Politics and International Relations BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:

    BA: 5L9L
    Foundation: LL22

  • Level:


  • Duration:

    Full Time: 3 Years
    Full Time with Foundation: 4 Years
    Part Time: 4 - 6 Years

  • Starting:


  • UK Fees 23/24:

    Full Time: £9,250
    Part Time: £1,540 (per 20 credits)
    Foundation: £9,250

  • International Fees 23/24:

    Full Time: £14,750
    Foundation: £14,750

  • Location:


Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries

0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries

+44 (0)1604 893981


The Politics and International Relations degree at UON will provide you with an exciting and varied curriculum, as well as opportunities to apply your learning in international settings.

Through this international relations BA you will develop a critical understanding of contemporary issues such as threats to global security, the changing nature of international co-operation and power alignments, environmental politics, the future of democracy, and the politics of communication. On this international relations and politics degree, our academic staff have a wide range of specialist research interests and you will learn in a friendly and supportive environment.

This BA in international relations aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of the nature of contemporary politics and the international order.

Updated 01/02/2023


    • International study trips available for this politics and international relations degree.*
    • Research placement opportunities available abroad.*
    • Flexible part-time option available.
    • HP laptop and software included with this course for eligible student. Eligibility criteria and terms and conditions apply.

*Future study trips and placement opportunities abroad are dependent on Government and local travel guides relating to Covid-19.

Course Content

  • Our Politics and International Relations course has been designed to contribute towards achieving the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goal: SDG10 of Reduced Inequalities.

    Specialised Staff

    Throughout your Politics and International Relations degree studies, you will have the opportunity to pursue your own interests through choosing from a range of optional modules. Our Politics and International Relations lecturers publish in their specialist fields and have a wide range of research interests which are reflected in the content of the courses, giving you the benefit of up-to-date scholarship and debate. Academic staff expertise includes political and International Relations theory, comparative political systems and globalisation, political movements and elections, regional studies and international development.

    The global area specialisms of our staff are reflected in this international relations BA, allowing you to engage with a range of issues relating to the politics and power interactions between those regions and states identified with the Global North and Global South. Please note that the timetabling of modules changes each year, so this table is intended to be indicative only.

    List of modules

    Please note the modules shown here relate to the academic year 22/23. The modules relating to the academic year 23/24 will be available from June 2023.

    • In your first year, you will be introduced to the key historical, contemporary and theoretical aspects that are needed for the study of Politics and International Relations. It is not assumed that you will have studied these subjects before and so topics are explored in great depth.

      • Module code: IRD1002
        Status: Compulsory
        The module introduces students the most significant aspects of the British political system. The focus will be on government and politics, not only as a set of functioning institutions and political parties, but also as a reflection of a changing domestic and international order.
      • Module code: IRD1009
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to explore the variety of ways in which from earliest times to today, humans have not merely transmitted signals in an attempt to communicate, but have in so doing transformed whole cultures and disseminated variable global and more local orderings of political culture, power and societal relations.
      • Module code: IRD1025
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to explore the changing global order in the 20th century, with reference to the evolution of international institutions, the creation of post-colonial states, and challenges to Western hegemony. The historical analysis will link to key concepts that inform IR theory.
      • Module code: IRD1026
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to introduce students to some of the key theoretical and conceptual approaches to politics and the organization and interaction of power relations at the levels of the local, the national and the global. In addition, it explores a range of ideological perspectives and their attempts to engage with, and otherwise transform, power relations in the name of alternative political visions of the social order.
      • Module code: IRD1068
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the discipline of International Relations, and the central problems and concepts with which it is concerned. Students will explore various theoretical approaches to understanding the relations between states and international agencies, and will engage with key contemporary debates and issues that surround questions of global power, inequality, ideology, conflict, security and threat.
      • Module code: IRD1076
        Status: Compulsory
        This module examines key events of domestic and international political history, in order to examine both the background factors which led to their occurrence and to the future consequences that they contained. Drawing on a variety of different perspectives, interpretations and sources, students will learn to deconstruct popular political narratives and gain a deeper insight into the way in which academic understanding differs substantially from non-academic thinking about politics. The module will emphasise the importance of evidence-based analysis, enabling students to develop key academic skills necessary for studying at undergraduate level through being able to assess the reliability and validity of different types of sources.
    • In the second year, you will undertake a research placement and will also have the option of joining an international field trip (an alternative is provided for those who may be unable to participate in the field trip).

