Politics and International Relations

BA Politics and International Relations Code L248

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On the Politics and International Relations course in the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University, you will examine the political landscape past and present, learning about key political concepts such as power, democracy, freedom, inequality, rights, citizenship, representation and legitimacy, and how these are contested in contemporary politics.

You will explore different political systems and global institutions and will learn about the driving forces behind political, economic, and social cultural changes across the world. You will also grapple with the challenges facing the international system, such as globalisation, international security, the environment, inequality, global health, conflict and post-conflict environments.

Course Overview

You will study current political debates such as the future of the UK after Brexit, climate change, dilemmas of modern migration, the rise of populist nationalism, the future of democracy, and the ways in which these are influencing radical transformation in the twenty-first century.

Throughout the course, you will explore different arguments, rival theories and alternative explanations - thereby building up the analytical skills that are important in the workplace.

Opportunities for Politics and International Relations students at Aberystwyth include:

  • participating in our renowned ‘Crisis Games’ - a 3-day role-playing exercise in political, economic and diplomatic manoeuvres which will develop your negotiation and communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving skills
  • taking part in our prestigious Parliamentary Placement Scheme, which enables 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
  • being taught by expert lecturers who are committed to providing you with an outstanding and dynamic learning environment.
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.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Behind the Headlines IP12620 20
Exploring the International 1: Central Concepts and Core Skills * IP12420 20
Politics in the 21st Century * IP12920 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Globalization and Global Development IP12520 20
The Making of the Modern World: War Peace and Revolution since 1789 IP12820 20
War, Strategy and Intelligence IP10320 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


Employability is embedded within all our courses. 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.

Here are some of the sectors in which our graduates have been successful in securing roles:

  • the development sector
  • local and national politics
  • the Civil Service
  • Government research
  • social research
  • the third sector such as NGOs
  • international organisations
  • journalism.

Course Content

What will I learn?

In your first year you will be introduced to:

  • central concepts and themes in the study of international politics, looking at key theoretical positions and you will be encouraged to analyse and evaluate them
  • politics in the 21st Century, where you will study key features of political systems, and discuss key political ideas and issues
  • developments in international politics in real time with the focus on news and opinions that appear from week to week, and an opportunity to critically reflect on events.

You will also take optional modules that cover the topics of war, peace and revolution since 1789; globalisation and global development; and war, strategy and intelligence.

In your second year, you will explore:

  • the origins of the discipline of International Relations, the development of theoretical schools of thought, the role of theoretical lenses in shaping our understandings of the world, and a variety of different theoretical approaches through which to read the processes of international politics
  • a range of key concepts and debates about different political forces and relationships and see how they relate to examples drawn from the practice of politics in different parts of the world, with the theme of political inequalities being a prominent focus.

In your final year, you will be introduced to:

  • the general principles of research methods, methodologies and theoretical frameworks to enable you to undertake an independent research inquiry and write your dissertation.

You will also choose from a broad range of optional modules covering topics such as global development, trade wars and the liberal order, contemporary Latin America, justice, order and human rights, the EU, the Middle East in the 20th century, a military history of the United States, nationalism, Russian intelligence, the League of Nations and its legacies, and terrorism and counter terrorism in the modern world.

Extra-curricular activities

We encourage you to take part in the Crisis Games, which is a yearly residential event away from Aberystwyth. Crisis games have been based on humanitarian crises, the Northern Ireland peace process, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the US presidential election, environmental disaster in the Arctic, and 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 one of the highlights of the year.

How will I be taught?

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

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through essays, reports, examinations, book reviews, learning logs and presentations.

Personal Tutor

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

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 120 - 96

A Levels BBB-CCC

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:

International Baccalaureate:

European Baccalaureate:
75%-65% overall

English Language Requirements:
See our Undergraduate English Language Requirements for this course. Pre-sessional English Programmes are also available for students who do not meet our English Language Requirements.

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
International students whose qualification is not listed on this page, can check our Country Specific Entry Requirements for further information.

The University welcomes applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma. Our inclusive admissions policy values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their own individual merits, and offers can vary. If you are studying a qualification not listed on this page, please get in touch with the Undergraduate Admissions Office for further advice. For further information, contact

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