International Relations and Languages BA (Hons)

Overview

If you're interested in the history and politics of different countries and the way nations interact with each other, this BA (Hons) International Relations and Languages degree course is the perfect choice.

You'll study a foreign language and learn about the countries and cultures where it's spoken. You'll also examine issues such as global migration, terrorism, climate change, the rise and fall of major powers, state collapse, global development and the factors that trigger global protest movements.

You’ll spend a year overseas in a country speaking your first-choice language, have the chance to learn another language and develop transferable skills in areas such as collaboration, analysis, communication, time management and project management.

With this degree, you'll be a strong candidate for careers in areas such as international diplomacy, business, journalism, research and translation.

What you'll experience:

  • Study one MAIN language from French, German, or Spanish at either beginner or post A level (or equivalent); or Chinese (Mandarin) or Italian from beginners level only.
  • Use our professional-grade conference interpreting suite and language labs, where you can manipulate video, sound, text and Internet sources
  • Do a detailed academic analysis of major recent international events, such as the Ukraine Crisis, the 'Occupy' movement, the rise of ISIS and the effects of the Arab Spring
  • Immerse yourself in the cultures of the country where your chosen language is spoken – in the classroom and on your work or study placement abroad in year 3
  • You may choose to explore a second language from those listed above or Arabic, Japanese and British Sign Language (BSL) as part of the degree in the second year (and ‘for interest’ outside your degree in the first and final year)
  • Keep up to date with the latest topics and issues in international relations by taking part in 'pop-up seminars' with staff and your peers
  • Learn from staff who are members of the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR), the UK's largest research centre of its kind

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary roles that will complement your studies.

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option. This means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you do alongside your study.

What you'll study 

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Year 1

Core modules in this year include:

  • Either Grade 1 and 2 General Language plus Grade 1 and 2 Language in Use (beginners) or General Language Grade 3 plus Language Project (post A level)
  • Key Themes in International Relations
  • A History of Political Thought
  • Performing like a Pro: Skills for Academic and Professional Success

There are no optional modules in this year.

Year 2

Core modules in this year include:

  • Either General Language (Grade 3 and 4) or General Language (Grade 4) and Language for Professional Communication 1
  • Analysing Foreign and Security Policy
  • International Thought

Optional modules this year currently include:

  • International Politics of the Middle East
  • Russian and Eurasian Politics
  • US Foreign Policy: From the Great War to 9/11
  • Intercultural Perspectives on Communication
  • Democratisation in Latin America
  • Comparing Extremist and Populist Movements in the Western World
  • France: Crisis, Renewal and Reinvention (1936 to the Present)
  • People on the Move: Migration and Borders in Europe
  • Bending the Truth a Little? Researching Politics and International Relations
  • Revolution and Repression in Spain
  • Germany in European and Global Context (1871 to the Present)
  • East Asian States and Societies
  • Guns, Glory Hunters and Greed: French and British Colonisation in Africa
  • A second language
  • Learning from Experience

Year abroad

In your third year, you'll spend a year in a country where the main language you're studying is spoken.

On your year abroad, you can study at a university or organise a work placement, depending on your chosen language. In some cases, you may be able to do a combination of study and work.

We'll help you secure a study or work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You'll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Year 4

Core modules in this year include:

  • Research Project
  • General Language Grade 6
  • Translation Theory and Practice

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future
  • Autocracy and Democracy 
  • Strategic Studies
  • Security Challenges in the 21st Century
  • France in the World: Global Actor or Global Maverick?
  • The French Exception: Contemporary French Politics and Society
  • Nazi Germany
  • Transitional Justice & Human Rights
  • The Politics and Culture of the Hispanic World in 20th Century Literature and Film
  • China & East Asian Economies
  • Germany in the American Century
  • The City: How Culture Becomes Urban Form
  • Ethnicity, Class & Culture in the Developing World
  • Africa Revisited: Nation Building and ‘State Fragility’ in Post-Colonial Africa
  • Rethinking Aid and Development
  • Interpreting
  • Learning from Experience (LiFE)
  • Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • independent study
  • work placement
  • group work and debates

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • written exams
  • practical exams
  • coursework: essays, reports, case studies or book reviews
  • projects
  • oral presentations

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 15% by written exams, 26% by practical exams and 59% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 15% by written exams, 3% by practical exams and 82% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 4 students: 7% by written exams, 17% by practical exams and 76% by coursework

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills and cultural experience to work.

What can you do with an International Relations and Languages degree?

Graduates from this degree have gone on to careers in such as:

  • government
  • the security services
  • international organisations like the UN
  • international charities such as Amnesty International or the Red Cross
  • policy research
  • media and international business consultancy
  • political risk analysis
  • public relations
  • voluntary organisations
  • management
  • banking and financial services
  • marketing and sales
  • exporting
  • tourism

What jobs can you do with an International Relations and Languages degree?

Job roles they've taken on include:

  • politician’s assistant
  • public affairs consultant
  • bilingual consultant
  • multilingual project coordinator
  • translator
  • social researcher
  • information officer
  • conference producer
  • local government administrator

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

BA (Hons) Award
September Start
Full-time Study Mode
4 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

96-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

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