Armed services personnel using a drone
UCAS Code
L253
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2022, September 2023

Overview

Examine the major issues affecting the world. Discover why nation states rise and fall. Take a closer look at the factors behind international conflict, and learn the role state leaders, NGOs, civil society and activists play in solving these problems.

On this BA (Hons) International Relations degree, you'll explore topics like global migration and the rise of populist politics around the world. You’ll learn the skills required to play your part in improving equality and enacting positive change.

And after graduation, you’ll be ready for careers in local and national government, security, tech, intelligence, and with international charities and institutions like the UN.

Course highlights

  • Learn from staff at our Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR), whose research directly impacts government policy
  • Create policy briefing papers offering recommendations to practitioners on major recent international issues, such as the Ukraine Crisis, the 'MeToo' movement, the rise of terrorist organisations and the Arab Revolutions
  • Attend events and talks led by people working in NGOs, local, national and international government, and journalism
  • Go on field trips to locations such as the Houses of Parliament
  • Take part in a simulated ‘academic conference’, where you’ll present a paper that will be discussed with your peers
  • Have the chance to study abroad at one of our partner institutions – including Science Po Strasbourg (France), Maastricht University (Netherlands), Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) and Carleton University (Canada)
 

90% of graduates in work or further study 15 months after this course (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19)

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

Entry requirements​

BA (Hons) International Relations degree entry requirements

Typical offers
  • A levels – BBB–BCC
  • UCAS points – 104–120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T levels – Pass (C or above in the core) – Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
  • International Baccalaureate – 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Typical offers
  • A levels – ABB–BBC
  • UCAS points – 112–128 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T levels – Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
  • International Baccalaureate – 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

I enjoyed being able to explore different aspects of international relations, especially topics such as ethnic conflict and strategic studies. By taking different units I was able to find a rich area of research in conflict and strategic studies, which I hope to pursue for years to come.

Jemma Humphries, BA Hons International Relations student

Optional pathways

On this course, you can study history or international development alongside your international relations degree. This will lead to one of these awards at the end of the course:

Simon's story
"I've enjoyed my time here thoroughly..."

Simon got a lot out of his time studying international relations and politics with us, including an invitation to present at an academic conference. Find out more about Simon's experiences at the University of Portsmouth.

00:00:00  I think the best thing I've managed
00:00:01  to do at Portsmouth that's been part of
00:00:02  my degree is I've been invited to 
00:00:03  attend an academic conference so after
00:00:06  my first year I did quite well on an essay
00:00:07  and I was invited to present this to
00:00:09  fellow students as well as visiting 
00:00:11  A-level students.
00:00:12  I've said plenty of times to people that 
00:00:14  I've enjoyed my time here thoroughly
00:00:16  everything I've learnt in my degree has
00:00:18  been incredibly relevant and 
00:00:19  incredibly useful, not just academia
00:00:21  but also applying for jobs.
00:00:22  What I've loved the most about studying 
00:00:24  my course is the relevance to contemporary
00:00:25  political debate, I have a particular
00:00:27  interest in political economy, in
00:00:29  particular the 2008 financial crisis
00:00:31  and the impact this has had on
00:00:32  political discourse in the years after it. 

Careers and opportunities

The analytical skills you’ll develop on this course are in demand – your ability to understand complex issues and find solutions to them means that roles across government agencies, NGOs, charities, think tanks and international organisations are all within your reach.

And with technology continuing to develop at a frantic pace, there’s an ever-increasing demand for graduates with the knowledge required to ensure new developments are ethical. 

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills and cultural experience to work. 

What can you do with an International Relations degree? 

Graduates from this degree have gone on to careers in the following sectors:

  • local and central government 
  • embassies
  • non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • security services 
  • international organisations, like the United Nations (UN) 
  • international charities like War Child, Amnesty International or the Red Cross 
  • policy research and think tanks
  • media and international business consultancy 
  • political risk analysis 
  • public relations 
  • voluntary organisations 
  • management 
  • banking and financial services
  • tourism 

What jobs can you do with an International Relations degree?

Recent graduates have gone on to roles including:

  • director of Language Studies for an international school
  • political researcher, Houses of Parliament
  • assistant to Member of Parliament
  • civil servant, the Cabinet Office
  • senior policy advisor, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • communications officer, House of Commons
  • local government administrator, Government of Jersey
  • public affairs consultant 
  • bilingual consultant 
  • multilingual project coordinator 
  • translator 
  • social researcher 
  • information officer 
  • conference producer 

Placement year (optional)

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.

Taking an optional placement year will give you the experience you need to increase your chances of landing your perfect role after graduation. We'll give you all the support you need to find a placement that prepares you for your career, and we'll continue to mentor you throughout your placement.

