BA (Hons) International Studies

  • UCAS
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: BBB
    IB: 33 points including three HL subjects
  • Length
    3 years full-time or 5 years part-time
  • Department
    Politics and International Relations

Course overview

This degree explores the changing character of the contemporary world in an interdisciplinary manner, and gives you the opportunity to undertake an internship in a related organisation like a charity, think-tank or pressure group.

The events of 9/11, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflict and change in Africa and the Middle East, the growing economic and political importance of China, Japan and India, indicate that the international is not something that happens ‘out there’, but something that affects us all. 

This programme encourages you to engage with the international - from the practical to the theoretical. You'll study specific areas and regions including the UK, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Unlike more traditional International Relations programmes, this course sees culture and identity as central to the study of international politics, and has a particular focus on non-Western political cultures.

Why study BA International Studies at Goldsmiths?

  • You'll develop an understanding of conventional as well as interdisciplinary ways of understanding the international realm, and will study not only the West, but also Asia and Africa
  • You'll have the opportunity to gain practical experience through an internship option; recent placement organisations have included the Red CrossEquality and Diversity Forum, and the Department for International Development
  • We'll defamiliarise you from what you think you already know, and encourage you to look at the subject from a different perspective
  • We have a lively events programme that attracts renowned speakers, meaning that you'll have the opportunity to hear the latest political arguments, theories and ideas
  • The department has links with the Home OfficeDepartment for Transport, local government and the European Commission
  • We've been recognised as one of the UK's top political universities as voted for by students (Which? University 2014)

If you are an international student and you don't meet the entry requirements for this programme, you may be able to apply for our BA International Studies with International Foundation.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Paul Gunn

Modules & structure


At the beginning of the degree you'll take introductory modules that will give you a foundation of knowledge in international relations, global and comparative political cultures and political theory.

Then you'll have the opportunity to choose option modules tailored to your unique interests. One of the distinctive features of this degree is its interdisciplinary nature and the wide choice of modules it allows.

You'll also write a dissertation, and will have the opportunity to take an internship option, allowing you to gain practical experience in a relevant field.


Level 4

You will take these four compulsory modules:

Module title Credits
  Political Theory and Ideologies 30 credits
  UK and European Comparative Governance and Politics 30 credits
  World Politics 30 credits
  The Politics of Other Cultures 30 credits

Level 5

You will choose either:

Module title Credits
  Contemporary International Relations Theories 15 credits
  Rough Politics 15 credits

You will then choose modules from a list of options currently available in the Department. These options will add up to the remaining 105 credits. Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year. Some options may change from year to year.

Module title Credits
  An(other) Japan: Politics, Ideology and Culture 15 credits
  Chinese Politics: The Revolutionary Era 15 credits
  Europe Since 1945 15 credits
  Global Governance and World Order 15 credits
  Ideologies and Interests: Political Thought in Modern Britain 15 credits
  Liberalism and its Critics 15 credits
  Life: A User's Manual 15 credits
  Modern Britain: Thatcher and After 15 credits
  Modern Political Theory 30 credits
  Politics and International Relations of the Middle East 15 credits
  Politics of Vision 15 credits
  US Politics and Foreign Policy 15 credits

Level 6

Students write a research dissertation (30 credits) and make up their remaining 90 credits from the list of options currently available in the Department.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year. Some options may change from year to year.

Module title Credits
  An(other) China: Streetscenes of Politics 15 credits
  An(other) IR – Views from the South 15 credits
  Anarchism 15 credits
  Beyond All Reason 15 credits
  Britain and Europe 15 credits
  Colonialism and Non-Western Political Thought 15 credits
  Critical Security Studies 15 credits
  Ethics and Economics of Environmental Protection 15 credits
  Feminist Politics 15 credits
  Liberal Government and Power 15 credits
  Movements and Conflict in the Middle East: from the Arab Spring to ISIS 15 credits
  Nationalist Conflict and International Intervention 15 credits
  New Radical Political Economy 30 credits
  Political Economy of the European Union 30 credits
  Politics of Conflict and Peacebuilding in Contemporary Africa 15 credits
  Rhetoric and Politics 15 credits
  Work Placement 15 credits


Most modules in the first and second years are assessed by a combination of written essays and unseen examinations. Some might involve other forms of assessment such as blogs and policy reports.

In the third year, there is a greater focus on coursework, and a substantial dissertation on a topic chosen by you.


Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

A-level: BBB
International Baccalaureate: 33 points including three HL subjects

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:

Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including a number of distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher), BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A2 B2

If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us. 

