International Relations and English Language BSc

Study the inter-disciplinary BSc in International Relations and English Language degree course at Aston University to explore the English language alongside key contemporary issues in international relations.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

 

Course type

Full-time

Course format

Placement year (UK/abroad)

Duration

4 year with integrated placement year /3 year course without integrated placement.

UCAS code(s)

LQ23

Start date

Overview
Explore International Relations and English Language BSc at Aston University
Rebecca Aylott
"The highlight of my degree was my placement year at the European Parliament in Brussels. Being in the political heart of Europe and experiencing new things every single day in a thriving capital city was amazing."

Rebecca Aylott

BSc International Relations and French

Jessica Metcalfe

"I spent my placement year in Paris, where I worked as a General Manager and Language Assistant at HSBC for part of the year and a Digital Marketer at Digimind for the rest of my time. The highlight of my placement experience was being able to improve and really get a hold on the French language which at the start was not easy! I also enjoyed having the flexibility to travel around Europe and beyond to see friends and of course finding all the hidden treasures in Paris."

Jessica Metcalfe

BSc International Relations and English Language

Jessica Metcalfe

"I spent my placement year in Paris, where I worked as a General Manager and Language Assistant at HSBC for part of the year and a Digital Marketer at Digimind for the rest of my time. The highlight of my placement experience was being able to improve and really get a hold on the French language which at the start was not easy! I also enjoyed having the flexibility to travel around Europe and beyond to see friends and of course finding all the hidden treasures in Paris."

Jessica Metcalfe

BSc International Relations and English Language

Course outline and modules

What you’ll learn

As well as gaining a theoretical knowledge and understanding of the English language, you’ll also examine social processes, organisational dynamics and inter-group relationships. You’ll learn from teaching staff who are internationally recognised researchers in fields such as ethnic and gender equalities, global change, theories of social change, forensic linguistics, language and gender and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) studies.

International relations examine the major political and social issues faced by governments across the world. You will develop a knowledge and understanding of the nature of the relations between states and also of the roles played by international institutions, other intergovernmental organisations, multinational corporations and NGOs.

What are the major political issues that governments across the world face? What is the nature of relations between states? Can international institutions and intergovernmental organisations provide solutions to global issues that affect our lives, ranging from peace and conflict to environmental change? Our International Relations modules will give you answers to these questions and more. You will have the unique opportunity to explore political topics going beyond the UK and Europe, covering North America, South Asia, China, Japan and other emerging global powers.

You will not only study the traditional subjects of the discipline, such as security, political economy or democratisation, but also have the chance to delve into politics and ethics, sports, gender, protests or religion.

The placement year is optional for students studying international relations and English language and is designed to give you real-life experience and to act as a springboard for your future career. Our graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers where a sound understanding of societies, organisations, institutions and communication skills are required.

If you choose to take a placement year, this will take place during your third year at Aston and is worth 10 per cent 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.

International students

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 and our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

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 and 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.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020 at universities with a track record of compliance with immigration policy. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

Modules

Year 1

Core modules:

  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Introduction to Discourse Analysis
  • Language and Society
  • Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
  • Introduction to the European Union

 

Optional modules:

  • The Making of the Modern World
  • What’s Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)
Year 2

Core modules:

  • Working With Language Data
  • Written Text Analysis
  • International Relations: Theories
  • Critical Approaches to Security Studies

 

Optional modules:

  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
  • Psychology of Language & Communication
  • Language at Work
  • The Language of the Law
  • Language in the News Media
  • Language Policy and Language Planning
  • Phonetics
  • Literature, Culture and Society
  • Creative Writing
  • Stylistics
  • Work-based Project
  • Advanced Topics in Sociolinguistics
  • West European Politics and Society
  • Russian and East 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

Integrated placement year - find out more about the Aston placement year.

