International Relations and Modern Language (French/German/Spanish)

Why choose this course?

  • 2nd (84%) for Graduate Level Destinations six months after graduation, Guardian, 2014
  • 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.

4 years full-time with integrated year abroad

UCAS Code:
International Relations and French LR2C
International Relations and German LR2G
International Relations and Spanish LR2K

Typical Offers
A Levels
: ABB- BBB from 3 A-levels, including at least one of French, German or Spanish Grade B.  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: 32-33 points in the IB diploma including TOK/Bonus points. Standard level Maths and English 5 required and 6 in Higher Level French, German or Spanish.
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.  A-level grade B in French, German or Spanish or equivalent.
BTEC: National Extended Diploma DDD.   A-level grade B in French, German, Spanish or equivalent.  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.

This program highlights the benefits of an interdisciplinary course of study.  A combination of courses reflecting the current state of global affairs, with a particular European focus, allows students to maximize their understanding of political institutional arrangements and practices while honing their chosen language skills while focusing on topics of contemporary social and political interest.

Students will begin their course of study acquiring a sound knowledge of domestic and international politics. Upon completion students will have a sound understanding of the nature of global and European and domestic political institutions, which, when combined with the year abroad component of this degree program, will set them on a strong career path further developing the language and critical thinking skills acquired during their four years at Aston University.
Sample module options: The following module descriptions are indications only - the modules on offer and the content of the modules is subject to change

First Year

French/German/Spanish Language Skills (written & spoken); modules in French/German/Spanish Film, culture, media, history, politics
This module offers an introduction into world politics and international relations. We inhabit a world of rapid change and solid knowledge of the underlying structures, dynamics and processes of international relations will be essential for your future professional (and private) life. During Teaching Period 1, we will focus on the pillars of the state system, introduce some key concepts, the theoretical traditions of realism and liberalism and examine the causes of cooperation and conflict. During Teaching Period 2, our emphasis will be on international law and international organisations such as the UN and the EU. We will also look at the structure of the global political economy, analysing the global financial system, international trade and development. We will also investigate topics such as environmental issues, terrorism and religion in international relations.

Assessment: Two-Hour exam at the end of each Teaching Period (50% each)

This module provides an analytical and substantive overview of European history from 1789 to the present, with a focus on the post-1945 period. The module is structured thematically. Students will analyse and interrogate certain critical junctures in European history that have determined the shape of both the European continent and the contemporary world. The primary aim of the course is to provide an empirical background for students in the international history of Europe from the 19th to 21st centuries that will allow students to apply, contextualise and better understand the political science and international relations theories that form the focus of the other core modules.

Assessment: two examinations, 1x 2 hour (January), 1x 3 hour (May). 
This module provides you with a good knowledge of formulating and analyzing research questions and presenting sources in an academically relevant way. Students will be able to learn to research, plan and structure an essay; acquire language specific features of essay writing; identify the research tools in the library; work into a virtual learning environment; and use electronic resources to polish their work.

Assessment: A Take Away Paper at the end of the Teaching Period.

Second Year

French/German/Spanish Language Skills (written & spoken); modules in French/German/Spanish Film, culture, media, history, politics.

This module seeks to provide you with a broad understanding of the design and conduct of research into political and social topics. Students learn about the basic concepts related to the design and conduct of research, such as ontology and epistemology. They also learn about the main schools of political and social enquiry and the tools that are utilised in social science research. There is analysis of the main traps and pitfalls in the way that data is collected, manipulated and presented, so that students avoid these traps and are alert to abuses by others.

Assessment: An assignment or assignments to the equivalent of 1,800 words in TP2.

This module seeks to provide you with a strong understanding of the institutional configuration of the EU and how these institutions have been shaped by the relations between member states of the European Union. The module introduces you to the theories of European integration, and challenges you to assess competing views on the dynamics of the integration process over time. In the second part of the module, we explore a core set of policies areas of the EU, and students are asked to relate the politics and institutional make-up of the EU to developments in those policy fields. 

Assessment: A 2-hour exam at the beginning of Teaching Period 2.

Analysing  dynamics and events in world politics does not happen in a conceptual and theoretical vacuum. Theoretical approaches provide us with the tools to make sense of the complex and colourful reality that is contemporary international relations. In this 20-cr module we will look at the various competing theoretical frameworks of international relations. We will learn how international relations has developed as an academic discipline through the analysis of four theoretical debates that constitute international relations. We will also discuss how political philosophy has influenced the way we view contemporary world politics.

Assessment: Essay in Teaching Period 1 (50%), Exam in Teaching Period 2 (50%)

This module introduces students to key debates in security studies. The course is a mix of theoretical inquiry and empirical application. First, the module introduces students to the development of key theoretical perspectives in security studies., such as the traditional schools of realism and liberalism, through to critical security studies, constructivism and human security amongst others. After this, the module moves on to a range of traditional and non-traditional security challenges, and using the theoretical frameworks introduced, discusses issues including warfare, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, organized crime, human trafficking and the defence trade.  

