Politics and International Relations

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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.

Modules September start - 2023

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
International Relations: Perspectives and Debates IP20120 20
People and Power: Understanding Comparative Politics Today IQ23920 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
A Century of Conflict: Global warfare 1918-2018 IQ25920 20
A War on the Mind: Propaganda and Secret Intelligence from the Great War to the 21st Century IP28320 20
America at War: A Military History of the United States IP26920 20
Capitalism and International Politics IQ22820 20
Climate Change Politics IP21420 20
Climate Change and International Politics in the Anthropocene IP20720 20
Contemporary Latin America IP28720 20
Devolution and Wales IP25020 20
Global Inequality and World Politics IQ24120 20
International Politics and Global Development IP29220 20
Intervention and Humanitarianism IQ20220 20
Justice, Order, Human Rights IQ21720 20
Multiculturalism in Policy and Practice IQ23720 20
Refugee Simulation IQ25620 20
Russian intelligence from Lenin to Putin IQ24920 20
Science, Technology, and International Relations IP23020 20
Strategy, Intelligence and Security in International Politics IQ25120 20
Terrorism & Counter Terrorism in the Modern World: Policing, Intelligence & War IP24520 20
The Century of the Superpowers and the Global Cold War IQ25220 20
The EU: Politics, Policies, Problems IP23820 20
The Governance of Climate Change: Simulation Module IP22320 20
The Making of National Security Policy IP23720 20
The Past and Present US Intelligence IP26020 20
The Second World War in Europe IP26420 20
Trade Wars and the Liberal Order IQ21620 20
Warfare after Waterloo: Military History 1815-1918 IP25320 20
Women and Military Service IP21620 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.

Teaching & Learning

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 undergraduate applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma or T-level qualifications, provided that relevant subject content and learning outcomes are met. We are not able to accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas or T-levels as a general qualification for every undergraduate degree course.
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 would like to check the eligibility of your qualifications before submitting an application, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for advice and guidance.

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