International Relations and History

BA, 3-4 years

This is for you if... you want to investigate the evolution of the international political system and the workings of the contemporary world.

Course Description

  • As part of the University of Leicester’s commitment to being a leading academic institution, we regularly review and update our degrees and modules to ensure that they reflect the most up-to-date research, knowledge, ideas and teaching practices, as well as taking into account student feedback. We also have to take into account the availability of key teaching staff where this will impact on the delivery of the course.  As a result, if there are major changes to the course that you have applied for, we will contact you as soon as possible and will ensure that any disruption to your studies is minimised.

International Relations are the product of historical change which means that in order to understand one, you must consider the other. The International Relations and History BA offers you the opportunity to explore the ways in which these two fascinating topics are linked.

You will learn about the methods and fundamentals of political and historical inquiry, as well as how to analyse complex issues and reach reasoned conclusions, to present coherent arguments in written and oral form, to engage in independent research and work effectively as a member of a team. These are all skills which are highly valued by employers.

You will be able to study the most vital issues affecting the modern world and understand their historical backgrounds - from the world's foremost powers (the United States, the EU, Russia and China) to smaller nations that are impacted by their behaviour.

You will be able to examine the workings and the health of the political system in Britain and other states. You will also explore some of the most important and interesting issues in national and international politics: Who holds power and why? Is there a crisis of political participation? What are the appropriate limits to individual liberty? Is globalisation a positive or negative process? When is war just? How can conflicts be resolved in divided societies? Can established modes of politics tackle environmental challenges?

This degree is very flexible as you will have the opportunity to choose the majority of your modules in your second and third years, allowing you to delve deeper into the areas of History and International Relations that fascinate you the most.

Key Facts
Typical offer
UCAS code
Start date
September 2018
Politics and International Relations, History

Admissions enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5281

Course enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 2702

Politics and International Relations website

View Key Information Sets

Why Leicester?

Politics Review, the leading magazine for students of Politics, has been associated with Politics at Leicester for over 25 years.

More than 90% of our research has been designated internationally significant, meaning our academics are among the world's best in their subjects. 

Our New History Lab brings together staff and students every fortnight to discuss history over tea and cake. Guest speakers have included newsreader Julie Etchingham and historian Melvyn Bragg.

The History Society, one of the largest societies in the University, has won an award for its support network and regular academic and social events, including the annual English and History Ball.

Course Structure

Year 1

Year 1

In your first year you will receive a solid grounding in history and international relations.

Core modules

  • The Shock of the Modern
  • Classics of International Relations
  • Cold War, Crisis and Confrontation: International Relations, 1945-89
  • Order and Disorder: International Relations from 1989 to the present

Option modules

Choose two option modules from:

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year 2

Year 2

In your second year the majority of your modules will be elective so that you have the chance to choose from a wide range of modules according to your historical or political interests. The only stipulation is that you choose half History and half International Relations modules.

You must take a research methods module in order to prepare for writing your dissertation in your third year. You will need to decide if you wish to write about history or international relations and take the appropriate module - 'The Historian's Craft' for history or 'Political Analysis' for international relations.

Core module

  • Perceiving the Past

Option modules

Choose two option modules from:

Plus a further three option modules from:

  • Foreign Policy Analysis
  • International Security Studies
  • International Theory
  • Sex and Gender in Global Politics
  • Latin American Politics
  • Political Analysis
  • Power and Politics in Africa
  • The Making of Contemporary US Foreign Policy



Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year Abroad (optional)

Year Abroad (optional)

If you want to, you can spend your third year studying abroad at one of our partner institutions (eligibility is dependent on your academic performance in Years 1 and 2). Alternatively, you can opt to continue studying at the University and complete your degree in three years.

Studying abroad is not just for people who are interested in travelling and meeting new people. It is about acquiring life skills that are becoming increasingly significant for a wide range of jobs in our modern globalised society. Whether you go on to work in the private sector, the state sector, a non-governmental organisation, or become self-employed you will find the experience invaluable. Find out more from our International Office.

Please note that a year spent abroad still incurs a tuition fee, but this is much lower than for a normal year at Leicester. See our Fees and Funding section for details.

Politics and International Relations at Leicester has links with several European universities, administered through the European Erasmus scheme. If you are eligible for a loan from Student Finance you can apply for a travel grant from them. During your second year at Leicester you will receive appropriate language training.

  • For the latest information on the future of the Erasmus scheme at UK universities please see our Brexit microsite 

We have links with the following universities:

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Final Year

Final Year

Your third year offers you even more chance to shape the course of your degree with the only compulsory module being the Dissertation which is on a topic of your choice. You will take half of your modules in history and half in international relations.

