International Relations BA (Hons)Study level: Undergraduate
This exciting course examines contemporary world politics across three main study themes: International Relations, Globalisation and Politics.
Year of entry
Coventry University (Coventry)
3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
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.
Joint Top Modern University for Career ProspectsGuardian University Guide 2021 and 2022
5 QS Stars for Teaching and FacilitiesQS Stars University Ratings
Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)QS Best Student Cities Index 2023
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.
Coventry University ranked No.7 for International Relations
Guardian University Guide 2023
Learn more about our Degree Show 2023:
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.
Themes and Concepts in History, Politics and International Relations - 20 credits
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.
Nations and Nationalism - 20 credits
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.
Global Histories - 20 credits
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.
World Politics since 1945 - 20 credits
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.
Politics in Action - 20 credits
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.
Ideas, Ideologies and the State - 20 credits
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.
Contemporary Global Security - 20 credits
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.
Foreign Policy Analysis - 20 credits
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.
Emerging Powers and Global Order - 20 credits
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.
Ethics and International Relations - 20 credits
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.
Humanity and the Natural World - 20 credits
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.
The Far Right in Contemporary Europe - 20 credits
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.
UK Work Placement– 0 credits
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.
International Study/Work Placement – 0 credits
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.
Independent Project - 20 credits
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.
United States' Foreign Policy since 1945 - 20 credits
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.
Chinese Politics, Foreign Relations and Security - 20 credits
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.
International Relations of South Asia - 20 credits
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.
Global Organised Crime - 20 credits
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.
Politics of the Middle East - 20 credits
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.
Nationalism and Democratisation in Post-Communist Europe - 20 credits
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.
Race and Resistance in the Americas - 20 credits
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.
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.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2023/2024 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. 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
- Group work
- 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.
Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.
Fees and funding
2023/24 tuition fees.
|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**
|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)
*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.
How do you know if you need to pay UK or international tuition fees?
We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.
If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.
Students will benefit from studying on our well-equipped4, modern campus.
Arts and Humanities building
We are currently in the process of a major redevelopment of our Faculty of Arts and Humanities buildings. Set to open in 2023, the building will be open to the public, as well as students, and will feature an expansive gallery space.
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.
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
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
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 can apply for this course through UCAS from 6 September 2022. Read our application pages to find out your next steps to apply.
Part-time students should apply directly to the university.
If you'd like further support or more information about your course get in touch with us today.
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 should apply directly to the university.How to apply
For further support for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree view our International hub.
You can also download our International guide which contains lots of useful information about our courses, accommodation and tips for travel.
Get in touch with us today for further advice and guidance.
Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, 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 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 COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.
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.
Due 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.
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 2023/24 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.