Business & International Relations

Why choose this course?

  • Develop a knowledge and understanding of the nature of relations between states and the roles played by international institutions.
  • Integrated placement year allows you to set your studies in context and gain valuable professional experience.
  • A robust, relevant business curriculum which is rooted in the real world.
  • International Relations at Aston is currently ranked Top 20 in the UK for Employability in the latest Guardian University Guide and Sunday Times University Guide.
  • International Relations at Aston achieved 95% Overall Satisfaction in the 2014 National Student Survey.

4 years full-time with integrated placement year

UCAS Code: LN21

Typical offers:
A Levels: ABB-BBB from three subjects.

If your predicted grades are close to those stated in Aston's typical offers and if you are interested in Aston University and the courses we offer we encourage you to apply to us as one of your 5 UCAS choices. In addition to your predicted grades, when making offers we also consider your previous academic performance (eg AS grades, GCSEs), your school/college reference and the commitment and motivation you demonstrate for your chosen course via the personal statement. Applicants and their teachers/advisers are welcome to contact us with individual queries about entry qualifications via lss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk.

View our Admissions Policy. 

IB: 33 points
BTEC, Access & other: Students applying with BTEC or Access qualifications are considered on individual basis.

Specific subject requirements: GCSE: Maths & English at grade C or above.

Tuition fees 2014/15: £9,000 (£1,000 during placement year) for UK/EU students. More on fees

Applicants receiving offers are invited to an open day.

This course is designed to help you build a comprehensive understanding of the various functions of management and examine politics in the international realm.

International Relations

You will develop a knowledge and understanding of the nature of relations between states and also of the roles played by international institutions, other intergovernmental organisations, multinational corporations and NGOs.

Year one introduces you to key modules focusing on the international state system and to the structure and purpose of international organisations; you also learn about ethics and international politics.

Your second year covers theories and contemporary issues in international relations, security studies and the globalisation of the international political economy.

During the final year you will explore more specialised topics through the completion of an individual research dissertation and a range of modules covering topics such as the  international relations of East Asia, US foreign policy, and the international relations between post Soviet Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.


You’ll study the theories, principles and underlying concepts of the main functions of management and develop a strong understanding of business models and processes. You’ll examine how strategic decision-making within organisations takes place, and develop the ability to recognise and analyse the economic, technical, financial, social and organisational parameters within which modern managers make decisions.

Your career

Your placement year will give you the opportunity to apply your key skills and competencies within a real work-based situation.

The course is strongly geared towards increasing your employability since it is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills required of professionals working in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

International Relations & Business students take 120 credits of modules per year, 60 from international relations modules and 60 from business modules. Unless specified, modules are worth 10 credits. A 10 credit module comprises approximately 100 learning hours and has up to three contact hours per week.

Year 1

  • Introduction to International Relations (20 credit module)
  • Europe and the Making of the Modern World (20 credit module)
  • Information Skills
  • Introduction to the European Union
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Organisational Behaviour
  • Principles of Financial Accounting
  • Economic Environment of Business
  • IT for Business
  • Critical Perspectives on Business & Management  

Year 2

  • International Relations Theories and Issues (20 credit module)
  • Security Studies in a Changing World (20 credit module)
  • The Politics and Policies of the EU
  • Research Methods in Pol. and Soc. Studies
  • Business, Government and Society
  • Business Policy
  • Business Game
  • Business Economics
  • Operations Management
  • Management Accounting
Placement year

At Aston the placement year is an integral part of your course, and contributes to your final grade. Find out more about the International Relations & Business placement year.

Final year

International Relations
You will study one core module and select four elective modules.

  • International Relations Research Dissertation (Core module)
  • Central and East European Politics*
  • Immigration and Citizenship in W. Europe*
  • The International Relations of East Asia*
  • Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe*
  • Political Communication*
  • The American Presidency*
  • Nationalism and Political Power*
  • Ethics and International Politics*
  • Contemporary Welfare Politics*
  • Political Parties and Party Systems*
  • Conflict and Politics in the Contemporary. Balkans*
  • Intellectuals and Politics*
  • Law and Politics*
  • Conflict, Intervention and Reconciliation*
  • Regions and Regionalism in Europe*
  • Political Leaders*
  • Contemporary Political Theory*

* Please note that not all elective modules will be available every year. 

