BSc Politics with International Relations

Why choose this course?

  • Politics and International Relations as Aston is ranked 13th in the UK by the Sunday Times League Table, 2016
  • Politics and International Relations is ranked Top 20 in the UK for Student Satisfaction (Complete University Guide, 2017)
  • Politics at Aston is ranked 11th for Teaching Quality in the Sunday Times League Table 2016.
  • Aston's Politics course is ranked 12th in the UK for Research Quality in the 2017 Complete University Guide
  • 78% of Aston’s Politics graduates enter graduate level destinations, according to the Guardian University Guide 2017

Download the Politics and International Relations subject brochure.  

3 years full time or 4 years with integrated placement year

UCAS Code: L290

Typical Offers
: ABB from 3 A-levels. General Studies accepted.

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 in the IB diploma including TOK/Bonus points. Standard level Maths and English 5 required.
Access: Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in each module.  Humanities or Social Sciences Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis. 
BTEC: National Extended Diploma DDD.  Mix of Diploma/ Subsidiary Diploma/A-levels acceptable. 

We accept a wide range of UK, EU and International qualifications: please contact us for further advice.

Specific subject requirements:
GCSE English Language and Maths Grade C.

Tuition fees 2017/18: £9,250 (£1,250 during placement year) for UK/EU students. £14,000 (£2,500 during placement year) for overseas students. More on fees. 

Applicants receiving offers are invited to an open day.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements. 

Politics and International Relations – two closely related disciplines – are combined in this popular, single honours political science degree. The programme explores politics and international relations in British, European and global settings and examines theories about the nature of politics and international relations from the ancient to the modern world. You will explore the complex relationship between ethics and international action via co-operation or conflict. The history and present day functionality of the European Union and policy-making at international, national and regional levels is also explored.

To prepare our graduates for careers in a global environment, there is a practical element of language learning via a module in Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Japanese or Portuguese.

The placement year is an optional feature of the programme and is designed to give you real life experience and to act as a springboard to your future career.

Sample module options: The modules below are indicative only. When an offer is made, students will receive a detailed programme specification which forms part of our terms and conditions.

Year 1

Core modules:
Introduction to Studying and Researching Politics
Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
British Politics since 1945
Introduction to the European Union

Optional modules:
The Making of the Modern World
What’s trending? (Current affairs in International Relations and Politics)
Languages for All

Year 2

Core modules:
History of Political Thought
Comparative Government and Politics
International Relations: Theories and Issues
Regional Politics and Society

Optional modules:
Security Studies in a Changing World
Introduction to Political Economy
Languages for All

Year 3

Integrated placement year

Final Year

Core modules:
Extended Politics/International Relations Dissertation
Research and Dissertation Skills

Optional modules:
EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games
The International Relations of East Asia
Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe
Political Communication
The American Presidency
Nationalism & Political Power
Political Parties and Party Systems
Conflict and Politics in Contemporary Balkans
Contemporary Conflict
Diplomacy and Soft Power
The Far Right in Europe
The Politics of Climate Change
Understanding Foreign Policy
Northeast Asia: From Conflict to Cooperation
Gender and Politics
Interest groups and lobbying
Regions and Regionalism in Europe
Contemporary Political Theory
Political Leaders: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives
Intellectuals and Politics
Power and Parliamentary Decision-Making
Ethics and International Politics
Languages for All

You will be involved in lectures and seminars, small group work projects and independent study. Many of your modules will be in workshop format, alternating theoretical input with practical analysis, and allowing you to test out your understanding in discussion with other students and your tutor. There are also opportunities for group and collaborative work. Students undertake a major piece of independent research in Final Year. You will be allocated an academic supervisor for this work and a Personal Tutor who can provide you with help and advice throughout your studies.

Assessment is through a combination of exams, project-based course work, essays, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year.

Professor John Gaffney - Professor of Politics 

John Gaffney

“I became interested in politics because, when I was younger, I realised everything was political in some way – whether you could afford to go to university, for example – or whether you could afford not to! I became particularly interested in how leaders persuaded us of what we should do about injustices in the world, and how to make things better. All my teaching and research are about leadership and persuasion and how the world works politically. One really fascinating thing to do is to compare different countries to see similarities and differences between their histories and political cultures. My favourite place (outside the UK!) is France, and I often appear on British and French TV and radio, and I blog, and write in letters to The Guardian and do opinion pieces for New Statesman, Cnn.opinion, huffington post etc to try and persuade people I am right!”

Dr Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations 

Dr Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik

“My research focuses on post-conflict societies and their democratisation and reconciliation, drawing on Serbia and Kosovo as specific cases. Throughout my research, I also collaborate with other scholars, and therefore the issues that I look at can be quite wide ranging. For instance, I’ve recently investigated how Serbia as a society deals with war crimes and legacies of the past, but also how Serbia and Kosovo – previously at war – interact in peacetime. Much of this feeds directly into my teaching. I teach a module called ‘Conflict and Politics in Contemporary Balkans’, where I include insights from my research and trips to the region. On a module called ‘Conflict, Intervention and Reconciliation’, there are sessions dedicated to post-conflict justice and prosecuting of war crimes, so Serbia and Kosovo often feature as examples which we compare to other parts of the world. Most recently, I spent some time at the Centre for European Studies, Harvard, as a visiting scholar, where I worked on a new research project on social movements in Serbia. There is a rich tradition of protest and social movements in the Western Balkans more generally, so this will be the basis of one of the lectures I will teach next semester.”

Our graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers who value their understanding of different organisations, their communication skills and motivation for team work.  

For information on graduate destinations please see the careers service:http://www.aston.ac.uk/current-students/careers-centre/graduate-destinations/lss/

The placement year is optional for students studying Politics and International Relations. If you choose to take a placement year, this will take place during your third year at Aston and is worth 10% of the final degree result. Unlike some other universities, the placement year at Aston is not a ''bolt-on'' year it is an integral part of your degree for which you are prepared in your second year.

A distinctive feature of our placement year is the flexibility that we offer. You will be able to choose between undertaking a paid work-experience placement with a company or working as a teaching assistant in a school (either in the UK or abroad) - you might even choose to combine two of these options.  

We are extremely proud of the high level of preparation, orientation and support that we provide before and during your year abroad. We have a full-time Placements Team who will give you plenty of individual help and advice, and even come and visit you during your time away.

Find out more about the placement year.

Contact Details

Tel: 0121 204 3777

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Keep In Touch

Student Profile

Student Profile

Jasmin Sohi

BSc Politics with International Relations

Aston has enabled me to achieve my career aspirations as my degree programme has taught me a wide skill set. The ability to place high attention to detail when researching, sourcing and examining information and always having a cultural awareness to the global political trends can be invaluable in the workplace.


Download the course brochure



Outstanding graduate career prospects

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