Undergraduate BA (Hons)

International Politics and Security

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

This course addresses the nature of threats to security, how states seek to manage and neutralise those threats, and how security is situated within the wider practice and theory of international politics. You will study theories of international politics alongside developments in security, and international institutions such as NATO, across the 20th century and up to the present day.

You will: 
  • Learn from current, real-world events of international significance and importance 

  • Gain transferable knowledge and skills desired by employers both within the security sector and further afield 

  • Learn from a team of academics who are recognised, published experts in their fields and whose teaching is informed by their own research expertise 

Find out more by signing up to our upcoming Open Day, or if you have any generic questions please contact course enquiries.

You can also find helpful FAQs, learn more about student life at Salford or explore all our History and Politics courses. Continue reading to understand more about this BA (Hons) International Politics and History course. 


options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You want to gain an in-depth understanding of current, real-world events of international significance and importance


You are a professional in a related field who would like to update their knowledge and skills for an international marketplace


You are interested in working in politics and government or international security

Course details

All about the course

Your first year is designed to introduce you to key concepts in international politics, the major theories of international relations, security, international history and British and global politics. You will also develop a range of crucial skills (research, writing, organisation) necessary to complete your studies to the highest possible standard

In your second year, you take three core modules focused on developing your understanding security in global politics. You will also choose three options from a range of choices so you can develop your interests and explore new topics.

In the third year you will complete a dissertation on the subject of your choice. This is your opportunity to develop your ideas and research a topic that you have selected. The dissertation counts as two modules. You also choose four options from a range of module options.

Year one

International Politics I

This module introduces you to key political concepts and ideologies and uses them in the study of international politics and the history of international relations. Concepts such as state, power, politics, nation, sovereignty and rights; and ideologies such as conservatism and liberalism; are used in everyday speech. They are complex ideas with contested meanings, yet central to analysis in politics and international relations. The module examines these ideas and applies them to significant developments in international politics such as the attempts to construct lasting arrangements for peace in the wake of major conflicts.

International Politics II

To provide a fuller understanding of international politics, this module introduces you to the core theories and issues in the study of international relations (IR). You will engage with traditional IR theories (Realism and Liberalism) and key critical perspectives (Marxism and Critical Theory), as well as understand key issues in contemporary IR (e.g. globalisation). You will also undertake independent study and participate in debates and discussions regarding international relations theories and issues.

Introduction to Security, Intelligence and Terrorism Studies

This module introduces various conceptualisations of ‘intelligence studies’, ‘terrorism studies’ and ‘security studies’. You then analyse the historical evolution of the idea and practice of security, intelligence and terrorism in the 20th and 21st centuries.  The theoretical discussion is illustrated by case studies and examples form current policy debates around terrorism and intelligence.

International History: 1945-present

You will continue your studies in international history by exploring the Cold War in Europe and Asia, decolonisation, European integration, the superpower relationship and the rise of China and Japan. You will also study the impact of US foreign policy and the global 'war on terror'.

International Organisations and Global Governance

This module is an introduction to new forms of governance at the global level. You will study international organisations such as the EU, UN, NATO and a host of others, including the World Bank and the IMF, and assess their role in global politics, as well as their impact on states and individuals.

Britain and the World

In this module you will study the British political system, political parties, legislatures and executives, and elections. This module will also look at the international context, covering British foreign policy, decolonisation, and Britain's role in Europe and the 'special relationship' with the USA.

Year two

Contemporary Security

On this module you will examine the main security challenges facing states, their institutions and societies today. You will gain knowledge of and assess the principal security actors, the current threats to national and international security, and the approaches that states and other institutions have taken to achieve, enhance and maintain security.

Contemporary International Relations

This module examines the foreign policies of the main actors in contemporary international relations – the USA, China, Russia, and the EU – in relation to current issues in world politics. It considers the interests and aims of the major powers and fields of conflict such as the Middle East. It also looks at enduring problems associated with issues such as security, armed conflicts, the environment, and globalisation and problems associated with them such as movement of peoples, humanitarian intervention, peace-keeping and the construction of international agreements.

Terrorism and Irregular Warfare

On this module you will gain a comprehensive view of the nature of modern conflicts with irregular non-state forces. You will examine the main motivations and worldviews of terrorist and insurgent groups, and the main theories of Western counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. By the end of the module you will be able to analyse counterinsurgency and counterterrorism campaigns, and understand the dynamics of state support for irregular violent movements.

Optional modules

Britain and the Cold War, 1945-1991

Using newly declassified archival material, oral testimony and popular film and television, the module charts Britain’s Cold War, both at home and abroad, from its origins through to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The story is told through the eyes of those working in Britain’s ‘secret state’ – intelligence officials and Whitehall Mandarins – through to ‘fellow-travellers’ and the fantasy world of James Bond. Subjects covered include Britain’s covert struggle against the Soviet Union, nuclear deterrence, popular media and the Cold War, and the recently released plans for World War III and the post-apocalyptic survival of the United Kingdom.

US Foreign Policy Since 1945

On this module we examine the role of the US in contemporary international relations. You will engage with US Foreign Policy after World War Two and understand key domestic and international factors that have shaped US Foreign Policy. You will develop a greater appreciation for how American presidents use their Foreign Policy to cement domestic and global power whilst understanding some of the diverse scholarly perspectives on the subject.

Russian Foreign Policy

Here you will examine the foreign policies of successive Russian governments since 1991. In particular, you will be assessing Russian bilateral and multilateral relations in an international environment and in doing so will gain an understanding of long-term developments in post-Cold War Order debates. More specifically the module examines the legacy of soviet union; foreign policy under Putin; relations with the west and particularly the US under Obama; Russian policy in the Middle East; and Russia’s relationship with Europe particularly in the context of the Ukraine conflict.

