further information, please contact

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