Undergraduate BA (Hons)

International Relations and Politics

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2024


In a nutshell

In an age of globalisation, our daily lives are affected by what happens across the world. From the financial crisis to war and conflict, international relations matters. It shapes government policy, affects our job prospects and impacts the lives of people from all parts of the world. If you want to explore the role of state and organisation in an increasingly interconnected world, this international relations and politics degree is the right choice for you.

In many cases, global politics and the decisions made by those in power can have significant consequences for populations and how they live. As part of this politics and international relations course, you’ll debate different ideologies and policies in global politics, developing your understanding of why wars occur, why states cooperate (or don’t cooperate) with each other, and how these ideas affect lives.

Designed with a strong international focus, you’ll also have the opportunity to spend your second year studying abroad, immersing yourself in a different culture and experiencing new ways of life. These experiences will provide you with the real-world experience needed to stand out in a competitive employment industry.

Want to find out more about our politics and international relations undergraduate course? You can sign-up to an Open Day.

If you want to read more about our programmes and explore the careers made possible by a Politics and History degree, you can access our subject guide online.

You will:

  • Develop a thorough understanding of different ideologies and policies in global politics
  • Acquire a range of transferable skills needed to launch your professional career
  • Understand how lives are affected by both politics and the relations between relations

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You want to develop your understanding of how international relations shapes government policy and affects the lives of populations around the world.


You have a keen interest in global relations and are concerned about major problems in world politics.


You want to launch a professional career working in politics, government or international security.

Course details

All about the course

This degree in international relations and politics is designed to deepen your knowledge of global issues being faced by contemporary society. In your first year, you’ll explore your ideas in a unique range of contexts, from intelligence and terrorism to theories of power and domination.

As you progress your studies - in your second year – you’ll take two core modules and then develop your interests in international relations or politics that interest with four optional modules of your choosing. You can also study abroad for a semester or two, or take a language module

Your third-year dissertation gives you the chance to explore a topic you are passionate about, and you also get to choose from a wide variety of module option choices or take up our placement opportunities. Our placement opportunity means you can apply your newly-acquired skills in a real-world setting.

 Gain a deeper understanding of what you'll explore within each module below.

Year one

International History (2) 1945-Present

This module examines the history of international relations from the end of the Second World War to the present day. In conjunction with International History I, this module emphasises the changing character of international politics over the course of the ‘Long Twentieth Century’. Particular emphasis will be given to the origins of the Cold War in Europe and Asia, decolonisation in Asia and Africa, the evolution of European unity, the rise and fall of superpower détente, the resurgent political and economic power of China and Japan, the causes and consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Empire, and concludes with the nature of international relations in the post-Cold War world and the conduct of the Global War on Terrorism.

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

Here you will explore a range of topics that are studied in international politics as well as gaining a more detailed introduction to the study of International Relations. You will analyse the core theories of International Relations and will be able to explain why the key decision makers act the way they do. Through an understanding of these approaches, you will also discuss contemporary developments (e.g., globalisation) in International Politics.

Introduction to Comparative Politics

An introduction to the foundation concepts of comparing political regimes (democratic and non-democratic) institutions, and the rules and norms of politics.

Digital Skills for Politics and Contemporary History

In this module you will develop technical-practical skills to prepare you for a wide range of politics and history related careers. You will develop skills in writing, research, and presentations, and earn a wide range of industry-recognised certificates to bolster your CV.

International Organisations

An introduction to the foundation concepts of comparing political regimes (democratic and non-democratic) institutions, and the rules and norms of politics.

Year two

Theories of Power and Domination

The module explores how political systems create mechanisms for controlling the population and generating legitimacy. At the heart of this study are questions about what makes individuals acts as they do and how political power often leaves them powerless whilst maintaining that they have complete control.

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.

Researching in Politics

This module focuses on the key methodologies used in the politics and international relations disciplines as a means of preparing you for a Level 6 Dissertation. 

Optional modules may include:

Political Communication: Media and Democracy

This module explores the relationship between the media and politics in liberal democracies. You will focus on the nature of political media and reporting, the media's influence on politics, and how political actors use the media. You will also study the rise of the internet and new media technologies and what this means for democracy.

Regimes and Dictatorships from 1918

This module is based on the comparative history of a number of different dictatorships, beginning at the end of World War I - examples include Italy, Spain, Germany, Chile, China, Greece, Uganda and Hungary.

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.

Terrorism and Irregular Conflict

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.

Intelligence, Security and Politics in Britain 1909-94

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, exploring its activities primarily within the context of British domestic policy, while considering the links between the worlds of intelligence and politics. The module considers the reaction of the intelligence community to the Russian revolution, and its subsequent battle against the Soviet Union and Communism from the inter-war years through to the end of the Cold War.

Contemporary Security

This module provides students with the analytical tools to understand contemporary security issues within the context of international relations. At this module we will examine the main security challenges facing states, their institutions and societies today and discuss the nature and extent of threats posed to states and non-state actors. We will also try assess the responses states and institutions have adopted in the face of threats to security and will be encourage to think about developing our own approaches to dealing with security issues.

