International Relations BA (Hons)

Study level: Undergraduate
Empty indoor amphitheatre with benches on green carpet

This exciting course examines contemporary world politics across three main study themes: International Relations, Globalisation and Politics.

Year of entry


Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
Flexible part-time

Course code


Start date

September 2024
January 2025 - condensed

Course overview

Coventry University offers you an exciting and innovative International Relations degree. You will learn about international affairs in depth by:

  • Studying questions of power, political decision-making, conflict, peace, foreign policy, democracy, human rights, and social movements.
  • Considering how foreign policy decision-makers and international organisations respond in the face of war, social movements, terrorism, political struggles, democratic advances, and setbacks.
  • Reflecting on how these issues have impacted regions around the world, such as the Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and China.

The January start for this course is condensed in Year 1. Please see the ‘How you’ll learn’ section below for more details.

Hand selecting a user icon in a coloured circle.

Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

Five stars in a speech bubble.

5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

City buildings next to a tree.

Top 10 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2024

Why you should study this course

  • You should get a deeper understanding of the rationale for and value of cooperative relationships between nations, and of the foreign policy challenges.
  • You will explore how the world is becoming ever more interdependent with the resulting global socio-political changes. This includes the rising cost of foreign aid and the impact of non-English speaking immigrants within the education system – increasingly affecting people at a local level.
  • You will examine major themes of post-war international politics, including: the dominant relationship between the superpowers, the consequences of decolonisation, the emergence of the 'Third World', ;the spread of revolutionary wars, ;the development of European integration and the spread and final collapse of communism and its effect on world politics at the end of the Cold War.
  • If you choose to start this course in January you will study exactly the same course but over a slightly shorter timescale in Year 1. This is ideal if you missed the September start, want to transfer from a different university or course or just need a bit more time to prepare for life at university.

Coventry University ranked No.7 for International Relations

Guardian University Guide 2023

School of Humanities Showcase

Presenting two dedicated events, our student conference and an interactive online learning experience exploring global climate change.

Find out more
Humanities showcase banner

What you'll study

This course has a common first year.

The common first year enables you to work alongside students doing similar courses to you, to widen your knowledge and exposure to other subject areas and professions. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other students, so you can share your insights and experience which will help you to develop and learn.

If you discover an interest in a specific subject you have studied, upon successful completion of your first year, you could swap degrees with another course in your common first year (subject to meeting progression requirements).

Common first year courses

  • History BA (Hons)
  • History and Politics BA (Hons)
  • International Relations BA (Hons)
  • Politics BA (Hons)
  • Politics and International Relations BA (Hons)

In the first year, the curriculum is shared across related courses allowing you to gain a broad grounding in the discipline before going on, in the second and third years, to specialist modules in your chosen field.


  • The aim of this module is to facilitate your transition from pre-university level study and provide preparation and support for academic study at degree level. This module will also introduce you to major themes and concepts that guide your studies in History, Politics, and International Relations.


  • This module explores the emergence, evolution, and impact of nationalism and the nation state in the modern period. It traces the origins of nationalism from the Atlantic Revolutions of the late eighteenth century to ‘Brexit’ and the UK’s departure from the European Union.


  • The aim of this module is to introduce you to the ways in which the process of globalisation has altered cultural, social, and economic realities for centuries. This module looks at historical change from the fifteenth century to the present and examines multiple aspects of the emergence of a globalised system that saw ideas, peoples, and goods, exchanged across the world.


  • The module provides a survey of the major developments in world politics since the end of the Second World War. It will examine major themes of post-war international politics, such as the Cold War; humanitarian interventions in the post-Cold War; debates about Globalisation; the War on Terror; rise of China; and emergence of populist political narratives.


  • This module aims to provide an introduction to the study of political institutions and behaviour post World War II. It examines the theories associated with political systems and institutions that form the framework for political life, and assesses the extent to which these match the reality of practice.


  • This module aims to introduce you to key concepts employed in the study of politics and enable you to use these concepts to gain both an insight into the workings of modern political systems and an understanding of the ideas and theories underlying contemporary political structures, movements and debates.


In year two, you will continue to develop the skills and knowledge you’ve learnt. We do this by embedding the following four principles into the curriculum and developing your:

  • Technical skills – digital fluency, backed with the right academic knowledge
  • Study skills – to be an adaptive, independent and proactive learner
  • Professional skills – to have the behaviour and abilities to succeed in your career
  • Global awareness – the beliefs and abilities to be a resilient, confident and motivated global citizen

You will develop more advanced knowledge and skills to do with: global security, foreign policy, and the far right in contemporary Europe, amongst others.


