Undergraduate BA (Hons)

International Politics and Security

School of Arts and Media




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2020

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In a nutshell

This course addresses the nature of threats to security, how states seek to manage and neutralise those threats, and how security is situated within the wider practice and theory of international politics. You will study theories of international politics alongside developments in security, and international institutions such as NATO, across the 20th century and up to the present day.


You will:
  • Learn from current, real-world events of international significance and importance
  • Gain transferable knowledge and skills desired by employers both within the security sector and further afield
  • Learn from a team of academics who are recognised, published experts in their fields and whose teaching is informed by their own research expertise

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You want to gain an in-depth understanding of current, real-world events of international significance and importance


You are a professional in a related field who would like to update their knowledge and skills for an international marketplace


You are interested in working in politics and government or international security

Course details

All about the course

The range of optional modules is wider than at other universities, covering security, intelligence studies, terrorism studies, military and international history, and international politics. You can also choose to study modules from the University-Wide Language Programme (UWLP) as part of this course.

You will have the opportunity to spend up to one year in a university outside of the UK on a study abroad exchange placement, as well as the opportunity to undertake a work placement. There is an emphasis on developing key skills for employability, including through access to the WORDSCOPE programme and the Salford Advantage scheme.

Year one

International Politics I

This module introduces you to key political concepts and ideologies and uses them in the study of international politics and the history of international relations. Concepts such as state, power, politics, nation, sovereignty and rights; and ideologies such as conservatism and liberalism; are used in everyday speech. They are complex ideas with contested meanings, yet central to analysis in politics and international relations. The module examines these ideas and applies them to significant developments in international politics such as the attempts to construct lasting arrangements for peace in the wake of major conflicts.

Global Governance and International Organisations

This module is an introduction to new forms of governance at the global level. You will study international organisations such as the EU, UN, NATO and a host of others, including the World Bank and the IMF, and assess their role in global politics, as well as their impact on states and individuals.

Britain and the World

In this module you will study the British political system, political parties, legislatures and executives, and elections. This module will also look at the international context, covering British foreign policy, decolonisation, and Britain's role in Europe and the 'special relationship' with the USA.

International Politics II

To provide a fuller understanding of international politics, this module introduces you to the core theories and issues in the study of international relations (IR). You will engage with traditional IR theories (Realism and Liberalism) and key critical perspectives (Marxism and Critical Theory), as well as understand key issues in contemporary IR (e.g. globalisation). You will also undertake independent study and participate in debates and discussions regarding international relations theories and issues.

International History 2: 1945-present


You will continue your studies in international history by exploring the Cold War in Europe and Asia, decolonisation, European integration, the superpower relationship and the rise of China and Japan. You will also study the impact of US foreign policy and the global 'war on terror'.

Introduction to Security, Intelligence and Terrorism Studies

This module introduces students to the academic disciplines of security studies, intelligence studies and terrorism studies. Students will study the historical evolution of the idea and practice of security, intelligence and terrorism in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Year two

Contemporary Security

On this module you will examine the main security challenges facing states, their institutions and societies today. You will gain knowledge of and assess the principal security actors, the current threats to national and international security, and the approaches that states and other institutions have taken to achieve, enhance and maintain security.

Contemporary International Relations

This module examines the foreign policies of the main actors in contemporary international relations – the USA, China, Russia, and the EU – in relation to current issues in world politics. It considers the interests and aims of the major powers and fields of conflict such as the Middle East. It also looks at enduring problems associated with issues such as security, armed conflicts, the environment, and globalisation and problems associated with them such as movement of peoples, humanitarian intervention, peace-keeping and the construction of international agreements.

Researching in International Relations and Politics

This module prepares you for your dissertation, which is submitted in your third year. It ensures you formulate a viable research question, identify the relevant material you need, develop your research question and structure your dissertation to a high standard. You will be working with your allocated supervisor to develop and hone your dissertation topic.

