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BAInternational Relations

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Overview

BA International Relations covers themes such as war and security, diplomacy and development, globalisation and global power relations, communication and resistance, and international political economy.

You will gain a solid foundation in the history of international relations and IR theory, studying subjects such as decolonisation, international organisations, European integration, foreign-policy making, counterterrorism, human migration and non-state violence – allowing you to understand better the complexity of contemporary global governance and the theories that explain it. As you progress through the degree, the flexible nature of the course allows you to specialise in those aspects of international relations that most interest you.

You will gain in-depth understanding of international politics, examining how states, groups and individuals interact across borders, and you will consider some of the most important issues that confront the world today. Your studies will give you a solid grasp of how the world of international relations works, taking into account, among other things, the recent global economic crisis, changes in the European Union, immigration, human rights, global terrorism, the rise of China, the power of the US, conflict in the Middle East and the problems hampering African states.

The Department of Politics and International Relations has a strong commitment to high-quality, cutting-edge research, all of which informs our teaching. We are a research community that applies various theories and methods to the study of domestic, transnational, regional and global politics. We have expertise in African, British, Chinese, European, Middle East, North American and South Asian politics, and our research covers areas such as security, democratisation, youth politics, international diplomacy and political communication, as well as contemporary and radical theories of democracy and power.

Programme structure

Year 1

Introduction to Politics and Government
This module will introduce you to the academic study of politics and to the ‘real world’ of contemporary politics. As a foundational course, it will give you all the essential tools to understand the nature of politics and analyse the way different political systems work. You will be introduced to key concepts such as politics, power, rights, ideologies, democracy and representation, and will learn about the different actors, institutions and processes that make up politics today.

Introduction to International Relations
This module offers a broad introduction to theory and history in international relations since 1870. You will look at a variety of different theoretical lenses, ranging from orthodox to critical perspectives, in order to understand events from the collapse of the Bismarckian European order and the origins of World War 1 to the contemporary War on Terror. Along the way you will also explore the origins and the end of the Cold War, decolonisation and the End of Empire, the rise of international institutions, humanitarian intervention and new security issues.

Classic and Contemporary Readings in Politics and International Relations
This module will introduce you to foundational thinkers and texts in the history of political thought and international relations theory. The first half will explore ideas of community, politics, order and justice in ancient early Christian thought from Socrates to Augustine. The second half will explore how themes of war, peace and the state, as well as liberalism, imperialism and resistance, are developed from the early modern to contemporary period in thinkers such as Hobbes, Kant, Hegel, Smith, Mill, Marx and Fanon.

Introduction to Research Methods in Politics and International Relations
This module will provide you with the analytic skills and resources to evaluate, understand, and criticise research findings in politics research. It will also provide you with the practical skills to carry out your own independent research, so that you can produce a high quality dissertation in your final year and graduate with transferable skills that will prepare you for the job market. The module aims to encourage a critical and rigorous approach to research, both in terms of how you evaluate the research of others and how you do your own. These twin goals are important for getting the most out of your time studying politics.

Year 2

International Relations Theory
Building on Introduction to International Relations, this module explores the key thinkers and debates in International Relations Theory. You will become familiar with a variety of ways of thinking about International Relations, engaging with questions about the nature of power, identity, and ethics in politics and how these interact in the international realm. The module is divided into two parts. In the first, you will examine the three foundational theoretical paradigms within International Relations – realism, liberalism, and Marxism. The second part explores newer critical approaches to International Relations theory, including constructivism, post-structuralism, feminism, and uneven ecological exchange.

Year 3

Dissertation
The dissertation offers you the opportunity to pursue independent research in a topic of your own choosing with the support of an academic supervisor working one-to-one with you. You will develop your own research question and research strategy, explore the scholarly debates surrounding your topic, and advance your own thesis that interprets or challenges the way your topic has been understood. You are encouraged to use a variety of quantitative or qualitative methods and theoretical approaches as appropriate to the field you are exploring.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Career opportunities

The outstanding record of success for work and further study puts Politics & International Relations at Royal Holloway in the top 10 for graduate career prospects (Complete University Guide, 2015). Our degree programmes not only promote academic achievement and employability. You will learn to approach problems in a rigorous and analytical way, and you will develop your abilities to communicate in both speech and writing.

The graduates are highly employable and have secured jobs in a wide range of professions, such as public affairs, the law, the civil service, accountancy, management, journalism, broadcasting, teaching, international development and diplomacy. Many of our graduates also go on to further study, entering postgraduate programmes both at Royal Holloway and at other prestigious institutions around the world.

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States