BA

International Relations

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You are viewing this course for September start 2022

International Relations and Media is a totally dynamic subject. It reflects liveliness, energy and global developments that are rapidly changing. By choosing to study the International Relations degree in the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University, you will join the best centre for studying international relations in the UK. The Department is also home to the Welsh Institute of Politics. The combination of outstanding teaching and exciting research creates an unique and exceptional experience within a friendly environment. You will have opportunities to develop transferable skills that will enhance your career opportunities, and we offer a placement scheme in the House of Commons and in the Welsh Senedd as well as exchange programmes with countries in Europe, Canada and Australia. We give our students the opportunity to simulate political crises during exciting fieldwork courses, all located within a lively and cosmopolitan environment in the heart of the University campus.

Course Overview

Why study International Relations at Aberystwyth University?

  • The aim of the International Relations degree is to study in depth the workings and patterns of the government, and most importantly, the results of those workings and patterns of these. It involves politicians and governments but also with groups and other movements such as international companies, trade unions, civil society groups and others that influences political life.
  • This degree discusses the ideas that are the foundation of our daily lives, such as justice, freedom, power, community, equality and citizenship by studying a wide range of countries and situations.
  • The Department of International Politics was founded in 1919 at the end of the First World War, and this is the first university department of its kind, and it continues to be one of the biggest political and international relations department in Europe, and has over 40 academic staff.
  • The exciting and cosmopolitan learning environment welcomes students from all over the world and is a lively home to contemporary political discussions. The department has a long history of looking at the world and asking fundamental questions about a range of subject matters such as war, intelligence and security, global poverty, ethics and climate change; how the world has come to be how it is, and how that constantly changes. The combination of outstanding teaching and some of the most exciting research work in the field creates a unique and exceptional experience.
  • The Department is famous for its pioneering research work and is acknowledged as the best in the United Kingdom for studying international politics. In the recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), the Department was named the best International Politics Department in Wales and the seventh best in the United Kingdom for research quality, with 69% of publications presented of a standard that is in the best Class in the world and Outstanding at an international level.
  • The Department runs a Parliamentary Placement Scheme in the House of Commons and in the Welsh Senedd. These placements provide valuable work experience that can be included on students’ CVs and, in addition, offer real experience of politics while it happens. Students will be placed with Parliament Members in the House of Commons, Westminster or with a member of the Welsh Senedd (Welsh Senedd, Cardiff) for a period of 4-6 weeks in the summer, which is a fantastic experience for any Politics student.
  • The Department also has connections with a selection of universities in Europe, Australia and Canada, and this is a great chance for you to expand your academic and social horizons by spending some of your university experience abroad.
  • Amongst the lively student societies that nurture a strong feeling of community within the Department is the Aberystwyth Welsh Political Society (AWPS). Meetings of the society are held twice or maybe three times a month, with the aim of listening to scholars and practitioners sharing their ideas and research through the medium of Welsh, holding lively discussions on a range of relevant subjects, and giving the opportunity to Welsh speaking students and staff of the Department and University as well as enthusiastic local individuals to share ideas and socialise.
  • During these last two years, lectures have been given by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Carwyn Jones, Lord Elystan Morgan, the True Honourable Dafydd Wigley, Glyn Davies AM and Lord John Morris, discussions about Argentina by Dr Lucy Taylor, on elections by Professor Roger Scully and about the experiences of political journalists in Wales by Betsan Powys. 
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 - 2022

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.

Core

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
International Relations: Perspectives and Debates IP20120 20

