BA International Relations
In this Section:
International relations explores how states interact with each other. This course offers you an historical understanding of the development of the ‘society of states’ and how it is changing today.
Taught by experts in a stimulating research environment, you’ll examine the ways in which states behave and what obligations they may have to wider conceptions of international society. You’ll explore the political dynamics that influence interstate cooperation, and the roles of international organisations like the UN in promoting international peace and security.
Core modules will give you the opportunity to gain expertise in specific regions and states including the Middle East, EU, Africa and the United States. At the same time, a wide range of optional modules will allow you to explore specialist topics that suit your interests, from terrorism and security studies to development challenges, gender and violence or political theory.
Core modules in Year 1 will equip you with the research and academic skills you need to study international relations. You’ll also gain an understanding of the historical development of states, the divide between the Global North and South and diverse political theories, while exploring current changes in the system of international politics and comparing the systems within different states. You can also start to put your studies into context, with optional modules on topics like development or British politics.
Year 2 allows you to build on this foundation, as you explore international organisations and their role in world order. You’ll develop a critical understanding of rival theories in international relations and examine important debates in security studies. The Approaches to Analysis module will help you improve your own research skills and give you an insight into the research methods used in the social sciences. A wider range of optional modules will allow you to focus on the political landscape in different countries or regions, and you could also choose a related module on development, public policy or a range of broader topics.
The only compulsory module in your final year will be your dissertation – an independently researched project on a topic of your choice, which showcases your knowledge and skills. In addition, you’ll complete your study with optional modules on topics as such as terrorism, UK foreign policy and Europe’s relationship with the wider global community. You can choose up to two optional modules from a range offered across the school in areas such as political psychology, the politics of aid or political theory.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
- Studying and Researching in POLIS 5 credits
- Comparative Politics 20 credits
- Making of the Modern World 20 credits
- International Politics 20 credits
- Freedom, Power and Resistance: An Introduction to Political Ideas 20 credits
- British Politics 20 credits
- Global Development Challenges 20 credits
- Contemporary Africas: Politics, Society and the Environment 20 credits
- Theories of International Relations 20 credits
- Security Studies 20 credits
- Approaches to Analysis 20 credits
- British Central Government 20 credits
- Politics and Policy in the EU 20 credits
- Comparative Politics of Pacific Asia 20 credits
- Politics of Contemporary China 20 credits
- State and Politics in Africa 20 credits
- United States Politics 20 credits
- Dissertation 40 credits
- British Foreign Policy 20 credits
- Politics of Islamism 20 credits
- Israel: Politics and Society 20 credits
- The Responsibility to Protect and to Prosecute 20 credits
- Crisis Diplomacy: Coercion, Sanctions and the Use of Force in International Relations 20 credits
Broadening your academic horizons
At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you gain diverse skills. These will include seminars and workshops where you can discuss in more depth the topics set out in traditional lectures. We emphasise the importance of participation, presentation skills and group work.
The teaching structure varies depending on your level of study – for example, in Year 1 you might expect to have six or seven lectures and three or four seminars per week. However, independent study is also a vital element of the course, as it allows you to develop your research and critical skills while preparing for taught sessions.
You’ll also have a personal tutor – one of our academics – who will be on hand to offer you guidance and support on academic issues, such as module choices, as well as career and personal matters.
Modules will use a variety of assessment methods. As well as traditional exams, you could also be asked to complete projects based on essays and case studies, policy briefs, group presentations, work logs, research briefs, project proposals or development agency reviews. In your final year you’ll also submit a 12,000 word dissertation.
This course will give you in-depth understanding of one of the most important aspects of political life, as well as a range of transferable skills in research and analysis, critical thinking, communication and presentation that will be valuable in a wide range of careers in different sectors.
Our graduates have gone on to work in political research and analysis, the civil service, the media, marketing, PR, international organisations like the UN and World Bank and non-governmental organisations. They work as policy advisors, diplomats, advocacy workers, public affairs executives, youth or support workers and journalists. Others have pursued careers in education, the charity sector, banking and finance or law.
Graduate destinations have included the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, BBC, Oxfam, Royal Institute of International Affairs, Department for International Development, Amnesty International, the House of Commons, the New Statesman and many others.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America.
Find out more at the Study Abroad website.
Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.
Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.