Studying international relations will give you the chance to gain a diverse perspective of the relationships between countries. You will also develop your knowledge around the complexities that come from those relations, particularly for countries that have contrasting cultures. Your course will focus on not only international relations theory, but also your ability to apply this knowledge in real-world situations, encouraging your professional development.
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About International Relations
The accreditation of your international relations course will depend on your institution, as well as the content of your course. At undergraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (BA), or a Bachelor of Science (BSc). At postgraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Master of Science (MSc) or a Master of Arts (MA). Some institutions may offer the chance to study a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Further study will award degrees such as Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three to four years to complete, depending on where you choose to study. A postgraduate degree will normally take one to two years to complete.
Your institution may offer part-time study options, which usually means that your degree will take four to six years. You may also be able to take a foundation programme, which is useful if you do not meet the entry requirements for your degree.
Annual tuition fees for UK/EU students are capped by the UK government. For the 2019/20 academic year, they are £9,250. This is subject to change each year, and will be updated on your institution website. Tuition fees for international students are not fixed, meaning that they can vary from institution to institution.
Postgraduate course annual tuition fees are set by the institution, which means that they can differ. Postgraduate programmes are generally less expensive than undergraduate programmes. You will find detailed fee information on the institution webpage.
The fees displayed below are an example of typical annual tuition fees for an undergraduate international relations degree. Actual tuition fees can be found on the institution webpages.
Typical Annual Tuition Fees
- Undergraduate - £9,250
- Postgraduate - £8,500
At undergraduate level, you will gain a foundation of knowledge in the area, focusing on the main theories and concepts. You could study modules on world politics, international systems, international security, world history, global development, justice and conflict, the politics of aid, and human rights. Most undergraduate courses will be designed to suit students with little experience of international relations, as well as challenging those with a higher level of knowledge. Your degree will be delivered through lectures and tutorials, incorporating practical sessions and field trips. Depending on your course, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. Assessment methods can include written work, political and business tasks, and presentations. In your final year, you may be required to write a dissertation or submit a major research project.
A postgraduate degree, such as an MSc or an MA, will take the knowledge you gained at undergraduate level, and build on it. The modules you study will cover the more complex and specialist concepts of international relations, looking at both core and contemporary topics. Modules might include international political economy, global health, population and society, politics of the media, democracy and dictatorships, and power and ethics. Assessment methods might include written work, group projects, presentations, and a major research project.
The entry requirements for an international relations degree will depend on where you choose to study. They will also be influenced by the level of study for which you are applying. An undergraduate degree will require you to have a background in a quantitative subject, such as politics, psychology, history, or law. If you do not have a strong background in any of these, but can prove that you are passionate about the subject area, some universities might still consider your application. You can display this passion and enthusiasm through your personal statement or interview. For a postgraduate degree, most institutions will require you to have an undergraduate degree in international relations, or a closely related subject.
Typical Entry Requirements
- A Level Grades - AAB-BBC
- UCAS Points - 136-112 UCAS points
- Required/Desired Subjects - Politics, History, Law, Psychology, English, Economics
- Degree Requirements - 2:1 or higher
- Required/Desired Subjects - International Relations, Politics, Law, History, Psychology
Graduates of international relations will find that there are many career opportunities available to them. When studying international relations, you will develop your quantitative and qualitative skills, making you a versatile employee. If you choose to work in a role directly related to international relations, you might choose to work for the media, armed forces, parliament sectors or banking. You could also work in many different international organisations and businesses, particularly those who work throughout the world. If you choose to work in a role not directly related to international relations, your knowledge and skills will be useful in a variety of industries.
Throughout your degree, you will gain a wide range of transferable skills. These skills will include analytical thinking, problem solving, effective oral and written communication, data collection, and idea development.