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BSc International Relations & Social Policy

Radhika Madlani - Politics and IR

One main reason Aston stands out is the the placement year. It can be life changing."

Radhika Madlani 
Parliamentary Affairs Officer, Industry and Parliament Trust

Entry requirements

A-Level: ABB from 3 A-levels. General Studies accepted.
BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD
*Variable offers available. 


International Relations and Social Policy examines the major political and social issues faced by governments across the world.

Employed Aston Social Studies (including Politics) graduates earn £4,800 (27%) more than the UK average one year after graduating, according to the government's Longitudinal Education Outcomes survey (LEO).

Read about recent Languages and Social Sciences placement experiences.

 

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Social Policy is ranked 3rd in the UK for Graduate Prospects (Complete University Guide, 2019)
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Social Policy is ranked 5th in the UK for Student Satisfaction (Complete University Guide, 2019)
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Politics and International Relations achieved 93% Overall Satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2017
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Investigate the economic, social and political forces which influence government decision-making

ABB from 3 A Levels. General Studies accepted.   

A Level applicants who select this course as their Firm UCAS choice may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme. This means that the grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course will be reduced.   

We welcome applications from students who have tried to improve their examination grades by taking resits. We treat these applications in exactly the same way as other applications.

BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma (QCF) / BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate: Distinction plus two A Levels at grade BB*.

BTEC Level 3 Diploma (QCF) / BTEC Level 3 National Diploma: Distinction, Distinction plus grade B* in one A-level.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF) / BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma  Distinction, Distinction, Distinction.   

*Applicants who select this course as their Firm UCAS choice may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme. This means that the A Level grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course will be reduced.

32 points in the IB diploma (including TOK/Bonus points) with 6,5,5 at HL.   

Standard level Maths and English grade 5 required in lieu of GCSE English and Maths grade C/4.   

Applicants who select this course as their Firm UCAS choice may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme. This means that the grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course will be reduced.

Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in each module. Humanities, Social Sciences or Business Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis.

EPQ: A Level applicants who meet our offer criteria will be made the standard offer for their programme of choice, plus an alternative offer which will be one grade lower plus a grade B in EPQ, providing this course is selected as their Firm UCAS choice.

Other qualifications: If your qualification is not listed, please contact us using the form at the bottom of the page.   

International Qualifications: International students can discover more about the qualifications we accept on our international pages. 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.

Foundation Programme in Social Science (Aston University): For students with good A-level (or equivalent) grades, but who narrowly miss our standard requirements, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing a Foundation Year, although please note the progression requirements.

Key Information:

3 years full time or 4 years with integrated placement year

UCAS Code:
LL2K

GCSE requirements:   
GCSE English Language and Maths Grade C/4.   

Tuition fees 2018/19: £9,250 (£1,250 during placement year) for UK/EU students. £14,300 (£2,500 during placement year) for overseas students. More on fees.   

  • Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with predicted grades that fall below these entry requirements if the application is of a high standard (however, initial offers will not be lower than stated below).
  • In addition to your predicted grades, when making offers we also consider your previous academic performance (eg GCSEs), your school/college reference and the commitment and motivation you demonstrate for your chosen course via the personal statement.
  • Application for second year entry will be considered by the programme director if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, successful applicants for second year entry will:

    • Have A level (or equivalent) qualifications similar to those required for first year entry
    • Have gained (or be expected to gain) 120 credits on an equivalent programme at another recognised university
    • Obtained (or be expected to obtain) an overall average of 60% or above on an equivalent programme at another recognised university
    • Have not previously attempted the second year of a programme elsewhere
    • Individual programmes may have additional requirements in addition to those stated above. These will be clarified upon application.
  • Applicants receiving offers are invited to an Applicant Visit Day

View our Admissions Policy. 

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

International Relations and Social Policy examines the major political and social issues faced by governments across the world. You will develop a knowledge and understanding of the nature between states and also of the roles played by international institutions, other intergovernmental organisations, multinational corporations and NGOs. You will also investigate the economic, social and political forces which influence policy and give rise to conflicts between the achievement of economic, environmental and social objectives. 

Important strengths of the programme include its focus on key contemporary issues in international relations and policy, such as global economic change and the environment as well as international comparisons of government policies. The professional placement year is an optional feature of the programme and is designed to give our students a distinct advantage on the graduate labour market. 

The programme is strongly geared towards increasing your employability since it is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills relevant to careers involving partnerships in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

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)

Social Issues
From Social Problems to Public Policies
Becoming a Social Scientist


Year 2

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

Welfare States and Welfare
Change
Research Methods

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

Environmental Policy
Government and Management
Global Society
Advanced Research Methods
CSI: Crime Subversion and Injustice
Health Matters


Year 3

Integrated placement year


Final Year

Core modules:
Dissertation
Research and Dissertation Skills

International Migration and Policy
Health Policy
Ageing, Society and Policy
The Challenges of Climate Change
The Citizen and the State
Corporate Power in a Globalised World

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

Work, Organisations and Society
Racism, class and gender
Contemporary Social Movements
Learning to Labour? Education and Society
Religion and Society
Sport, Culture and Society
Pregnancy and Politics: Cultural Norms and Family Policy
Popular Music and Society
Food and Society in a Global Context

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 fro 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.

For further information, see the International Relations Joint Honours programme specification and the Social Policy Joint Honours programme specification.

The placement year is optional for students studying International Relations and Social Policy. 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.

Recent Sociology Careers 

word cloud for sociology destinations

Recent Destinations 

  • Hays
  • Bosch
  • British Gas 
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
  • Interserve 
  • Airbus 
  • J&J Insurance
  • Solihull Care Housing Association
  • Cap Gemini 
  • Imperial College London
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Recent Job Titles

  • Business Analyst
  • Corporate Engagement Executive
  • Insurance Broker
  • Mental Health Support Worker
  • National Project Coordinator
  • Person Centered Support Worker
  • Procurement Manager
  • Professor of Medical Sociology
  • Supporter Engagement Executive
To see recent International Relations and Politics careers and destinations please visit our careers gallery.

"Interested? I'd love to hear from you."

Balazs Szent_Ivanyi

What's next?

Accommodation
Student finance
Birmingham
Open days