Previous students have been on placements to organisations such as:

  • The Ministry of Defence
  • The House of Commons
  • National Museum of the Royal Navy
  • Otra Cosa (Peru)
  • SEK International
  • Freedom from Torture
  • Victim Support London
  • Tools for Self Reliance
 
Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work experience. Towards the end of your degree and after graduation, you'll get 1-to-1 support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to find your perfect role.

Female student at computer
Futureproof your career

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) International Relations degree

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Modules

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3

Core modules in this year include:

  • Analysing Politics: Britain and Beyond – 20 credits
  • Global Development – 20 credits
  • Key Themes in International Relations – 20 credits
  • Political Thought – 20 credits
  • Politics and IR: Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP L4) – 0 credits
  • Professional Practice: Skills for Academic and Professional Success – 40 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Analysing Foreign Policy – 20 credits
  • International Thought – 20 credits
  • Politics and IR: Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP L5) – 0 credits

Optional modules in this year include:

  • A History of US Foreign Policy: From the Great War to 9/11 – 20 credits
  • Bending the Truth a Little? Researching Politics and International Relations – 20 credits
  • Campaigning in Action – 20 credits
  • China and East Asian Economies – 20 credits
  • Contemporary Populism: Friend or Foe of Democracy? – 20 credits
  • Democracies Under Threat: Global Perspectives and Responses – 20 credits
  • Development and Democracy in Latin America – 20 credits
  • East Asian States and Societies – 20 credits
  • Empire and its Afterlives in Britain, Europe, and Africa – 20 credits
  • Introduction to Teaching – 20 credits
  • Modern Foreign Language – 20 credits
  • People and Place: Understanding the Spaces we Inhabit – 20 credits
  • People on the Move: Legacy, Integration and Development – 20 credits
  • Professional Experience L5 – 20 credits
  • Russian & Eurasian Politics – 20 credits
  • Soviet History and Politics – 20 credits
  • Study Abroad (60) – 60 credits
  • The Rules that Structure the World: The Politics and Governance of Regulation – 20 credits
  • US Politics – 20 credits

Core modules in this year include:

  • Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future – 20 credits
  • Politics and IR: Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP L6) – 0 credits
  • Security Challenges in the Twenty-First Century – 20 credits

Optional modules in this year include:

  • Autocracy and Democracy – 20 credits
  • Digital Media and Democracy – 20 credits
  • Dissertation (International Relations) – 40 credits
  • France in the World: Global Actor or Global Maverick? – 20 credits
  • Germany in the American Century – 20 credits
  • Global Health – 20 credits
  • Independent Project (International Relations) – 20 credits
  • Looking for Utopia, Finding Dystopia? Ideas and Ideologies in the New Millennium – 20 credits
  • Major Project – 40 credits
  • NGOs and Social Movements – 20 credits
  • Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates – 20 credits
  • Professional Experience L6 – 20 credits
  • Race, Rights and Development: Global Perspectives on Inequality and Social Justice – 20 credits
  • Strategic Management and Leadership – 20 credits
  • Transitional Justice and Human Rights – 20 credits

Want to know more about what you'll study on this course? Over on our blog, senior lecturer Aishling McMorrow explores what an international relations degree involves. 

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • written exams
  • coursework
  • article reviews
  • essays
  • projects
  • briefing papers
  • individual and group presentations
  • 10,000 word dissertation

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • independent study
  • work placement
  • plenaries
  • simulations
  • roundtables
  • guest lectures

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your BA Hons International Relations degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 10 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting your learning

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.


Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1-2-1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to:

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.


Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1-2-1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to:

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Teaching staff profiles

Paul Stephen Flenley

Dr Paul Flenley, Senior Lecturer

Paul's main research interests are in the areas of Russian Foreign Policy - particularly Russia-EU relations; Russian nationalism and national identity; the Russian Revolution, and early development of the Soviet state.

He's recently carried out funded research projects on comparative revolutions contracted by the Defence Human Capability Science and Technology Centre for the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Paul also regularly contributes reviews to a wide range of journals on the above topics and is an editor of the Journal of Contemporary European Studies.

Wolfram Kaiser

Professor Wolfram Kaiser, Professor of European Studies

Wolfram's main research interests are in contemporary European history and politics, especially European integration and the European Union, and Europe's international relations past and present. He has authored and edited many books and articles for journals including Comparativ, Contemporary British History, Contemporary European History, Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht, Historical Journal, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of European Integration History, Journal of European Public Policy, Journal of Modern History, National Identities, and Revue d'histoire diplomatique.

Melita Lazell

Dr Melita Lazell, Interim Principal Lecturer

Melita's research interests include the securitisation of development aid and its impact on recipients. She has published in various academic journals on this subject and is currently engaged in 2 major research projects. She teaches principally on the themes of Political Economy, Security and International Development, and coordinates Global Development (level 4) and Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future (level 6).

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (2022 start)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £16,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – L253
  • our institution code – P80

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

To start this course in 2023, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – L253
  • our institution code – P80

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.