Undergraduate BA (Hons)

International Relations and Politics

School of Arts and Media




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

In an age of globalisation, our daily lives are affected by what happens across the world – from the financial crisis to war and conflict, international relations matters. It shapes government policy, affects our job prospects and quality of life, and the lives of others.

In many cases, global politics and the decisions of those in power can have dire consequences for populations and how we live. In this course, you will explore different ideas and explanations about international relations, and consider the consequences of different ideologies and policies in global politics. If you want to understand why wars occur, why states cooperate with each other (or not), and how ideas affect lives, this course is for you.

Furthermore, this is a truly international course – you will study with a diverse international cohort and have the opportunity to spend your second year studying abroad, immersing yourself in a different culture and new experiences.

In the 2019 National Student Survey, 100% of students said staff were good at explaining things (University of Salford analysis of unpublished NSS 2019 data).


You will:
  • Learn about the consequences of different ideologies and policies in global politics
  • Gain key transferable skills which are vital to a vast range of career prospects
  • Understand how our lives are affected by politics and the relations between nations

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You want to understand why wars occur, why states cooperate with each other (or not), and how ideas affect lives


You are keen to learn more about global relations, or you are concerned about major problems in global politics


You have a desire to learn about topics and read as widely as possible in order to construct strong arguments

Course details

All about the course

This course is designed to develop your knowledge of international relations and politics in a structured manner by first providing a foundational background in international relations theory, history and key concepts and theories of politics. Your first year modules are designed to cover these.

In your second year, you take two core modules and then develop your interests with four optional modules of your choosing. You can also study abroad for a semester or two, or take a language module.

Your third year dissertation gives you the chance to really explore a topic you are passionate about, and you also get to choose from a wide variety of module option choices, or take up our placement opportunities.

Year one

Introduction to Security, Intelligence and Terrorism Studies

This module introduces various conceptualisations of ‘intelligence studies’, ‘terrorism studies’ and ‘security studies’. You then analyse the historical evolution of the idea and practice of security, intelligence and terrorism in the 20th and 21st centuries.  The theoretical discussion is illustrated by case studies and examples form current policy debates around terrorism and intelligence.

International History (2) 1945-Present

This module examines the history of international relations from the end of the Second World War to the present day. In conjunction with International History I, this module emphasises the changing character of international politics over the course of the ‘Long Twentieth Century’. Particular emphasis will be given to the origins of the Cold War in Europe and Asia, decolonisation in Asia and Africa, the evolution of European unity, the rise and fall of superpower détente, the resurgent political and economic power of China and Japan, the causes and consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Empire, and concludes with the nature of international relations in the post-Cold War world and the conduct of the Global War on Terrorism.

Britain and the World

In this module you will study the British political system, political parties and elections. You will also compare cabinet and presidential government and examine legislatures in detail. 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 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.

International Politics II

Here you will explore a range of topics that are studied in international politics as well as gaining a more detailed introduction to the study of International Relations. You will analyse the core theories of International Relations including: Classical Realism, Structural/Neo-Realism, Liberalism, Neo-Liberalism, The English School, Marxism/Historical Materialism, Postmodernism, constructivism. Through an understanding of these approaches, you will also discuss contemporary developments (e.g., globalisation) in International Politics.

Introduction to Contemporary Politics

Year two

Theories of Power and Domination

Central to this module is the study of power, and you will explore the theories of Weber, Marx, Gramsci, Foucault and Althusser, with a focus on the social foundations of political power, political power and the formation of the individual, and political power and the role of organisation and bureaucracy.

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.

Optional modules may include:

Political Communication: Media and Democracy

This module explores the relationship between the media and politics in liberal democracies. You will focus on the nature of political media and reporting, the media's influence on politics, and how political actors use the media. You will also study the rise of the internet and new media technologies and what this means for democracy.

Civil War and Development

Regimes and Dictatorships from 1918

This module is based on the comparative history of a number of different dictatorships, beginning at the end of World War I - examples include Italy, Spain, Germany, Chile, China, Greece, Uganda and Hungary.

Reporting Government

This module will raise your awareness of UK government systems, providing you with an overview of national, regional and local government and the relationship of each with the news media. You will learn how to report council meetings, parliamentary committees and understand the relationship between journalists and local and central government.

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.

The Politics of European Union Enlargement

You will learn about the history of EU enlargements, tracing the expansion of the EU to include more member states. You will also study the key ideas behind enlargement and the concepts that guide it.

Terrorism and Irregular Warfare

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.

Work Project

Chinese Foreign Policy Since 1949

University Wide Language Programme

This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.

Year three


You will complete a 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.

Optional modules may include:

Britain and the Cold War

Using newly declassified archival material, oral testimony and popular film, the module charts Britain’s Cold War, both at home and abroad, from its origins in the 1940s through to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This 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.

The History and Politics of Socialism

This module examines the rise and fall of the main socialist traditions from their origins in 19 century Britain and France to their global spread in the 20th century. You will study key aspects of the course of socialism in Germany, Britain, Sweden, Russia, and China.

