Business modules delivered by Aston Business School - one of just 1 per cent of business schools in the world to hold AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA accreditation
Aston University was ranked 6th overall in the UK for International Relations (Guardian, 2023).
We prepare students for a diverse range of careers in business and other industries
Aston University is ranked 27th in the UK for career prospects out of 121 institutions (Guardian, 2023).
Course outline and modules
The joint honours in Business and International Relations gives you a comprehensive understanding of business and management alongside an in-depth knowledge of contemporary politics in a global context.
What you’ll learn
As a business student at Aston, you’ll study the theories, principles and underlying concepts of management and develop a strong understanding of business models and processes. You’ll examine how strategic decision-making within organisations takes place, and develop the ability to recognise and analyse the economic, technical, financial, social and organisational parameters within which modern managers make decisions, providing you with a solid starting point for your future career.
On the international relations strand of the course, you’ll get an introduction to the international state system and to the structure and purpose of international organisations, such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) and NATO. 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.
Important strengths of the course include its focus on key contemporary issues in international relations and policy, such as security and the globalisation of the international political economy. It is strongly geared towards increasing your employability, therefore designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills relevant to careers involving international partnerships in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
An integrated placement year offers the chance to apply your learning in a work or study placement in the UK or overseas. Whether you choose to study abroad, work for a company or to teach, Aston’s links with employers, schools and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability and explore the world of work.
You will also have the opportunity to produce a substantial piece of individual work in the form of a dissertation on an agreed topic of your choice.
- Information for international applicants
Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different countries chose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.
Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.
For more information on applying as an international student, visit our webpage: www.aston.ac.uk/international/students-applying
Post-study work visa
Graduate Immigration Route
Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Choosing to start your Aston journey with our foundation programme in social science will help you develop specialist knowledge to ensure that you are fully prepared to study your chosen undergraduate course. During your foundation year, you’ll have excellent support from academics while group projects will give you the chance to meet new people, make new friends and build a network of peers who will share your university journey. We also have a Learning Development Centre that can provide additional support and offer pre-sessional English language programmes.
For International Students intending to do a foundation year, visit ONCAMPUS
- Year 1
- Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
- Introduction to the European Union
- Introductory Accounting for Business
- Economics Environment of Business
- Law for Business
- Introduction to Marketing Management
- The Making of the Modern World
- What's Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)
- Year 2
- International Relations: Theories
- Critical Approaches to Security Studies
- Fundamental Strategy
- Strategic Finance
- Operations Management
- Virtual Business Simulation
- Politics and Society of the Middle East
- West European Politics and Society
- North American Politics and Society
- East Asian Politics and Society: China and Japan
- South Asian Politics and Society
- International Relations in Political Thought
- Security Studies: Theories and Issues
- The Politics and Policies of the European Union
- International Political Economy
- Year 3
The Aston placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and is compulsory for all home students. International/EU students can request permission to opt out of the placement year, but we strongly recommend that it is completed where possible.
- Final Year
- Research Skills and International Relations Dissertation
- Theories and Practice of Leadership
- Business Ethics
- African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day
- America in the World
- The American Presidency
- Chinese Politics and Society
- Conflict and Intervention
- Diplomacy and Soft Power
- EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games
- Gender and Politics
- Interest Groups and Lobbying
- Politics and Islam: Past and Present
- Politics and Protest in a Globalised World
- Politics of Development
- Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe
- Sport and Politics
- Technology and Digital Politics
- The International Relations of East Asia
- The Populist Radical Right in Europe
- Debates in Contemporary British Politics
- Political Parties
- International Marketing
- Sustainable Operations Management
- Strategic Human Resource Management
- Innovation and New Product and Service Development
- Global Working
Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.
- A Levels
BBC (standard offer)
BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)
BCC (contextual offer*)
29 points overall with grades 5, 5, 4 in 3 higher level subjects.
Standard level Maths and English grade 4 required in lieu of GCSE English and Maths grade C/4.
- BTEC, Access & other
BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM (standard offer)
The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate/BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry onto degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that are equivalent to three full A2 Levels.
We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 45 credits at Level 3. You must obtain a minimum of 30 distinction and the rest must be at merit or distinction. Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement.
- T Levels
The following T levels are accepted qualifications for this course:
- T-Level - Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction Grade D
- T-Level - Digital Production, Design and Production Grade D
- T-Level – Education and Childcare Grade D
- T-Level – Onsite Construction Grade D
- T-Level – Building Services Engineering for Construction Grade D
- T-Level – Digital Business Services Grade D
- T-Level – Digital Support Services Grade D
- T-Level – Health Grade D
- T-Level – Healthcare Science Grade D
- T-Level – Science Grade D
5 GCSE grades A*/9 – C/4 to include:
- GCSE Maths – grade C/4
- GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4
- Learn more about admission to this course
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 above).