      • Module code: IRD2046
        Status: Designate
        The practice of democracy is a complex phemomenon that involves a wide range of different sites of engagement and types of action. This module offers an opportunity to explore democratic participation both in the polity and in wider civil society by engaging with both formal political and wider civic arenas.
      • Module code: IRD2066
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide students with key knowledge and skills for conducting theoretical and empirical inquiries when they undertake their placements or internships. Students taking this module develop their understanding in a real world setting and are also equipped with a range of skills and techniques to help them devise, manage and communicate their research effectively.
      • Module code: IRD2097
        Status: Compulsory
        This module is designed to introduce the key philosophical and methodological issues underpinning the research process in International Relations, Politics and Development research. The module also provides students with a thorough grounding in research methods, focusing in particular on the application of research methods and skills which have direct bearing on the development of their independent learning at both levels 5 and 6.
      • Module code: IRD2101
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to introduce students to approaches to understanding (in)security. Students will explore contemporary security issues that challenge state-centric approaches to global politics, such as global terrorism, environmental security and the concept of failed states, and will explore the role of sub- and supra-national actors in the global governance of security.
      • Module code: IRD2102
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide students with a valuable opportunity to develop their understanding of politics and international relations in an international setting. Students draw on prior knowledge and social science research skills training to undertake the study of relevant topics of interest related to the country chosen for the field visit.
      • Module code: IRD2104
        Status: Designate
        The module will provide a state-based analysis of sub-Saharan African politics, drawing from political science, history and anthropology. It will address critically theoretical and thematic debates, including the nature of African leaderships and government, their political liberalisation or fall into violence or military control, and the possibility of democratisation.
      • Module code: IRD2105
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide an introduction to the political systems of the United States and the European Union. Central will be an examination of the major institutions and the balance of power within each system. The emphasis is upon comparative politics to demonstrate how the two exhibit both common characteristics and distinctive differences.
      • Module code: IRD2113
        Status: Designate
        This module provides students with insights into the historical and current gendered political landscapes through examining both women?s experiences and their political responses to those circumstances. Students will explore a range of global issues and situations and examine how these inform women?s varied political ideas and behaviours.
    • In the third year, you will complete a dissertation, which enables you to conduct research on a topic of your choice, with the support of your supervisor.

      • Module code: DEV3001
        Status: Compulsory
        This module provides an interdisciplinary perspective on development and change and the inter-relationship of politics and society in the Global South. There are no pre-requisites, but the module is particularly appropriate for Level 6 students of Sociology and International Relations and Politics who wish to extend the scope of their studies to include the 'developing world', and for BA and Joint Honours International Development students. Students will be encouraged to make connections, where appropriate, with themes and issues covered in other parts of their degree programme.
      • Module code: ECN3019
        Status: Designate
      • Module code: IRD3037
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to engage with ethical questions and perspectives in the context of increasing globalization. Is it possible to develop a global ethics? Does the increasing pluralisation of identities render impossible the idea of a universal ethics? From classical to contemporary approaches to ethics, the module explores a range of different responses to these types of question.
      • Module code: IRD3038
        Status: Designate
      • Module code: IRD3041
        Status: Designate
        The purpose of this module is to explore propaganda, scandal and gossip nationally and internationally, as intensive forms of circulating information which create and destroy reputations, political credibility, and power via a wide range of media platforms and techniques upon which most of politics now stands, not least in fragmenting or divided societies.
      • Module code: IRD3050
        Status: Designate
        Through its focus on the trans-national global order, International Relations often concentrates on the voices of the powerful, whether governments or major institutions. This module seeks to redress this balance by exploring the voices which been subsumed by history and shall reveal both the essentially contested nature of international relations and the processes through which the current seeming fixity of relations and arrangements came into being.
      • Module code: IRD4022
        Status: Compulsory
        The dissertation provides students with the opportunity to study a particular area of International Relations and Politics in detail. The dissertation will be produced under the guidance of an individual tutor/supervisor, with the aim of encouraging students to produce an analytical and well-organised piece of research.
    Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme

    The BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations degree is part of the Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELCS). The ELCS is an opportunity for members of the Armed Forces to further or expand on their education. The scheme offers support financially in a maximum of three separate financial years for higher level learning of a nationally recognised qualification at a Level three or above.

  • Standard entry requirements for this politics and international relations degree apply. A typical offer would be:

    • BCC at A Level or
    • DMM at BTEC or
    • Pass (C and above) at T Level.

    We welcome international applicants as well as applications from mature students and those with a range of non-traditional educational or professional qualifications.

    Although study in the Humanities/Social Sciences is a useful starting point for studying International Relations and Politics at degree level, it is not essential for you to have previously studied within this area.

    For more information on how to make an application please visit our How to Apply pages for Home and EU, and International students.

    Integrated Foundation Year Entry Requirements

    The standard entry requirements for the Integrated Foundation Year are:

    • DEE at A level or
    • MPP at BTEC or
    • Pass (D or E) at T Level.
    English Language Requirements

    All International and EU students applying for a course with us must meet the following minimum English language requirements:

    • IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in all bands for study at undergraduate level.

    For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.