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • Dissertation (English or International Relations)

 

Optional modules:

  • Spoken Discourse Analysis
  • Learning English
  • Multimodal Analysis
  • Computer Mediated Communication
  • Language as Evidence
  • Communicating Across Cultures
  • Leadership and Management Communication
  • Advanced Leadership and Management Communication
  • Forensic Phonetics
  • Language Contact and Globalisation
  • Theories of Language and Identity
  • Cognitive Poetics
  • Language and Literature in Education
  • A Great Misunderstanding: Britain and the EU
  • African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day
  • America in the World
  • The American Presidency
  • BRICS and Emerging Power Shifts in World Politics
  • Chinese Politics and Society
  • Conflict and Intervention
  • Democracy, Authoritarianism and Regime Change
  • Diplomacy and Soft Power
  • Ethics and International Relations
  • EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games
  • Gender and Politics
  • Interest Groups and Lobbying
  • International Institutions
  • Nationalism and Political Power
  • Political Communication
  • Leaders and Leadership: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives
  • 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
  • The International Relations of East Asia
  • The Populist Radical Right in Europe
  • Understanding Foreign Policy
  • Debates in Contemporary British Politics
  • Changing Patterns of Warfare
  • Intelligence Agencies and the Modern World – MI6, CIA and ISI
  • Political Parties

Entry requirements

Typical offers:

A Levels

BBC-CCC from 3 A Levels. General Studies accepted.

BBC in 3 A Level subjects

BCC with B in Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or Core Maths

CCC in 3 A Level subjects for our contextual offer scheme*

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.

*For details on our Aston Ready contextual offer scheme, please see here. 

BTEC

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM  

BTEC Diploma (QCF/National) with A Levels - Distinction, Merit (DM) and Grade B at A Level

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma (QCF) or Extended Certificate (national) with A Levels – Distinction (D) and grades BC at A Level.

IB

29 points overall with grades 5, 5, 4 in 3 higher level subjects

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

Access to HE & other

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.

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. For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.

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.

GCSE

GCSE English Language and Maths Grade C/4.  

 

View our Admissions Policy. 

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 Year may be offered as an alternative to the degree course if lower entry grades are achieved.

*For details on our Aston Ready contextual offer scheme, please see here.

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 per cent 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.

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 students

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.

 

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching

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 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. English at Aston is ranked 1st in the UK for staff/student ratio (Guardian, 2020).

Study skills

The scheduled contact hours are only part of your learning and development journey. 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 to help you with your final year dissertation 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.

Assessment

Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, individual and group projects, presentations and an extended dissertation during your final year. Exams take place in January and May/June.

Course Directors

Dr Yaprak Gursoy (International Relations)

Dr Chloe Harrison (English)

Placement Year

The integrated placement year gives you the genuine, practical work experience that is invaluable in developing an appreciation of issues such as office politics, which cannot be replicated in the lecture room.

We have a dedicated Employer Team within our Careers and Placements department who have links with local, national and international organisations and advertise vacancies to students through an online platform exclusively for Aston students and graduates.  

Find out more about the Aston placement year, and view the careers and placements page.

Fees and scholarships

UK students (2021/22)

Annual tuition fees: £9,250

During placement year: £1,250

International/EU students (2021/22)

Annual tuition fees: £15,950

During placement year: £2,500

Tuition fees 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. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

Scholarships

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.

Career prospects

International Relations and English Language graduates go on to a range of professions with recent roles including Business Analyst, Digital Marketer, Corporate Engagement Executive, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Languages teacher, Project Manager, Recruitment Administrator, Insurance Broker, Mental Health Support Worker, National Project Coordinator, Support Worker and Procurement Manager.

Potential employers include Morgan Stanley, the Department for International Development, HSBC, Bosch, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations Economic Commission, IBM, Capgemini, Virgin Active, Hayes, Bosch, British Gas, Airbus and The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

We’ll make sure you’re career-ready. Employed English graduates earn £3,400 (20 per cent) more than expected one year after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2019).

Frequently asked questions

Why study International Relations and English Language at Aston?

Our versatile joint honours programme means you can pursue your interest in international relations alongside your passion for the English language, providing you with a great springboard for a wide range of careers. What’s more, our teaching is informed by world-leading research that saw Politics and International Relations ranked 12th in the UK for Research Quality (Complete University Guide, 2020).

Why does Aston offer a placement year for International Relations and English Language?

Aston is 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.

What can I do during a placement year at Aston?

A distinctive feature of the placement year experience at Aston 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.

 

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. 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.

 

Chat with current students

 
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