Assessment: exam (50%) and 2,000 – 3,000 word group report (50%)

Year 3 - Placement Year

Final Year

French/German/Spanish Language Skills (written & spoken); modules in French/German/Spanish Film, culture, media, history, politics.

This course aims to enable students to research in significant depth a topic in International Relations. Students will produce an independently researched piece of work, supervised by a lecturer from International Relations.

Assessment 4,000-6,000 word dissertation (100%)
Extended International Relations Dissertation (LP3006): 10,000 word dissertation (80%) and oral exam (20%)

This module examines theories of leadership, and looks at the evolution of the phenomenon, in Europe and the United States, in Latin America, and beyond. We focus particularly upon the rhetoric and styles of particular leaders, and the ways in which they persuade and generate allegiance. How they ‘perform’ and what are the historical, cultural, and institutional conditions of their performance. We look at a range of leaders, often comparing them – Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, for example, or Churchill and de Gaulle. Some leaders we look at in minute detail: JFK’s press conferences, MLK’s March on Washington speech, X’s The Ballot or the Bullet, etc. We also look at particular issues, such as the changing conditions of leadership style, women in politics, political rhetoric, the role of culture, and the role of the media.

Assessment method: 3, 000-word essay

The module provides a detailed overview of the interplay between religion and politics in Europe. EU enlargement - to countries in Central and Eastern Europe in 2004, the inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, and increasing debates on Turkey's membership - has dramatically transformed the European Union into a multi-religious space. Religious communities are not only shaping identities but are also influential factors in political discourse. This module examines the activities of religious actors in the context of supranational European institutions and the ways in which they have responded to the idea of Europe at local and international levels. It analyses key religious factors in contemporary EU architecture, such as the transformation of religious identities, the role of political and religious leaders, EU legislation on religion, and the activities of religious lobbies.

Assessment method: 5,000-word essay to be completed and submitted by the last week of Teaching Period One.


There can be no doubt that the UK needs more of its people to speak foreign languages – for employability, for trade and the economy, and for our cultural life. (Languages for the Future Report, 2013
John Worne, Director of Strategy, British Council 

  • Aston is 6th for Languages Graduate Level destination sixth months after Graduation - Guardian 2013 

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 Language and Translation Studies graduates include:   

  • English Teacher, Business Language Skills
  • PR Graduate Scheme, LIDL
  • French Customer Service Co-ordinator, CRP
  • Bilingual Sales Coordinator, Narrow Aisle Ltd
  • Language Assistant, British Council
  • Translator/Analytical Support, B&Q
  • Immigration Assistant, Australian Embassy UK
  • Marketing Analyst, Deutsche Bank
  • Graduate Trainee Managers for British Airways, Aldi Stores, John Lewis and Selfridges
  • Journalist, Tatler Magazine
  • Account Manager Interpreting, Smoby (French Toy Company)
  • Senior AdministratorMichelin
  • Public Relations Officers for a number of companies
  • European Union/European Parliament Officers/Assistants
  • PGCE Secondary Teaching Qualification at universities including King’s College London, Warwick University and Exeter
  • Marketing Assistant at Beiersdorf  

You will take part in interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study. We teach our courses in French/German/Spanish, which means that our students are at a real advantage when it comes to gaining maximum benefit and experience from the year abroad. 

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.

For further information, see the International Relations and Modern Language programme specification.

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 Stefan Manz - Head of German

Dr Stefan Manz

“At Aston, research is not an ‘ivory tower’ activity but a way of engaging with the world around us. We aim to make a real impact through our research – and that begins in the classroom. My own teaching is always informed by the latest thinking in my areas of specialism, which include migration studies, German history and society, and European Studies. A recent example is my volume on EU-enlargement. The material is perfect to be used in my seminar on German Politics and Society. Should Turkey join the European Union? Should Greece leave? Why does Croatia join and not Serbia? And what about the UK? After I chart Germany’s position on these questions, students engage in lively and sometimes controversial small-group discussion about the nature of the European Union. This is just one example of how my research feeds into and enlivens my teaching. We aim to equip our students with an in-depth and relevant understanding of the modern world. Our research helps us to achieve this aim.”




Campus accommodation guaranteed for First Year and Final Year students returning from year abroad.

The Third Year of your course is spent abroad in a French/German/Spanish speaking country - increasing your fluency, enhancing your cultural awareness and adding value to your degree. The year abroad is an integral and assessed part of language studies at Aston University, fully supported by us, and of direct relevance to your degree. A distinctive feature of our year abroad is the flexibility that we offer. You will be able to choose between undertaking a paid work-experience placement with a company, working as a teaching assistant in a school or studying at one of our partner universities. 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 International 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 year abroad.

Contact Details

Tel: 0121 204 3777

Student Profile

Student Profile

Rachel Williams, Graduate 2013

BSc International Relations and Spanish

During my placement year I undertook a Community Development Internship with The Phoenix Projects in Ecuador. This was a great way to combine my degree studies of International Relations and Spanish along with my passion for sustainable community development.


Download the course brochure

Download the course brochure

Fees and funding

Fees and funding



Outstanding graduate career prospects

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