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International Relations and Politics - BA (Hons)

Why study this course?

Confronting terrorism, saving the environment, controlling nuclear arms and fighting for democracy. Explore these issues and more on this undergraduate course led by expert teachers with a range of professional experience on both the UK and international world stages. You'll have work placement opportunities with international organisations such as the United Nations and the option to study abroad in locations including France, Japan and the United States.

In the most recent (2014-15) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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This undergraduate degree lets you specialise in your desired field, whether it's politics, international relations, public policy, public management or political philosophy. You can combine this with unique modules such as American Foreign Policy, Chinese Politics and International Aid and Development.

Our expert staff have experience as councillors, international commercial negotiators, company directors and include current members of the Political Studies Association and the British International Studies Association. They regularly contribute to the BBC and other media. This wide range of experience means you'll be taught by individuals who can share professional insight and knowledge of the latest academic research.

You'll also have the opportunity to undertake a work placement to improve your career prospects. Our connections to political and international institutions around the world mean you could gain experience with the United Nations, Amnesty International or other international non-governmental organisations and businesses.

With this undergraduate course, you'll have the option to go abroad and gain further international experience. London Met gives you the chance to study in Amsterdam, Paris, Japan, the United States and more.

Assessment

You will be assessed during and at the end of modules using a variety of methods including:

  • essays
  • reports
  • learning logs
  • exams
  • seminar performance
  • individual and group seminar presentations
  • portfolios
  • blogs
  • policy documents
  • dissertations
  • book reviews

The majority of these are assessed by your tutor, but a number will be peer-reviewed in seminars. This mixed assessment strategy will maximise your development through each level of the degree, improving your subject-specific knowledge and employability.

In addition to the University’s standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • for entry in the 2016-17 academic year: 280 points from two or more A levels five GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent)
  • for entry in the 2017-18 academic year: a minimum grade BBC in three A levels (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification)
  • GCSE English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above (or equivalent)
  • Mathematics GCSE is not required

Applicants with international qualifications and mature applicants are also welcome.

If you don’t have traditional qualifications or can’t meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the International Relations and Politics Extended Degree BA (Hons).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Accelerated study

If you have relevant qualifications or credit from a similar course it may be possible to enter this course at an advanced stage rather than beginning in the first year. Please note, advanced entry is only available for September start. See our information for students applying for advanced entry.

Specific qualifications that may make you eligible for advanced entry to this course include a relevant foundation degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) or equivalent.

If you're studying full-time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2016/17 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (January start) - Tuesday afternoon

    This module provides a broad introduction to International Development studies. It presents the underlying theories and places these against contemporary globalisation processes; it draws on the history of today’s political systems of Latin America, Africa, Asia, etc., including the impact of colonisation and the integration of the Third world into the global economy and focuses on social transformations and struggles evident since independence, to date, from a comparative perspective. Issues include the roles of the international institutions, paths of developmental states, political cultures, religion, gender-relations and the environment in today’s interconnected ‘developing’ world.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI1027/GI1001/GI1005

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    The aim of this module is to introduce students to the study of International Relations as an academic discipline. It identifies the key actors in international relations and examines how these have changed or been threatened by the forces of globalisation. It also considers the historical context of international relations in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries and demonstrates the challenges that globalisation poses to the structures and processes of world politics. In particular, students will explore issues as diverse as the development of the Westphalian system, North-South tensions, the international political economy, theoretical approaches to international relations, and international security dilemmas, such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the clash of cultures, poverty, human rights, the role of gender, and the environment. At the end of the module students should be able to make informed judgements about current international affairs – and future developments.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI1022/GI1023

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (January start) - Tuesday morning

    This module examines the sources and changing nature of conflicts since 1945, at the global, regional and subnational levels, and the attempts to resolve them through negotiation, mediation and economic and political integration. It introduces students to the main concepts in diplomatic and peace and conflict studies and provides them with a grounding in the evolving nature of conflicts since the end of World War II as well as the comparative analysis of those conflicts.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI1028/GI1015

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning
    • all year (January start) - Wednesday afternoon

    This module gives students an introduction to the main ideas underlying the study of politics, and to the study of government with reference to case studies including the United Kingdom.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI1011/GI1004

    Read full details.

Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    One of the main objectives of the discipline of International Relations is to explain the behaviour of states in the international system. The main goal of this module, therefore, is to better understand the practice of foreign policy through the use of theory. The emphasis is conceptual – and the focus is on interdisciplinary theories of human and state behaviour applied to the study of foreign policy. The Module explores the theoretical core of International Relations and it outlines the different perspectives which can be used to understand the dynamics of the international system and the manner in whcih states orientate their foreign policy decisions.