Option modules

Choose four option modules from:

    Plus your dissertation

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Major/Minor Degrees

    Major/Minor degrees enable you to create your own degree. You can study a core area in depth (your major subject), while also exploring an additional area (your minor subject).

    Why not complement your Major with a subject that you enjoyed before, or which has vocational elements that can boost your career prospects? Alternatively, you may want to try something completely new that you’ve always been interested in, like a language.

    Find out more

    Teaching and Assessment

    You will be taught by a variety of methods, ranging from large lectures to seminars to individual tutorials. Lectures are used to provide historical narrative and to raise key historical questions and areas of debate. Seminars are where you share your opinion about those debates and put forward your interpretation of the history. In your first year you will normally have around ten contact hours per week, with more emphasis being placed on small group teaching and independent study as you progress through your degree.

    You will have regular meetings with your personal tutor to discuss progress in your studies. Your personal tutor will also provide a sympathetic ear for all matters of personal concern, whether they be academic, financial, housing, career or social issues.

    You will be assessed through a variety of methods including written examination, assessed essay, reports, briefing papers and presentations. 

    Independent learning

    When not attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. To help with your independent learning, you can access the Library and our social study spaces in halls of residence.

    Overall workload

    Typical workload hours for Politics and International Relations courses in 2016/17:

    Year 1: 14% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

    • Teaching, learning and assessment: 168 hours
    • Independent learning: 1032 hours

    Year 2: 15% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

    • Teaching, learning and assessment: 180 hours
    • Independent learning: 1020 hours

    Optional year abroad: If you’re spending a year abroad, your contact hours will vary depending on the institution you’re studying at.

    Final year: 14% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

    • Teaching, learning and assessment: 168 hours
    • Independent learning: 1032 hours

    While your actual contact hours may depend on the option modules you select, the above information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities for each year of your course.

    Academic support

    Our Student Learning Development Team provides help in the following areas:

    • study and exam skills
    • academic writing
    • presentations
    • dissertations
    • numerical data skills
    • referencing sources

    Our AccessAbility Centre offers support and practical help for students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties, including physical, mental health or mobility difficulties, deafness, or visual impairment.

    Teaching staff

    You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. PhD research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Our teaching is informed by the research we do. You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.

    Entry Requirements

    • A/AS Levels: BBB. Two AS-levels considered in place of one A-level. General Studies accepted.
    • EPQ with A-levels: BBC + EPQ at grade B.
    • Access to HE Diploma: Pass diploma with 45 credits at Level 3, including 25 credits at Distinction.
    • International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 28 points minimum.
    • BTEC Nationals: Full Diploma with DDM.

    Other national and international qualifications considered. If you do not meet the entry requirements for this course, you can apply for the International Foundation Year run by our dedicated International Study Centre. The ISC provides academic and English language support to help you progress to your chosen undergraduate degree at the University of Leicester.

    Second Year Entry may be possible with suitable qualifications.

    Selection Process

    When considering your application, we will look for evidence that you will be able to fulfil the objectives of the course and achieve the standards required. We will take into account a range of factors including previous exam results.

    Applicants are not normally interviewed. If you receive an offer you will be invited to visit the department.

    English Language Requirements

    IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.

    International Qualifications

    Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

    Countries list

    Fees and Funding

    • Starting in 2018

      • £9,250 in your first year. After 2018/19, the tuition fee you pay may increase annually in line with inflation and is subject to government regulations.
      • Year Abroad: your fee will be £1,250 for that year.

        Find out more about scholarships and funding.

      • Starting in 2018

        • £15,980 per year
        • Year Abroad: your fee will be £3,995 which is 25% of the full-time tuition fee.
          Find out more about scholarships and funding.

        Career Opportunities

        The development of transferable skills is a key feature of teaching at Leicester. Our courses are designed to ensure you are well equipped to secure graduate roles or places on postgraduate courses. We aim to improve your skills in written communications (from short reports to a long dissertation), oral presentation (both formal and informal), working as part of a team, independent learning (e.g. information gathering and time management), problem solving and information technology.

        Our careers and employability tutors support and facilitate your academic, professional and personal development. They will help you to make an informed choice, provide help and advice on employability, and send you information on potentially interesting traineeships and vacancies.


        Our Career Development Service is here to support you, with advice on interviews, CVs, work experience, volunteering and more. From Freshers’ Week to Graduation and beyond, they are here to help you reach your professional goals.

        Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
        International Relations and History BA 3 years full-time LV21 Apply Now
        International Relations and History with Year Abroad BA 4 year full-time LV21 Apply Now
        International Relations and History
        3 years full-time
        UCAS Code
        International Relations and History with Year Abroad
        4 year full-time
        UCAS Code

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