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International Relations and Politics

BA (Hons)

Undergraduate degree - combined honours

BA (Hons) International Relations and Politics
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: IRP1 or IRP2 (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.

Examine world politics and challenge prevailing structures of power and authority with our International Relations and Politics degree.

  • Combine theoretical study with practical application to affect change and make a difference.
  • Discover how the world works by connecting with partner organisations that link local and global issues.
  • Build the practical skills required to work in the field by applying knowledge and research methods to contemporary challenges.

Does democracy limit the threat of war? Can capitalism coexist with the climate crisis? What does globalisation mean in an era of growing fragmentation? Studying International Relations and Politics gives you the tools to tackle the biggest challenges faced by the world today. You’ll dig beneath the surface of the fundamental questions of our time and work together to define the kinds of solutions that could positively impact future generations.

International Relations looks beyond formal interactions between states and governments. You’ll explore how local and global structures interact, and the ways in which "international relations" are shaped as much through everyday actions as by formal institutions of government. This could relate to the work of NGOs and the impact of "soft diplomacy", or to the communities of artists and activists that contribute to campaigns against global inequalities and injustice.

Why choose this combination?

Combining International Relations with Politics will deepen your understanding of political concepts and theories and expand your grasp of global events and international affairs.

The study of Politics complements the global focus of International Relations by providing foundational, specialised subject knowledge and research methods that you’ll apply to contemporary challenges, issues and debates. Our progressive Politics programme 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.

What you'll learn


The course has been designed to develop practical and professional skills that you can apply in a variety of careers. You’ll work collaboratively with students from other subjects during your first two years, to deepen your understanding and sharpen your analysis of political ideas, processes and structures from different perspectives. You’ll work on projects that look beyond the University and into the city, the region and the wider world. You could lead a project team, evaluate and respond to a defined challenge, or pitch an idea to one of our many partner organisations.

In International Relations modules, you might examine how art and culture inform our perceptions of the world, from the artist as activist to the destruction of archaeological sites as an instrument of war. Our Politics modules encourage you to look across the boundaries between different disciplines. You'll focus on contemporary change, movements and action. You’ll also explore the historical and philosophical contexts in which political ideas develop, and investigate their social, environmental and cultural impacts.

Course structure

Year one
An interdisciplinary first year introduces you to the study of a wide range of ideas, approaches and concepts that will underpin and inform your work. Throughout, you’ll develop the skills and insight you'll need to apply your learning to solving problems, working with others, finding your own voice and honing your skills of political analysis. You’ll follow a broad curriculum that allows you to ask questions, challenge your own assumptions, interrogate evidence, integrate data and contextualise diverse opinions.

Year two
During year two you’ll focus on theories and practices of international conflict, security and development. You’ll explore the nature of contemporary violence and critically analyse why conflicts begin, persist and often recur. You’ll also study mechanisms of soft power and diplomacy, and the relationships between art, culture and activism. 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 or the creation of digital resources.

How will I be assessed?

We use a mix of traditional and contemporary assessments, including practical tasks and exams, as well as essays, group and individual presentations, online reports, surveys, project portfolios, campaign documents and context papers, podcasts, blog posts and vlogging.

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, masterclasses and field trips.

The course is hands-on and collaborative. 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 formal political institutions. 

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; visits, observational study and fieldwork are integral to this course.

Work placements, industry links and internships

There are opportunities to work with a number of different employers, external agencies and 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.

International Relations and Politics graduates go on to pursue a range of careers. These can be related to formal politics, such as working for the civil service, a political party, think tank or campaign group. Graduates also pursue wider career paths, such as in the legal profession, financial services or the not-for-profit sector.

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.  

You'll have access to excellent facilities including:


Our Library gives you access to books, academic journals and streaming services. It also provides a place for individual study and collaborative work.


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

We're looking for imaginative, critical and independent people who want to understand the world in order to change it. You'll be inventive, thoughtful, connected, socially engaged, keen to challenge the status quo and make a difference for the people and places you care about.

You'll already be fascinated by the politics of the modern world and by the connections that link people with politics, cultures and communities. You'll be aware of what's happening locally, and of the links between this and the 'bigger picture'.

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
  • We recommend you read: Jonathan Krause and Thomas Trappe, A Short History of Humanity: How Migration Made Us Who We Are (Penguin, 2021) and Helen Thompson, Disorder (Oxford University Press, 2022)
  • Keep up with the news, but always with healthy scepticism. Never take a story at face value. Read widely and critically around issues that concern you.
  • Find out more about the people and organisations making changes in the world – changes you want to see, and those you don’t!
Three year course
With placement year

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