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International Relations and Politics

BA (Hons) - single

Department of Social Sciences

International Relations and Politics is the study of power relations in their material, ideational and institutional forms. Students will examine some of the critical issues of modern and contemporary times.

These include such issues as the roots and nature of political activity, the changing nature of international cooperation and conflict, the new character of warfare, the impact of globalisation upon states and societies and the persistence of world problems such as poverty, development, environment and human rights issues.

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: 3 years
  • Part time: up to 6 years

UCAS code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • You have the opportunity to take part in the Work Based Learning module, where you could take up a placement with an MP or local councillor, as well as with voluntary organisations, in order to fully prepare you for today’s employment market.
  • Our department is home to the Centre for Global Politics, Economy and Society which has three research groups, focusing on Critical Security Studies; State and Society; International Political Theory and Culture, Identities and Divisions. All our teaching staff are active researchers with strong publication records, meaning the knowledge you gain will be underpinned by the latest academic thinking.
  • As an International Relations and Politics student you will particularly benefit from Oxfordshire having one of the highest numbers of NGOs outside of London. 
  • You are actively encouraged to study for part of your degree at other universities in Europe, America, Asia and Australia. With over 100 partner institutions across the world, Brookes can offer you a unique overseas study experience.


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 (for example 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 a dissertation and have the option of doing more independent research under supervision through our Independent Study module.

Study modules

As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here.

Years 1 and 2

Year 1 compulsory modules:

  • Introduction to Politics
  • Politics in Comparative Perspective
  • Introduction to International Relations I: Perspectives
  • Introduction to International Relations II: Themes and Issues
  • Social Differences and Divisions
  • Academic Literacy in Politics and International Relations

Year 2

Core compulsory modules:

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

Elective modules:

  • Democracy, Autocracy and Regime Change
  • Current Issues in Politics and International Relations
  • Contemporary Security Studies
  • The Global Political Economy
  • Global Governance and Civil Society
  • Russia and East Europe after Lenin
  • American Politics and Society
  • Modern British Politics
  • State and Society in Europe
  • Nationalism, Identity and Ethnicity
  • International Trade and Migration
  • Sex, Gender and Politics
  • Work-based learning in Politics and IR

Year 3

Honours core modules:

  • Dissertation in International Relations and Politics (double)

Honours optional modules:

  • State and Society in Contemporary Russia
  • Political Sociology of Crime and Disorder
  • Theory and Practice of Human Rights
  • Conflict and Peacebuilding
  • 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
  • International Law and Institutions
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Central Asia in Global Politics: Beyond Oil and Islam
  • Postcolonial Perspectives on Western Culture and Politics
  • Independent Study
  • Law, Empires and Revolutions
  • The European Union: Integration and Disintegration
  • The Ethics of Migration and Immigration
  • Militarism and Society

modules in detail » Module diagrams »

Work placements

Our work placement module offers students the opportunity to build on the skills and knowledge gained in level 4 modules by undertaking a placement with organisations that are engaged in areas relevant to the study of Politics and/or International Relations. Students will be able to evaluate and reflect critically upon this experience in a module that links theory and practice of Politics and International Relations in a professional context.

Students organise placements themselves, and are responsible for their own travel and associated costs - it is advised that they organise placements bearing this in mind. Oxfordshire based placements are accessible via public transport - often via the University’s subsidised BROOKESbus service, which is free to bus pass holders. Placements in London will incur higher travel costs; for example, a day return ticket on the Oxford Tube costs £14 (subject to change, for the latest fares see the Oxford Tube website). It is encouraged that students explore opportunities for their placement provider to cover travel costs if they opt for a placement which is not local.

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 unique overseas study experience. Within Europe the Erasmus programme includes opportunities at Free University Amsterdam and The University of Tampere, Finland. 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.

Tuition fees are paid as they would be if you remained in the UK, either to Oxford Brookes via your Student Loan or directly to Oxford Brookes according to your preference.

You will be responsible for all other costs such as accommodation, purchasing your airfares, travel and health insurance and visas. 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.

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.

Additional costs

We do not expect students to purchase any compulsory course books, as they are all available in the library. If students wish to purchase additional books to supplement their reading, this is at their own discretion.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

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 ‘Politics at Work’ seminar series is also particularly targeted at students who are interested in careers in international development and humanitarian aid.

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

Time spent in different learning activities

Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 15%85%0%
2 16%84%0%
3 14%86%0%

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.

Breakdown of assessment methods used on this course

Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 46%0%54%
2 31%0%69%
3 9%0%91%

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250. 2019/20: £9,250.

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £750 per single module. 2019/20: £750 per single module.

International - full time: 2018/19: £13,150 2019/20: £13,410

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112

A-Level: BBC or equivalent

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

IB Diploma: 30 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

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an  international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our  pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

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

International applicants

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. 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.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

Attracting students and academics from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds, 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. Oxford Brookes students are eligible to join the Oxford Union, famous for its debates and illustrious speakers, from international politicians and leaders, to sports stars and other celebrities.

The city has one the highest proportion of 'knowledge intensive' employees of any English city and Oxfordshire boasts one of the highest numbers 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 over 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.

The University's free 'Upgrade' study service is available to anyone who needs advice on study skills, from planning and writing essays, research and statistics, to highlighting areas for improvement.

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.

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 the diplomatic service, management, teaching, lecturing, publishing, journalism, advertising, local government, law, trades 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 Relations master's programme, which places an emphasis on gaining critical perspectives on contemporary theory and practice. You can do either an MA in International Relations or an MA in International Security.