BSc Politics with International Relations

Why choose this course?

  • Politics at Aston is currently ranked Top 20 in the UK for Employability in the latest Guardian University Guide and Sunday Times University Guide.
  • Politics at Aston achieved 95% Overall Satisfaction in the 2014 National Student Survey.
  • Regular conferences coordinated by the Aston Centre for Europe and open to all students involving MPs, MEPs, representatives of think tanks and civil servants looking at contemporary political issues
  • Politics & International Relations at Aston has been rated between 101-150 institutions globally for 2012-13, in the QS World University Rankings
  • 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.

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 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.

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.

Click on the module titles to find out more.

Year 1
Core modules:
Information Skills     LP1012 
Europe and the Making of the Modern World     LP1016  
Introduction to Politics
British Politics since 1945     LP1020
Introduction to International Relations    LP1021
Introduction to the European Union     LP1065

University Wide Language Programme

Year 2
Core modules:
Research Methods in Political and Social Science     LP2006 
Institutions and Policies of the European Union     LP2020
History of Political Thought     LP2001
Comparative Government and Politics     LP2007
International Relations: Theories and Issues    LP2014

Choose 40 credits from the following optional modules:
Security Studies in a Changing World     LP2021
Introduction to Political Economy     LP 2022
University Wide Language Programme

Year 3

Optional Placement

Final Year
Extended Politics/International Relations Dissertation     LP3006

Choice totalling 80 credits from the following:
The International Relations of East Asia     LP3015 
Religion and Politics of Contemporary Europe LP3016
Political Communication     LP3018 
The American Presidency     LP3019 
Nationalism & Political Power     LP3020 
Political Parties and Party Systems     LP3024 
Conflict and Politics in Contemporary Balkans     LP3025 
Contemporary Conflict     LP3028 
Diplomacy and Soft Power    LP3029
The Far Right in Europe     LP3030 
The Challenges of Climate Change    LY3031
Understanding Foreign Policy    LP3033
Northeast Asia: From Conflict to Cooperation    LP3034
Gender and Politics    LP3035
Interest groups and lobbying    LP3036
Regions and Regionalism in Europe     LP3412 
Contemporary Political Theory     LP3416 
Political Leaders: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives     LP3415

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 Politics with International Relations programme specification.

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 cultures and societies, their communication skills and motivation for team work.   Recent destinations for our Languages and Social Sciences graduates include:    
  • Ministerial Support Officer, Department of Work and Pensions
  • Campaign Assistant, Conservative Party
  • Events Coordinator, Financial Business News
  • Graduate Trainee, Tesco
  • Research Executive, Info Group / Orc International
  • Trainee in Business Relationship Management
  • PR Graduate Trainee, Lidl
  • Sales and Marketing Manager, Rapid English
  • Project Coordinator, International Bridges to Justice
  • Junior Publicist, Warner Bros Pictures
  • Recruitment Adviser, West Midlands Police
  • Worcestershire County Council, Project Support Manager
  • Graduate Trainee, BAE Systems
  • Project Assistant, Birmingham City Council
  • Marketing & Sales Manager, Copper Alloys Ltd
  • Orphan Support Officer, Islamic Relief
  • Assistant Brand Manager, Diageo
  • Trainee Probation Officer, National
  • Probation Service
  • Political Group Assistant, Warwickshire County Council
  • Postgraduate Degrees at a range of institutions (e.g. Aston, University of Birmingham, Warwick University, University of Durham, King’s College London, SOAS and LSE).


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

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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