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International Relations

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Although the UCAS equal consideration date has now passed, many of our courses are still accepting applications from UK students for 2024 entry through UCAS.

The deadline for international students is 30 June 2024.

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Bachelor of Arts

A Bachelor of Arts (BA Hons) is a bachelor’s degree awarded for an undergraduate programme in the arts.

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Course overview

Studying International Relations brings a focus on power, authority, citizenship, conflict and cooperation in the world around us, it is an opportunity to engage with politics on an international scale and to think deeply about the changing world.


Current international trends are interpreted in a historical perspective yet with a view to future directions and likely developments. Politics affects all our lives and with a deeper understanding you can join in conversations that address key issues.

You will have the opportunity to learn from internationally recognised scholars and to hear about their cutting edge research examining a wide range of aspects of international relations. You will explore political ideas, systems and processes, learn to question and to challenge, how to collect data, develop knowledge, construct arguments and communicate your findings in different ways.


What you'll learn

  • Key features of international relations and politics
  • Ability to investigate and analyse questions of international concern
  • Critical evaluation of political events, ideas and institutions using a variety of methodologies and approaches
  • Principles of academic writing and speaking
  • Opportunity to undertake a work placement
  • Application of the academic study of politics to questions of public concern and the ability to communicate with both specialist and non-specialist audiences

Teaching Excellence Framework 2023

We’re proud to announce we’ve been awarded a Gold rating for educational excellence.

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Year one

In year one you will take Foundations in politics and Foundations in international politics, Comparative Politics and a study skills module Studying Politics Successfully: Skills and Methods that will aid you in developing all the tools you need to study International Relations effectively throughout your degree programme. You will also have the option to take either British Politics or Political Theory modules and a final 30 credits to study courses elsewhere in the University such as languages which can be an excellent companion to an International Relations degree.

Compulsory modules


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

How does politics function in a globalised world? What explains cross-country and cross-time differences in political institutions, behaviour, and outcomes? This module provides an introduction to Comparative Politics by focusing on key concepts and contemporary issues affecting democracies and authoritarian regimes across the world. It introduces students to basic debates around regime types, their causes and consequences, institutional configurations and their effects, political parties and party systems, and political behavior. The module also introduces the idea of the comparative method and how to apply it to the study of different countries. Teaching is based on a combination of theoretical and empirical perspectives, using case studies as illustrations throughout the module.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module provides an introduction to the main schools of thought and key issues in the field of International Relations (IR). It starts by offering an outline of these schools of thought and introduces students to important thinkers and theories within them. It then moves on to applying and comparing and contrasting different theories to a range of important contemporary issues, from the persistence of war to the environment. It concludes with a discussion of possible futures.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module provides students with a critical introduction to a number of political concepts such as power, the state, legitimacy of sovereignty and gender through engaging with political thinkers such as Weber, Dahl, Tilly, Hooks and Rousseau. It also aims to establish a grounding in a number of areas that will benefit the students in the academic study of politics. For example, essay writing, debating in seminars, and an introduction to academic research. In so doing the module develops on the skills gained at A-level to ensure students are fully prepared for degree level study in Politics. Principally this will be accomplished through interactive lectures and seminars, as well as detailed feedback on their assessments. This module provides students with the tools they require to master different forms of assessment and course work. It also lays the foundations for the development of research confident students by making them active learners with a responsibility for their own academic study.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module will equip you with the core skills that you need to be successful on a politics degree. These include skills like: Critical thinking, public speaking, choosing sources, making a convincing argument, academic essay writing, qualitative and quantitative research, and referencing. Many of these skills are expected at university – and are essential to a high grade – yet are not necessarily taught elsewhere. This module plugs that gap and ensures that you are confident and prepared for the different kinds of work that lie ahead.

