Undergraduate BA (Hons)

International Relations and Politics

School of Arts and Media




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2020

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National Student Survey, 100% of students said staff were good at explaining things (University of Salford analysis of unpublished NSS 2019 data).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

Politics and Democracy

This module considers the concepts and institutions of liberal democracy; trends in citizen attitudes and participation, and the key challenges to democracy in the 21st century.

International History I

This module examines international history from the 1890s until the post-war period. You will study the European balance of power system, Wilsonian internationalism, the rise of powers such as Japan, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and the outbreak of the Second World War.

International History II

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'.

International Organisations and Global Governance

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 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.

Introduction to Political Theory

This is a critical political theory module that covers the most important theories, concepts and thinkers in politics: Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Freud, Schmitt and others. You will develop a critical knowledge of liberalism, power, and the state.

Year two

Theories and Issues in International Relations II

This module continues your exploration of international relations theory and moves on to more radical approaches to questions of war, identity, globalisation and economics, as well as new security challenges. You will develop your skills as theorists and explore new ways of thinking about international relations.

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:

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.

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.

Contemporary Security Studies

This module introduces you to 'traditional' and 'new' approaches to defining and conceptualising security. You will study some of the most important issues on the international security agenda such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, resource wars and energy security, the privatisation of warfare, peacekeeping, pandemics and health security, and environmental degradation.

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.

International Politics and the Media

This module explores the claims and evidence about the impact of global media on international politics, particularly on the dynamics of international affairs, power relations among governments, foreign policy-making, conflict, security, diplomacy, development, and civil society.

Political Sociology

This module examines a number of sociological and political thinkers and problems fundamental for understanding contemporary forms of rule/domination. You will critically explore modern democracy, bureaucracy and the state. The issues of authority, domination and obedience, liberty and subjection, hegemony, conformity and resistance will be a regular focus of attention.

Labour's Century

This module introduces you to the history of the British Labour Party, its ideology, organisation and electoral strategy, while also focusing upon some of the most crucial periods, in particular that of Labour's early development as well as that of its apparent crisis and transformation.

Poverty and Development in International Political Economy

This module focuses on the impact of globalisation in relation to poverty and development. You will consider the role of the industrialised western states in the global economy, as well as post-colonial states, critically examining North-South relations.

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.

In the third year 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. You also choose four options from a range of module options, or take advantage of our placement opportunities.

Ethics and International Relations

This module explores the place of ethical and moral questions in global politics, covering democracy and human rights, humanitarian intervention, just wars, foreign aid and sanctions, and the problems of international society and realising a universal order. You will engage with critical approaches to these topics and explore normative questions.

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 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.

The Rise and Fall of Socialist Internationals

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.

Modernity and its Discontents

This course introduces you to a number of key social and political thinkers who have sought to understand the singularity of the modern epoch. Some of the topics you will study include liberalism, fascism, and colonialism, using film and other methods. The module is expected to help you identify and critically assess some of the major problems and prospects of modern and contemporary capitalist societies.

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.

E-Democracy: Politics and the New Media

This module assesses the growing influence of new media technologies (internet, email, mobile phones) on democracy. You will explore questions of censorship, voting, power relations and the effects of new media technologies in society.

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.

Westminster Parliamentary Placement

An exciting and unique opportunity to work with a Westminster MP in London. You will put your research and communication skills to work in a challenging setting that places you at the centre of British politics.

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.

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 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 more information go to International Scholarships. 

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID L290

Institution S03