BSc International Relations & English Language  

Why choose Aston?

  • Politics & International Relations is ranked Top 20 in the UK for Student Satisfaction (Complete University Guide, 2017)
  • English Language at Aston is ranked Top 25 in the UK for Graduate Prospects in both the Complete University Guide, 2017 and Sunday Times League Table, 2016.

  • English at Aston achieved 93% Overall Satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2015.

  • Internationally recognised research, backed by the Aston Centre for Europe (ACE)
  • English Language staff work routinely with law enforcement as expert witnesses in cases where speech and/or text constitutes part of the evidence

Download the Politics and International Relations subject brochure. 

Download the English Language subject brochure.  

3 years full time or 4 years with integrated placement year

UCAS Code: LQ23

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. 

This multi-disciplinary programme has a key emphasis on the practical application of International Relations and English Language to the real world, through the optional placement year and professionally relevant modules which draw directly on Aston’s cutting-edge research. You will examine the nature of relations between states and also of the roles played by international institutions, other intergovernmental organisations, multinational corporations and NGOs. You will also be provided with the theoretical knowledge and understanding of English language and how it works in society. Important strengths of the course include the research-active teaching staff who are internationally recognised for their work on Western and Eastern Europe, Forensic Linguistics, Language and Gender and TESOL Studies. Aston is also one of only a few UK universities to offer International Relations and English Language with a fully integrated placement year. The distinctive placement year is an optional feature of the programme and is designed to give our students a distinct advantage on the graduate labour market. Our International Relations and English Language graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers where a sound understanding of societies, organisations, institutions and communication skills are required.

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 the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
The Making of the Modern World
Introduction to the European Union
What’s trending? (Current affairs in International Relations and Politics)

Introduction to Discourse Analysis
Language in Society
Grammar and Meaning
Academic Communication Skills

Year 2

Core modules:
International Relations: Theories and Issues
Regional Politics and Society

Written Text Analysis
Psychology of Language and Communication
Working with Language Data

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

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Language at Work
Computer-mediated Communication
The Language of the Law
Language in the News Media
Language Policy and Language Planning
Work-based Project

Year 3

Placement year

Final Year

Core modules:
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

Spoken Discourse Analysis
Learning English
Corpus Linguistics
Multimodal Analysis
Language as Evidence
Language Contact and Globalisation

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/

You will be involved in: lectures, tutorials, seminars, e-seminars, small-group work, project work 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 a Personal Tutor when you join us and you will be encouraged to make regular contact with them throughout your studies. Personal Tutors are there to help discuss academic and, in some cases, personal issues. Personal Tutors can also often offer support by writing references for placement/graduate employment and academic research.

Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, translation tasks, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year. Exams take place in January and May/June.

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.”

Dr Krzysztof Kredens - Director of Undergraduate Programmes in English Language

Dr Kredens

“In my five years at Aston possibly the most flattering praise I received came from a student who said ‘This module messes with my head’. ‘Messing with students’ heads’ is not necessarily what the official course description promises but in my teaching I try and challenge students’ perceptions of what language is and what it can – and cannot – do for them. The key message I try to get across is that understanding the linguistic phenomena we encounter, but rarely notice, on an every-day basis is crucial for understanding and shaping the world around us. We all acquire knowledge in essentially two ways – either through direct experience or from others. For most of our knowledge we have to rely on other people’s perceptions, which, before reaching us, are encoded into language. Language then carries knowledge; once we realise the importance of this simple notion, we can make fully informed and conscious choices as to how we can use language as a powerful tool to achieve certain aims. At Aston our focus is on language use rather than structure. We do make sure our students acquire the relevant theoretical concepts, but our ultimate aim is to show how language works in actual interactions. We focus on the practical applications of English Language studies. We are passionate about teaching and, importantly, use our own research to inform it. As a result our students often have access to the latest research findings even before they are published in academic journals or the media.''

The placement year is optional for students studying International Relations and English Language. 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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