International Relations BA (Hons)

 

Course Code

UCAS Code: L250
International Code: AHU029

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

 

Study mode

Full-time
Part-time
Sandwich

Duration

3 years full-time
4 years full-time with study abroad / professional placement
Flexible part-time

Start date

September 2022


Course overview

Study level: Undergraduate

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

You will:

  • Study questions of power, political decision-making, conflict, peace, foreign policy, democracy, human rights, and social movements.
  • Consider how foreign policy decision-makers and international organisations respond in the face of war, social movements, terrorism, political struggles, democratic advances, and setbacks.
  • Engage with a rich programme, using innovative digital learning tools.
  • Reflect on how these issues have impacted regions around the world, such as the Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe as well as China.
  • Examine controversial decisions around peacekeeping and peace enforcement in the wake of conflict, state collapse political or natural crises and large-scale human rights abuse. Examples include drawing on case studies of interventions in the Congo, Somalia, the Balkans and Iraq.
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Global Ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Employability

Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

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.

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.

Find out more about our range of history, politics and international relations courses.

More than just a degree

You can talk to lecturers at any time both in and out of office hours. The best thing about being at Coventry is the student community; there is always something going on and the perks such as CGE and Add+vantage modules.

Sabrina Ali, BA International Relations, 2020
Student audience in a lecture hall

What you'll study

Drawing on case studies of intervention in the Congo, Somalia, the Balkans and Iraq, for example, you will examine sometimes controversial decisions around peacekeeping and peace enforcement in the wake of conflict, state collapse political or natural crises and large-scale human rights abuse.

You will cover the evolution and interaction of different states and societies around the globe, exploring the history of world politics since World War II. We consider how foreign policy decision-makers and international organisations respond in the face of war, social movements, terrorism, political struggles, democratic advances and setbacks.

In your first year, you will cover the foundations of international relations theory and be introduced to the ways in which other people interpret the world and what goes on within it – liberals, realists, socialists and so on. These provide a foundation for your learning in subsequent years.

Modules

  • The aim of this module is to introduce you to the ways in which the Atlantic World, and later globalisation, altered the cultural, social, and economic realities of all involved. The module looks at historical change from the fifteenth century to the present and places a particular emphasis upon the history of the Atlantic World (Europe, Africa, and the Americas).

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • This module aims to provide  you with an introduction to the study of political institutions and behaviour post WW2. 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.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • The aim of this module is to enhance your ability to see and understand the world from perspectives and positions you may not agree with in order to raise your socio-political and cultural awareness as well as your empathy for difference. But at the very least, you ought ultimately to recognise that, as Steve Smith has argued, ‘non-theoretical accounts of the world are simply not available’.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • This module examines three major themes that underpin the development of international relations in the 21st century: globalisation, power and order. It seeks to provide you with a coherent overview of three key debates preoccupying both analysts and policy makers: globalisation and its impact, the nature of power and how it is exercised in a changing world; how conflict has been limited and cooperation achieved in international politics.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • The module looks at the major developments in world politics since the end of the Second World War. It examines major themes of post-war international politics, such as 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 in the end of the Cold War.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework, exam

In the second year, the course focuses on contemporary events and issues, including global security, humanitarian aid, and foreign policy. 

You can examine a range of real-life case studies to illustrate the challenges of various government responses, the responses themselves and subsequent reactions.

Modules

  • This module addresses questions concerning conflict, state collapse, political and natural crises and large-scale human rights abuse. It asks whether individual states, regional bodies or the United Nations have the will or capacity to intervene to alleviate suffering? And if so, is intervention morally or legally justified? You will look at issues including the distinction between peacekeeping and peace-enforcement; the role of consent, self-defence and impartiality; and the current status of state sovereignty. You explore the development of the doctrine of the ‘responsibility to protect’, together with a number of case studies of intervention including Congo, Somalia, the Balkans and Iraq.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • This module aims to demonstrate to you that the political is a realm which is characterised by power, not violence. Power and violence are not two sides of the same coin, but they can be conceptualised as opposing elements of our life-worlds. If there is violence, there is no power and vice-versa which makes violence a key indicator for depoliticising tendencies in world politics.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • The module focuses on foreign policy analysis through theories and practice. You will be introduced to the foreign policy analysis, will evaluate and discriminate between foreign policies, apply these insights to foreign policy in general and to particular foreign policies in depth including the United States, China, Russia, the European Union, and Britain.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • This module aims to familiarise you with a number of key theories and methodologies relating to the study of contemporary global security and to relate these to a broad range of specific issues on the contemporary security agenda.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • This module aims to introduce the concept of a graduate career and provide you with a knowledge and understanding of the graduate employment process. In addition, it guides you towards graduate career destinations for humanities students. It aims to develop your employability skills and professional competencies, facilitating your transition from undergraduate study in to the graduate labour market. To achieve this, you engage in a series of workshops and a process of self-reflection, developing market intelligence to produce an individual and tailored professional CV.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework, exam

