BSc International Relations

| University of Southampton
Posted on:


Bachelor's programs


About this course

Discover the causes of conflict, instability and poverty. Explore democracy and justice in today's society. With our International Relations degree, you'll learn both the theory and practice of global politics. You'll develop analytical, critical thinking and research skills. This course can lead to careers in national and global politics, think tanks, and more.

With our International Relations course you'll learn about the foreign and security policies of the major players in world politics. You'll study principal institutions such as the United Nations and World Trade Organization (WTO).

You'll develop your critical thinking, and enhance your analytical and research skills, which are highly valued by employers.

You can also choose from a range of topics with a range of optional modules. For example, you can focus on the politics of the UK, the EU or the US, or study modules in criminology, economics or ethics.

As part of your degree you can:

  • study global issues, like arms control, security, migration, and how they apply to different regions

  • take part in public engagement activities and optional field trips to Whitehall and Westminster

  • study abroad in Europe, the Far East or North America

You'll develop transferable skills such as:

  • effective oral and written communication

  • problem-solving

  • independent thought

Location and awarding body

A-levels additional information

International Baccalaureate Diploma

International Baccalaureate Diploma additional information

Applications where Higher Level subjects have been studied without the full Diploma, will also be considered on a case by case basis.


DD in the BTEC Diploma plus B grade from one A-levelDDM in the BTEC Extended Diploma

BTEC additional information

Other qualifications

A-levels with Extended Project Qualification

If you are taking an EPQ in addition to 3 A levels, you will receive the following offer in addition to the standard A-level offer:BBB and grade A in the EPQ

A-levels contextual offer

Students who are highlighted in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme, as follows:BBB

International Baccalaureate Career Programme (IBCP) offer

BTEC (RQF) (reformed)

DD in the BTEC National Diploma plus B from one A-level DDM in the BTEC National Extended Diploma

Access to HE Diploma

60 credits with a minimum of 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit

Access to HE Diploma additional information

There are no additional requirements

Irish Leaving Certificate (first awarded 2017)

H1 H2 H2 H2 H3 H3

Irish Leaving Certificate (first awarded 2016)

A1, A1, A1, A1, A2, A2

Irish Leaving Certificate additional information

There are no additional requirements

Scottish Qualification offers

Offers will be based on exams being taken at the end of S6. Subjects taken and qualifications achieved in S5 will be reviewed. Careful consideration will be given to an individual’s academic achievement, taking in to account the context and circumstances of their pre-university education. Please see the University of Southampton’s Curriculum for Excellence Scotland Statement (PDF, 111.01 KB) for further information. Applicants are advised to contact their Faculty Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

Cambridge Pre-U additional information

Cambridge Pre-U's can be used in combination with other qualifications such as A Levels to achieve the equivalent of the typical offer

Welsh Baccalaureate


Welsh Baccalaureate additional information

European Baccalaureate

GCSE requirements

Applicants must hold GCSE English language (or GCSE English) (minimum grade 4/C) and mathematics (minimum grade 4/C)

English language requirements

All applicants must demonstrate they possess at least a minimum standard of English language proficiency. Applicants requiring a visa to study in the UK who do not offer GCSE English language (or GCSE English) at the required level will need to meet the following English language proficiency requirement. Find out more about the University’s English Language requirements.

Band B IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in all components

IELTS score requirements

Non-academic entry requirements

International qualifications

This is a list of the international qualifications that are recognised by the University of Southampton. If you are not sure that your qualifications meet the requirements of this course please contact our Admissions Teams.

International Foundation Year for Law, Arts, Humanities, Business and Social Sciences

If you're an international student and don’t have the right qualifications for direct entry into this course, you may still be able to enrol by taking our International Foundation Year. This intensive, one-year course will give you the background skills and knowledge to enter into this undergraduate degree.

Contact us if you have a question about what qualifications you have or might need.

Other ways to qualify

You might meet our criteria in other ways if you do not have the qualifications we need. Find out more about:

  • our Access to Southampton scheme for students living permanently in the UK (including residential summer school, application support and scholarship)

  • skills you might have gained through work or other life experiences (otherwise known as recognition of prior learning)

Find out more about our Admissions Policy.

Course structure

You'll take a mix of compulsory and optional modules in each year of the programme. In your final year, you'll complete a dissertation.

You can also broaden your experience by selecting:

Along with these options, our Curriculum Innovation Programme allows you to take modules outside your core disciplines.

