BA(Hons) Politics and International Relations

A Politics and International Relations degree student reading a course text book
Entry year
Course code
Tariff points
Health and Social Sciences
Three years full-time; four years sandwich
Full-time; sandwich; part-time
Programme leader
Dr Liam McCarthy

This course is open for applications.

Page last updated 17 January 2022


BA(Hons) Politics and International Relations at UWE Bristol is an applied, engaged, and forward-looking programme, which emphasises the importance of theory, policy, and practice in political and global affairs.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Why study politics and international relations?

We live in an increasingly complex and interconnected world, where local issues are closely linked to global processes. In this changing context, politics impacts our lives in multiple ways. Our course focuses on the connection between politics and international relations and aims to analyse and address political challenges on local, national, and global levels.

You can expect to gain a unique set of skills on this course, which can lead you to exciting career opportunities, both inside and outside the political world.

Why UWE Bristol?

BA(Hons) Politics and International Relations at UWE Bristol is an exciting course, focused on delivering high-quality, practice-based teaching and an outstanding student experience, informed by academic research. We offer you a wide range of modules, covering topics such as human rights, gender and sexuality, ethics, race, religion, foreign policy, international security, and public policy. These modules are delivered with a strong emphasis on applying theoretical knowledge to practical solutions to local, national, and global challenges.

Our experienced and dedicated teaching team is passionate about our subjects and bring them alive through our teaching. You'll learn through a combination of lectures, workshops, and hands-on activities, for example role plays, debates, and policy analysis, all supported by state-of-the-art technology. We design our classes to strengthen your academic, writing, and presentation skills, including activities that will develop your ability to think both independently and critically.

We have embedded practice-orientated learning at all levels of the course. You'll get involved in activities such as live briefs, simulation exercises, and conflict resolution games, and where possible, we will also offer many opportunities for you to engage in workplace learning through placements. By the end of the course, you will have developed the skills and knowledge to understand and engage with political questions and current affairs.

We have created an active learning community where students and academic staff exchange ideas in research seminars, roundtable events, and guest lectures. Regular events where possible, also include field trips and careers sessions and including 'meet-the-employer' opportunities with speakers from the Civil Service, NGOs and local and international businesses. These events give you a clear view how politics is researched and practiced and will inspire you to apply the skills you've gained in your degree.

Where can it take me?

Politics and International Relations graduates are in demand across a wide range of professions and many of our graduates have secured employment in government, the civil service, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), accountancy, human resources, media and journalism.

Many of our graduates also choose to deepen their skills and knowledge and get involved in research or education, or specialise further with postgraduate study.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year one

You will study:

  • International Relations
  • Politics, States and Resistance
  • Politics of Crisis and Change
  • Critical Thinking and Political Theory

Study exchange (if applicable) 

If you choose the study exchange option, you'll spend the first and/or second semester of Year two studying at another university.  

See the Placements and Fees sections for more information. 

Year two

You will study:

  • Nature and Use of Research (Politics and International Relations)
  • Politics at Work.

Plus optional modules from (the number depending on credit requirements):

  • Theories of Politics and International Relations
  • US Foreign Policy: From Cold War to Terror War
  • Global Political Economy
  • International Development
  • Beyond Human Rights: The Politics of International Law
  • Comparative Politics
  • Gender and Global Politics.

Placement year (if applicable)

If you study on the four year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after Year two.

Depending on which you choose, you'll either complete a placement learning or learning and development module.

See the Placements and Fees sections for more information.

Final year

You will study:

  • Politics and International Relations Project and Placement module.

Plus optional modules from (the number depending on credit requirements):

  • The Berlin Republic
  • Sciences Placement Year
  • Britain after 'Brexit'
  • Gender and Security
  • Identity, Agency and Violence in South Asia
  • Crimes and Criminality in World Politics
  • Critical Reflections on Security and Strategy
  • Democracy in Theory and Practice
  • Development and Resistance in Latin America
  • Europe Reloaded
  • Exploring the International Relations of Southeast Asia
  • From Terror to Trauma: Politics in the Aftermath of Violence
  • Global Governance
  • Perspectives on Global Migration
  • Climate Politics
  • Public Policy and Decision Making
  • Religion and Politics
  • Violence and the International Order: Law, Ethics and Politics
  • Terrorism, Security and Migration in Europe.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

This structure is for full-time students only. Part-time students study the same modules but the delivery pattern will be different.