Entry onto our Foundation Programme may be offered as an alternative to the degree course if lower entry grades are achieved. Aston University welcomes applications from students with a wide range of qualifications from the UK and overseas, including combinations of qualifications. If your qualifications are not listed here and you wish to check whether they meet the entry requirements for this course, please contact the university.
Please note that General Studies does not contribute towards the UCAS points requirement but is welcomed as an additional qualification.
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.
For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.
Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston. Find out more.
*For details on our Aston Ready contextual offer scheme, please see here.
Learning, teaching and assessment
Learning and teaching
This course is taught jointly by staff from the School of Languages and Social Sciences and Aston Business School - one of just 1 per cent of business schools in the world to hold AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA accreditation.
You will be involved in lectures, tutorials, seminars, e-seminars, small-group work, project work and independent study. Traditional teaching is supported by a virtual learning environment that is used to host a range of electronic supporting materials. The course deals with many topical issues, and as a result, we try to incorporate current media coverage and public debates into class discussions and to link these to academic research and commentary wherever possible.
Many of your modules will be in a 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 the final year.
During your final year, you will get the opportunity to select the EuroSim optional module. EuroSim is an annual international intercollegiate simulation of the European Union (EU). The purpose of this module is to educate you about the inner workings of the European Union, which will provide you with a great experience of how to use politics in a real-world setting. Find out more about the module here.
There is a much stronger emphasis on reading and on your own private, independent study than at pre-degree level. The University offers training courses in study skills, and the Library’s Learning Development Centre provides one-to-one instruction, workshops and study guides for academic research and writing. 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. To help you manage your learning, we set out your work for the year in online student guides and module handouts, which include full details of all modules including week-by-week lecture breakdowns, reading lists and all coursework assignments for the year.
We use a range of assessment methods and most modules are assessed with a combination of coursework and an end of year examination. Coursework includes essays, research reports, individual and group projects, statistics assignments, class tests and both individual and group presentations.
Our degrees are designed to also give you a range of transferable and practical skills to succeed within your chosen career. We make extensive use of group working and presentations to prepare you for the reality of working life. This experience will develop your team working and negotiating skills.
The integrated placement year gives you genuine practical work experience to add to your CV, which will further boost your employability.
Dr Bahar Ali Kazmi (Business)
Dr Caroline Gray (International Relations)
Fees and scholarships
UK students (2024/25)
Annual tuition fees: £9,250
During placement year: £1,250
International/EU students (2024/25)
Annual tuition fees: TBC
During placement year: £2,500
The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as home students. Further information can be found here.
Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.
At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.
Business and International Relations graduates go on to a range of professions with recent roles including Broadcast Journalist, Editorial Assistant, Civil Service Administrator, Human Resources Officer, Marketing Trainee, Policy Officer, Research Assistant, Solicitor, Languages Teacher, Account Manager, Analyst, Business Analyst, Corporate Engagement Executive, Public Policy and Strategic Relationships Intern.
Potential employers include Morgan Stanley, the Department for International Development, HSBC, Bosch, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Economic Commission.
Aston University was recognised as the 'Best University Placement Service'.
The Careers and Placement team at Aston University won the 'Best University Placements Service' category at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2022. This was achieved by launching Virtual Employability Festivals and recognising the power of peer-to-peer communication by pairing 500 students looking for placements with 500 students who had completed placements.
Frequently asked questions
- Why should I study Business and International Relations at Aston University?
The BSc (Hons) Business and International Relations joint honours degree course at Aston allows you to combine study in two fascinating subjects, with an integrated placement year to enhance your employability. The business modules are delivered by Aston Business School - one of just 1 per cent of business schools in the world to hold AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA accreditation.
- Why should I do a placement year with Aston University?
Aston is one of the leading universities for professional placements abroad. A placement year at home or abroad gives you the opportunity to apply what you have learnt on your course while gaining valuable professional and paid experience. It can enhance your graduate employment prospects and help you to make more informed career decisions. Around one in five of our placement students are offered graduate jobs by their placement employer.
- Why should international students choose Aston University?
Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.
Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career.
Choosing to start your Aston journey with our foundation programme in social science will help you develop specialist knowledge to ensure that you are fully prepared to study your chosen undergraduate course.