You don't need to choose your modules when you apply. Your academic tutor will help you to customise your course.

Year 1

We'll introduce you to the world of international relations. Core modules will look at political theory and the concept of political inquiry.

You'll study political systems and explore the differences between democracies, semi-democracies, and authoritarian regimes.

You'll also choose optional modules from politics or related disciplines. For example, you could study topics like:

  • microeconomics

Year 2

You'll advance your research skills and methods. This will give you the skills you need to prepare for the dissertation next year.

Modules will cover international political theory and major political thought, from Thucydides through to 19th century classical economists. This will show you the link between international relations and political.

You'll also choose from a broad range of optional modules. These include:

  • public policy analysis

Year 3

For your dissertation you’ll choose a topic from Politics or International Relations. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your independent research, analysis and communication skills.

You'll also choose from optional modules on topics such as:

  • prisons and punishment in society

  • the future of the EU

  • cinema and political theory

  • American political thought

The module 'Imagining European Futures' invites students to create bold and innovative ideas to shape European integration. It shows students how to ground these ideas in a thoroughly researched empirical context.

  • lectures

Support for your studies

How you’ll spend your study time

Your scheduled learning, teaching and independent study, year by year:

Year 1

How we’ll assess you

We’ll assess you using:

  • coursework, laboratory reports and essays
  • dissertations

Year 1


You’ll graduate with a wide range of transferable skills such as research, critical thinking, analysis and team working.

We'll develop your career skills at every stage of the course, and certain modules will provide teaching in reasoning and communication.

Our graduates enter exciting careers where they can use the skills they've gained, such as:

  • research and analysis for think-tanks

  • public affairs and lobbying

  • the EU

  • management consultant

Careers services at Southampton

We are a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:

  • work experience schemes

  • networking events

  • a wealth of volunteering opportunities

  • study abroad and summer school opportunities

We have a vibrant entrepreneurship culture and our dedicated start-up supporter, Futureworlds, is open to every student.

Work in industry

UK/EU fees

You'll pay ÂŁ9,250 in tuition fees for the academic year 2020 to 2021. This fee might change for further years of your course.

International student fees

What your fees pay for

Your tuition fees pay for the full cost of tuition and all examinations.

Find out how to:

  • Printing and Photocopying Costs
  • Optional Visits (e.g. museums, galleries)

See the full list of extra items and costs in the programme specificationPDF opens in a new window 2020 to 2021 (PDF, 293.56 KB).

Accommodation and living costs, such as travel and food, are not included in your tuition fees. Explore:

Bursaries, scholarships and other funding

If you're a UK or EU student and your household income is under ÂŁ25,000 a year, you may be able to get a University of Southampton bursary to help with your living costs. Find out about bursaries and other funding we offer at Southampton.

If you're a care leaver or estranged from your parents, you may be able to get a specific bursary.

Scholarships and grants

You may be able to get a scholarship or grant that's linked to your chosen subject area.

We award scholarships and grants for travel, academic excellence, or to students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Support during your course

The Student Services Centre offers support and advice on money to students. You may be able to access our Student Support fund and other sources of financial support during your course.

Funding for international students

University life

The University offers a friendly, diverse and welcoming home for you while you study. You'll work, live and socialise with students from more than 130 countries.

Clubs, societies and facilities

  • a hairdresser

Our sports facilities include a 25-metre swimming pool, a gym with 140 fitness stations, squash courts, a bouldering wall, outdoor pitches and much more. There are over 80 sports clubs you could join, and activity classes including yoga and spin.

We have an internationally known theatre, concert hall, art gallery and cinema showing everything from mainstream blockbusters to international arthouse classics. You could perform at a gig, concert or show, take part in an exhibition or join a writers’ workshop. Find out more about arts and culture at Southampton.

Whatever your passion or community, you can find like-minded people at one of the Students’ Union clubs and societies. There are more than 200 to join, and social activities in every hall of residence.

Support while you study

We aim to help you deal with any problems you might come across, so you can make the most of your time at university. We offer support with:

  • mental health, learning difficulties and disability

  • money and accommodation

We will assess your application on the strength of your:

  • predicted grades
  • academic reference

We aim to respond to you within 2 to 6 weeks with a decision about your application.

We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.

More Information

Posted on:


Bachelor's programs


Southampton , United Kingdom