International Relations and Politics (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.

The programme gives you the opportunity to combine an International Relations and Politics degree with a modern language over a three year degree programme.

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.

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.

Distinctive features

The opportunity to combine politics with proficiency in a modern language without the requirement for the year abroad, necessary as part of a traditional joint politics and language degree. You will be taught by academics, many of whom are world experts in their field. The department has unrivalled academic links with the National Assembly for Wales via the Welsh Governance Centre and long established relationships with national and international organisations such as the Westminster parliament, European Union and NATO. This unique status gives students the opportunity to supplement their learning by engaging with political decision makers in the real world.

Key facts

UCAS CodeL292
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe school typically has 550 places available
Typical applications receivedThe school typically receives 3000 applicants
Typical A level offerAAB including a modern language (excluding General Studies, Citizenship Studies and Critical Thinking).
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 offer35 points with 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level.
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
Admissions tutor(s)

This is a three year, full time course, consisting of 120 credits per year.  Year 1 is an introductory year, with results from Years 2 and 3 determining your degree classification.

In your first year you will concentrate on core modules plus your language. In your second year you will choose from the full range of optional politics modules as well as continuing your language studies. Your final year consists exclusively of optional politics 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.

The programme comprises compulsory and optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree to reflect your specific interests. 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 undertake original research.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

You will study 120 credits in your first year composed of International Relations and Politics modules and one language module.

Year two

You will take five optional modules in International Relations and Politics and a language module.

Year three

You will take 120 credit in Year 3 International Relations and Politics 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.

How will I be taught?

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.

Politics and International Relations provides opportunities for learning and teaching through the medium of Welsh. Seminar teaching in Welsh is available in modules in each of Years 1, 2 and 3.  Students may elect to write all or some of their assessed work and examinations in Welsh. 


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.

How will I be assessed?

A range of assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios and creative assignments.

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.

The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study, to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.


We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback during tutorials, personalised feedback on written work, feedback lectures, generic written feedback and feedback on tutorial performance.

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.

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.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

Any equipment required will be supplied by the School.

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.