  • 23/24 Tuition Fees

    Fees for this international relations BA quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 23/24 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK Full Time: £9,250
    • UK Part Time: £1,540 per 20 credit module
    • UK Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250
    • International Full Time: £14,750
    • International Integrated Foundation Year: £14,750

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

    Additional costs

    The compulsory International Field trip is funded by the Faculty of Business and Law (subject to terms and conditions). You will need to allow an additional £70-100 for your expenses. You may need to purchase a visa for the study abroad trip.

    22/23 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 22/23 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK Full Time: £9,250
    • UK Part Time: £1,500 per 20 credit module
    • UK Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250
    • International Full Time: £14,000
    • International Integrated Foundation Year: £14,000
  • At the University of Northampton, everything we do, from funded trips to paid internships, is to give you everything you need to make a difference when you leave.

    If you join our full-time BA Politics and International Relations degree at Northampton, you will receive a laptop when your course begins*. The laptops are built to a bespoke custom specification ideal for use in the seminar room, collaborative group work or studying at home.

    Whatever your ambitions, we’re here to help you to achieve them. We’ll support you to identify the skills you’re learning during your course, find your strengths and secure practical experience so that when it comes to applying for jobs or further study you’ll feel confident in standing out from the crowd. We’ve created the Northampton Employment Promise because we are so confident that if you focus on your studies and complete one of our awards you’ll be highly employable by the time you graduate. Putting you in a great position to secure employment or continue your studies.

    To check out the full list of perks, visit our Student Perks page or dedicated International Perks page.

    *UK fee payers only (see Terms and Conditions for further details).

  • The Integrated Foundation Year (IFY) offers a new and exciting route into studying for a degree, attracting ambitious and driven students who are willing to learn and advance.

    If you have non-standard qualifications or do not quite meet the admissions requirements for our Politics and International Relations course we can offer you a fantastic opportunity to study a four year Politics and International Relations programme which includes a Integrated Foundation Year. The Integrated Foundation Year will help you develop the theoretical/practical and academic skills you need, in order to successfully progress to the full award.

    Our four-year courses will enable you to successfully follow the degree pathway of your choice while gaining essential study skills. The foundation year of your chosen degree will be studied on a full-time basis and is aimed at supporting the transition to higher education. Years two, three and four are then studied as a standard degree programme.

    Please see our Integrated Foundation Year page for more details.

  • Do I need any experience or education in Politics before studying this course?

    No, we don’t expect you to have any experience or education in Politics and International Relations before you join the course. Our course aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of the nature of contemporary politics and the international order. We want you to come with a passion for politics and in open mind to learning.

    How will I be assessed?

    The Politics and International Relations degree is assessed primarily (though not exclusively) through continuous forms of coursework.

    We use a diverse range of assessments designed to develop both your knowledge of the course area and important key skills, including written and oral communication and critical analysis.

    Examples of assessments include traditional essays, short assignments, presentations, participation in debates, internet research assignments as well as interactive technology (e.g. computer gaming in relation to international diplomacy and strategy). Most modules involve two or three units of assessment spread out over the academic year.

    Is there a research placement available?

    A special feature of the Politics and International Relations course is the research placement in year two, where you will have the opportunity to work with relevant organisations in the UK or abroad. Recent students have undertaken placements with members of parliament, political parties and voluntary organisations.

    We also offer an International Field module that gives you the opportunity to apply your learning to international contexts. The International Field module is funded by the Faculty of Business and Law (subject to terms and conditions).

    Will I go on study trips?

    As part of the compulsory second year International Field Module, you will have the opportunity to participate in a specifically designed international field trip, which will be funded by the University.

    Who are the Student Support Team?

    The Student Experience Support Team are a team of previous graduates of the University of Northampton, they are here to support all Faculty of Business and Law students by offering a friendly listening ear and ensuring students are aware of the numerous support systems that the University has to offer. The team provide confidential 1-1 meetings in person and online where they will signpost the students to the relevant support teams to ensure they are aware of the support available for them throughout their studies. You can follow the Student Experience Support Team to see the services they offer.

Changemaker Stories: Izzy Rainbow and Tasha Murphy

Izzy and Tasha have embraced the Changemaker mindset by taking advantage of UON's employability scheme. Alongside studying BA International Relation degrees, the skills they built have helped shaped their current career paths.


Careers and Employability

Graduates from Politics and International Relations courses possess highly sought after transferable skills that enable them to pursue careers in the public, private and voluntary sectors, including government, public administration, commerce and international development.

Postgraduate Opportunities

Some of our politics and international relations degree graduates also go on to complete further study at postgraduate level, including the MA International Relations, MA History, and the International Relations and Politics PhD scheme at the University of Northampton.


Postgraduate Discount Scheme

Our postgraduate courses are a great way to enhance the skills you have already learnt. Benefit from our 20% alumni discount on postgraduate fees to give yourself a CV that will catch the eye of employers.

Campus Facilities

Learning Hub

The Learning Hub is at the heart of the campus and home to the student information desk.