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International Relations and History

BA (Hons)

Undergraduate degree - combined honours

BA (Hons) International Relations and History
School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
Three years full time, or four years full time with professional placement year. Part time available.
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: IRH or IRH2 (with professional placement year)
Campus Code: A,BSU

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed under 'Typical offers' in the main column below. For combined courses, please check both subjects. If your qualification is not listed, please email with your specific details.

Discover how past events have shaped today’s world with our International Relations and History degree.

  • Analyse the influence of history on world politics and learn how to challenge the status quo.
  • Merge theoretical study with practical research skills to create change and have an impact.
  • Pursue your own passions by studying topics that interest you.

How did the world become a system of states? Why is war an enduring feature of world politics? How does colonialism shape the political possibilities of globalisation? To unpack the complexities of today’s world, we first need to understand how the past becomes the present. Our International Relations and History degree will help you to develop the knowledge and gain the practical skills required to engage meaningfully with the world, for a wide range of future career paths.

From the European 'discovery' of the Americas in the 15th century to the collapse of the USSR and the rise of China, you’ll explore both western and non-western political traditions and assess their relevance to contemporary global structures. There has never been a better time to address these questions, as the world grapples with its difficult histories while facing the climate crisis. This course will help you to become a conscious, informed citizen of the world, equipped with the knowledge and expertise required to collectively build better futures. 

You’ll be taught by our team of approachable tutors, whose research crosses continents and embraces past, present and future. You'll analyse big data and tiny fragments of text. You’ll explore objects and images, and examine the contrasts between powerful institutions and the voices of ordinary people.

Why study International Relations and History?

Combining International Relations with History will deepen your understanding of world politics. International Relations gives you a broader global perspective on key developments and the nature of historical change, allowing you to make connections between events separated by time and place. History allows you to understand how the world came to be as it is, how and why it has changed over time, and where it might be going in the future.

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What you'll learn


Our International Relations and History course has been designed to develop your practical, analytical and communication skills, which are essential to and valued by a diverse range of careers and employers.

Optional modules will give you the chance to explore the formal structures of international relations and the ways that individuals can influence them. For example, you might examine how arts and culture can shape how we perceive the world around us, investigate the roles of protest and activism, or learn how the destruction of archaeological sites has been used as an instrument of war. You’ll also gain broad historical skills and expertise, learning how to:

  • read historical texts
  • use a wide range of historical sources
  • discuss and debate historical subjects and concepts.
Course structure

Year one
An interdisciplinary first year introduces you to a wide range of ideas, approaches and concepts, which will underpin and inform your whole degree. Throughout, you'll develop the skills and insight you'll need to solve problems, work with others, ask questions, challenge your own assumptions, and interrogate evidence, data and opinions.

Year two
In the second year, you’ll focus on the mechanisms of foreign policy, intelligence and diplomacy and the connections that come from informal collaborations and creative action. Optional modules allow you to pursue your passion for particular periods or genres of history. You’ll apply your knowledge and understanding to a defined problem or case study of your choosing.

Year three
Alongside a range of optional modules, you'll bring together your theoretical and practical knowledge to devise, plan and implement your final project. This might be an extended piece of academic writing, but it might also be a pitch to a local employer, a community project, a policy brief or the creation of digital resources.

How will I be assessed?

We use a mix of assessments, including essays, group and individual presentations, online reports, surveys, project portfolios, campaign documents and context papers, podcasts, blog posts and vlogging. These have been designed to build practical skills that graduates can take into employment.

How will I be taught?

You’ll get to grips with your subject through small seminars and workshops. You’ll participate in a variety of other activities including lectures, practical sessions, and field trips.

Working with fellow students, you’ll develop essential project management and team-working skills by engaging with different media and communication technologies, designing campaigns and workshops and undertaking case study research for real-world organisations, such as NGOs, think tanks or historical organisations.

You can take advantage of the learning support provided across the University, whether to develop your writing skills or to learn how to use new techniques and technologies.

To find out more about how we teach and how you'll learn, please read our Learning and Teaching Delivery Statement.


Study abroad

As part of your degree, you could study abroad on a placement at one of Bath Spa’s partner universities.


We study off-campus as much as possible, and visits, observational study and fieldwork are integral to this course. Depending on your module choices, you’ll have opportunities to visit Stonehenge, Avebury, Bristol Harbour, M-Shed, major national museums and galleries such as Oxford’s Ashmolean or the V&A, and hidden gems such as the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes or Dyrham Park, just outside Bath.

Our location in the heart of the Bath and Bristol cultural area means you can learn outside the seminar room. We have The Holburne Museum, Roman Baths and Brunel’s SS Great Britain right on our doorstep.