Intelligence, Security and Politics in Britain 1909-1994

This module examines the British intelligence community from the birth of the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) in 1909 through to the 1994 Intelligence Services Act. You will explore its activities primarily within the context of British domestic policy, while considering the links between the worlds of intelligence and politics.

Civil Wars and Development

Students will examine the main theories, debates and concepts within civil war studies to better understand the causes, dynamics and consequences of this type of conflict. In the ‘globalised’ age, understanding the links between security and development has become crucial for academics, policy makers, International Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). For example, analysing how poverty and inequality impact on the likelihood of civil war has become a central topic in civil war studies.

Year three


You will complete a 12,000 word research dissertation on the subject of your choice. This is your opportunity to develop your ideas and research a topic that you have selected. The dissertation counts as two modules.

Optional modules - you will take two optional modules in semester one. In semester two you will choose either the Dissertation and one optional module, or the placement module:

The Arab-Israeli Conflict

This module offers an introduction into the Arab Israeli conflict since the beginning of the 20th century by examining the main events and actors that have helped shape its course. You will also undertake a computer-based simulation where you can decide on issues of war and peace from the perspectives of the Israeli Prime Minister and Palestinian President.

Corruption in Contemporary Politics

Studying political corruption in detail you will explore the dynamics and impact of this problem for western democracies through key theories and case studies.

International Political Economy

Develop your knowledge of political economy in this module, which aims to help develop critical ways of thinking about the contemporary world of work and the political economies of production our post-industrial world.

Politics and the Internet

This module assesses the growing influence of internet on democracy and politics. The study of the internet is placed in context of the evolution of media technologies over past thirty years. In doing so, you examine whether the internet: is stimulating more global protest movements and also new form of terrorism; is a liberation technology potential undermining the power of authoritarian regimes; or alternatively is a tool for increased surveillance and control; is changing the nature of lections and election campaigning. These issues are explored through case studies such as: the rise of Corbyn in the Labour Party and the role played social media or, how the rise of so-called fake news is impacting on political debate.

Populism in Politics

The module will introduce students to the key concepts, theories and debates in the study of contemporary populism in politics. You will examine the historical context shaping the emergence of a wide range of populist movements, parties and leaders in Europe and elsewhere. Additionally, you analyse the causes and consequence of populism in contemporary politics. This will involve discussions of recent and current populist leaders and movements such as Berlusconi in Italy, Trump in the US, and Euroscepticism across the EU.

British Counter Insurgency

This module will allow students to examine Britain’s varied involvement in counter-insurgency operations since 1945 in depth.  After an initial engagement with the theories and principles of insurgency and counter-insurgency, the module will cover the cases of Kenya, Malaya, Northern Ireland, Britain’s continuing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some lesser-known cases.  Students will develop an understanding of the evolution of the British approach to counter-insurgency since 1945, including, notably, the roles played by political, military, policing, intelligence and local administration forces in the success or failure of the module’s case studies. 

Politics Placement

An exciting and unique opportunity to work in an area relating to politics including with an MP in London or in their constituency office , Non-governmental organizations, and Trade Unions as part of your degree. There is also the chance to develop your own placement which would be accredited by us. You will put your research and communication skills to work in a challenging setting that places you at the centre of British politics.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?






  • Lectures
  • Seminars in which you will engage in guided, focused discussion
  • Workshops combining lecture, seminar and other activities focused either on a particular topic or on particular skills
  • The dissertation is an independent study module, for which you are prepared by the Researching in International Relations and Politics module. Whilst working on the dissertation you receive guidance from a dissertation supervisor
  • If you chose to undertake a work placement, you will learn valuable, practical workplace skills, and write a research paper under the guidance of an academic member of staff
  • Use of the online Virtual Learning Environment to provide you with audio-visual material, reports and documents.



All our History and Politics courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Our School and University have strong and long-lasting relationships with local and national industry. 

Once you graduate with us, you’ll join a thriving alumni community in Greater Manchester and beyond.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

You will be well-placed to gain employment in any field that demands analytical and communication skills.

You will have subject-specific knowledge relevant to employment in the ever-growing security sector, including the police, the UK’s National Crime Agency, the military, intelligence services, private security companies, and international organisations such as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.


MA in Intelligence and Security Studies

MA in Terrorism and Security

A taste of what you could become

A security analyst

A police officer

An intelligence officer

A politician

And more...

Career Links

This course provides an exciting and unique opportunity to work with a Westminster MP in London or in their constituency.


What you need to know


This course would suit several types of student:

  • Students who have completed A levels or equivalent qualifications and want to gain an in-depth understanding of current, real-world events of international significance and importance.
  • Professionals who would like to update their knowledge and skills for an international marketplace. Relevant professions include the civil service, politics, political and social activism, journalists covering political and security issues, researchers, international organisations.
  • Mature students wanting to retrain for work in politics and government, or international security.

Please note: The entry criteria below are related to entry onto this course in the 2020/2021 academic year. If you’re interested in a future intake year, please check the course entry on UCAS.

Standard entry requirements

English Language requirements  

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, no element below 5.5, is proof of this


English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent) is required. Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.


A level

104-112 points which must include two A2 passes; politics or history desirable

BTEC National Diploma


Access to HE

Pass Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 104-112 points 

Scottish Highers

104-112 points

Irish Leaving Certificate

104-112 points

International Baccalaureate

30 points

European Baccalaureate

Pass in the Diploma with 71% overall

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2020/21 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £12,960per year
Full-time home 2021/22 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £14400per year
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID L294

Institution S03

Interested in starting university in September 2021? Book your place on our next Open Day.