International Relations and Modern Languages BSc

Study contemporary issues in international relations and policy and hone your skills in French, German, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish with the BSc International Relations and Modern Languages degree course at Aston University to get a real head start in your career.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

 

Course type

Full-time

Course format

Integrated placement year

Duration

4 year with integrated placement year / 3 year course without integrated placement year option only available for non-UK/EU students

UCAS code(s)

LR2C (French)

LR2G (German)

LR2K (Spanish)

LT01 (Chinese)

Start date

This course is currently available through Clearing.

Call 0800 917 5923 or apply online.

Entry requirements:

LR2C (International Relations and French)

A Level: CCC | BTEC UnRef: DDM | BTEC Ref: DMM
GCSEs at Grade C/4 in English and Maths

LR2G (International Relations and German)

A Level: CCC | BTEC UnRef: DDM | BTEC Ref: DMM
GCSEs at Grade C/4 in English and Maths

LR2K (International Relations and Spanish)

A Level: CCC | BTEC UnRef: DDM | BTEC Ref: DMM
GCSEs at Grade C/4 in English and Maths


LT01 (International Relations and Mandarin Chinese)

A Level: CCC | BTEC UnRef: DDM | BTEC Ref: DMM
GCSEs at C/4 in English and Maths
 

 

Overview
Explore International Relations and Modern Languages BSc at Aston University

Here's for the ones who do things differently and carve out their own path

Rebecca Aylott International Relations and French

“Doing a placement has provided me with extremely valuable work experience, and helped me to develop my French language skills. When interviewers see it written on my CV, they are always impressed that I jumped in at the deep end and ventured abroad on my placement year.”

Rebecca Aylott

BSc International Relations and French

Rebecca Aylott International Relations and French

“Doing a placement has provided me with extremely valuable work experience, and helped me to develop my French language skills. When interviewers see it written on my CV, they are always impressed that I jumped in at the deep end and ventured abroad on my placement year.”

Rebecca Aylott

BSc International Relations and French

Course outline and modules

What you’ll learn

Whether you are coming to us with an A Level language or picking up a new language from beginner’s level, Aston’s international relations and modern languages degree course offers something quite different. The course takes an applied approach to the teaching of international relations and modern languages through the integrated placement year and professionally relevant modules, focusing on topics of contemporary social and political interest.

You’ll gain a sound knowledge of domestic and international politics and understanding of the nature of global, European and domestic political institutions, which, when combined with the year abroad component of this degree programme, will set you on a strong career path.

Our modern languages courses have a practical focus, with an emphasis on language as a means of communication and mutual understanding. At Aston, you will acquire near-native linguistic skills and the deep understanding of social, cultural and political realities that marks Aston’s students out.

You will spend a year abroad on a professional or study placement and return equipped with the experience, resilience and emotional intelligence to succeed in the world of work.

International students

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. 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

BSc International Relations and French (Beginner/A Level) UCAS code: LR2C
Year 1

Core modules:

  • Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
  • Introduction to the European Union
  • French Language Skills I*

 

Optional modules:

  • The Making of the Modern World
  • What's Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)
  • Introduction to the French-Speaking Countries*
  • International Business Environment (France)*

 

* Beginners (ab initio) students do not take these modules as they have more language skills classes.

Year 2

Core modules:

  • International Relations: Theories
  • Critical Approaches to Security Studies
  • French Language Skills II*

 

Optional modules:

  • 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
  • Politics and Society (French-speaking countries)*
  • Culture and Conflict (French-speaking countries)*
  • International Business Environment (France)*
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

 

* Beginners (ab initio) students do not take these modules as they have more language skills classes.

Year 3

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

Students must undertake a 1 year work and/or study placement in a French-speaking country.

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • French Language Skills III

 

Optional modules:

  • Research Skills and International Relations Dissertation
  • A Great Misunderstanding: Britain and the EU
  • African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day
  • American 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
  • La France d'Outre Mer
  • Vichy France: Occupation, Collaboration, Liberation
  • Contemporary French
  • Technology in France: Inventing Progress and Disaster
  • French Research Dissertation
  • Representations of Minorities
BSc International Relations and German (Beginner/A Level) UCAS code: LR2G
Year 1

Core modules:

  • Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
  • Introduction to the European Union
  • German Language Skills I*
  • Introduction to the German-Speaking Countries*
  • International Business Environment (Germany)*

 

Optional modules:

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

 

* Beginners (ab initio) students do not take these modules as they have more language skills classes.

Year 2

Core modules:

  • International Relations: Theories
  • Critical Approaches to Security Studies
  • German Language Skills II*
  • Politics and Society (German-speaking countries)*
  • International Business Environment (Germany)*

 

Optional modules:

  • 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

 

* Beginners (ab initio) students do not take these modules as they have more language skills classes.

Year 3

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

Students must undertake a 1 year work and/or study placement in a German-speaking country.

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • German Language Skills III

 

Optional modules:

  • Research Skills and International Relations Dissertation
  • A Great Misunderstanding: Britain and the EU
  • African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day
  • American 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
  • Cultural Identities in the German-Speaking Countries
  • Global Germany
  • International Business Environment (Germany)
  • Research Dissertation (German)
BSc International Relations and Spanish (Beginner/A Level) UCAS code: LR2K
Year 1

Core modules:

  • Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
  • Introduction to the European Union
  • Spanish Language Skills I*

 

Optional modules:

  • The Making of the Modern World
  • What's Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)
  • Introduction to Spain and Latin America*
  • International Business Environment (Spain)*

 

* Beginners (ab initio) students do not take these modules as they have more language skills classes.

