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International Relations BA

3-4 years

The world is built on relationships. But how are these shaped and tested by global issues like terrorism, human rights and the distribution of power? You’ll learn about the key concepts of international relations, as well as how to work out in the field.

International Relations BA, 3-4 years

The world is built on relationships. But how are these shaped and tested by global issues like terrorism, human rights and the distribution of power? You’ll learn about the key concepts of international relations, as well as how to work out in the field.

Start date:


Course information

Typical offer ABB-BBB

UCAS code L250

Institute code L34

Taught by Politics and International Relations

Course description

Course description

Over the course of our International Relations BA you will explore some of the most important and interesting issues in international relations, including order and disorder in international relations, human rights in the global order, old and new security challenges, and the impact of globalisation.

Our lecturers produce internationally renowned, cutting-edge research, and are keen to share their knowledge. During your time with us, we will encourage you to focus your studies on your own areas of interest. You will benefit from a wide range of exciting module choices – and as our lecturers have such diverse interests, you will receive enthusiastic support and guidance for whichever area you choose.

Your core modules will cover international relations from 1945 to the present, ethics and international relations, the world economy, theories of international relations, international security and foreign policy. You will also be able to choose from a range of option modules covering issues such as gender and international relations, old and new wars, counter-terrorism and international development. Regions covered in depth on the course include the US, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • A/AS Levels: ABB-BBB. All subjects accepted. Two AS-levels considered in place of one A-level.
  • EPQ with A-levels: BBB-BBC + EPQ at grade B.
  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass diploma with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 credits at Distinction
  • International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 28 points overall.
  • BTEC Nationals: Full Diploma with DDM
  • T Levels: Merit in Management and Administration. Other subjects may be considered.

Other official national and international qualifications considered from across the world. You can review some of the qualifications we accept on our countries page and English Language equivalencies.

If your qualification or country is not listed, please contact us for more information, including the name and result of the qualification you have studied.

Second year entry may be possible with suitable qualifications.

Contextual offers

The University of Leicester is committed to providing equitable opportunities for all applicants from all backgrounds. We make contextual offers to support students who may be impacted by the area they live in, their personal circumstances or who have completed one of our progression programmes. These offers are usually one or two grades lower than the standard entry requirements. To qualify for a contextual offer, you must apply for an eligible course and meet specific criteria – check if you’re eligible.

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

Fees and funding

UK Students

Starting in 2025

Tuition fees for 2025/26 are yet to be confirmed. As an indication of what you might pay, the fees for students who started in 2024/25 were:

  • £9,250 in your first year. Tuition fees are subject to government regulations and may change in future years
  • Year Abroad: your fee will be £1,385 for that year

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

International Students

Starting in 2025

Tuition fees for 2025/26 are yet to be confirmed. As an indication of what you might pay, the fees for students who started in 2024/25 were:

  • £19,700 per year
  • Year Abroad: £4,925, which is 25% of the full-time tuition fee

If you are resident outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland, you will need to pay a deposit of £3,000 to secure your place. This will be subtracted from your total tuition fee.

From 2022 onwards, EU nationals will pay the International fee. If you are an EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme, you may qualify for the UK fee (subject to criteria).

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Careers and employability

Careers and employability

Our degrees provide you with the transferable skills to equip you for a wide range of careers, including government, the media, education, administration, and management in industry and commerce.

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.

Graduate destinations

Graduates from our Politics degrees have gone on to work for a wide range of employers including:

  • BNP Paribas
  • HSBC
  • Credit Agricole
  • Applus Aerospace
  • Spottydog Communications

Tom chose to study Politics at Leicester because he loved the city.

Careers and Employability Service

Get career-ready at Leicester with guidance from our award-winning Careers and Employability Service. We're here to give you a lifetime offer of support, even after graduation. Our team of specialist careers advisers and mentors will help you every step of the way. From supporting you with CVs and interviews, to volunteering opportunities and placements, we're here to help you reach your professional goals.

Related courses

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

We are committed to providing skills and knowledge to help prepare you tackle global challenges. We have mapped our undergraduate degrees for learning which aligns to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This degree includes learning which relates to the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Find out more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals

What our students say

What our students say

Emma, International Relations and History BA, Year 3 (Study Abroad) 

Why did you choose to study International Relations and History at Leicester? 

I decided to study International Relations and History as I wanted to understand the interactions between states better and combined with history. It is an excellent opportunity to analyse the events from the historical perspective, as in my opinion, International Relations and History go hand in hand. I picked Leicester because I had so many options to choose from when it came to my modules. This was an essential aspect for me as I had the freedom to study subjects that I was interested in. Another fantastic thing about the University of Leicester is that lecturers will help you write a dissertation about any topic you want. For example, I want to write a dissertation about the relationship between Korea and China in the fifteenth century, and the lecturers at the University of Leicester made this possible. The University of Leicester has an amazing Year Abroad programme, having partnerships with universities worldwide.