Options

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
Britain and Ireland in War and Peace since 1800 IP28820 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
Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa: Key Issues Today IP20520 20
Economic Diplomacy and Leadership IQ24320 20
European Security in 21st Century IP23620 20
Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics IQ22920 20
Global Inequality and World Politics IQ24120 20
Global Politics and the Refugee Regime IQ25520 20
International Politics and Global Development IP29220 20
International Politics and the Nuclear Age IP20420 20
Intervention and Humanitarianism IQ20220 20
Justice, Order, Human Rights IQ21720 20
Multiculturalism in Policy and Practice IQ23720 20
NATO: From Cold War to Hybrid War IP23320 20
Nationalism in Theory and Practice IP29920 20
People and Power: Understanding Comparative Politics Today IQ23920 20
Political Theory IP22220 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 Arab-Israeli Wars IP21320 20
The British Army’s Image in Battle, from the Crimea to the Present IQ20920 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
UK Politics Today: A Union Under Strain? IQ23820 20
Warfare after Waterloo: Military History 1815-1918 IP25320 20
Women and Global Development IP29620 20
Women and Military Service IP21620 20

Core

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Dissertation IP30040 40

Options

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
A Century of Conflict: Global warfare 1918-2018 IQ35920 20
A War on the Mind: Propaganda and Secret Intelligence from the Great War to the 21st Century IP38320 20
America At War: a Military History of the United States IP36920 20
Britain and Ireland in War and Peace since 1800 IP38820 20
Capitalism and International Politics IQ32820 20
Climate Change Politics IP31420 20
Climate Change and International Politics in the Anthropocene IP30720 20
Contemporary Latin America IP38720 20
Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa IP30520 20
Devolution and Wales IP35020 20
Economic Diplomacy and Leadership IQ34320 20
European Security in the 21st Century IP33620 20
Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics IQ32920 20
Global Inequality and World Politics IQ34120 20
Global Politics and the Refugee Regime IQ35520 20
International Politics and the Nuclear Age IP30420 20
Intervention and Humanitarianism IQ30220 20
Justice, Order, Human Rights IQ31720 20
Multiculturalism in Policy and Practice IQ33720 20
NATO: From Cold War to Hybrid War IP33320 20
Nationalism in Theory and Practice IP39920 20
Political Theory IP32220 20
Refugee Simulation IQ35620 20
Russian intelligence from Lenin to Putin IQ34920 20
Science, Technology, and International Relations IP33020 20
Terrorism & Counter Terrorism in the Modern World: Policing, Intelligence & War IP34520 20
The Arab Israeli Wars IP31320 20
The British Army’s Image in Battle, from the Crimean to the Present IQ30920 20
The Century of the Superpowers and the Global Cold War IQ35220 20
The European Union: Politics, Policies, Problems IP33820 20
The Making of National Security Policy IP33720 20
The Past and Present of US Intelligence IP36020 20
The Second World War in Europe IP36420 20
Trade Wars and the Liberal Order IQ31620 20
UK Politics Today: A Union Under Strain? IQ33820 20
Women and Global Development IP39620 20
Women and Military Service IP31620 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh

Careers

Graduates of the department have been very successful in their careers. Some graduates have followed a career in:

  • the Civil Service (especially the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of International Development)
  • international institutes (NATO, the European Union and the United Nations)
  • non-governmental bodies (International Amnesty, Oxfam)
  • political research with private companies as well as in Westminster, the Welsh Senedd and the European Parliament.

Others are working in:

  • the armed forces
  • the Media (as journalists or radio or television presenters)
  • law
  • education.

Another popular choice is to stay in higher education, and a good number of graduates choose to stay on to study for a Masters or PhD degree in the Department's renowned school for graduates.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Politics will equip you with a variety of transferable skills which are valued by employers. These include:

  • research and data analysis
  • thinking creatively and effective problem-solving
  • the ability to work independently
  • time management, including the ability to meet deadlines
  • expressing ideas and communicating information in a clear and manageable way, in speech and writing
  • self-motivation and self-dependence
  • team work and the ability to discuss concepts in groups, by discussing a range of ideas and coming to an agreement
  • information technology skills.

Year in Employment

The University runs a Year in Employment Scheme, which offers an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to take a year out between the second and third years of the course to work in an institution in the UK or abroad. The scheme gives students a valuable and beneficial experience, both personally and professionally, and it could help you to stand out in a very competitive jobs market.

The University Careers Service offers you advice on considering your options and looking for an appropriate work placement.

GO Wales

Go Wales is managed by the University Careers Service, which works with local businesses to create paid work placements for students over a period of a few weeks. It will give you the chance to win valuable work experience that will enhance your CV and will make you more attractive to prospective employers.