You will study two core modules, and select elective modules worth 40 credits. 

  • Finance (Core module)
  • Value Based Strategy (Core module)
  • Making Managerial Decisions using Accounting Information  (20 credit elective module)
  • Theories and Practice of Leadership (20 credit elective module)
  • Psychology & Work (20 credit elective module)
  • Marketing Psychology (20 credit elective module)
  • International Marketing (20 credit elective module)
  • International Operations (20 credit elective module)
  • Effective Project Delivery (20 credit elective module)
  • Entrepreneurial Management (20 credit elective module)
  • Learning, Training and Development in Organisations (10 credit elective module)
  • Global Working (10 credit elective module)
  • Business Ethics (10 credit elective module)
  • International Business Economics (10 credit elective module)

Our International Relations & Business course is focused on increasing your employability by providing you with the knowledge and skills for working in the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Our graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers where a sound understanding of
organisations, management and the issues driving government policy are essential.

Typical destinations include careers in the private sector, central and local government, the European Union, environmental protection, as well as charities and social enterprises.

Our graduates have excellent communication and teamwork skills, are critical and analytic and can design, conduct and analyse and evaluate research. As a manager you will be a problem solver, planner and leader, and this course aims to prepare you for these challenges.

Although based in the School of Languages & Social Sciences, this course is taught jointly with staff from Aston Business School.

You will participate in lectures, tutorials, seminars, group and individual project work.  Traditional teaching is supported by a virtual learning environment that is used to host a range of electronic supporting materials.

The course deals with many topical issues, and as a result we try to incorporate current media coverage and public debates into class discussions and to link these to academic research and commentary wherever possible.

There is a much stronger emphasis on reading and on your own private, independent study than at pre-degree level. The University offers training courses in study skills, and the Library’s Learning Development Centre provides one-to-one instruction, workshops and study guides for academic research and writing.

We use a range of assessment methods and most modules are assessed with a combination of coursework and an end of year examination. Coursework includes essays, research reports, individual and group projects, statistics assignments, class tests and both individual and group presentations.

For further information, see the programme specification (PDF).

The placement year is an opportunity for you to set your studies in context and gain valuable professional experience. It is highly attractive to potential employers and many of our students are offered graduate jobs by their placement employer.

You can choose whether your placement has an international relations or a business focus and your may be in the UK or abroad. Placements taken by Aston students are generally paid, with the average salary being around £16,000.

In recent years our Joint Honours international relations and business degrees at Aston have undertaken placements in a variety of organisations, including:

  • African Development Bank in Uganda
  • Aston Villa Football Club
  • Audit Commission
  • British Energy
  • British High Commission in Ghana
  • Civil Service
  • Ford Motor Company
  • HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
  • Home Office
  • House of Lords
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Ministry of Defence
  • NHS
  • TNS Global Market Research
  • University research and study placements (UK, US, Australia, Finland and Singapore)
  • Working for local MPs

You'll receive plenty of help and advice in finding your placement and specialist support and supervision from the University during your placement.

Find out more about placement years at Aston.

Contact Details

Tel: 0121 204 3777
Email: lss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk

Graduate Profile

Graduate Profile

Jamelia Donaldson, Graduate 2013

BSc Business and International Relations

I have definitely benefitted from my placement year, not only have I landed myself a graduate job but I feel this year has been fundamental to my personal development and growth as an individual and young professional.


Student Profile

Student Profile

Rositsa Toneva

BSc Business and International Relations

I have always been interested in exploring new cultures and this was one of the main reasons why I decided to do a study placement in Singapore Management University in my third year. I had an amazing, inspirational and very beneficial year in Singapore.


Download the course brochure



Outstanding graduate career prospects

Fees and funding

Fees and funding
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