What are you enjoying most about your time at Leicester?

I do enjoy how friendly everyone is. I like the fact that the University of Leicester is multicultural and you get to know people from all over the place, besides it is easy to make friends.

Curriculum highlights - International Relations

Key Concepts in International Relations: In this module you will learn all the essentials of IR like 'What is anarchy?', 'What are the main issues in IR?', What are the main theories of IR?'. I enjoyed this module because for someone with little knowledge about IR, this module was a great introduction to future modules.

Comparative European Politics: In this module you will compare key features of modern liberal democratic states within Europe. You will compare constitutions, legislatures, judiciaries, executives and territorial politics. I enjoyed this module because I had the chance to see how different the various European states are. I also had the chance to see the differences between my home country (Romania) and other European countries.

Sex and Gender in Global Politics: This module was one of my favourite IR modules. We analysed concepts and debates in the study of Politics and IR from the perspective of gender.

Curriculum highlights - History 

Barbarism and Civilisation: This module was the one that made me fall in love with Medieval History. We examined landscapes, medieval maps such as the Mappa Mundi. 

Europe 1861-1991: Emancipation and Subjugation: In this module you will analyse the development of Europe, having a focus on countries such as Germany, Italy and Romania in the late nineteenth century. The most exciting part of this module was the first assessment, as this was not a traditional essay. For this assessment, we got the chance to select a question and then work in groups to create a podcast.

Becoming the Historical Researcher: This module was by far the most helpful. It is a module dedicated to students who want to write a history dissertation (just like me). What is a dissertation? What should we write? How can we pick our dissertation topic? The advice was helpful for essays for other modules too. I really liked the fact that we had to think about our dissertation early and write a dissertation, so that we have plenty of time to prepare for the real thing.

What Next? 

I'm just about to start my year abroad in South Korea. This will be a great opportunity to start writing my dissertation, which is about Medieval Korea, to develop my Korean language skills (language that I studied at the University of Leicester) and experience a different learning style. My study abroad experience so far was great. I received all the help that I needed form the Study Abroad team as well as from the Year Abroad Coordinator. I am looking forward to spending a year in Korea to learn, and experience their tradition, culture and rich history.

Course structure

Year 1

Year 1

Core modules

Option module

Choose one option module from:

Plus one option module 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

Core modules

Option modules

Choose three option modules from:

Then choose two option modules from:

You must choose at least one of the modules marked *.

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)

We’ll make sure you have everything you need for your future career: not just by awarding you a high quality degree, but also by helping you to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to make your mark in the world as a Citizen of Change. One way you can do this is by opting to take a Year Abroad between Years 2 and 3 of your degree.

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 a career in the private, public or third sector - or plough your own furrow as an entrepreneur – you will find the experience invaluable.

For more information, including a list of destinations, please visit our Study Abroad website.

Please note

  • A year spent abroad still incurs a tuition fee, but this is much lower than for a normal year at Leicester. See the Fees and Funding tab of this page for details.
  • You may be eligible for a travel grant from Student Finance England.
  • Places are offered on a competitive basis, and eligibility is dependent on your academic performance in Years 1 and 2.
  • Language courses, at beginners or advanced level, are available through our Languages at Leicester scheme.

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


Choose three option modules from:

Then choose two 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.

Why Leicester?

Politics and International Relations at Leicester

A diverse university in an international city, Marija found Leicester the ideal place to study.

You will definitely want to join the Students' Union's Politics and International Relations Society, which offers a great mix of academic support and social events.

Guest speakers who have visited the University to discuss their lives in politics including MPS, members of the House of Lords, MEPs, members of the US Congress, officials working in UK and EU institutions, diplomats and senior personnel from the armed forces.

The academic staff in the department have written or edited dozens of books and publish regularly in major national and international journals. Where other people only get to read what our experts think, you will be working directly with them, learning from them in lectures and questioning them in seminars.

Teaching and learning

You will experience a variety of learning and teaching methods throughout your time at Leicester. We use the latest teaching resources, such as the Blackboard virtual learning environment where students can access support materials for all our modules. As well as traditional lectures and seminars, you will work in small groups, take part in debates and simulation exercises, and undertake a research project of your choice in your final year.

The development of transferable skills is a key feature of teaching at Leicester. Our courses are designed 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.

All members of Politics and International Relations at Leicester are engaged in cutting-edge research. We believe that good teaching flourishes in an intellectual environment informed by original research. Final year modules reflect the research interests of academic staff, exposing students to the latest thinking.

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.

Your contact hours will depend on the option modules you select. You can see details of the contact hours on individual module pages.

Academic support

Our Centre for Academic Achievement 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.

Apply now

Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
Course International Relations Qualification BA Duration 3 years full-time UCAS Code L250 Availability How to apply
Course International Relations with Year Abroad Qualification BA Duration 4 years full-time UCAS Code L250 Availability How to apply

Data about this course

The course challenges your beliefs, forces you to think critically, and makes you more open-minded.


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