    In examining the historical development of these different theoretical approaches students will be faced with complex questions about key concepts in the study of International Relations and state behaviour. This module encourages students to question the nature of the relations between states, the domestic / international divide and the relationships between theory and practice.

    The discipline of International Relations has come under criticism for its traditional focus on power and conflict, and this module investigates both the “orthodox” theories and the “new approaches” with a view to establishing the relevance of theory in the arena of contemporary foreign policy making.

    In addition to this the module recognises that students often have difficulty in distinguishing between methods to social enquiry and theories of IR and foreign policy. Consequently, one of the goals will be to encourage students to reflect on the important distinctions between methodology and theory.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI2002/GI2013

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon

    This module critically examines the nature of governance, public policy and public management at sub-national; national; supranational and international levels. It looks in detail at the key elements of policy making; the role of policy makers; the instruments of policy; and how policies are implemented and managed. It explores the nature, extent and influence of globalisation and its relationship with public policy. It analyses the various constitutional changes that have occurred in Britain particularly since 1997, and the significance of multi-level governance. It proceeds to outline the development of the European Union and assess the impact of the supranational tier of governance. It then looks at substantive areas of public policy including immigration, citizenship and identity; economic policy; environment policy; and international policy. It investigates recent developments in public policy. The module proceeds to explore the implementation and management of public policy in contemporary public services and how they are changing. The pressures for change are elucidated, as are differing forms of service delivery such as decentralisation and contracting. Attempts to improve the quality of public services through initiatives such as Best Value and performance measurement in government are evaluated. As are mechanisms deployed to engage citizen or service users in the process of service design and delivery. The module moves on to assess strategic management and New Public Management. It concludes with a critical review of governance, public policy and public management in the twenty first century. Employability will be an ongoing theme throughout the module.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI2034

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    A historically-ordered introduction to the significance of philosophy for politics, to reasons for political action, and to rival justifications and critiques of political and state institutions. The module is divided into three broad sections. After beginning with the questions posed by Plato and Aristotle, its second section explores the range of liberal politics, followed by elaboration of a still wider range of non-liberal positions.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI2033/GI2021

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday morning

    This module is designed to acquaint students with the constitutional, institutional, and political frameworks within which contemporary foreign policies of the United States are formulated and executed. We will endeavour to understand the American foreign policy process by studying the U.S. role in several international issue areas. The module will familiarise you with the role that global issues play in contemporary American foreign policy, in so doing illustrating the complexities and difficulties faced by U.S. decision makers as they formulate and implement foreign policy.

    The module begins with a survey of the American foreign policy process. Topics that we will examine include international political forces, the Constitution, the Presidency and Congress, democracy, bureaucracy, national security, interest groups, public opinion and the media. Subsequent sections of the module examine the role of power and force in today’s world; the challenges to American power from economic globalisation, and the role the United States has and will play in the process of globalisation; human rights and the role of moral principles in American foreign policy; the debate surrounding multilateral and unilateral foreign policies; and, finally, the future of American foreign policy in the 21st century.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI2001C

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday morning

    This module examines the structure and operation of the US government, including all its major institutions and actors. It examines the policy-making process, electoral politics and the roles of interest groups and the media. It also looks at some major areas of controvery within American politics, such as gun control, race and immigration, and welfare and health-care reform.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI2032

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    This module explores the changing nature of relationships within and among societies and in the ‘global south’ from a multidisciplinary perspective. It focuses on contemporary approaches to ethical and sustainable development and global and grass-root strategy trends in a variety of cultural and political contexts, including radical critiques of mainstream development studies. Themes include indigenous rights, women and democracy, food and power.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI2075/GI2073

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday morning

    This module will critically examine the democratic role of the mass media, audio-visual and communications services in contemporary national political environments.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI2042/GI3027

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday morning

    In the first decade of the 21st century, the affairs of the Middle East continue to engage a great deal of international attention. Focusing primarily on the Arab Middle East, Israel and the Gulf region, the module concentrates on the internal dynamics of this strategic region, and the external forces affecting it. Students will be expected to analyse how the states of the region relate to each other, and comprehend how political change has been shaped by the interaction between nationalist, religious and political forces.

