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BA (Hons) International Relations

Delve deep into our changing political landscape to understand the role of emerging nations and how world events can affect the delicate balance of global power

2018/19 entry

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2018/19)

International fees

£16,620 per year (2018/19)

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Challenge the boundaries of justice and human rights, and investigate the effects that 9/11, 7/7, Iraq, Afghanistan and emerging powers like China and India are having on our day-to-day lives.

With leading international experts you'll explore the political significance of global issues, and just how close to home they affect us all.

You will develop specialist knowledge in international politics and political economy, conflict, security and post-war reconstruction, global justice, fragile states, ethnic conflict and human security.

You can apply for this course with a year in industry. You'll complete a professional placement between your second and third year, helping you to develop your employability and professional skills. 

If you're interested in studying abroad, you can apply to spend a year abroad between your second and third year. You'll spend the year studying at a host institution in Europe, allowing you to enhance your CV, experience a new culture and make new friends along the way. You can transfer on to this course after you've arrived at York.

During your year in industry or year abroad, you'll pay a reduced tuition fee.

‌‌“I spent the summer of my second year interning in the marketing and communications division of the Mayor’s office in New York.” Read more
Maria, BA Politics, Year 3

Happy students

90% of our students are satisfied with the course (National Student Survey 2017)

Taught by experts

Our staff advise governments on a wide range of issues and contribute to news, media and current affairs programmes globally

Course content

You'll develop the ability to think critically about regional, national and international politics, ideas and institutions, preparing you for a variety of career paths that give you the potential to stand up and make a difference.

We offer a large choice of modules helping you tailor the course to your own interests and passions.

You'll learn how to think politically about some of today's most pressing issues, including:

  • The shifting balance of international power    
  • The challenges of human rights and global development    
  • Environmental sustainability   
  • Struggles for democracy    
  • The threat of terrorism   
  • The changing balance between government and civil society.


Study abroad

There are several ways in which you can broaden your horizons and study abroad with Politics at York.

  • You can apply to go on a year abroad to study at a university in Europe between your second and third year.
  • You can study abroad during your second year with our worldwide and European exchange programmes. Students have previously studied at The University of Sydney, York University (Ontario), National University of Singapore and University of Hong Kong. In these cases, you would graduate in the same year as students on the 3-year Politics programmes.

See more study abroad options

Year 1

You will study four Politics core modules plus an additional study skills module.

These modules will give you an understanding of the key concepts, theories and approaches in each major area of politics.

Politics core modules:

These modules are the ones currently running and are indicative of what will run in future years. We do update our modules to develop our curriculum and reflect our latest research.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

You'll cover a diverse range of modules and hone the academic skills necessary to analyse political texts, political systems and processes. You'll study one core module:

Plus, three optional modules from a range of subjects - two from Group C, and one from Group A, B or C

Group A

Group B

Group C

These modules are the ones currently running and are indicative of what will run in future years. We do update our modules to develop our curriculum and reflect our latest research.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £16,620

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

You'll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and one-to-one supervision. We offer a personal approach to learning with much of our teaching conducted in small groups (typically under 15 students in a seminar group). Our staff are very approachable and our doors are always open. Your personal supervisor provides support and guidance throughout your studies, offering weekly feedback and guidance hours.

Research-led teaching

You'll be taught by academics at the forefront of research across a number of political areas such as conflict, security and development, political economy, international politics, political theory and public policy. As international experts in their field, our staff advise governments and organisations globally and regularly contribute to news and current affairs programmes. Our expertise and experience feed directly into our teaching.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars252 hours
192 hours
132 hours
Independent study948 hours
1008 hours
1068 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Independent study may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Politics on Campus West. Most teaching will take place nearby. 

Course location

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

‌Assessment varies from module to module and includes a combination of exams, written essays and project work.

Your tutors will give you feedback in a variety of forms depending on the specific needs of the module. This may consist of written feedback, in-class discussion, model answers, one-to-one discussions or online responses.

Watch our mini lecture

Our teaching involves challenging discussions with your tutors and peers about global issues.

Watch one of our recent lectures in action

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams60%60%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Careers and skills

The York International Relations degree is recognised by employers worldwide. You'll gain employability skills and have the opportunity to gain work experience, undertake internships or study abroad.

Many of our students organise work placements out of term time in an area that interests them. We encourage you to do this so you can gain workplace experience and a deeper insight into issues that interest you. Previously, students have spent the summer months interning at Ernst and Young, the Houses of Parliament and even the Mayor's Office in New York.

Career opportunities

Our recent graduates have gone on to work with:

  • The Home Office
  • The Cabinet Office
  • The Department for Environment
  • The European Parliament
  • The World Food Programme
  • Ernst & Young
  • Goldman Sachs

Take a look at our graduate profiles for a taste of what you may move onto after graduating

Transferable skills

As well as developing your subject-specific knowledge, this degree will equip you with the following transferable skills:

  • Logical thinking
  • Analysis of complex ideas, arguments and theories    
  • Problem-solving
  • The ability to present succinct reports    
  • Intellectual independence
  • Communication skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
A levels

AAB (excluding General Studies)

Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma: DDD
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2
European Baccalaureate An overall average of 80%
International Baccalaureate 35 points overall
Irish leaving Certificate H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AB at Advanced Higher + AAAAB at Higher level

English language

IELTS: 6.5 with at least 5.5 in all units or equivalent

Other accepted tests and qualifications


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

All applications must be made through UCAS. Accepted applicants will be invited to visit us between November and April. That's when you can meet our current students and staff, and your visit can include a one-to-one conversation with a member of academic staff.

Next steps

Contact us

Contact our admissions team if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of Politics

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