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Read more about our general entrance requirements


Voted one of the top political universities in the UK by students**

Politics and International Relations

Politics and International Relations at Goldsmiths doesn’t just examine parliaments, voting systems and the formal arenas of political power. We explore ‘the politics behind politics’ – the major economic, social and cultural conflicts that are hidden by the formal veneer of institutions, but are central to everyday life.

We study politics and international relations for the 21st century, in which anarchism may be as important as liberalism, and in which Asia and Africa are as economically and geopolitically important as Europe and North America. 

Find out more about the Department of Politics and International Relations

**Which? University 2014

Learning & teaching

On this degree you'll attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills.

The teachers are imaginative and innovative in their methods, to bring together theories and concrete examples. We use various assessment methods, such as asking you to write blog posts and contribute to Twitter discussions. Class presentations, writing various types of documents (such as a policy report) and collaborative work with other students are all important parts of our teaching process, which aims to give you confidence and practical experience in the skills that you will need later in your career.

But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning in lectures and seminars, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.

This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers.

Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Independent learning
  • Presentations
  • Assessments
  • The Goldsmiths Virtual Learning Environment

Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches

Skills & careers


This programme will develop you intellectually, and will enhance your transferable and communication skills – learning to plan your workload, to research solutions, and to express your ideas coherently.


Our graduates go on to a wide variety of careers. Some go on to postgraduate study or further training in law, accountancy, social work, business administration, or to specialise in one area of their academic studies, whilst others go directly into employment.

Recent graduates have found employment in:

  • administration and management
  • various departments of central and local government
  • finance
  • the media
  • research
  • computing
  • voluntary agencies
  • health, education and housing management
  • the probation service
  • company management
  • teaching

Find out more about career options open to you on our Politics and International Relations careers pages. Find out more about general employability at Goldsmiths.

Student profiles

Olivia Owen, founder of education charity EduHaitian

Olivia was recently named an extraordinary young achiever under 30.

In 2010, Olivia travelled to Haiti to contribute to relief efforts in the wake of the country’s devastating earthquake. Having fallen in love with the country, she founded EduHaitian, a charity that matches children with sponsors who pay for their education. She was recently named one of 25 fellows in the London hub of Sandbox - a global organisation which supports extraordinary young achievers under 30.

"My fundraising work has been a huge highlight of the last few years. Some events include: black tie balls, cycling the length of the UK, speaking tours of primary schools, privately hosted events and army assault courses. I have done all sorts to enable the children in our programme to receive the gift of an education and I love finding new and challenging ways to inspire people to raise money. In total I have raised something in the region of £25,000, and that is set to increase dramatically as we are re-launching our programme.

Working in the field for two years taught me a lot, but I needed to understand how the world works. After coming to visit Goldsmiths and meeting the tutors, I knew this was the place I wanted to study. I could see they valued my experience and appreciated I had been on a different path to others and wasn’t your typical academic. It was a good decision and studying at Goldsmiths has been absolutely wonderful. The best thing is the way the academic teaching staff encourage you to think for yourself about issues and value all opinions. Another huge benefit I feel is the multi-diversity among the students, it brings a whole other dimension to political debates. To me, this is a true representation of how the world actually is: diverse. A classroom at Goldsmiths reflects time spent in the field in Haiti."



"I wanted to try something different and exciting, and Goldsmiths fitted the bill!"

"Being here has been the best three years of my life, it's helped me become who I am today. I wanted to try something different and exciting, and Goldsmiths fitted the bill! I'm not going back to my home country of Norway yet, I'd like to work in London for a year, before going on to do an MA."


Former musician Laura was the only student to get straight firsts in all her assessment tasks in her final year, and wrote a stunning dissertation that employed a de Certauian technique of walking in the city to map a politics of memory and race in East London.

"I genuinely only have positive things to say about my experience of studying at Goldsmiths; I'm extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to study in a politics department with such excellent and inspiring academics.

During my degree, I particularly enjoyed, and benefitted from, the many courses that take critical and interdisciplinary approaches to subjects and those focusing on non-Western politics and scholarship.

Studying at Goldsmiths certainly broadened and enhanced my understanding and knowledge of politics – from a street-level to international institutions – and sparked an interest in the politics of cities. This undoubtedly influenced my decision to apply for a masters in Urban Studies at another London university, for which I received an unconditional offer."

See more profiles for this programme

Fees & funding

Related content links

University statistics for this course