  • This module will introduce you to the study of security in International Relations. It will examine conflicts and contemporary security threats like terrorism, crimes against humanity, genocide, and war as well as other threats to security, involving questions of global health and climate change. It will discuss potential pathways to settle these conflicts peacefully and find solutions to these global threats.


  • The module focuses on foreign policy analysis through theories and practice. The module assesses the ways in which national political systems experience and cope with challenges arising from their involvement in international affairs. Insights will be applied to foreign policy in general and to particular foreign policies in depth including the United States; China; Russia; the European Union; and Britain.


  • This module examines the power shifts in the international system and their implications for global order as the centre of gravity in global politics increasingly shifts away from the United States and Europe to so-called emerging powers such China, India, Brazil and South Africa.


  • In this module, you will aim to develop a vital understanding of key ethical problems in contemporary international politics as well as the most recent and traditional moral frameworks for thinking about how to approach and evaluate potential ways to resolve these issues.


  • This module explores the human relationship with the natural world, examining the ways in which an emerging Western worldview has affected humanity's impact on its surroundings. It covers topics from the dominant views of nature emanating out of the Scientific Revolution of the Renaissance to the birth of the modern environmental movement and organisations like Greenpeace and the nascent political ideology of Ecologism.


  • This module focuses on the rise of Far-Right political parties in West European countries. The focus will be on the different explanations put forwards for their success or failure to acquire electoral support, their influence on the behaviour of mainstream political parties and politics in general in the case study countries.


There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.

If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.


  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.


  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.


Year three aims to bring you to the level to enter the world of work by consolidating your knowledge and skills from year one and two. You will have the chance to develop your interests and choose from a wide range of optional modules. For example, you could choose modules on the Middle East, the United States, or China to enhance your intercultural and political awareness. You will be asked to choose optional modules to total 120 credits in your final year.


  • This module is designed to enable you to develop, enhance and put into practice the research and analytical skills acquired in your previous years of study in order to pursue an in-depth analysis of a subject of your own choosing within the context of your programme of study. This can take the form of an extended piece of writing, or a media project such as a documentary film.


  • The aim of the module is to examine in detail a number of major themes and developments in post-1945 US foreign policy. These are examined both for their intrinsic importance and interest, and for the light they throw on the foreign policy making process in the US system and on the development of the international system.


  • This module sets out to explore China’s domestic political institutions and political culture; deconstruct the country’s regional and global foreign relations; and define the military and non-military security challenges for the regional and global systems. It explores the challenges at home and overseas facing the leadership in Beijing and the way that China engages with the international community including the U.S., Japan, Southeast Asia and, perhaps most controversially, Africa.


  • This module introduces you to the region of South Asia and, in particular, to the dynamics of conflict, violence and cooperation in the region and their wider implications for global politics. South Asia consists of eight countries, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan.


  • The module will examine the recent evolution of the traditional criminal organisations in comparative perspective (Sicilian mafia, American Cosa Nostra, Japanese Yakuza and Chinese Triads), the growth of the new wave of organised criminal groups (with a focus on the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Africa and the South American Cartels), the nature of criminality behind the human trade and piracy, the emergence of youth gangs and the evolution of organised crime in the UK.


  • This module aims to introduce you to the contemporary history, politics and international relations of the Middle East since 1948. Topics include the process of European decolonisation since the 1940s, the rise of Zionism and national independence movements, the emergence of the Palestinian question, the revival of political Islam, the Western Wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003, and the Arab Spring Revolutions of 2010-11.


  • This module aims to introduce you to the political challenges facing the countries of Central and Eastern Europe since the end of Communism, especially the unresolved clash between liberal democratic and ethnic nationalist norms. You will be introduced to key debates in both theories of nationalism and theories of democratisation as well as particular events and case study countries.


  • This module will examine the ways in which ethnic minorities have stood up to corrupt, racist power structures across the Americas.  It will pay particular attention to the ways in which suppressed people have empowered themselves and fought to resist white supremacy and the socio-cultural systems that support it. 


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

This course can be offered on a part-time basis. Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Request further information about part-time study.

If you choose to start this course in January it will be run as a condensed programme. You’ll start your course in January and finish your first year in August. Upon successful completion of Year 1, you will progress onto Year 2 in September and then continue to start subsequent years of your course in September, completing your degree at the same time as the September starters unless you opt to do a placement year.

Teaching contact hours

We understand that everyone learns differently, so each of our courses will consist of structured teaching sessions, which can include:

  • On campus lectures, seminars and workshops
  • Group work
  • Self-directed learning
  • Work placement opportunities2.

The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 12 contact hours per week in the first and second year dropping to around 10-12 contact hours per week in the third and final year as you become a more independent learner.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 15 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules. 

