Major in International Relations

BA, 3-4 years

This is for you if... you would like to combine the study of International Relations with another subject.

Course Description

If you choose International Relations as your Major, you will study the distribution of power in the international arena and how individual nation states interact with each other and with international organisations. You will learn how to apply and evaluate different concepts and theories, and how to conduct and present your own research.

Key Facts
Typical offer
UCAS code
Start date
September 2017
Politics and International Relations

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.

Our student Politics and International Relations Society organises a series of events, including visiting speakers, socials and an annual Summer Ball.

Notable figures who have given talks at Leicester in recent years include 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.

Our research strengths in Politics include: political participation; political parties in Europe; ethics and war; environmental politics; Euroscepticism, and US social policy.

Course Structure

Year 1

Year 1

In your first year you will study the nature and effects of key developments in the Cold War and post-Cold War eras. You will gain an understanding of key thinkers and classic texts in International Relations, and explore where power lies in the global economy.


  • Cold War, Crisis and Confrontation: International Relations 1945-89
  • Classics of International Relations
  • Order and Disorder: International Relations from 1989 to the Present
  • Politics, Power and Ethics
  • Power in the World Economy

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 you will develop your understanding of the major theoretical approaches used in the study of International Relations. You will also learn about the nature of contemporary political analysis, and debates about how the study of International Relations should be conducted. You will also have the opportunity to study one of a range of optional modules which look in more depth at foreign policy or security issues, as well as the politics of particular regions throughout the world.

Core modules

  • International Theory
  • Political Analysis
  • International Security Studies

Option modules

Choose two option modules from:

  • Foreign Policy Analysis
  • The Making of Contemporary US Foreign Policy
  • Governing Societies in Conflict
  • Politics and Power in Africa
  • Sex and Gender in Global Politics

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 attend one of these, you may be eligible for an Erasmus grant if you comply with European Commission rules and regulations. 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

In your final year you will develop research, writing, and bibliographical skills to enable you to conduct independent research into an aspect of International Relations and write a dissertation on a topic of your choice. This will be complemented by a wide range of optional modules in each semester, which will allow you to study specialist topics in greater depth and detail.

Option modules

Choose four option modules from:

  • American Political Development
  • British Politics and European Integration
  • Climate Change: Ethics, Issues, Justice
  • Contentious Politics in Europe
  • Democratisation and EU Enlargement in Post-Communist Europe
  • Feminism
  • Global Justice and Human Rights
  • Parliamentary Studies
  • Political Participation in Britain
  • Political Parties in Western Democracies
  • Politics and the Environment
  • Politics of the International Drugs Trade
  • South African Politics
  • Technology, Politics and War
  • The American Presidency
  • The Changing Character of War
  • The Conservatives: Crisis and Recovery
  • The Political Legacies of Conflict in Northern Ireland
  • The Politics of Contemporary British Foreign Policy
  • The Politics of Counter-Terrorism
  • The Politics of Nuclear Weapons
  • The Politics of Slavery
  • The Politics of the Global South
  • The Politics of War and Peace: Northern Ireland after 1972

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

On a Major/Minor degree, 75% of your course will be your Major (in this case International Relations) and 25% will be your Minor.


Please note that you cannot study a Major in International Relations with a Minor in:

  • International Relations
  • Politics

Now choose your Minor

Teaching and Assessment

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 (for example, 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.

Assessment for each module takes place at the end of each semester on the basis of course work and competitive examinations. Most modules are assessed through a combination of written examination and assessed essay.

Entry Requirements

  • A/AS Levels: BBB. Two AS-levels considered in place of one A-level. General Studies accepted.
  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass relevant diploma with some 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

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 2016

    • £9,000 per year
    • The fee for a year abroad is £1,250, rather than £9,000.

    Starting in 2017

    An inflationary increase (2.8% based on RPIX*) in tuition fees and student support loans have been announced by the Government for 2017. This is still subject to formal parliamentary approval however, if approved, fees for 2017/18 entry could rise to £9,250 in 2017/18.
    After 2017/18, the tuition fee you pay may increase annually in line with inflation (RPIX) and is subject to government regulations.
    (*RPIX is a measure of inflation in the UK, equivalent to all items in the Retail Price Index (RPI) excluding mortgage interest payments.)

  • Starting in 2016

    • £14,630 per year
    • The fee for a year abroad is £3,657.50, rather than £14,630.

    Starting in 2017

    • To be confirmed
    Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Career Opportunities

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.


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
Major in International Relations BA 3 years full-time L202 Apply Now
Major in International Relations with Year Abroad BA 4 years full-time L202 Apply Now
Major in International Relations
3 years full-time
Major in International Relations with Year Abroad
4 years full-time