Politics and International Relations (with a Language) (BSc Econ)

The ability to communicate fluently in a foreign language is a considerable asset for those seeking careers in the international arena.

International Relations is a branch of Political Science that examines the role of states, international alliances, non-governmental organisations and multinational companies in an increasingly globalised world.

Like its non-language counterpart, you will have the opportunity to study major issues in global politics, such as the politics of international security and the role of human rights in the world today.

In your first year you will concentrate on core modules plus your language. In your second year you will choose from a wide range of optional modules as well as continuing your language studies. Your final year consists exclusively of optional modules. You must study a certain number of international relations modules over the course of your degree, but beyond this the full range of politics modules is available.

This degree aims to provide you with an excellent understanding of politics and governance at national and international levels while also allowing you to learn a foreign language that will be of value whether you work in government or in the private or voluntary sectors. Many of our graduates have sought careers with an international dimension not only in government but also in international organisations, transnational companies, and international non-governmental bodies after finishing their studies.

Key facts

UCAS CodeL292
Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration3 years
Typical places availableTBC
Typical applications receivedTBC
Typical A level offerAAB including a modern language (excluding General Studies)
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrades AAB from a combination of 2 A-levels and the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma Core, including a modern language.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer34 points with 6,6,5 at HL
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark

Politics and International Relations, Languages and Related Subjects

Admissions tutor(s)

Mr Jonathan Kirkup, Admissions Tutor

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

The Politics and International Relations (with a language) degree programme at Cardiff takes three years to complete.

The first year is an introductory year. It is the results of the second and final years of study that determine your degree classification. There are some compulsory modules, including language modules, and you need to study a certain minimum number of international relations modules, but beyond this you can choose from the full range of Politics modules. A particular feature is the option of writing a dissertation in your final year. This is highly regarded by employers because it indicates that you can do original research.

Year one

You will take four politics modules.

Year two

You will take five politics and one language module.

Year three

In your final year you have the opportunity to choose from a further set of modules, including the option of writing a dissertation.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi.

Seminars provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist you to integrate the information and ideas you receive from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. Set questions and readings form the basis for discussion by directing your attention to relevant aspects of the subject matter and to various types of sources of information. Giving presentations develops your capacity to gather, organise and synthesise relevant information and ideas and to communicate these in a logical and concise manner. Tutor-led and student-led discussion hones logical skills and gives you practice in applying different concepts, theories and methods to the subject-matter at hand. It also exposes you to different interpretations of political ideas and events. Group problem-solving helps to develop collaborative skills.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Prior advice and written feedback (for essays) are used to help you understand what is required.

In 2013/14, 96% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

Politics at Cardiff is a respected recruitment pool for a variety of employers within this sector with the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, the Department for Education, Oxford City Council, the UK Border Agency and a range of political parties all recruiting from the last graduating year.

Outside of the political sector, the degree is of interest to employers in both the public and private sectors, with graduates taking up management training opportunities within EY, Enterprise Rent A Car, Zurich Insurance and King Worldwide.


3 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

The School admits 230 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes

Applications received

Typical applications received



QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark

Politics and International Relations, Languages and Related Subjects

What are the aims of this Programme?

International Relations at Cardiff is an exciting, extensive and challenging academic programme which covers a broad range of areas in International Relations.

International Relations, though it shares the concerns of Politics, focuses more on the regional and global arenas. Traditionally, it is concerned with anarchy (the absence of international or global government) and the conflictual and co-operative engagement between states, however contemporary International Relations is also increasingly concerned with engagement between states, intergovernmental organisations (such as the United Nations) and other non-state actors such as transnational corporations and non-governmental organisations (such as Amnesty International, Oxfam and Greenpeace) and also individuals(for e.g in relation to human rights and international criminal justice).

 In the Bsc Econ International Relations and Politics programme we aim at

·         Encouraging the development of a critical perspective towards problems in international relations;

·         Developing a systematic understanding of international relations and a critical appreciation of debates relating to key concepts and processes;

·         Providing a flexible structure that facilitates a broad and balanced education in the key areas of international relations

·         Producing  graduates with the intellectual and employability skills appropriate both for further study and for a range of working environments

·         Providing opportunities for students to fulfil their academic potential, acquire research and transferable skills, maximise their career potential and achieve personal growth

·         Providing students with a sound basis of knowledge, understanding and skills in the main areas of international relations.

Our Bsc Econ International Relations and Politics degree is highly respected by employers, both within the political environment and outside. Our graduates are able to demonstrate a wide portfolio of acquired skills, such as oral and written communication skills, research skills and analysis, teamwork, self-management and problem solving skills which are in demand across both public and private sectors.

What is expected of me?

·         Attend all Lectures and seminars

·         Engage with all forms of in-course assessment to allow self-reflection on progress towards the learning outcomes

·         Engage in independent study in addition to taught study. Increasing independence of learning is expected as the programme progresses

·         To complete the required reading and self-directed study.