Part of university life is undertaking self-directed learning. During a typical week you will have time that allows you to work independently to apply the skills and knowledge you have learnt in taught or facilitated sessions to your projects or assignment briefs. This self-directed learning allows you to use your research skills, consolidate your knowledge or undertake collaborative group work.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the University may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the University may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods can include:

  • Phase tests
  • Essays
  • Group work
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Projects
  • Coursework
  • Individual Assignments

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

International experience opportunities

This course has an inherently international perspective. However, to further enhance your opportunity to gain an international experience, we will provide support for you to spend a year studying abroad or on placement2.

Faculty of Arts and Humanities field trip

Humanities students explore the value of their field trip to Sicily, on an educational and personal level.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

Requirement What we're looking for
UCAS points 112
A level BBC
GCSE Minimum 5 GCSEs graded 4 / C or above including English
IB Diploma 29 points
Access to HE The Access to HE Diploma. Plus GCSE English at grade 4 / C or above.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

Chat with us

Contextual offers and Fair Access Scheme

If you meet the criteria for our Fair Access Scheme, you could automatically receive a contextual offer that may be up to 24 UCAS points lower than our standard entry requirements. View the criteria for our Fair Access Scheme.

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall (with at least 5.5 in each component area).

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

Chat with us

Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £9,250 per year Request fee information
EU £9,250 per year with EU support bursary**
£16,800 per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £16,800 per year Not available

If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

Condensed course – January start date

If you choose to start this degree in January please make sure you check the Fees and Finance page for more information. Although starting this course in January does not prohibit you from being eligible for student finance, the way it is paid in your first year differs from those who start their course in September.

If you start the degree in January, your tuition fees will be paid in accordance with the university’s Tuition Fees, Refund and Withdrawal Terms and Conditions for January starters and for any further years of study, your fees will be paid in accordance with the terms for September starters.

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.


Students will benefit from studying on our well-equipped4, modern campus.

Close up shot of an tablet screen being held by a student

Academic support

No matter which degree you’re studying, you’ll find a lot of support on campus, including the Centre of Academic Writing and sigma, which offers mathematics and statistics support.

People walking in front of a building which has a big library sign

The Library

You will benefit from our support designed to help you succeed and our industry-relevant teaching and resources. These include our modern library and computing facilities, dedicated careers advice and Students’ Union.

Four sat in a pod looking at a laptop and talking

Confucius Institute

The School of Humanities is home to the Confucius Institute. This is a collaboration created through a partnership with Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, which aims to promote an understanding of the Chinese language and culture.

Careers and opportunities

On successful completion, you will have knowledge of: 

  • Origins and character of the contemporary international system key issues.
  • Institutions and processes that determine international relations methods.
  • Approaches employed in the study of international relations.

You will be able to:

  • Identify accurately the issue(s) which need researching and retrieve up-to-date discipline-based information using paper and electronic sources
  • Find a range of relevant information sources and gather and research relevant evidence successfully.
  • Review evidence critically and debate evidence you have researched.
  • Construct fair, coherent and convincing arguments using relevant key concepts and approaches.
  • Analyse problems, take decisions, be creative and show initiative.
  • Work independently with increasing self-confidence and to reflect upon the process of learning.
  • Work within a group, to negotiate, to learn from others and to lead an activity.
  • Manage time effectively, to set objectives and to evaluate the performance of oneself and others.
  • Develop and debate ideas and to sustain arguments effectively both orally and in written form.

In a globalised world where companies increasingly do business across national boundaries, you can benefit from your in-depth understanding of the international political, commercial, social and cultural landscape. Your insight should appeal to a variety of employers – from media outlets to multinationals, the Civil Service to the European Parliament, non- governmental organisations (NGOs) or think tanks.

This course allows you to debate issues at the forefront of the international relations discipline. When you successfully graduate, you should have developed a range of transferrable skills, including excellent communications, critical thinking and analysis, strong presentation and listening skills. These are highly valued by employers.

Our Talent Team is on hand to offer you tailored career and enterprise support to gain employment or take advantage of professional practice opportunities within course-specific industries. You’ll have access to a designated employability officer who can advise you on career opportunities and give support to help you develop tailor-made job applications (subject to availability)2.

Where our graduates work

Some of our recent graduates are now employed in the private sector, ranging from marketing, human resources, banking, and finance to media, and across the public sector in education, the civil service, police forces, local authorities, charities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and international organisations.

Our students work for organisations including: Control Risks; Geneva Peace Building Platform; Capita; KPMG; Birmingham City Council.

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the current 2024/2025 contract is available on the website. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

You may also like

Discover Uni stats