Course information

Entry requirements

UCAS code


Entry requirements

A-level: BBB
IB: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655


3 years full-time

Course overview

If you want to understand the impact of the Arab Spring or the ideology of ISIS, how US foreign policy is shaped by domestic politics, how international trade affects various parts of the world, how different cultures shape political decision making, or how international NGOs operate, this is the degree for you.

From turmoil in the Middle East to the refugee crisis in Europe, from the economic rise of China to the decline of US dominance, from global fears about security and climate change to new opportunities and risks presented by borderless communication, we live in a constantly changing world. BA International Relations enables you to understand these dynamics at a deeper level and develop the knowledge and skills to address the global challenges of the twenty-first century.

During the degree you’ll explore the institutions, conflicts and dynamics that shape our contemporary world. You‘ll study the theory of international relations, global governance, international political economy, foreign policy and diplomacy. This is complemented by specialist area-focused modules on the Middle East, Africa, China and East Asia, which investigate how international relations play out in different places. You can also enhance your knowledge in your personal areas of interest, with optional modules as diverse as security, development and human rights, foreign policy, conflict and genocide.

This theoretical learning is complemented by the opportunity to apply your academic knowledge to an optional work placement in the international relations sector. This will give you valuable experience that will set you apart as you embark on your career in areas such as government, international institutions, policy thinktanks, development agencies and NGOs.

Contact the department

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

What you'll study

Year 1 (credit level 4)

Students take the following compulsory modules:

Year 1 compulsory modules Module title Credits
  World Politics 30 credits
  Political Theory and Ideologies 30 credits
  Colonialism, Power and Resistance 30 credits

You then choose to study International Political Economy and Introduction to Political Economy:

Module title Credits
  Introduction to Political Economy 15 credits
  Introduction to Economic Policy 15 credits

Or UK and European Comparative Governance and Politics:

Module title Credits
  UK and European Comparative Governance and Politics 30 credits

Year 2 (credit level 5)

You will study the following core modules:

Year 2 core modules Module title Credits
  Contemporary International Relations Theories 15 credits
  Global Governance and World Order 15 credits
  Security Studies 15 credits

You will then choose a total of 30 credits from a list of International Relations/area studies modules. Current examples include:

Year 2 option modules Module title Credits
  US Politics and Foreign Policy 15 credits
  International Politics of the Middle East 15 credits
  International Political Economy 2 15 credits
  Rough Politics 15 credits

Your remaining 45 credits are then chosen from a general list provided annually by the Department or from the above. Current examples include:

Year 2 option modules Module title Credits
  Making Modern Japan 15 credits
  Chinese Politics: The Reform Era -
  Europe Since 1945 15 credits
  Ideologies and Interests: Political Thought in Modern Britain 15 credits
  International Trade 15 credits
  International Monetary Economics 15 credits
  Liberalism and its Critics 15 credits
  Life: A User's Manual 15 credits
  Modern Political Theory 30 credits
  Political Economy 30 credits
  Politics of Vision 15 credits

Year 3 (credit level 6)

Students write a dissertation (30 credits) and will then choose a total of 60 credits from a list of IR/area studies modules. Current examples include:


Year 3 option modules Module title Credits
  Critical Security Studies 15 credits
  An(other) IR – Views from the South 15 credits
  International Political Economy 2 15 credits
  Nationalist Conflict and International Intervention 15 credits
  Political Islam: Ideology and Discourse 15 credits
  Politics of Conflict and Peacebuilding in Contemporary Africa 15 credits
  The Politics and Economics of Immigration 15 credits
  Finance and the Global Political Economy 15 credits
  Colonialism and Non-Western Political Thought 15 credits

Your remaining 30 credits are then chosen from a general list provided annually by the Department or from the above. Current examples include:

Year 3 option modules Module title Credits
  An(other) China: Streetscenes of Politics 15 credits
  Anarchism 15 credits
  Beyond All Reason 15 credits
  Britain and Europe 15 credits
  Ethics and Economics of Environmental Protection 15 credits
  Feminist Politics 15 credits
  Liberal Government and Power 15 credits
  Rhetoric and Politics 15 credits
  New Radical Political Economy 30 credits
  An(other) Japan: Politics, Ideology and Culture 15 credits
  The Political Economy of International Development Assistance 15 credits
  Political Islam: Ideology and Discourse 15 credits

Teaching style

This programme is mainly taught through scheduled learning - a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops. You’ll also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study. This includes carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, and producing essays or project work.

The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% independent learning
  • Year 2 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% independent learning
  • Year 3 - 11% scheduled learning, 89% independent learning

How you’ll be assessed

You’ll be assessed by a variety of methods, depending on your module choices. These include coursework, examinations, group work and projects.

The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 63% coursework, 37% written exam
  • Year 2 - 71% coursework, 23% written exam, 6% practical
  • Year 3 - 100% coursework

*Please note that these are averages are based on enrolments for 2016/17. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices.

Download the programme specification, for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

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

Entry requirements

We accept the following qualifications:

A-level: BBB
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Fees & funding



Throughout your degree you’ll gain a broad knowledge of the international system, foreign affairs and relations between state and non-state actors. This will be complemented by specialist in-depth knowledge of political conflicts and cultures in different parts of the world. Your hands-on experience working for an NGO or organisation involved in international activities and policy development will foster your professional skills and knowledge.


This degree will equip you for a range of careers in international relations, such as:

  • Government, for example in the Foreign Office or Department of International Development
  • International Institutions such as the UN
  • Foreign aid development agencies
  • International NGOs, for example Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International
  • International policy think-tanks and consultancies
  • Private sector organisations and companies who trade and invest internationally

As a graduate from the BA International Relations you will also be well placed to continue to higher level study, such as masters-level study or postgraduate research in areas relating to international relations.

What our students say


"The department is fantastic and full of brilliant intellectuals."

"Goldsmiths was my first choice of study for my degree, and after visiting on an open day, I was immediately assured that this was the place for me.

I would highly recommend attending Goldsmiths University if you are passionate about Politics and International Relations. The department is fantastic and full of brilliant intellectuals who are experts in their field and whom you can grow and develop from as an academic."

Habiba studies the BA International Studies degree. We no longer offer this programme, but instead we now have a BA International Relations degree.