Optional modules


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

The module covers the ideas, policies of the main political parties in UK politics and how they are conditioned by wider ideologies. It examines the key reasons why people vote the way they do, analysing recent elections. The module assesses the importance of the media and political rhetoric and also analyses the importance of gender.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module covers a period of crucial significance for European history, including interactions between Europe and other parts of the world in the premodern period. Much of it will be unfamiliar to many of you, but, we hope, will be all the more interesting for that reason. At its broadest, this module covers more than a millennium, from the rise of Christianity to the European arrival in and settlement of the Americas. We start with the origins of Christianity in the eastern Mediterranean, before moving on to the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Islam. In Europe, we chronicle the rise of post-Roman kingdoms, the settlements of Vikings in Europe and more distant locations, the launching and objectives of the crusades. In light of the expansion of the papacy, we assess the emergence of new forms of spirituality and heresy, political conflicts between nascent states, and the impact of the Reformation and Catholic Reformation on other parts of the world. Underlying these events are some continuous themes, such as the foundation of the Christian Church, the development and evolution of notions of holiness, and the effect of religious belief on methods of education, ideas of difference and deviance, and responses to natural disasters. Another theme that runs through the module is to assess how gender mores affected the experiences of and possibilities for individuals who lived in these periods. Course content also looks at the practice of, and ideology behind, political activity and war. We aim to give you an appreciation of world views and of methods of representation based on the mental horizons possible in the age before modern technology.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module enables students to understand the historical background to the development of the Troubles in Northern Ireland with reference to the underlying political, social, economic, cultural and religious context. It gives an overview of the main events and underlying causes of the outbreak of violent conflict in the late 1960s and examines the motives of main participating elements including the Northern Ireland and British governments, extra-parliamentary and political movements.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module introduces the history and society of the ancient Greek world, from the liberation of Athens from tyranny in the late sixth century BC through to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. The module offers students a foundation of knowledge in the history of events, as well as exploring a range of aspects of Greek society and culture, including the Greek ‘way of war’, sexuality and religion. It also introduces a range of sources for the study of ancient history, especially the two great Greek history writers, Herodotus and Thucydides.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This introductory politics module focuses on the distribution of power in Britain and the nature of the British state. It outlines the traditional conception of the British political system as the ‘Westminster Model’ and considers the implications of this model for how democracy is conceived and how political power is mobilised, in whose interests and with what consequences, primarily in the UK but also in former British colonies and dependencies. The module examines the various component parts of the British political system including the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Parliament, the judiciary, the civil service , regional and local government and devolved institutions, from both a constitutional and political-sociological perspective. It also assesses the emerging impact of Brexit on the UK political system and for the distribution of political power within it, including consideration of the role of ‘imperialist imaginaries’ in shaping discussion of the UK’s post-Brexit future. The module assumes no prior knowledge of the British political system or the particular issues under consideration.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module aims to explore the various ideas that have contributed to the development of modern Ireland. It will explain how these ideas have interacted with one another and how they have shaped political debates and brought about social change.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module provides students with an introduction to modern British history.   It broadens their existing understanding by first considering factors of a general importance in the development of modern Britain, and then looking at particular events and themes.   In this way, students will be given a grasp both of broad themes in British history – such as demographics, political units, ideologies and social change – and of the specific way history unfolded at key moments and turning points.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module provides students with an introduction to modern continental European history.   It broadens their understanding by first considering factors of a general importance in the development of modern Europe, and then looking at particular events and countries.   In this way, students will be given a grasp both of broad themes in European history – such as demographics, political units, ideologies and social change – and of the specific way history unfolded in certain times and places.


Credits: 30 / Semester: whole session

This module introduces some of the key concepts, theories and debates in contemporary political theory. We will explore questions such as: how should we define liberty? Is equality always desirable? What does a ‘just society’ look like? What does it mean to be a liberal, anarchist, Marxist or feminist? In order to address these and other questions we will explore the ideas of several political, moral and legal philosophers. In doing so, we will also practice the skills for constructing, communicating and critiquing philosophical arguments, including their implications for laws, institutions and society.

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Global Opportunities

University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide.

What's available on this course?

Language study

Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

  • A dedicated languages degree
  • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
  • Language modules (selected degrees)
  • Language classes alongside your studies

Read more about studying a language

Study as part of XJTLU 2+2

Students studying International Relations BA at XJTLU can study this course at the University of Liverpool. Read more about International Relations BA (Hons) as part of the 2+2 programme.

The natural next step for ambitious XJTLU students who want to build a brilliant career.

  • Spend two years at the University of Liverpool campus
  • Improve your prospects of progressing to postgraduate study at a top 100 university
  • Receive two degrees: one from XJTLU, one from the University of Liverpool
  • Get support with visas, accommodation and your career.

Read more about the 2+2 programme.

Combine this subject

With a combined degree, you can study two subjects as part of the same degree programme.

  • Choose from 30 subjects and over 300 combinations
  • Choose joint or major minor subjects
  • Adjust the weight of your subjects at the end of your first year
  • Same number of credits as single honours students
  • Same classes as single honours students
  • Appeal to a wide range of employers

Explore combined degrees for Politics courses

Your experience

The department of Politics is part of the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures and is based in 8-14 Abercromby Square. Students will be taught in a variety of buildings across campus.

Virtual tour

Supporting your learning

From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:

Careers and employability

An International Relations degree from the University of Liverpool offers you the chance to develop a variety of transferrable skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, written and verbal communication, teamwork, confidence and digital fluency.

Our graduates progress to a range of careers including local government, political parties, NGOs, charities and human rights organisations, civil and diplomatic services, market research, media and communications and public relations.

Previous employers include:

  • Dell
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • The National Trust
  • The British Council
  • The Independent.


80% of politics students are in work and/or further study 15 months after graduation.

Discover Uni, 2018-19.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
Full-time place, per year £9,250
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £1,385
International fees
Full-time place, per year £22,400
Year abroad fee £11,200
Fees are correct for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that the Year Abroad fee also applies to the Year in China.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about paying for your studies..

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to provide tuition fee discounts and help with living expenses while at university.

Check out our Liverpool Bursary, worth up to £2,000 per year for eligible UK students. Or for international students, our Undergraduate Global Advancement Scholarship offers a tuition fee discount of up to £5,000 for eligible international students starting an undergraduate degree from September 2024.

Discover our full range of undergraduate scholarships and bursaries

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

We've set the country or region your qualifications are from as United Kingdom. Change it here

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

A levels


Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is ABB with A in the EPQ.

You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

T levels

T levels considered in a relevant subject.

Applicants should contact us by completing the enquiry form on our website to discuss specific requirements in the core components and the occupational specialism.

GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

Applications encouraged. BTEC applications are encouraged. We evaluate each BTEC application on its merits.

International Baccalaureate

35 points no less than category 4

Irish Leaving Certificate H1, H1, H2, H2, H2, H3
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

AAB in Advanced Highers, combinations of Advanced Highers and Scottish Highers are welcome

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Accepted at Grade A plus AB at A Level
Access Pass Access diploma with 45 Level 3 credits graded at Distinction.
International qualifications

Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.

English language requirements

You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language, unless you’re from a majority English speaking country.

We accept a variety of international language tests and country-specific qualifications.

International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.

English language qualification Requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component below 5.5
TOEFL iBT 88 overall, with minimum scores of listening 17, writing 17, reading 17 and speaking 19
Duolingo English Test 120 overall, with no component below 95
Pearson PTE Academic 61 overall, with no component below 59
LanguageCert Academic 70 overall, with no skill below 60
Cambridge IGCSE First Language English 0500 Grade C overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking and listening. Speaking and listening must be separately endorsed on the certificate.
Cambridge IGCSE First Language English 0990 Grade 4 overall, with Merit in speaking and listening
Cambridge IGCSE Second Language English 0510/0511 0510: Grade B overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking. Speaking must be separately endorsed on the certificate. 0511: Grade B overall.
Cambridge IGCSE Second Language English 0993/0991 0993: Grade 6 overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking. Speaking must be separately endorsed on the certificate. 0991: Grade 6 overall.
International Baccalaureate Standard Level grade 5 or Higher Level grade 4 in English B, English Language and Literature, or English Language
Cambridge ESOL Level 2/3 Advanced 176 overall, with no paper below 162


Do you need to complete a Pre-Sessional English course to meet the English language requirements for this course?

The length of Pre-Sessional English course you’ll need to take depends on your current level of English language ability.

Find out the length of Pre-Sessional English course you may require for this degree.

Pre-sessional English

If you don’t meet our English language requirements, we can use your most recent IELTS score, or the equivalent score in selected other English language tests, to determine the length of Pre-Sessional English course you require.

Use the table below to check the course length you're likely to require for your current English language ability and see whether the course is available on campus or online.

Your most recent IELTS score Pre-Sessional English course length On campus or online
6.0 overall, with no component below 5.5 6 weeks On campus
5.5 overall, with no component below 5.5 10 weeks On campus and online options available
5.5 overall, with no more than one component below 5.5, and no component below 5.0 12 weeks On campus and online options available
5.5 overall, with no component below 4.5 20 weeks On campus
5.0 overall, with no component below 4.5 30 weeks On campus
4.5 overall, with no more than one component below 4.5, and no component below 4.0 40 weeks On campus

If you’ve completed an alternative English language test to IELTS, we may be able to use this to assess your English language ability and determine the Pre-Sessional English course length you require.

Please see our guide to Pre-Sessional English entry requirements for IELTS 6.5, with no component below 5.5, for further details.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

Alternative entry requirements

  • If your qualification isn't listed here, or you're taking a combination of qualifications, contact us for advice
  • If you are returning to learning, have had a disrupted education or are switching career pathways, the one-year Go Higher diploma qualifies you to apply for University of Liverpool arts, humanities and social sciences programmes
  • Applications from mature students are welcome.

Changes to International Relations BA (Hons)

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

7 June 2022: New course pages

New course pages launched.