Learning and Teaching

You'll learn through a mix of lectures, seminars and tutorials. We keep seminar groups as small as possible to keep them engaging and interactive.

Online tutorials and simulation games deepen your understanding and enable you to practise your skills. Where possible, you'll also have the opportunity to go on field trips to places such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to see modern politics in action.

Independent study is vital. You'll read around the subject in your own time, looking at books, articles, official documents and websites.

The course lecturers and tutors are involved in internationally-renowned research. Read about some of their work on our Politics in Action blog and visit e-International Relations.

You'll have a personal academic tutor, and peer-assisted learning (PAL), where you'll be mentored by a second or third year student.

Staff hold weekly office hours, where you can discuss your work or your progress more generally. We try to see you outside those times as well, and get back to any emails promptly.

Our teaching ethos is informal, supportive and welcoming.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities, each year: 

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check

Find out more about our academic staff, their teaching expertise and research interests.

Get involved

Attend our fortnightly student-staff events where guest speakers discuss contemporary issues and explain the role of politics in different professions. Recent topics have included: criminalising hate speech in a democratic society, the EU's role in the former Yugoslavia, and Iran's nuclear programme.

Join our student-run Politics and International Relations Society to debate current political issues and to network with other students from across the University.

Keep up to date with the latest news and discuss contemporary political developments on the UWE Bristol Politics and International Relations Facebook page.

Study time

You'll have at least 12 hours of teaching and related activities each week.


We'll assess you using a mix of essays, seminar presentations, timed assignments, case studies, literature reviews, oral presentations, simulation games, your dissertation and formal unseen examinations.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Percentage of time you'll spend on different assessment methods, each year:

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check


Professional accreditation

Upon completion of the Politics at Work module, you'll be awarded the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 3 Award in Management, awarded by the City and Guilds of London Institute.


Students who undertake work experience, or a study exchange overseas, tend to graduate with better degrees and with improved employability skills, making you a sought after graduate.

Where possible, we also offer volunteering and other work-based experiences, to deepen your knowledge and skills.

You'll get help to find a placement and support throughout from department staff and our award-winning careers service.

Study exchange

Grow your personal and professional network and develop specialist subject knowledge by, where possible, spending a semester or academic year at one of our partner universities abroad.

Increase your confidence, intercultural communication skills and boost your employability.

Explore our study abroad pages to find out more.

Study facilities

You'll be on based on our Frenchay Campus, where you'll find modern, well-equipped facilities to support your studies.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.


Careers / Further study

Politics and international relations students graduate with the skills to build fulfilling careers in many fields.

You could go on to work in government, the civil service, NGOs, research organisations or education. You'll also be well equipped to go into areas such as marketing, HR, industrial relations, PR, finance and investment, accountancy or journalism.

Postgraduate study is another option to you, where you can specialise in a particular area or do a professional qualification to move into a career like law. 

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.


Supplementary fee information

Your overall entitlement to funding is based on how long the course is that you're registered on. Standard funding is allocated based on the standard number of years that your course lasts, plus one additional year.

You'll apply for funding each year that you study and Student Finance will take into account how long the course is in each year that you apply. So if you register for the four year course and then transfer to the three year course, the number of years you can apply for funding will change. Student Finance will reassess your funding based on how many years you have been in study, not just those years for which you received student finance.

Always seek advice before taking any action that may have implications for your funding.

Learn more about funding.

Additional costs

Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 112
  • GCSE: Grade C/4 or above in English Language or Literature and Mathematics, or equivalent. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy as alternatives to GCSEs.
  • English Language Requirement: International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

    *The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit
  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.

    For information on required Guided Learning Hours please see our minimum entry requirements page.

  • Access: No specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.
  • Irish Highers: No specific subjects required.
  • T Levels: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be eligible for BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations (with Foundation Year).

International applicants

For country specific entry requirements please find your country on the country information pages. If you are an international student and do not meet the academic requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

If you are applying to study at UWE Bristol and require additional support to meet our English language requirements, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.

Read more about entry requirements.

How to apply

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information


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