  • This module revisits key thinkers in classical political economy – Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Keynes – and make its way through the 20th century, covering topics such as neo-liberalism, corporate globalisation, neo-imperialism, consumerism, emotional labour and biopolitics: all analysed through the prism of International Political Economy. The module will wrap up with an analysis of the some of the great crises of the 21st century – from the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the market crash of 2008 to the election of Donald Trump and Britain's decision to leave the EU. You will be encouraged to explore the way these have affected the neo-liberal model of global market capitalism.

    Optional

    Assessment: coursework

  • This module focuses on the rise of Far-Right political parties in West European countries. It aims to give you an understanding of the characteristics and values of these parties under the umbrella term of the ‘Far Right’. The focus will be on the different explanations put forward 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.

    Optional

    Assessment: coursework

  • This module aims to provide you with a basic understanding of international organised crime groups. You will analyse historical developments of the traditional criminal organisations (such as the Sicilian mafia, US mafia, Japanese Yakuza, Russian clans) each week and gain knowledge and insight about the nature and the extent of organised crime, the social and legal consequences, and the dynamic relationship between organised criminal groups, law enforcement organisations, states and civil societies.

    Optional

    Assessment: coursework

After your second year, you have the option to take a placement year, studying abroad or on professional placement*.

If you wish, you can take the Professional Placement module or the Study Abroad module which both typically run for a full academic year between years 2 and 3. You can progress onto the relevant module if you have successfully completed the first two years of the course (e.g., accumulated 240 credits) and provided you confirm your interest in undertaking this option before the end of your second year.

The sandwich year modules are non-credit bearing and you do not incur any additional tuition fees. If you successfully complete these modules, they will appear on your final academic transcript. In addition, you will also gain an enhanced degree award as the additional suffix of “With Professional Enhancement” (for work placement) and “With International Enhancement” (for study abroad) will be added.

Our Talent Team can provide you with a wide range of support services in order to help you apply for a placement opportunity.

Past students have studied in Australia, the United States, South Korea, France, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Modules

  • Optional

  • Optional

In your final year, you will apply your knowledge gained from years one and two.  You can choose from a number of options to fit your future ambitions.

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.

Modules

  • This module develops an understanding of the ethical problems that emerge as a consequence of the rapid integration of the global political order. These include, the uneven distribution of gains and losses, the conflicting loyalties we might have to co-nationals and foreigners, the ethics of conflict and the problem of cross-border and trans-generational harm. You investigate these issues through a detailed engagement with key texts and fleshed out with reference to illustrative case studies. You can  gain a vital understanding of key ethical problems and the most contemporary moral frameworks for thinking about how to approach and, perhaps, resolve these issues.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • This module is designed to enable you to develop, enhance and put into practice the research and time-management skills you acquired in your previous years of study. It encourages you develop your independent learning skills and gather and interpret knowledge so you can  analyse, in depth, a subject of your own choosing within the context of their programme of study.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework, exam

  • The aim of this module is to give you the knowledge and tools to critically analyse the emergence and evolution of environmental ideas and movements in Britain and America since the turn of the 20th century. You  analyse how ecological ideas surrounding, for example, wilderness preservation, conservation, population control, the DDT controversy, nuclear energy and climate change have been incorporated into environmental discussions, social movements and the political debate.

    Optional

    Assessment: coursework

  • This module aims to introduce students to the contemporary history, politics and international relations of the Middle East since 1948. It examines the process of European decolonisation since the 1940s, the rise of Zionism and national independence movements like , including Zionism, Nasserism and Ba’athism and focuses on the emergence of the Palestinian question from 1948 to the present. The module also examines the major Arab-Israeli wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982 both in the traditional colonial setting and, after 1956, in the context of the Cold War.

    Optional

    Assessment: coursework

  • This module aims to give you the opportunity to address and explore issues and themes in history, international relations, sociology, politics and linked disciplines, in a non-UK setting. A number of issues will be analysed in the study location. For example, on a study trip to Sicily, issues in history would include the origins and development of Italian organised criminal organisations and themes in politics would include the relationship between politics and the mafia. The study trip offers you the opportunity to take part in structured group discussions with renowned speakers from academia, diplomacy, the private sector and civil society and to build up your personal networks. Themes and topics to be examined in the study trip will be studied in preliminary lectures. The course will involve critical debate and team working to analyse selected themes.
    (Additional costs apply. Trips are subject to availability and eligibility.)