International Political Economy

Develop your knowledge of political economy in this module, which aims to help develop critical ways of thinking about the contemporary world of work and the political economies of production our post-industrial world.

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.

Populism in Politics

The module will introduce students to the key concepts, theories and debates in the study of contemporary populism in politics. You will examine the historical context shaping the emergence of a wide range of populist movements, parties and leaders in Europe and elsewhere. Additionally, you analyse the causes and consequence of populism in contemporary politics. This will involve discussions of recent and current populist leaders and movements such as Berlusconi in Italy, Trump in the US, and Euroscepticism across the EU.

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.

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.

Politics and the Internet

This module assesses the growing influence of internet on democracy and politics. The study of the internet is placed in context of the evolution of media technologies over past thirty years. In doing so, you examine whether the internet: is stimulating more global protest movements and also new form of terrorism; is a liberation technology potential undermining the power of authoritarian regimes; or alternatively is a tool for increased surveillance and control; is changing the nature of lections and election campaigning. These issues are explored through case studies such as: the rise of Corbyn in the Labour Party and the role played social media or, how the rise of so-called fake news is impacting on political debate.

Politics Placement

An exciting and unique opportunity to work with a MP in London or in their constituency office as part of your degree. There is also the chance to develop your own placement which would be accredited by us. You will put your research and communication skills to work in a challenging setting that places you at the centre of British politics.

Global Environmental Politics

University Wide Language Programme

This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.

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?








You will benefit from a diverse range of teaching methods:

  • Lectures: interactive lectures, making use of available audio visual technology
  • Seminars: explore the lecture topics and beyond with your fellow students, via groupwork, reviews, debates and presentations
  • Workshops: combined lecture and seminar session where discussion and analysis is concentrated
  • Debates: debating teams are sometimes a feature of learning
  • Individual supervision: students enjoy close supervision of their dissertation topics in the year leading up to submission
  • Student-directed study: in some modules, students are assigned tasks with deadlines
  • Dedicated Study Skills support: we have our own study skills officer who helps you with exam preparation, essay writing skills, good academic practice and a variety of other skills you need to do well
  • Subject Librarian: you will benefit from research training as part of your programme and we have a dedicated subject librarian who is on hand to help you locate material and use available resources effectively
  • Personal tutoring system: you will be assigned a personal tutor who helps you with all aspects of your studies and can offer advice with other issues


You will be assessed through a variety of methods, including:

  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Exams 

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?

This course develops not only your knowledge of international relations and politics, but key transferable skills which are vital to a vast range of career prospects. In any well-paid job or career you will need presentation skills and an ability to communicate your ideas clearly. Good writing and research skills as well as the ability to deploy a variety of innovative techniques are essential.

These skills have seen our graduates find employment in local government and the civil service, consultancy, publishing, working for an international organisation (such as the EU), media, and multinational organisations and companies.

Graduates from this course may progress on a number of career paths, and thanks to the transferable skills you develop as part of this course, you have many options. Popular career destinations include:

  • Public administration
  • Civil service
  • Political analysis and research (government advisory departments)
  • Local government
  • International organisations
  • Campaigning organisations (charities, non-governmental organisations)
  • Consultancy
  • Journalism, publishing and media
  • Postgraduate courses, research and teaching.

This course is designed to support your personal development and skills to enhance your employability. You will learn to work to deadlines, write clearly and effectively, present your ideas in a professional style, develop vital research skills and methods of communication. These are all desirable and essential skills necessary for well-paid jobs.



A taste of what you could become

A politician

A civil servant

A journalist

A political analyst

A local government officer

And more...

Career Links

You may be able to take part in the Parliamentary Placement Scheme, spending six months in the Westminster office of an MP. You are also encouraged to attend seminars throughout the year, which give you the chance to meet with people from the industry.

The placements, guest speakers and seminars help you to understand how the industry works and informs your career path after leaving University.


What you need to know


We are looking for students who are passionate about global politics: this could mean you are simply keen to learn more about global relations, or you are concerned about major problems in global politics. Our students are inspired by critical thought and approaches, so you should be prepared to question and challenge a range of phenomena.

The skills you need include an ability to write and express yourself clearly, a desire to learn about topics and read as widely as possible in order to construct strong arguments, and an ability to be critical – and self-critical. You need to think abstractly, and at times, outside the box. You will develop your debating, writing, reasoning and argumentation skills in this course.


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.


Please note: The entry criteria below are related to entry onto this course in the 2020/2021 academic year. If you’re interested in a future intake year, please check the course entry on UCAS.


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.

UCAS tariff points

104-112 points

A level

104-112 points. General studies accepted, history or politics 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 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 2020/21 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £12,960per 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 more information go to International Scholarships. 

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID L290

Institution S03

Start this course in September. Call 0300 555 5030 to apply through Clearing.

Our phone lines are open during the following hours:

  • 13 August: 07:30 – 19:00
  • 14 August: 08:00 – 18:00
  • 15 August: 10:00 – 16:00