    The module will explore in detail the evolution of societies and polities in the contemporary Middle East. Taking both a theoretical and empirical approach it offers an opportunity to examine some of the different ways in which politics operates in this part of the world.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI2041C

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    This module will examine how the nature of power in international relations has changed since the ending of the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s was argued by many to be a triumph of the West’s military and industrial might, ushering in what Francis Fukuyama described as the ‘end of history’ – the triumph of western liberal democratic ideas. However, events since then, not least the attacks of 9/11 and the economic collapse of 2008, have highlighted new threats that exist, the increasing role of non-state actors, and the rise of competing economic powers. Using the framework first put forward by Joseph Nye of “soft”, “hard” and now “smart power”, this module will examine how international politics is changing and how the nature of power - defined as the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes you want - had changed dramatically. It will show that power is not static, but that it may now be more complex in nature, as innovation, technologies and relationships change.

    This theoretical approach will then be applied to consider how power may be shifting in the 21st Century from the West to the East or the so-called “Rest”. This will involve a regional analysis, examining how and why some states are rising in global prominence, e.g. China, Brazil, India, and South Africa, and why the West may (or may not) be in decline (incorporating European and American specialisms). This will allow for a consideration of the growing role of underdeveloped and developing countries and the challenges they face on the current distribution of power, particularly within the turbulent international political economy and the global transformations that are occurring.
    It will, therefore, be a core module for International Development and International Relations students.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI2017/GI2045

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Thursday morning

    This module will examine the historical origins, political dynamics and policy output of the European Union. It focuses on the reasons for the EU’s establishment, the nature of its politics and its principal activities.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI2011/GI2072

    Read full details.

Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    Since the late 1980s, the implications of globalisation – economic, cultural, political, and technological – have become central to our understanding of international relations. The end of the Cold War initially brought widespread hopes for (1) enhanced international co-operation between both state and non-state actors, as well as (2) fresh commitment to strengthening the role of international organisations, especially the United Nations. These developments would, it was hoped, facilitate attempts to address a range of what were widely perceived to be issues with global relevance, including: economic and social injustices, armed conflicts, international terrorism, an increasing world population, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation.

    The rise of these new, often non-military issues, has challenged existing concepts of international security, and highlighted how this and the multifaceted processes of globalisation are interlinked.
    Clearly, assessment of so broad and abstract a collection of concepts is a difficult task. Nevertheless, to investigate the possibility that contemporary globalisation refers to qualitatively different global processes and relationships that have not existed before, the module examines factors which might constitute a new phase in International Relations and, by implication, International Security. There are clearly many problems facing the world community that must be solved by a means of a different set of policies, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are now all a function of security and therefore cannot be ignored.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI3017/GI3019

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    This module will examine the concept and nature of the modern state, including: typologies of states; structures and institutions of the state; policy-making and actors; and debates around issues such as the transformation of industrial states into postmodern/post-industrial ones. It will also use case studies to illustrate examples of different types of state, including liberal democracies, façade democracies, transitional democracies, dictatorships and failed states..

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester
    • spring semester

    This alternate core module offers students the opportunity to undertake a work placement for an employer that has a Governance and International Relations role, enabling students directly to experience and observe operational practicalities of institutions that they have studied from an academic/theoretical perspective. In the process students will enhance their future employability. Students produce a reflective learning log on their work placement; design a research proposal on a topic related to the employer’s role; undertake the relevant research; and write up the findings in dissertation form.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI3W75

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)

    This alternate core module offers students the opportunity to undertake a work placement for an employer that has a Governance and International Relations role, enabling students directly toexperience and observe operational practicalities of institutions that they have studied from an academic/theoretical perspective. In the process students will enhance their future employability. Students produce a reflective learning log on their placement; design a research proposal on a topic related to the employer’s role; undertake the relevant research; and write up the findings in dissertation form.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI3W76

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester
    • spring semester

    For this module students must design a research project relevant to their GIR single honours degree programme, undertake the relevant research and write up the findings in a dissertation. They also write a reflective log on the research process.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI3P77

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)

    For this module students must design a research project relevant to their GIR single honours degree programme, undertake the relevant research and write up the findings in a dissertation. They also write a reflective log on the research process.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI3P30/GI3P78

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Friday morning

    This module looks at the alleged ‘crisis’ in contemporary Africa, focusing on problems of economic, social and political development. This module aims to challenge assumptions about the problems of contemporary Africa by examining these problems in detail and by looking at Africa’s place in the world.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI3051

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon

    This module explores the philosophy, history and political practice of social justice and of international human rights.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI3047

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    Issues such as corruption, extreme poverty, gender inequality, and economic instability have long been on the agenda of international organisations, yet implementing practical solutions to these problems is often complex and fraught with difficulty. This module uses case studies of policy interventions in these and other areas to critically examine the role of key international agencies such as the World Bank, INGO’s and multilateral donors engaged in reform projects in developing societies. The core issue that the module considers is ‘Does aid work?’