    Optional

    Assessment: coursework

  • This considers transnational criminal activities, such as drug trafficking and human trade, among traditional criminal organisations like the Sicilian mafia, American Cosa Nostra, Japanese Yakuza and Chinese Triads, as well as the new wave of groups in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Africa and the South American Cartels.

    Optional

    Assessment: coursework

  • China is frequently referred to as the coming Superpower of the 21st Century. 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. How is China responding to its new challenges and what is the likely impact on the global system?

    Optional

    Assessment: coursework

  • 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. The module will consider the development of US foreign policy from the establishment of the post-1945 liberal world order to the challenges it faces in the contemporary global setting. The development of US foreign policy will be analysed using a variety of IR theories.

    Optional

    Assessment: coursework

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

Your main study themes are:

International relations: You will have the opportunity to understand the world from perspectives and positions you may not agree with and raise your socio-political and cultural awareness, along with your empathy for difference. We examine three major themes that underpin the development of international relations in the 21st century: globalisation, power and order.

Globalisation: We introduce you to the ways that the emergence of the Atlantic World, and later globalisation, altered the cultural, social, and economic realities of all involved. We consider historical change from the 15th century to the present, with an emphasis on the history of the Atlantic World (Europe, Africa, and the Americas).

Politics: You will have the opportunity to study political institutions and behaviour post-World War II, examining the theories associated with political systems and institutions that form the framework for political life. The major focus is on how groups and individuals behave within the political framework of the Nation State.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods include formal examinations and coursework.

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. Assessments may include exams, individual assignments or group work elements.


Job ready

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 and
  • approaches employed in the study of international relations.

On successful completion, 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.

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 placement and organise an annual overseas study trip*. For example, previous students spent a week in Sicily examining how the anti-mafia organisation Libera has been working to combat organised crime.


Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2022 entry.

Requirement What we're looking for
A level BBC
GCSE Minimum 5 GCSE's graded 9-4 / A* - C including English
BTEC DMM
IB Diploma 29 points

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

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Are you eligible for the Fair Access Scheme?

We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background.

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.

You may be required to submit a portfolio/show-reel/written work (as appropriate for the particular course) and you may be asked to attend an interview if it is practical to arrange.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall

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.

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Fees and funding

2022/23 Tuition fees

Student Full time Part time
UK £9,250 per year Not available
International £15,300 per year Not available

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.


Facilities

We are currently in the process of a major redevelopment of our Faculty of Arts and Humanities buildings, due to open later in 2022. The building will be open to the public as well as students, and will feature an expansive gallery space. It will also provide world-class teaching spaces, including highly flexible and immersive media facilities.

lanchester library entrance

Library

The library offers a team of dedicated academic liaison librarians who provide specialist help and support. You’ll also have access to subject specific databases of journal articles related to criminology and forensics.

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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.


Careers and opportunities

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 many employers – from media outlets to multinationals, the civil service to the European Parliament, 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.

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.

They work for a range of organisations, including the Houses of Parliament, BUPA Healthcare, BMI Healthcare, Barclays, HSBC, Amazon, National Crime Agency, BBC, West Midlands Police/Transport Police, European Union, Atlas Copco, GlaxoSmithKline, Grant Thornton, IPSOS Mori, European Parliament, NHS, Commonwealth, Amnesty International and Greenpeace.

In addition, some of our students set up in business for themselves, which range from youth mentoring, learning and development, workshop delivery, logistics and creative industries.

What our alumni say

I chose this course because I am really keen to pursue a diplomatic career and better understand global politics. Coventry University seemed to be one of the best choices, taking into account the teaching quality, student satisfaction and the living expenses.

Mihaela-Veronica Ariton, BA International Relations, graduate of 2018
View of Coventry Cathedral from the university campus

How to apply


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  • 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 2021/22 Contract can be found here. 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.

    Tuition fees

    The tuition fee for the course that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For UK and EU students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, we 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. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, EU students should be aware that there may be a change to UK laws following the UK’s exit, this may change their student status, their eligibility to study part time, and/or their eligibility for student finance. We will act in accordance with the UK’s laws in force in relation to student tuition fees and finance from time to time.

    For International students the tuition fee that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For international students, we may increase fees for each subsequent year of study but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation.

    Accreditations

    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. 

    Facilities

    Facilities mentioned on this page may not be relevant for every course. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Placements and study abroad opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any placement or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (e.g. travel, visas and accommodation etc.), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the requirements in this regard, please contact the International Office for further details if you are an EU or International student.

    Additional costs

    This course may incur additional costs associated with any field trips, placements or work experience, study abroad opportunities or any other opportunity (whether required or optional), which could include (but is not limited to), equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas).