International Relations BA (Hons)

Key information


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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.

Programme in detail

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 IR 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 IR degree.

In Year Two you will select from a pool of compulsory modules including International organisations, International political economy, Security in a globalised world, Foreign analysis and world politics, and Politics of international Human Rights as well as having the choice of a wide variety of modules that deal with the international political sphere. These include, but are not limited to American politics and society, Regimes and their consequences, and Gender and Feminist politics: core concepts and theories.

In Year Three modules are available on Identity in contemporary international politics; World politics and the world economy, Comparative peace processes and Africa-China relations in a changing global order. You can also choose from a range of modules that don’t have an explicit international dimension.

Work placement/Year in industry

We have a number of different modules that you can choose from to develop your work place skills. In second year you can choose the module Politics in Action: placement scheme. This module will see you carrying out a placement in a local organisation, seeing how knowledge and understanding of politics is important in the work place. In third year you have a second opportunity to get involved in a Local Placement Scheme, again helping you to put your knowledge of the relationship between Politics and the work place in to action.

Study as part of joint-honours at 75:25 Choosing this subject as a Major

In Year One you take compulsory modules in Foundations in Politics and Foundations in International Politics, as well as modules focused on Comparative Politics, and study skills. You also have the option to take modules in either Political Theory or British Politics as well as 30 credits available to take modules elsewhere in the University.

The option to take modules outside of International Relations in your first year is a fantastic opportunity to engage with other topics, particularly languages that are the perfect complement to a degree in International Relations. Then in Years Two and Three there are a wide choice of optional modules, including the option of a Dissertation in Year Three, giving you the chance to complete a sustained, original piece of work on a topic of your choice.

Study as part of joint-honours at 50:50 Choosing this subject as a combined degree

Students doing the 50% programme are ideally positioned to connect with a wide range of other disciplines, including history, business, languages, law, communication studies, philosophy, criminology and sociology.

You will explore international political ideas, systems and processes and learn how to collect data, develop knowledge and construct arguments.

Department Key Facts

Number of first year students

184 Year One undergraduates in 2018

Graduate prospects

94% are employed or in further study six months after graduating (DLHE 2016/17)

Research performance

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, 50% of our research impact was judged outstanding.
The Department produces research of international standing and engages in a wide range of dissemination and engagement work to ensure the impact of this work is maximised both within academia and beyond.

Why this subject?

Build your degree to reflect your interests

At Liverpool, you’ll get genuine diversity in the range of modules we offer with themes focused at national and international levels. Our programmes provide you with a solid foundation of political studies in Year One and we’ll then encourage and guide you to choose modules to develop your own specialist interests.

Strengthen your employability skills for a wide-range of careers

Our programmes are developed with a broad range of employers and industries in mind and the extensive critical, communication and research skills our students gain have meant our recent graduates have found success in a diverse range of careers.

Learn from research-active staff

You’ll explore theory and develop an understanding of historical, current and future developments. Study at Liverpool and immerse yourself in an environment where all your lecturers are actively researching and publishing in their specialist fields, with national and international reach.

Take placements to enhance your experience

We offer a range of placements including international exchange programmes at one of our partner universities and an exciting opportunity to secure a placement with an MP at Westminster.

Our plans for teaching 2021/22

Over the last year, we have delivered teaching to suit a range of circumstances, within UK Government guidelines. Take a look at our plans for delivering teaching from September.