BA (Hons) International Relations

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This course is open for Clearing applications for international fee-paying students only.

Call the Clearing helpline on +44 (0)161 247 3000 to make an application or visit our Clearing pages for more information.


An International Relations degree will help you to gain an appreciation of how states, international organisations, and non-state actors interact on the global stage. Supported by knowledgeable and passionate staff, you'll start by looking at the core theories of international relations and their underlying methods. You'll get a broad grounding in a range of topics in global politics such as terrorism, security studies, human rights, internet politics, and many others. The teaching team constantly updates the course content to reflect on the key developments in International Relations.

A wide variety of options means you can pursue your own interests - with increasing levels of flexibility as you progress through the course. In the final year, you will engage more directly with current academic debates and contemporary political developments. You can also choose to specialise in how digital communications affect the global political landscape and graduate with the bracketed degree award of BA (Hons) International Relations (International Relations and Global Communications).

With practical skills training including advanced analytical approaches, and placement and study abroad opportunities, an International Relations degree opens doors to a range of interesting and rewarding career possibilities. 

This course has a Foundation Year available.

*From 2020 onwards, this course will also be available with a placement year option. See ‘Year 3’ in course details below for further information.

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

Most international relations graduates go straight into employment and/or further study. Previous graduates have gone in to a variety of jobs in the public sector (housing and education departments in councils, the police, the military), utilities, the financial sector, recruitment, journalism, media, non-governmental organisations, charities, development work, teaching, the law and academic research.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points/grades required


Minimum of 104 UCAS tariff points at A2 or equivalent (such as BTEC National Extended Diploma at Level 3 DMM or Advanced Diploma).

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with a minimum 106 UCAS Tariff Points

International Baccalaureate points


IELTS score required for international students

6.0. with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Course details

In the study of International Relations, politics, historical background, socioeconomic indicators and ideological imperatives are analysed, and cultural, gender and ethnic identities examined. You can study UK politics, political thought and theory, European politics, international relations and security, "issue" politics (for example, politics of hunger, environmentalism or war and peace) and comparative politics.

Year 1 is gives a core grounding to students who may not have studied international relations before, while extending the knowledge and skills of those who have already engaged with international relations, for example at A-level.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Developments in Politics (Europe)

This unit examines the organisation and development of European Union institutions and evaluates how these institutions have handled a range of issues, among them: problems in the Eurozone, the rise of euro-scepticism, Turkeys EU membership bid and the Syrian refugee crisis. The spread of democratic rule in Europe is also explored, focusing on transitions to democracy in southern and eastern Europe and the challenges to reform there, including threats posed by far right extremism, and the persistence of corruption. It also investigates the government and politics of European states and compares the impact and significance therein of factors such as: minority nationalism; the environment; religion; the politics of austerity and globalisation.

Introduction to World Politics

This unit aims to provide you with an understanding of the historical and contemporary context within which the multiple transactions of world politics take place. It begins by examining the development of the modern state system and continues by examining the changing nature of that system throughout the twentieth century. The second term looks at the idea of citizenship, community and critical issues in world politics. This module also includes support in developing a range of study, academic and transferable skills, with particular emphasis on planning, researching and writing essays.

Approaches to International Relations

This unit introduces you to some of the foundational concepts and theoretical approaches that are employed in the discipline of International Relations. Applying concepts and theories to the world around us is something we do all the time, but quite often we are not even aware that we're doing it. Among other things, this unit will encourage you to reflect on your own use of theory and give you the tools to critically unpick and unpack the underlying assumptions of dominant approaches in the study of International Relations.

Comparative Government and Politics

This unit introduces you to the key concepts, theories and ideas associated with the study of Politics. It aims to give you a broad grounding in the framework of modern government and to establish the importance of the comparative dimension in the study of Politics. In addition this unit also promotes a range of study, academic and general transferable skills. These include independent and group learning, sourcing and evaluating relevant material, giving oral presentations and engaging in academic analysis and debate.

The second year offers optional units to allow you to pursue your interests, while developing the core grounding built up in Year One.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

International Relations Theory

The unit will examine the development of International Relations theory throughout the twentieth century, looking in particular at the historically dominant traditions of realism, liberalism and Marxism. It will then go on to consider more contemporary theories such as feminism, post-colonialism, critical theory, and social-constructivism. The unit will have a particular focus on the epistemological and ontological debates that underpin the development of post-positivist approaches.  

Evolution of Global Security

The units content is divided into small blocks examining specific theoretical perspectives and practical challenges to global security. The unit starts from evaluating the role of the European Union in regional and global security. The unit moves on to study postcolonial perspective on poverty and humanitarian interventions, to analyse how IR theories explain Climate Change and other threats to Environmental Security. The last section is devoted to the Critical Theory and modern warfare and global terrorism.

Option Units

Political Theory
A unit that introduces you to the main figures in Political Theory between Machiavelli and Marx, and focuses on their leading ideas. The unit covers the following thinkers and their leading ideas; Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, John Stuart Mill, and Karl Marx.
Politics of the Arts
This unit will explore links between art and politics in a thematic way focusing on the artist as witness to, activist in or victim of political events. It will make reference to a wide range of international art, design and cinematic movements.
War, Violence and the Democratic State

The unit aims to provide an understanding of the ethical dimensions of war and politics through an examination of persistent moral problems and dilemmas concerning war, violence and political obligation. Topics considered include pacifism; the concept and criteria of a ‘Just War’; humanitarian intervention and the development of international law.

Modern British Politics

The unit will provide you with an understanding of the changing character of politics and society in Britain since 1980. It focuses particular attention on debates surrounding the role of the state, the economy, the organisation of industry and the role of factors such as the media and pressure groups within the political process.

American Empire

This unit combines an introduction to the US federal government and its institutions, processes and policies with an examination of US foreign policy since the Cold War. It includes the US Constitution, Congress, the Presidency and the Supreme Court; parties and elections; recent political history and key contemporary issues; American policy from the height of the Cold War to the present day.

Engaging the Humanities and Social Science: Interdisciplinary Learning and Practice

This is an innovative cross-departmental unit which provides an opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary context alongside other students from a range of undergraduate programmes within the Humanities part of our Faculty.

From 2020 this course will offer a placement year option which can be taken up in Year 3. Where a placement is not undertaken you will study the following final year units. The optional units below are indicative of the type of units that will be available.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Contemporary Political Issues: Theory and Practice

This unit allows you to engage with current academic debates and contemporary political developments and demonstrates a strong commitment to examining theoretical positions through the exploration of contrasting academic approaches. You will examine and apply diverse theoretical and methodological approaches and as a result develop the most advanced analytical skills needed for future employment prospects. 

With unique content for each degree route, example case studies include; examining the role of positivistic behaviouralism in British social policy; the role of new media both in terms of empirical questions and theoretical examination of the consequences; examining the electoral success of new political parties and movements; the rise of new global powers from BRICS to MINTS economics and ideology; new military methods and human rights statistical and normative questions; understanding evolving radicalism (linked to specific area studies).

Option Units

Britain and World Politics since 1918
This unit focuses upon Britain's changing role and influence in world politics. It examines the major events and issues by which foreign policy has been defined. Chronology is modulated by key foreign policy concepts.
Independent Project

This unit enables you to complete an extended piece of work which develops your research skills and ability to analyse academic sources and empirical findings in an area of your own choosing. 

Contemporary Politics in the Middle East and North Africa

Political legacies of colonialism in the Middle East and North Africa, the concept of `Unity' and `Diversity' in Islam, political Islam and its influence in current politics, relations between the Islamic World and the West, in particular in relation to recent conflicts, enabling students to consider significant issues about unity and diversity, whilst gaining knowledge of major current events, and learning how to assess their validity.

Political Theory since 1918

This unit will consider the thought of leading political thinkers since the First World War, focusing on Hannah Arendt, Carl Schmitt, Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault. The unit explores issues such as how to define the political (Arendt and Schmitt), forms of capital (Bourdieu) and the nature of social control via disciplining techniques (Foucault).

Latin American Politics

This unit offers both a historical background to, and analysis of, contemporary Latin American politics. The unit is in 2 sections -the first offers discussion of the institutions, processes and key factors which influence Latin American politics and the second offers in-depth analysis of individual Latin American countries.

What's Going On? African-American Politics, Music and Culture

This unit focuses on the politics of the African-American community in the latter half of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  It examines these politics especially as they have been mediated by various forms of cultural production: books, films and popular music.  As well as standard teaching methods, students will be presented with film, video, and audio material.

From 2020 this course will offer a placement year option. If you complete a placement in Year 3 you will study the following final year units in Year 4. The optional units below are indicative of the type of units that will be available.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises of 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Optional foundation year

Department of History, Politics and Philosophy

Our Department of History, Politics and Philosophy offers programmes of study alongside a thriving research culture, emphasising a student-centred approach to learning.

With interdisciplinary strengths in many areas, the department takes pride in its approach to research-led teaching and being able to provide opportunities for students to work with academics at the forefront of their disciplines.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


Foundation Year students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £9,250 per year for the foundation year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £14,500 per year. When progressing from the pre-degree foundation year to the linked degree. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study)

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2312.50 per 30 credits studied per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £14,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international students: Part-time fee: £3625 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing.

Placement Costs

Students normally do not incur additional core costs for field or Erasmus trips. These are optional depending on unit choice. Students on placement may need to provide travel costs dependent on choice of placement.


Find out more about financing your studies and whether you may qualify for one of our bursaries and scholarships.

Money Matters

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How to apply

This course is only open to International students through Clearing

Call our friendly team to find out more about this course and how to apply through Clearing

Please have the following information available:

Call us +44 (0)161 247 3000 Or email

Full-time applications through UCAS

Part-time applications - download an application form at

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.