International Relations and Sociology BSc 2021

Study the BSc International Relations and Sociology degree course at Aston University to get a fascinating insight into the political and sociological challenges facing our society in the 21st century, giving you a great springboard for your future career.

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)

LL2H

Start date

Overview
Explore International Relations and Sociology BSc at Aston University
Nishtar Hussein

"The staff and facilities at Aston blew me away, but the real winner was the opportunity to do a year abroad in any industry. During my placement year I worked in a secondary school, in Alicante, teaching English. I hadn’t considered a career in teaching before, but after finishing the year I knew it was how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. The lifelong friends at Aston were one of the best things about my time here. Being a small community, it was like one big happy family. I would do university at Aston all over again."

Nishtar Hussein

BSc Sociology

Nishtar Hussein

"The staff and facilities at Aston blew me away, but the real winner was the opportunity to do a year abroad in any industry. During my placement year I worked in a secondary school, in Alicante, teaching English. I hadn’t considered a career in teaching before, but after finishing the year I knew it was how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. The lifelong friends at Aston were one of the best things about my time here. Being a small community, it was like one big happy family. I would do university at Aston all over again."

Nishtar Hussein

BSc Sociology

Course outline and modules

What you’ll learn

On this programme, you’ll explore the major political and social issues faced by governments across the world. You will develop a knowledge and understanding of the international state system, the structure and purpose of international organisations and the roles played by international institutions, other intergovernmental organisations, multinational corporations and NGOs.

You will also learn about ethics and international politics, as well as investigating the economic, social and political forces which influence policy and give rise to conflicts between the achievement of economic, environmental and social objectives.

Important strengths of the programme include its focus on key contemporary issues in international relations and policy, such as global economic change and the environment as well as international comparisons of government policies. During the final year, you will explore more specialised topics through the completion of an individual research dissertation and a range of modules covering topics such as the international relations of East Asia, US foreign policy, and the international relations between post-Soviet Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

On the sociology strand of the course, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of social processes, inequalities, organisational dynamics and inter-group relationships.

You’ll cover pressing social issues such as migration, climate change, welfare, crime, health and sexuality. In class, we explore the inequalities, injustices and dependencies that pattern our social lives. Through reflective learning, you'll explore the social structures, such as class, gender, ethnicity, religion and identity, that have shaped your own life, and you'll have the chance to do your own research into city life in the neighbourhoods of Birmingham.

Through our flagship ‘Becoming a Social Scientist’ module and beyond, you'll be equipped with the skills you need, such as research design, use of the comparative method and written and oral presentation skills, to research what matters to you.

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 the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
  • Introduction to the European Union
  • Introduction to Social Theory
  • Becoming a Social Scientist

 

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
  • Advanced Social Theory
  • Research Methods

 

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
  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Global Society
  • Embodiment and Feminist Theory
  • Media and Society
  • Kith and Kin
  • The Social Life of Stuff
  • Crime, Subversion and Injustice
  • Racisms
  • Contested Cities
  • Welfare States and Welfare Change
  • Organising for Social Justice
Year 3

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

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • Dissertation (Sociology or International Relations)

 

Optional modules:

  • 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
  • Work, Organisations and Society
  • Bodies, Power and Resistance
  • Contemporary Social Movements
  • Pregnancy and Politics
  • Education and Digital Society
  • Religion and Society
  • Corporate Power in a Globalised World
  • Migration, Borders and Belonging
  • Health Policy
  • The Challenges of Climate Change
  • Community Engagement

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.

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 (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

What you’ll learn

On this programme, you’ll explore the major political and social issues faced by governments across the world. You will develop a knowledge and understanding of the international state system, the structure and purpose of international organisations and the roles played by international institutions, other intergovernmental organisations, multinational corporations and NGOs.

You will also learn about ethics and international politics, as well as investigating the economic, social and political forces which influence policy and give rise to conflicts between the achievement of economic, environmental and social objectives.

Important strengths of the programme include its focus on key contemporary issues in international relations and policy, such as global economic change and the environment as well as international comparisons of government policies. During the final year, you will explore more specialised topics through the completion of an individual research dissertation and a range of modules covering topics such as the international relations of East Asia, US foreign policy, and the international relations between post-Soviet Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

On the sociology strand of the course, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of social processes, inequalities, organisational dynamics and inter-group relationships.

You’ll cover pressing social issues such as migration, climate change, welfare, crime, health and sexuality. In class, we explore the inequalities, injustices and dependencies that pattern our social lives. Through reflective learning, you'll explore the social structures, such as class, gender, ethnicity, religion and identity, that have shaped your own life, and you'll have the chance to do your own research into city life in the neighbourhoods of Birmingham.

Through our flagship ‘Becoming a Social Scientist’ module and beyond, you'll be equipped with the skills you need, such as research design, use of the comparative method and written and oral presentation skills, to research what matters to you.

Placement year

The placement year is optional for students studying international relations and sociology and is designed to give you real-life experience and to act as a springboard for your future career.

You can choose whether your placement has an international relations or a sociology focus and it may be in the UK or abroad. Placements taken by Aston students are generally paid, with the average salary being around £16,000. In recent years, Aston students have undertaken placements in a variety of organisations including the Home Office, British Energy, the House of Lords, Marks and Spencer, the British High Commission in Ghana and the Ford Motor Company.

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

Programme Director(s)

Dr Yaprak Gursoy (International Relations)

Dr Tom Mills (Sociology)

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

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 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 Sociology graduates go on to a range of professions with recent roles including Account Manager, Analyst, Business Analyst, Corporate Banking Trainee, Corporate Engagement Executive, Corporate Finance Intern, Graduate Intern, Public Policy and Strategic Relationships Intern, Engagement Executive, Insurance Broker, Mental Health Support Worker, National Project Coordinator, Person Centred Support Worker and Procurement Manager.

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

We’ll make sure you’re career ready. Employed Aston social studies graduates earn £4,000 (23 per cent) more than the UK average, one year after graduation (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2020).

Frequently asked questions

Why study International Relations and Sociology at Aston?

Our versatile joint honours programme will offer you a fascinating insight into the political and sociological challenges facing our global society in the 21st century, giving you a great springboard for your future career.

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

Aston is one of only a few UK universities to offer international relations and sociology with a fully integrated placement year. The distinctive placement year is an optional feature of the programme and is designed to give our students an advantage in the graduate labour market.

What careers does a degree in International Relations and Sociology lead to?

Our graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors where a sound understanding of societies, organisations, institutions and communication skills are required.

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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