Study International Relations

What Is an International Relations Degree?

International relations concerns the relationships between states at a theoretical and practical level. It considers the driving factors behind territorial connections, drawing heavily on history, politics and philosophy to find answers to big questions such as: “what causes war?” and “how can we end global poverty?”. Graduates of international relations are found in many professional fields including government and international development.

What will I study?

You will study the two main theories of international relations: realism and liberalism. Students study classic texts by Clausewitz, Fukuyama and Huntington, and learn the skills required to critique them. You will undertake modules in political philosophy and discover how this can help to explain international relations themes. You will consider key issues in international relations such as globalisation, terrorism and climate change.

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You will begin your studies by gaining a solid foundation of key concepts and themes in international relations. You will start to understand the schools of realism and liberalism, their history and their objectives. Students study the current world order: its history and its modern forms. This involves an in-depth module into the history of the twentieth century. You will take the first of three philosophy modules, which will introduce important thinkers and their works.

During second year, you take a module in international political economy; an interesting course which considers the relationship between economics and politics on the international level. You continue with studies of philosophy and begin to critically analyse theories yourself. You will have the opportunity to take modules of your own choosing in the spring term. These include ‘globalisation and the state’, ‘security and insecurity’ and ‘the politics of foreign policy’. During this year, you will benefit from workshops run by policy-makers from international governmental organisations such as the United Nations. These will give you a real-world insight into international relations.

Your final year will comprise two elective modules, each of which requires a long-form dissertation to be submitted. These are in areas of study which interest you, and you will be overseen by an expert tutor. The options available are extremely varied and may include ‘feminist perspectives on international relations’, ‘the international relations of the Middle East’ or ‘development and geopolitics in East Asia’.

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