·         Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

How is this Programme Structured?

This is a three year, full time programme require, consisting of 120 credits a year.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

Any equipment required will be supplied by the School.

What skills will I practise and develop?

This degree programme will allow you to develop a number of valuable skills. Students who are awarded a Single or Joint Honours Politics degree will be able to:

·           Gather, organize and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of sources;

·           Develop a reasoned argument, synthesize relevant information and exercise critical judgement;

·           Reflect on their own learning and make use of constructive feedback;

·           Manage their own learning self-critically.

·           Communicate ideas effectively and fluently, both orally and in writing;

·           Use communications and information technologies for the retrieval and presentation of information;

·           Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management;

·           Collaborate with others and contribute to the achievement of common goals. 

How will I be taught?

The programme uses several different methods of teaching and learning. During your degree, you will attend lectures and participate in seminars. The lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi. The Seminars are kept small and usually average between 12-15 students. It provides an opportunity for students to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist students to integrate the information and ideas received from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. The seminars are also designed to give students an ample opportunity to participate and to provide close contact between them and members of the academic staff.

Furthermore, the programme is delivered through students’ independent reading, preparation of essays and presentations, as well as feedback on essays and presentations by academic staff.

We also host a public lecture series on International Relations & International Law, featuring eminent practitioners and academics. Some of the speakers, include a  former United Nations Acting Commissioner for Human Rights, a former UK Ambassador and Permanent , a former UK Permanent representative to NATO and the UN Security Council, a member of the United Nations International Law Commission and a member of the United Nations Sub-committee on the Prevention of Torture.

How will I be assessed?


These programmes are assessed mainly by essays and examinations. Other forms of assessment include seminar presentations, class tests, book and article reviews, and dissertation.


Formative feedback is given in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes as well as through individual written comments on coursework.

How will I be supported?

  • Each module uses the Central Learning website, a Virtual Learning Environment at Cardiff University. Through the Central Learning site you will have access to relevant materials for the module, such as multimedia materials, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises, discussion groups, etc.
  • Academic Tutors have office hours for students to meet and discuss any learning queries as well as the opportunity in seminars.
  • The School has a wide programme of visiting speakers and guest lectures and students are encouraged to attend.
  • There will be an opportunity for you to reflect on your progress and on the skills that you will develop through a section on the Central Learning site called Planning Personal Development.
  • Furthermore, centrally the university has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

Graduates from this programme will be able to:

Have a critical understanding of various international relations theories, the nature of the international system and of global power structures, with main focus in terms of agencies such as States, International Organisations and other non-State actors, along with a command of associated transferable skills, such as:

·           Understand the nature and significance of politics as a global activity;

·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of historical evolution and contemporary character of world politics;

·           Apply concepts and theories used in the study of international relations to the analysis of political ideas, practices and issues in the global arena;

·           Make use of empirical evidence to illustrate the applicability and limitations of the aforementioned concepts, theories and methods

·           Evaluate different interpretations of world political issues and events.

·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of contemporary international relations, embracing global and also regional studies, such as the European Union;

·           Critically engage with  contemporary research materials in the relevant  areas of international relations

·           Effectively managing time, tasks and resources

·           Students will also have the opportunity to develop their skills in a language.

Politics programmes aim  to develop in students a critical understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including International relations, domestic politics of key European states, European Union politics and political theory, along with a command of associated transferable skills.

Students who are awarded a Single or Joint Honours Politics degree will be able to:

·           Identify and explain the central concepts of political science, and demonstrate familiarity with the vocabulary of political discourse;

·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of normative and empirical Political Theory;

·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national and European Union levels and international politics embracing global and regional studies;

·           Demonstrate particular expertise in Political Theory and/or European Politics and/or international relations in the case of Joint Honours students, and in the case of Single Honours students: for Political Theory this means a critical understanding of key ideas selected from the history of political thought and contemporary political theory; for European politics this means a critical understanding of the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national, European and/or regional level, along with an awareness of the social, economic and cultural contexts of political behaviour and theoretically-informed views of the factors that account for political change; for international relations this means a critical understanding of the nature of the international system and of global power structures, with main foci in terms of agencies such as States, International Organisations and other Transnational actors, along with an awareness of international political theories;

·           Appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge;

·           Apply different concepts, theories and methods to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and behaviour;

·           Examine and evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events;

·           Make use of contemporary research, such as articles in refereed journals.

Other information

·      the opportunity to pursue a degree programme which develops the skills that are relevant to the academic world and the world of work alike

·      the emphasis on practical research skills that will benefit you throughout your career

·      the emphasis placed on independent learning in a supportive environment

·      Further information on schemes, modules, teaching methods and assessment can be found on the Politics website.

Admissions tutors

Mr Jonathan Kirkup, Admissions Tutor

Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.


Get information and advice about making an application, find out when the key dates are and learn more about our admissions criteria.

How to apply
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