Contemporary Information Warfare

In this module we will discuss various aspects related to contemporary information warfare, starting from important concepts, historical examples, and important tools to specific case-studies. Specifically we will attempt to understand the major theories and models of information warfare and the historical context that laid the group for the use of information warfare. We will also analyse the advantages and disadvantages of the use of information warfare and aim to understand the main principles and tools of information warfare Finally, we will critically analyse the roles of the major actors engaged in information warfare.

University Wide Language Programme

This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.

Year three


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.

Optional modules may include:

Chinese Foreign Policy Since 1949

The module provides a comprehensive introduction to Chinese foreign policy since 1949 in terms of its history, traditions and characteristics; examines the key economic, diplomatic, security and geopolitical issues so as to identify and explain Chinese foreign policy goals and their implementation; explores the sources of conflict, competition and cooperation in Chinese foreign policy behaviours, assessing competing theoretical explanations in International Relations for key events and policies. Moreover, the module investigates the implications of China’s rise for the distribution of power at the international and regional levels as well as for global governance.

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.

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.

British Counter-Insurgency Since 1945

This module allows you to examine Britain’s varied involvement in counter-insurgency operations since 1945. 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.

Social media and politics: digital democracy

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.

Global Environmental Politics

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.

University Wide Language Programme

This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.

Intelligence and Cyber Warfare

This will give you the chance to consider cyber warfare’s role as both an intelligence challenge and an opportunity.

Threats to Democracy

This module focuses a key question for contemporary politics: does the current rise of authoritarianism across the world mean that democracy as we know it is under threat? We try to answer this question by looking at the core concepts of democratic backsliding / autocratisation and democratic resilience, and by discussing a wide range of case studies, which include: the relationship between populism and democracy; the rise of the far right; transnational repression (how autocrats seek to repress dissidents abroad); autocratic diffusion (do authoritarian leaders learn from each other?); the rise of ‘anti-gender’ movements’; the role of disinformation and misinformation in autocratisation; and case studies of democratic resilience (the extent to which state and non-state actors are able to counteract the current wave of autocratisation). 

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?








As part of this International Relations and Politics degree, your timetable will include a breakdown of your scheduled lessons with timeslots for you to explore your independent research interests. Your classes will be based at our Peel Park campus.

You will benefit from a diverse range of teaching methods.

Lectures will be where you gain an overview of the key concepts, ideas and events that relate to politics and contemporary history.

You’ll then be able to discuss these topics in more depth with your fellow students in seminars.

Workshops will give you the opportunity to learn and develop core skills that will be vital to your success on this course, and your wider career. Alongside your studies, you’ll also partake in debates, constructing and putting forward compelling arguments on a variety of issues.

A large portion of your studies will be managed by you, meaning that you will be in control of the direction and pace of your work. Finally, you will also be assigned a personal tutor who will be on hand to help you with all aspects of your studies.


Assessments will be an important part of your academic journey. They will help you to refine crucial skills that you can transfer into your career, as well as give you an indication of which areas you need to improve on. You will be assessed through a variety of methods, such as essays, presentations, podcasts and portfolios. Your module assessments will allow you to take on board any feedback prior to taking your final exam


All our Politics and History courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.

Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it.


Employment and stats

What about after uni?


What will studying international relations mean for you? Combining academic study with hands-on experience, this course will prepare you to secure employment in a vast range of organisations, from local government to the civil service. The variety of modules on this degree will give you the flexibility to work in a variety of contexts, whether that’s working in public administration or consultancy. Many of our graduates have also gone on to pursue roles in related areas like research and teaching.


Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further postgraduate path through our Postgraduate programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.

A taste of what you could become

A politician

A civil servant

A journalist

A political analyst

A local government officer

And more...

Career Links

You may be able to take part in a politics placement scheme, spending time in the office of an MP or other organisation. You are also encouraged to attend seminars throughout the year, which will give you the chance to meet with people from the industry.

The placements we offer, along with the opportunity to meet guest speakers, will help you to understand how the industry works and shape your career path after leaving university


What you need to know


To gain a place on this international relations and politics degree, we’re looking for candidates who are passionate about global politics. This could mean you’re simply keen to learn more about global relations, or you’re concerned about major problems in global politics. As this course will require you to grapple with complex theories of international relations, you should also be prepared to question and challenge a range of phenomena.

You’ll also have to submit a personal statement and meet our entry requirements. A personal statement is a personal summary (360 to 500 words) of your academic, professional/life experience and future goals. We’ll want to understand:

  • what motivates you and what you’ve learnt on your current academic journey;
  • your future career aspirations;
  • why the University of Salford and this course is right your future goals.


Standard entry requirements


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.

UCAS tariff points

104-112 points

A level

104-112 points. General studies accepted, history or politics desirable

T level


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 Diploma with 71% overall

International students

We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements. 

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

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.

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 2024/25 £9,250.00per year
Full-time international 2024/25 £15,720.00per 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. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2024

September 2025

UCAS information

Course ID L290

Institution S03