Course Content

What will you learn?

  • The aim of the first year modules is to provide a strong foundation of information as you prepare to study more intensely in your second and third years. The modules will introduce you to key concepts and debates as well as the most important subjects in international politics. You will have to study the core module ‘Introduction to Politics’ and you are advised to follow the ‘Wales in Europe’ module as well. You can then choose from a collection of other modules that reflect a variety of chronological and thematic subjects so that you can choose the subjects that are of specific interest to you.
  • In the second and third years you will get the opportunity to specialise in the areas that interest you the most. You will be expected to complete the core module for the degree scheme, which is ‘Research Methods’, and a dissertation (12,000 words) as well as the ‘Political Theories’ module. Apart from those, you can build your own course by choosing modules from the Part Two learning programme. These modules reflect recent research in the field, which means that Aberystwyth students get to hear the latest ideas before they even get published and sold in book shops!

How will you be taught?

  • On this course you will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. In the lectures the subject will be introduced and key matters discussed, and in seminars you will join a smaller group of students to discuss in a more informal manner and analyse subjects in more depth. Seminars are a great way to put your own ideas to the test and to discuss your own experiences, as well as share experiences and ideas with fellow students. Some modules in Part 2 (second and third year) are delivered through seminars, which is a foretaste of Masters studies, while others use simulation, role-play, and the latest e-learning technologies.
  • Education of the highest standard doesn’t start or finish in the lecture or seminar room, and both departments offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities that develop important life skills and offer relevant work experience and other transferable skills. All of these activities give the opportunity to discover new hobbies, test new ideas and uncover secret talents. All of this is part of a journey that prepares you for challenges in the future.
  • The Crisis Games play an important role in the life of the Department of International Politics, and they are held twice a year on residential courses. This was the first University Department in the UK to connect learning within the classroom with real international politics emergencies. Over the years, the Crisis Games have focused on the humanitarian emergencies in the Congo and Darfur, nuclear tests in North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Middle Eastern Politics, the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the war between Russia and Georgia. During the Crisis Games, our students learn a lot about the complexities of International Politics - things that can’t be taught in lectures and seminars, especially the restrictions that political leaders face during emergencies. For most of our students, the Crises Games are the pinnacle of the course.
  • Most modules are assessed through a combination of exams and essays but students are also assessed through projects, presentations and book reviews from time to time.

Your Personal Tutor

A personal tutor will be allotted to you for the full duration of your degree course and the tutor will be able to help you with any problems or enquiries, whether of an academic or personal nature. You are welcome to contact your personal tutor at any time if you need support. 

Student Testimonials

I was first attracted to this Department when I came to visit on an Open Day. The liveliness of the staff, the wide variety of modules on offer as well as the possibility of studying through the medium of Welsh made a great impression on me. Since my first year, when my compulsory modules varied greatly, from devolution to liberalism to war, security and politics in the third world, I have succeeded to make the most of a number of opportunities that were offered by the department outside of the lecture room. The teaching was always inspirational, with small seminar groups promoting discussion and a number of modules offered variety with the assessed work, which included keeping a diary of our learning, book reviews and surveys. Regarding the resources, there is no need to look further than the outstanding University Library - the Hugh Owen Library, or the National Library of Wales, which is on our doorstep. I was fortunate enough to be able to be part of a number of schemes in the department, which included a semester abroad studying in the McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It was a fantastic experience - a chance to travel and experience a new culture and make new friends, and to learn different perspectives on learning the subject too. I was also lucky enough to be accepted onto the Parliamentary Placement Scheme, and I worked for five weeks shadowing my local Member of Parliament in Westminster - an excellent opportunity to be part of real-life politics. I also had a ten-week work placement with a local Public Relations firm - an experience that was second to none that will helpful to me when looking for a job in the future, I hope.

Iolo Cheung 

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 120 - 96

A Levels BBB-CCC

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

BTEC National Diploma:
DDM-MMM

International Baccalaureate:
30-26

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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