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International Relations

BA (Hons) / BSc (Hons) - combined

Department of Social Sciences

International Relations looks at world power relations in their material, ideational and institutional forms. You will have the opportunity to examine some of the critical issues of modern and contemporary times, such as 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

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

  • All our teaching staff are active researchers with strong publication records meaning your learning is underpinned by the latest academic thinking.
  • Oxfordshire has one of the highest number of non-governmental organisations outside London, meaning you are in an excellent place to pursue career opportunities.
  • 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.
  • International Relations will offer you the training to analyse and engage with a wide range of sources; giving you a deeper and broader insight into the bigger picture of what is going on in the world.
  • Our Centre for Global Politics, Economy and Society has four three research groups in Critical Security studies, International Political Theory, State and Society, and Culture, Identities and Divisions Critical International Studies, European Politics and Society, and Social and Political Change and our teaching staff are active researchers with strong publication records.
  • Students are actively encouraged to study for part of their degree at other universities in Europe the EU, America, Asia and Australia. With over 100 partner institutions across the world, Brookes can offer you a unique overseas study experience.

In year 1, you will take three introductory modules, Introduction to International Relations I: Perspectives, and Introduction to International Relations II: Themes and Issues, and Academic Literacy in Politics and International Relations.

In years 2 and 3, you can choose from a range of advanced modules that focus on different aspects of international relations.

In year 3, you are expected to choose six honours-level modules from a range reflecting the research expertise of staff. You may choose to write a dissertation in your final year as part of the honours component of the course. This is an extended piece of original research which offers you the opportunity to specialise in one of your fields or to combine them both in an interdisciplinary project.

International Relations is a combined honours degree, which means you study it alongside another subject. Please see the 'Combine with...' tab for the list of possible subject combinations. You can also study the following combinations as single honours courses:

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.

Year 1 and 2

Year 1

  • Introduction to International Relations I: Perspectives
  • Introduction to International Relations II: Themes and Issues
  • Academic Literacy in Politics and International Relations


  • Introduction to Politics
  • Politics in Comparative Perspective

Year 2


  • Researching Politics and International Relations I: Analytical Modes


  • Researching Politics and International Relations II: Methods
  • Current issues in Politics and International Relations
  • The Global Political Economy
  • Global Governance and Civil Society
  • Contemporary Security Studies
  • Nationalism, Identity and Ethnicity
  • Russia and East Europe After Lenin
  • International Trade and Migration
  • Work-Based Learning

Years 3

Honours modules:

  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Conflict and Peacebuilding
  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Law and Institutions
  • Theory and Practice of Human Rights
  • Violence, Resistance and Identity Politics
  • International Development
  • Counter Terrorism in Comparative Perspective
  • Central Asia in Global Politics: Beyond Oil and Islam
  • Postcolonial Perspectives on Western Culture and Politics
  • Independent Study
  • Dissertation in International Relations
  • Interdisciplinary Dissertation in Internaional Relations
  • Militarism and Society
  • Law, Empires and Revolution
  • The Ethics of Migration and Immigration
  • The European Union: Integration and Disintegration

Modules in detail » Module diagrams »

Work placements

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

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 great overseas study experience. Within Europe the Erasmus programme includes opportunities at Free University Amsterdam and The University of Tampere, Finland. In the past, students have also taken advantage of opportunities to study in the USA, Kazakhstan and Australia.

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

International Relations is taught by staff within the growing Department of Social Sciences. You will be learning in a stimulating and friendly atmosphere where you will be able to develop a wide range of disciplinary and professional skills.

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

During semester time we host a series of weekly research seminars where guest speakers from other universities give presentations on research themes of interest to International Relations and Politics students. We also host the “Politics at Work” seminar series for students with an interest in the international development/humanitarian aid sector.

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 18%82%0%
2 19%81%0%
3 12%88%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 16%84%0%
2 16%84%0%
3 16%84%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 19%81%0%
2 21%79%0%
3 17%83%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 15%85%0%
2 16%84%0%
3 11%89%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 16%85%0%
2 16%84%0%
3 15%85%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 22%78%0%
2 25%75%0%
3 (sandwich year)0%0%100%
4 12%88%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 15%85%0%
2 11%89%0%
3 14%87%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 15%85%0%
2 16%84%0%
3 12%88%0%

Approach to assessment

Assessment is by coursework and examination. Coursework includes essays, group projects and 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.

Breakdown of assessment methods used on this course

Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 38%0%63%
2 28%0%73%
3 8%0%93%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 26%6%68%
2 11%0%89%
3 19%0%81%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 13%0%88%
2 14%0%86%
3 0%0%100%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 25%0%75%
2 0%0%100%
3 9%0%91%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 20%0%80%
2 0%0%100%
3 9%0%91%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 24%0%76%
2 14%0%86%
3 (sandwich year)0%0%100%
4 9%0%91%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 53%0%47%
2 0%0%100%
3 0%0%100%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 50%0%50%
2 6%0%94%
3 0%0%100%

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: 31 points


If you accept a Conditional offer to this course as your Firm choice through UCAS, and the offer does not include a requirement to pass an English language test or improve your English language, we may be able to make the offer Unconditional. Please check your offer carefully where this will be confirmed for each applicant.

For combined honours, normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions: admissions@brookes.ac.uk

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

Apply direct »

For full-time study you can also apply through UCAS.

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

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

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 a high proportion of 'knowledge intensive' employees of any English city, and one of the highest concentrations of non-governmental organisations outside of London, including Oxfam - so you are in an excellent position to pursue career development opportunities in the region. 

Support for students studying International Relations

Our Student Support Coordinators 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 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 two MA programmes: MA in International Relations or an MA in International Security master's programme, which places an emphasis on gaining critical perspectives on contemporary theory and practice.