    Please note: This module supersedes GI3036/GI3062

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday afternoon

    This module offers an examination of some of the principal challenges of Latin American societies and states today. Case studies illustrate aspects relative to national ‘arrangements’ (leadership, political institutions, political participation, political identities and economic and social integration), these in the presence of the US and the increasing importance of regional and extra-regional relations and global concerns for the environment, migration, poverty and gender relations.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Friday morning

    This module focuses on the principal developments in British politics since the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister in 1979. In particular, students will evaluate the claim that there was a ‘Thatcher revolution’ during the 1980s and explore the impact of various economic, ideological and electoral factors shaping policy during this period. On this foundation, the module then explores the Major governments and the end of the Conservative ascendancy, the rise of ‘New Labour’ in the 1990s and the record and doctrinal position of the Blair party and governments since 1997, and the impact of the Cameron coalition since 2010.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI3021

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon

    This cutting-edge module explores one of the most exciting and rapidly expanding fields of contemporary diplomatic studies and an area which has seen a wide variety of innovations in state practice in recent decades. As public opinion has come to be seen as increasingly influential and important in world politics, states and other international actors have rediscovered public and cultural diplomacy, a form of diplomatic practice in which states engage with publics both abroad and at home. Due to changes in global communications, this form of diplomacy is undergoing rapid change, which makes it especially interesting and important.

    The module examines the changing nature of public and cultural diplomacy in the context of the evolution of global political communications. It explores the nature of international political communication, evaluating key concepts such as propaganda, place branding and strategic communications, and examines the role of culture in world politics more broadly, including media such as film and the internet, as well as key actors such as celebrity diplomats. It explores competing definitions and interpretations of public and cultural diplomacy, along with how their practice has changed in recent decades, especially since the end of the Cold War.

    This is a practically-oriented module. Students will gain experience of the nature of contemporary public diplomacy and international political communication through visits to embassies, guest lectures by serving or former public diplomats, and role-play exercises and simulations.

    Please note: This module supersedes GI3079/GI3015

    Read full details.

If you're studying full-time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.

Year 1 (Level 4) modules include:

  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Politics and Government
  • Introduction to International Development
  • Peace Conflict and Diplomacy Since 1945

Year 2 (Level 5) modules include:

  • Approaches to International Relations and Foreign Policy
  • Governance and Public Policy
  • Political Theory
  • The Politics of the Middle East (option)
  • Media and Culture (option)
  • Politics of the European Union (option)
  • American Government (option)
  • American Foreign Policy (option)

Year 3 (Level 6) modules include:

  • International Relations in an Era of Globalisation
  • The Politics of Modern States
  • Research Project or Work Placement
  • International Aid and Development (option)
  • Chinese and Asian Politics and Development (option)
  • African Politics (option)
  • Human Rights and Social Justice (option)

"I really like that we have a wide choice of modules and can combine studying other subjects. The teaching is very well structured. I like doing the reports as they’re very useful in real life and the seminars have given me confidence to speak in public. I love everything about London. It’s got so many different cultures and international students - I meet people from all over the world and learn about their experiences. I love the social life and clubs too. I joined the United Nations Model Society and helped run an event with the Bulgarian Ambassador that went really well."
Plamena Solakova, International Relations and Politics BA graduate

You could follow in the footsteps of our graduates who now work for the UK Department for International Development, the United Nations, national diplomatic services, leading non-governmental organisations, businesses and have even become Members of Parliament.

The degree is also excellent preparation if you want to go on to further study or research in subjects including politics, government and international relations.

Whichever path you choose, our teaching staff have nationally-recognised expertise in developing student employability to help you promote yourself effectively in the competitive job market.

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2017. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The widget(s) below draw data from the corresponding course on the Unistats website. If a course is taught both full-time and part-time, one widget for each mode of study will be displayed here.

How to apply

UK/EU students wishing to begin this course studying full-time in September 2016 should apply by calling the Clearing hotline on .

Applicants from outside the EU should refer to our guidance for international students during Clearing.

Part-time applicants should apply direct to the University online.

If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.

UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.

All applicants applying to begin a course starting in January must apply direct to the University.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.

If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.

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