Optional modules

The Arab-Israeli Conflict

This module offers an introduction into the Arab Israeli conflict since the beginning of the 20th century by examining the main events and actors that have helped shape its course. You will also undertake a computer-based simulation where you can decide on issues of war and peace from the perspectives of the Israeli Prime Minister and Palestinian President.

Britain and the Cold War, 1945-1991

Using newly declassified archival material, oral testimony and popular film and television, the module charts Britain’s Cold War, both at home and abroad, from its origins through to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The story is told through the eyes of those working in Britain’s ‘secret state’ – intelligence officials and Whitehall Mandarins – through to ‘fellow-travellers’ and the fantasy world of James Bond. Subjects covered include Britain’s covert struggle against the Soviet Union, nuclear deterrence, popular media and the Cold War, and the recently released plans for World War III and the post-apocalyptic survival of the United Kingdom.

US Foreign Policy since 1945

This module enables you to examine the role of the US in contemporary international relations. You will engage with US Foreign Policy after World War Two and understand key domestic and international factors that have shaped US Foreign Policy. You will also have a greater appreciation of the historiography and contemporary trajectory of US Foreign Policy, as well as engage with the diversity of perspectives on the subject.

Airpower and Modern Warfare

This module examines the implications which air power has born for warfare and military practice, tracing its development from the First World War and the interwar years, before exploring the extent to which air power shaped the conduct and outcome of the Second World War. The course then moves on to examine the role of air power during the Cold War and the role which air power has played in so-called ‘low-intensity’ conflicts such as Vietnam, the Arab-Israeli Wars, and the recent Gulf Wars. The module concludes by exploring the role airpower plays in modern counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations.

Intelligence, Security and Politics in Britain

This module examines the British intelligence community from the birth of the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) in 1909 through to the 1994 Intelligence Services Act, exploring its activities primarily within the context of British domestic policy, while considering the links between the worlds of intelligence and politics. The module considers the reaction of the intelligence community to the Russian revolution, and its subsequent battle against the Soviet Union and Communism from the inter-war years through to the end of the Cold War.

Terrorism and Irregular Conflict

On this module you will gain a comprehensive view of the nature of modern conflicts with irregular non-state forces. You will examine the main motivations and worldviews of terrorist and insurgent groups, and the main theories of Western counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. By the end of the module you will be able to analyse counterinsurgency and counterterrorism campaigns, and understand the dynamics of state support for irregular violent movements.

Year three

Political Violence and International Political Economy

This module examines the links between central issues in International Security and International Political Economy (IPE). More specifically, you will analyse how particular forms of political violence – wars between states, civil wars and terrorism – are affected by and have an impact on issues central to the study of IPE. This includes analysing the political and economic aspects of political violence, including understanding political violence in the context of globalisation, global governance, neo-liberalism and US hegemony.

Optional modules - you will take two optional modules in semester one. In semester two you will choose either the Dissertation and one optional module, or the placement module:

Dissertation - IP and S

You will complete a 12,000 word research dissertation on the subject of your choice. This is your opportunity to develop your ideas and research a topic that you have selected. The dissertation counts as two modules.

Parliamentary/Constituency Placement

An exciting and unique opportunity to work with a Westminster MP in London or in their constituency. You will put your research and communication skills to work in a challenging setting that places you at the centre of British politics. The placement counts as three modules.

International Politics and Security Placement

By undertaking this unique placement, you will advance your knowledge and understanding of issues relating to international politics and security by working within an organisation, business or government department dealing with security concerns, and by writing a research paper on an issue faced by the employer. The placement counts as three modules.

Britain and the European Resistance

This module explores Britain’s role in encouraging and supporting resistance movements in Europe during the Second World War through the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the organisation established in July 1940 and instructed by Churchill to ‘set Europe ablaze’. The module makes extensive use of surviving SOE documents, now available at the National Archives, and considers their value within the context of official release policy and censorship under Section 3 (4) of the Public Records Act. 

British Counter-Insurgency Since 1945

This module allows you to examine Britain’s varied involvement in counter-insurgency operations since 1945. After an initial engagement with the theories and principles of insurgency and counter-insurgency, the module will cover the cases of Kenya, Malaya, Northern Ireland, Britain’s continuing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some lesser known cases.