Work placements, industry links and internships

There are opportunities to work with a number of different employers, external agencies, local and regional partners throughout the course, whether through a small project, a longer placement or as a basis for your own research.


Our course will equip you to think critically, solve problems and work with others – essential skills for a wide variety of careers, and for the flexible approach to the future that we all need to develop.

Graduates go on to pursue a range of careers, such as:

  • working for the civil service, a political party, think tank or campaign group
  • law
  • financial services
  • curation for museums and heritage organisations
  • work in the public and social services.

You may also choose to continue your studies at postgraduate level.

The Careers team run networking events and advisory workshops that explore your future options and the essentials of the job application process. They help you get experience by assisting with your search for work placements and paid part-time jobs while you're studying. They can also help you secure graduate-level employment, freelance opportunities, and funding for your own business ideas. Career support continues for years after you graduate with the dedicated Grad Support Unit.

Global Citizenship

If you’re a full-time undergraduate student starting your first year at Bath Spa University, you can apply for the Certificate in Global Citizenship, which you’ll study alongside your degree.

You’ll gain global awareness and add an international dimension to your student experience, and funding is available. On successful completion of the programme, you’ll be awarded a Certificate in Global Citizenship. This is in addition to your degree; it doesn’t change your degree title or results.

Adobe Creative Campus

Develop a wealth of indispensable digital skills that you can take into your future career. One of only three Adobe Creative Campuses in the UK, we provide all Bath Spa students with access to the full Adobe Creative Suite, giving you the tools to communicate creatively, whatever your course or chosen professional field.   

Professional placement year


This optional placement year provides you with the opportunity to identify, apply for and secure professional experience, normally comprising one to three placements over a minimum of nine months. Successful completion of this module will demonstrate your ability to secure and sustain graduate-level employment.

By completing the module, you'll be entitled to the addition of 'with Professional Placement Year' to your degree title.


Before your Professional Placement Year, you'll work to secure your placement, constructing a development plan with your module leader and your placement coordinator from our Careers and Employability team.

How will I be assessed?

On your return to University for your final year, you'll submit your Placement Portfolio, detailing your development on your placement.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

You’ll be based at our Newton Park campus. 

With excellent links to nearby Bristol, you benefit from all the advantages of a buzzing, modern city, while being based in a beautiful, rural location just outside Bath city centre.

  • Our Library gives you access to books, academic journals and DVDs and an extensive range of electronic services. It also provides a place for individual study and collaborative work. Our Subject Librarian for History and Heritage provides subject-specific support, including help with research.
  • Access to the University archive, including photos, documents and other materials relating to the history of Bath Spa.
  • The Writing and Learning Centre provides support for your academic work, including feedback on written drafts and other help with academic writing.
  • Our Virtual Learning Environment provides online access to learning materials such as lecture slides, assessment information, discussion boards and other resources.
  • You’ll have free access to thousands of business, design and tech courses online via LinkedIn Learning.
  • If English isn't your first language, our English Language Unit can help you improve your English, reach your full potential and boost your confidence.
  • Our Student Wellbeing Services are available to support you through your learning.


2024 entry
Student Annual tuition fee
UK full time £9,250
UK part time £4,625
International full time £15,750

Professional Placement Year

During the placement year, the fee is reduced to 20% of the full time fee. This applies to UK and EU/International students.

  • UK: £1,850
  • International: £3,150

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

You'll have a passion for history and how the world works. You'll want to make a difference for the people and places you care about. Or you might want to look at historical topics in new ways, and explore aspects of the past you haven’t encountered before.

Typical offers

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level – grades BBB-BCC preferred.
  • BTEC – Extended Diploma grades from Distinction Distinction Merit (DDM) to Distinction Merit Merit (DMM) accepted in any subject.
  • T Levels – grade Merit preferred.
  • International Baccalaureate – a minimum of 32 points are required.
  • Access to HE courses – typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, at Merit or higher).

If you don’t meet the entry requirements above, we may be able to accept your prior learning or experience from outside of formal education. See our Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) page to learn more.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Course enquiries

For further information about the programme or entry requirements, please email us at

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply pages.

Get ahead

If you’d like to do some advance reading, here are some suggestions:

  • Jonathan Krause and Thomas Trappe, A Short History of Humanity: How Migration Made Us Who We Are, 2022
  • Peter Frankopan, The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, 2015
  • Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, 2014
  • Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel, 1997

Course leader: Dr Rupert Alcock (International Relations)

Course leader: Dr David Coast (History)

Three year course
With placement year

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