International Relations and Politics - September 2014 entry

BA (Hons) - single

A-level: BBC or equivalent
Clearing places for some of our courses may require grades of ABB or higher at A-level and certain equivalent qualifications. However, there may still be Clearing opportunities for applicants with different grades on other courses.

This course is run by the Department of Social Sciences

The study of Politics and International Relations is the study of power in national and local settings, as well as nationally and internationally. It examines some of the critical issues of modern and contemporary times, such as the changing nature of international co-operation and conflict, the character of democratic and non-democratic regimes, the new face of warfare, and the persistence of world problems such as poverty, migration and global environmental change. 

Why choose this course

  • This course offers you an integrated approach to the study of International Relations and Politics, learning about both the theory and practice of domestic, comparative and international politics with a firm basis in contemporary issues and debates. All of this will give you a comprehensive understanding of the subject and the ability to apply your knowledge to real-world situations.
  • You begin by examining the roots and nature of political activity set in the context of wider social activity, before exploring different types of government and governance in democratic and non-democratic systems.
  • We help you to develop skills needed for independent learning by providing you with a solid foundation in the discipline, as well as a range of transferable skills. 
  •  The department is home to the Centre for Global Politics, Economy and Society has three research groups in Critical International Studies, European Politics and Society, and Social and Political Change. All our teaching staff are active researchers with strong publication records meaning the knowledge you gain will be underpinned by the latest academic thinking.
  • The course offers a flexible, modular programme of study giving you more choice, and the option to tailor your learning around your specific interests.
  • There are fantastic placement learning opportunities, for example with an MP or local councillor, as well as with voluntary organisations to fully prepare you for today’s employment market.
  • Students are actively encouraged to study for part of their degree at other universities in the EU, America and Australia. With over 100 partner institutions across the world, Brookes can offer you a unique overseas study experience.
  • As an International Relations and Politics student you’ll particularly benefit from Oxfordshire having the highest number of NGOs outside London. 

Why Brookes

This course in detail

Year 1 includes the theme of democracy, which introduces you to a range of political ideologies and political systems, as well as exploring the place of the individual in politics. You will be introduced to the nature of international relations by way of a critical focus on contemporary issues in world politics. You will also study the ways in which the wider social world influences politics and international relations.

In Year 2 you will study aspects of the history of political thought and begin to examine in some detail the ways in which the real world of politics and international relations can be studied and understood. You will also be able to study some key areas of the discipline, including comparative politics, regionalisation (the EU), security studies, international political economy and the politics of specific countries, including the UK, the USA and Russia. We also provide opportunities for overseas exchanges at partner institutions and for placement learning with a variety of governmental and political organisations.

In Year 3, you will be able to choose from a range of specialist modules, all at honours level, which reflect the research expertise of staff. You will also undertake a piece of independent research under supervision in the form of an honours dissertation and have the option of doing more independent research under supervision through our Independent Study module option.

Study modules

As courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here. You can read detailed descriptions of some of the modules here.

Years 1 and 2

Year 1

  • Introduction to Politics
  • Politics in Comparative Perspective
  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Contemporary Issues in World Politics
  • Understanding Society I: Differences and Divisions
  • Understanding Society II: Transformations

Year 2

Core modules:

  • Political Thought I and II
  • Researching Politics and International Relations I: Analytical Mode
  • Researching Politics and International Relations II: Methods

Optional modules:

  • Contemporary Security Studies
  • The Global Political Economy
  • Structures of Global Governance
  • Understanding Europe: History, Culture and Political Economy
  • Russia and East Europe after Lenin
  • American Politics and Society
  • Modern British Politics
  • State and Society in Europe

Year 3

Honours core modules:

  • Dissertation in International Relations and Politics (double)

Honours optional modules:

  • State and Society in Contemporary Russia
  • Comparative Welfare States
  • Political Sociology of Crime and Disorder
  • Theory and Practice of Human Rights
  • Conflict and Post-war Reconstruction
  • Violence, Resistance and Identity Politics 
  • International Development
  • Counter-Terrorism in Comparative Perspective
  • Freedom, Justice and Political Theory
  • South African Politics: from Apartheid to Democracy
  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Globalisation, Democracy and Civil Society
  • International Law and Institutions
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Central Asia in Global Politics: Beyond Oil and Islam
  • Independent Study

Work placements

Oxford Brookes is working with the University of Warwick and Coventry University to develop academic placements for students of International Relations, Politics and Sociology. Possible placements for an International Relations and Politics programme include working for an MP or local councillor or with a voluntary organisation. At present the number of places is limited and subject to competition, but more placements will become available as the scheme expands.

Field trips

Politics and International students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of field trips. On the module Global Environmental Politics students spend one session visiting a local farm to discuss the politics of the globalisation and localisation of food.

Students also have the opportunity to take a field trip to the Houses of Parliament in their second and third year. They will tour the Palace of Westminster and have an opportunity to meet and speak with a Member of Parliament.

Study abroad

Politics and International Relations students are actively encouraged to study for part of their degree at other universities. With over 100 partner institutions across the world, Oxford Brookes can offer a unitque overseas study experience. Within Europe the Erasmus programme  includes opportunities at Gothenburg in Sweden, Free University Amsterdam and Genoa University in Italy. Internationally, students have taken advantage to study in Australia, Canada, the USA, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Argentina amongst others.

Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:
  • increasing your employability within an international market
  • boosting your language skills
  • building your confidence in adapting to new situations
  • improving your knowledge of different cultures.
While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.

Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards. 

There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.

For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges

Departmental research highlights

AS our teaching staff are active researchers with strong publication records, your learning will always be underpinned by the latest academic thinking. 

We believe research is not just for graduates. As well as the open invitation to our seminar series, we encourage you to explore your own areas of interest. We provide you with a solid foundation in your discipline, hone your transferable skills, and give you the opportunity to design your own research project, with guidance from our teaching staff. 

By undertaking your own research, you will develop invaluable research and communication skills, from designing your project from scratch, to recruiting participants and communicating your findings to your peers and teachers.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, group work, field trips, and individual and group presentations.

During semester time we host a series of weekly research seminars where guest speakers from other universities and from outside the academic sector give presentations on research themes of interest to International Relations and Politics students. 

The department also publishes an online newsletter in which both undergraduate and postgraduate students are encouraged to participate.

Approach to assessment

Assessment is by coursework and examination. Coursework includes essays, group projects, individual seminar presentations and research projects

Some modules involve an element of examination at the end of the semester, but others are assessed solely on the basis of your work during the semester. 

Assessed work for the honours dissertation takes the form of a 10,000-word piece of work researched and written during your final year.

Learning outcomes

When you have successfully completed the course, you will be able to:

  • assess critically the history and intellectual tradition of  the academic study of International Relations and Politics
  • explore the conceptual terrain of the disciplines of International Relations and Politics and their interaction with other academic disciplines
  • recognise the appropriate methodologies and methods relevant to political analysis and research
  • analyse events and political issues in the contemporary world
  • compare and contrast the operation of different political cultures, institutions and processes
  • use a range of transferable skills in such areas as researching data, time management, IT, communication and teamwork

How to apply / Entry requirements

Typical offers

A-level: BBC or equivalent
Clearing places for some of our courses may require grades of ABB or higher at A-level and certain equivalent qualifications. However, there may still be Clearing opportunities for applicants with different grades on other courses.

IB Diploma: 31 points

Other typical offers include:

  • BB at A-level and CC at AS-level
  • vocational A-levels are also accepted at equivalent grades.

Other academic qualifications that fulfil the entry requirements include:

  • a recognised foundation or access course
  • European Baccalaureate.


Specific entry requirements

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements

International and EU applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help students meet the academic and English language entry requirements for their courses and also familiarise them with university life.

Find out more about the international foundation pathways we offer and our pre-sessional English language courses.

Country specific entry requirements

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information and local representatives who can help you to apply, please have a look at our country specific information pages.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

 Part-time students should apply directly to the university.

Conditions of acceptance

When you accept our offer, you agree to the conditions of acceptance. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Student experience

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

Vibrant, cosmopolitan and steeped in history, Oxford is a fantastic place for your studies and with one in five of the population a student, you'll have a truly 'student' experience.

Oxford attracts students and staff from an wide range of social and cultural backgrounds so you can be sure you'll be joining a diverse national and international community.

Oxford is recognised internationally as an educational, scientific and technological centre of excellence and the facilities on offer to you are incomparable. The city has one the highest proportion of 'knowledge intensive' employees of any English city, with Oxfordshire boasting the highest number of NGOs outside London, so you are in an excellent position to pursue career development opportunities in the region. 

Brookes has outstanding transport links, with buses leaving for central London and international airports every 20 minutes from just outside the Headington campus. As a student of International Relations and Politics you'll relish being just an hour away from the Houses of Parliament, perfectly placing you for further expansion of your opportunities for employment and experience. 


Support for students studying International Relations and Politics

Our Student Support Co-ordinators are there for you from the day you arrive to the day you leave, helping with anything from module advice to supporting you with any personal issues you may experience. They organise induction programmes and events throughout the year, and offer a friendly face when you need one.

When you arrive at Oxford Brookes you will be assigned an Academic Adviser who will provide you with academic support and supervision throughout your degree, helping you monitor your progress and performance. They will also keep you up to date with events around your studies, such as visiting speakers, seminars and career fairs.

Specialist facilities

The university library holds an impressive selection of books and journals, and you can also take advantage of the Library Electronic Information Network (LEIN), giving you access to a range of bibliographical searching tools, databases and electronic journals in international relations.

We have a dedicated International Relations and Politics librarian who is on hand to answer your enquiries, teach you information skills and guide you around the electronic resources on offer. Once you reach the stage of writing your dissertation, you will have access to the world-famous Bodleian Library.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

After graduation

Career prospects

In addition to building a resource of discipline-based skills, International Relations and Politics encourages the development of abilities that will prove valuable in future careers. Some of our graduates go on to postgraduate study, while others go directly into the workplace. Our graduates from this course enter a variety of careers, for example in the diplomatic service, management, teaching, lecturing, publishing, journalism, advertising, local government, law, trade unions, non-governmental organisations and international organisations.

Further study

A number of our graduates have progressed to postgraduate study, and we are keen to encourage our undergraduates to undertake their own research as part of their studies.

As well as offering supervision in a range of areas for research degrees, the department also runs an International Studies Masters programme, which places an emphasis on gaining critical perspectives on contemporary theory and practice. The programme allows you to choose from four specialisms:

  • International Relations
  • Global Political Economy 
  • Security
  • Environment and Global Justice.