Corruption in Contemporary Politics

Studying political corruption in detail you will explore the dynamics and impact of this problem for western democracies through key theories and case studies.

The Politics of Islamism

In this module, you will assess Islamism comparing it to fundamentalisms in other religions. It includes an examination of Muslim responses to Western modernity, and the development of modern Islamism from the Muslim Brotherhood to al Qaeda, as well as wider questions of the adaptability of Islamism to democratic practices.

Spanish Civil War

This module examines the Spanish Civil War from its origins to its aftermath in the formation of the Franco dictatorship. It considers the national, regional and international dimensions of the conflict. The Spanish Civil War can be seen as the result of class conflict; a crisis of an old regime faced with the pressures of modernity; a chapter in the larger European civil war of the first half of the twentieth century; a struggle of extreme ideologies – fascism and communism; a prelude to world war. It excited the interest, passions and participation of people all over the world. It ended with the creation of a dictatorship which lasted until the mid-1970s and left divisions which Spain is still in the process of coming to terms with.

Media, War and Democracy

War is not only fought on the battlefield. It is also a battle for 'hearts and minds' that takes place in society before, during, and after a conflict. The module explores how the development of communication technologies has, over time, affected how wars are fought, as well as how policy makers, journalists, the parties involved in conflict, and transnational audiences attempt to shape the perceptions of war. The module deals with topical debates. Among them: What is the impact of social media in conflict? Are politicians 'using' the media to 'lie' to us about war?

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?






  • Lectures
  • Seminars in which you will engage in guided, focused discussion
  • Workshops combining lecture, seminar and other activities focused either on a particular topic or on particular skills
  • The dissertation is an independent study module, for which you are prepared by the Researching in International Relations and Politics module. Whilst working on the dissertation you receive guidance from a dissertation supervisor
  • If you chose to undertake a work placement, you will learn valuable, practical workplace skills, and write a research paper under the guidance of an academic member of staff
  • Use of the online Virtual Learning Environment to provide you with audio-visual material, reports and documents.


School of Arts and Media

The School of Arts and Media is the largest School at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from fashion image making and styling, television and radio, creative writing and music to journalism, animation, design and performance.

This broad range of disciplines offers enhanced opportunities for specialist and interdisciplinary study, including collaborative work across subject areas.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

You will be well-placed to gain employment in any field that demands analytical and communication skills.

You will have subject-specific knowledge relevant to employment in the ever-growing security sector, including the police, the UK’s National Crime Agency, the military, intelligence services, private security companies, and international organisations such as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.


MA in Intelligence and Security Studies

MA in Terrorism and Security

A taste of what you could become

A security analyst

A police officer

An intelligence officer

A politician

And more...

Career Links

This course provides an exciting and unique opportunity to work with a Westminster MP in London or in their constituency.


What you need to know


This course would suit several types of student:

  • Students who have completed A levels or equivalent qualifications and want to gain an in-depth understanding of current, real-world events of international significance and importance.
  • Professionals who would like to update their knowledge and skills for an international marketplace. Relevant professions include the civil service, politics, political and social activism, journalists covering political and security issues, researchers, international organisations.
  • Mature students wanting to retrain for work in politics and government, or international security.


International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.

Standard entry requirements


English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent) is required. Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.


A level

104-112 points which must include two A2 passes; politics or history desirable

BTEC National Diploma


Access to HE

Pass Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 104-112 points 

Scottish Highers

104-112 points

Irish Leaving Certificate

104-112 points

International Baccalaureate

30 points

European Baccalaureate

Pass in the Diploma with 71% overall

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2019/20 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2019/20 £12,660per year
Full-time home/EU 2020/21 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £12960per year
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students 2020/21

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our international scholarships worth up to £5,000. Our international scholarships include the Salford International Excellence Scholarship.

For further information, go to International Scholarships.

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Enrolment dates

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID L294

Institution S03