Year 2

Core modules:

  • International Relations: Theories
  • Critical Approaches to Security Studies
  • Spanish Language Skills II*

 

Optional modules:

  • 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
  • Politics and Society (Spain and Latin America)*
  • Culture and Conflict (Spain and Latin America)*
  • International Business Environment (Latin America)*
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

 

* Beginners (ab initio) students do not take these modules as they have more language skills classes.

Year 3

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

Students must undertake a 1 year work and/or study placement in a Spanish-speaking country.

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • Spanish Language Skills III

 

Optional modules:

  • Research Skills and International Relations Dissertation
  • A Great Misunderstanding: Britain and the EU
  • African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day
  • American 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
  • Cultural Studies in the Spanish-Speaking Countries
  • National and Transnational Identities in Spanish-Speaking Countries
  • International Business Environment (Spain)
  • Research Dissertation (Spanish)
BSc International Relations and Mandarin Chinese (Beginner) UCAS code: LT01
Year 1

Core modules:

  • Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
  • Introduction to the European Union
  • Mandarin Chinese Language Skills (Ab Initio) I
  • Introduction to China
  • Mandarin Chinese Characters I

 

Optional modules:

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

Core modules:

  • International Relations: Theories
  • Critical Approaches to Security Studies
  • Mandarin Chinese Languages Skills (Ab Initio) II
  • International Business and Markets (Mandarin)
  • Mandarin Chinese Characters II

 

Optional modules:

  • 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:

  • Research Skills and International Relations Dissertation
  • Mandarin Chinese Language Skills (Ab Initio) III
  • Perspectives in International Business (Mandarin)
  • Mandarin Chinese Characters III

 

Optional modules:

  • A Great Misunderstanding: Britain and the EU
  • African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day
  • American 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

4 year with integrated placement year / 3 year course without integrated placement year option only available for non-UK/EU students

Typical offers:

A Levels

BBC-CCC from 3 A Levels, including at least one of French, German or Spanish (unless taking Beginners/Ab Initio route). 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*

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

Applicants for beginners French, Spanish or German are not required to have any previous experience of language learning but we would anticipate that applicants receiving an offer would demonstrate a clear commitment to studying languages via the AS Personal Statement.

Applicants with GCSE Spanish are welcome to apply for the ab initio programmes. Applicants with AS would normally be interviewed and may receive an offer for the ab initio programme or for the post A Level programme depending on the level of language demonstrated at interview.

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, any offer made will not be lower than stated above.  

Entry onto our Foundation Year maybe offered as an alternative to the degree course if lower entry grades are achieved.

In addition to your predicted grades, when making offers we also consider your previous academic performance (e.g. GCSEs), your school/college reference and the commitment and motivation you demonstrate for your chosen course via the personal statement.

If you already have your grades and would like to check your suitability for one of our courses please contact us via e-mail.  

Applicants and their teachers/advisers are welcome to contact us with individual queries about entry qualifications via ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk

BTEC

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM (+ German/Spanish/French at A level).

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

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma (QCF) or Extended Certificate (national) with A Levels – Distinction (D) and grades BC at A Level grade B in German/Spanish/French or equivalent. Mix of Diploma/ Subsidiary Diploma/A Levels acceptable

IB

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

Standard level Maths and English 5 required and 6 in Higher Level French, German or Spanish.

German/Spainish/French can also be taken as a beginners course. 

Access to HE & other

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.

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

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 maybe 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 (e.g. 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

As an international relations and modern languages student at Aston, you’ll be taught by research experts with international reputations in their fields, all in a lively, friendly, experienced and enthusiastic department. You’ll experience our innovative approach to teaching, which combines a range of teaching methods including interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials. Language teaching is almost exclusively in your chosen language to work quickly towards the kind of fluency and adaptability that employers value. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study.

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, translation tasks, individual and group projects, presentations and an extended dissertation during your final year. Exams take place in January and May/June. The year abroad is an integral and assessed part of language studies at Aston, fully supported by us, and of direct relevance to your degree.

Personal development

Alongside your language skills, you will have the opportunity to develop a range of skills that transfer to the workplace. These include critical thinking, team working and communication skills, in addition to international and cross-cultural competence, tangible benefits that employers value.

The integrated placement year gives you an immersive language experience that is invaluable in developing experience, knowledge and cultural awareness that cannot be replicated in the lecture hall.

Course Director

Dr Yaprak Gursoy (International Relations)

Dr Claudia Gremler (Languages)

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/EU students (2020/21)

Annual tuition fees: £9,250

During placement year: £1,250

International students (2020/21)

Annual tuition fees: £15,600

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

Our International Relations and Modern Languages graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers, with former Aston students now working at companies such as Bloomberg LP, Deutsche Bank and Apple, as well as for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and in schools, colleges and universities across the UK and overseas.

Recent graduates have gone on to work in roles including Analyst, EFL Teacher, International Sales Coordinator, HR Coordinator, Languages Teacher, Operations Support Analyst, Senior Project Manager and Translator.

Frequently asked questions

Why study International Relations and Modern Languages BSc at Aston?

Our versatile joint honours degree course means you can pursue your interest in international relations alongside your talent for modern languages, which will give you a real head start in your chosen career.

Why study modern languages at Aston?

You’ll acquire near-native linguistic fluency in your chosen language, which means you’re at a real advantage when it comes to applying for jobs. What’s more, the integrated placement year abroad will give you the high-level political, social and cultural insights that make Aston’s students stand out. We’ll make sure you’re happy: modern languages at Aston are ranked 5th for teaching satisfaction.

What jobs can I get with a modern languages degree?

Recent graduates are often our best ambassadors, with former Aston students now working at companies such as Bloomberg LP, Deutsche Bank and Apple, as well as for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and in schools, colleges and universities across the UK and overseas.

Why do a placement year at Aston?

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 - 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 Careers and Placements Team who will give you plenty of individual help and advice, and even come and visit you during your time away.

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.

 

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