Why study this course
International Relations examines the role of states, international alliances, non-governmental organisations and multinational companies in an increasingly globalised world.
As part of this degree programme, you will have the opportunity to focus on global politics and world affairs as well as having the opportunity to attend a lecture series hosted by the University on International Relations & International Law, which has featured high profile speakers from institutions such as NATO and the UN Security Council.
Our objective is to challenge the preconceptions that you will bring to the subject and to actively encourage a critical attitude to the nature of the political and the international. We aim to prepare you to markets of knowledge and practice that are in constant evolution so that, through this programme, you become an active and critical young citizen and develop a consciousness of the values of internationalization.
International Relations graduates find careers in a wide range of fields. A further option is to go on to postgraduate study.
- This programme is taught by a team of experts in their field, in subjects ranging from cyber security and nuclear politics to climate change and feminism.
- Module options that give you the space to develop and pursue your own interests as your grasp of the field is progressively enriched and broadened over the three years of study.
- A broad and deep education in global affairs and a rich understanding of what international politics is and ought to be.
Where you'll study
Our vibrant student body combined with highly qualified academic staff provides the perfect environment to explore the dynamic and fast-paced fields of law, politics and international relations.
Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.
The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in any subject.
32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects.
Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.
Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.
Grade B or grade 6 in GCSE English Language.
At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 6.0 in all other subskills.
At least 90 overall with a minimum of 22 for writing and 20 in all other subskills.
At least 62 overall with a minimum of 62 in writing and a minimum of 54 in all other communicative skills.
Trinity ISE II/III
II: a Distinction in Writing and at least one Distinction and two Merits in other components.
III: at least a Pass in all components.
Other accepted qualifications
Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.
You must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade B/6 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Tier 4 visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.
We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
Students from the UK
|Tuition fee (2021/22)||Deposit|
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Students from the rest of the world (international)
|Tuition fee (2021/22)||Deposit|
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
Course specific equipment
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
This is a three year, full-time programme made up of 120 credits per year.
Year one will provide you with a solid grounding in core international relations theories and perspectives, and the historical development of the international system through the study of designated core modules. This platform will provide the theoretical and historical foundation for more advanced study of a rich range of international relations topics as you progress.
Study in the second and third years will have a distinctly IR focus and you will be required to study a minimum of 100 credits in the discipline in each year. The volume and range of modules available means that you are able to retain an element of choice within that compulsory element and as such design and pursue a bespoke pathway that reflects their specific study interests.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
You will study 120 credits in your first year from a list of available Politics and International Relations modules.
Study skills support integrated within year one modules will help you cultivate the essential skills of academic study and independent research.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Y Da, Drwg a'r Gwleidyddol: The Good, the Bad and the Political||PL9193||20 credits|
|Introduction to Political Science||PL9194||20 credits|
|Introduction to Political Thought||PL9196||20 credits|
|Introduction to European Integration||PL9198||20 credits|
|Introduction to Government||PL9199||20 credits|
You will study modules amounting to 120 credits in year two.
You must select a minimum of 100 credits from a designated International Relations module collection. In addition, you may elect to study one additional 20 credit module from either the International Relations or Politics module collections.
A range of modules covering areas such as international security, international governance and international theory will be available. This arrangement means your programme has a distinct international relations focus, but you retain an element of choice and design that enables you to pursue a pathway that reflects your specific study interests.
You will study modules amounting to 120 credits in year three.
As in year two, you will select a minimum of 100 credits from designated International Relations modules and choose a further 20 credit module from either the International Relations or Politics module collection.
This means that the second and third years of your degree will be weighted towards International Relations modules, allowing you to focus your programme of study on topics such as global environmental politics, international security, digital technologies, war and peace, and postcolonial politics.
You will have the opportunity to write a dissertation which exposes you to the skills needed for research. The International Relations dissertation offers you the opportunity to engage in supervised but self-directed research. You will be able to choose a preferred area of focus and an appropriate supervisor will be appointed.
To maximise opportunity for success, selection of the dissertation module will normally demand achievement of a 2:1 overall in your year two assessment.
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.
Learning and assessment
You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and seminars.
Lectures take a range of forms but generally provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information.
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.
Welsh language provision
This programme provides opportunities for learning and teaching through the medium of Welsh. Seminar teaching in Welsh is available in modules in each year. You may elect to write all or some of your assessed work and examinations in Welsh. If you are in receipt of a Coleg Cymraeg scholarship you are required to take a prescribed number of Welsh medium modules in order to fulfill the terms of your scholarship, the need for which is accommodated within each module collection.
How will I be supported?
You will be allocated a personal tutor who will help you reflect on your performance on the programme and advise you on study techniques, module selection and career planning (in conjunction with the University’s Career Service). They will also provide a first point of contact if you experience any difficulties. Additionally, all teaching staff keep prescribed office hours when you can meet with them and discuss any learning queries arising from the module or from your studies in general.
All modules within the programme make extensive use of the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Central, where you can access discussion forums and find course materials including multimedia materials, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises, discussion groups, etc. You will also be able to reflect on your progress and on the skills that you will develop through a section on the University’s Central Learning site called Planning Personal Development.
Within modules, the requirements and expectations of learning and assessment will be explained carefully by the module leader within the class and through supporting materials available on Learning Central.
Many modules include early forms of assessment designed to monitor progress and provide feedback before longer pieces of coursework and final exams. You will receive written feedback on all coursework.
A range of staff are available to provide further support, including a specialist librarian. A member of academic staff acts as a designated Disability and Diversity Officer and ensures that reasonable adjustments are made for students with disabilities.
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.
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.
Formative feedback does not contribute to progression or degree classification decisions. The goal of formative feedback is to improve your understanding and learning before you complete your summative assessment. More specifically, formative feedback helps you to:
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work.
- Help staff to support you and address the problems identified with targeted strategies for improvement.
Summative feedback does conribute to progression or degree classification decisions. The goal of summative assessment is to indicate how well you have succeeded in meeting the intended learning outcomes of a Module or Programme and will enable you to identify any action required in order to improve. All feedback should directly link to the Module grading / assessment criteria.
Feedback is given in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes as well as through individual written comments on coursework.
What skills will I practise and develop?
On completion of this programme you will be able to demonstrate 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) together with a command of associated transferable skills, such as:
Knowledge & Understanding:
- Understanding the nature and significance of politics as a global activity.
- Demonstrating critical knowledge and understanding of historical evolution and contemporary character of world politics.
- Applying concepts and theories used in the study of international relations to the analysis of political ideas, practices and issues in the global arena.
- Making use of various categories of evidence to illustrate the applicability and limitations of the aforementioned concepts, theories and methods.
- Evaluating different interpretations of world political issues and events.
- Demonstrating knowledge and understanding of key aspects of contemporary international relations, embracing global and also regional studies.
- Critically engaging with contemporary research materials in the relevant areas of international relations.
- Effectively managing time, tasks and resources.
- Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of sources.
- Develop a reasoned argument, synthesize relevant information and exercise critical judgement.
- Reflect on your own learning and make use of constructive feedback.
- Manage your own learning self-critically.
- Communicate ideas effectively and fluently, both orally and in writing.
- Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management.
- Collaborate with others and contribute to the achievement of common goals.
- Use communications and information technologies for the retrieval and presentation of information.
In 2016/17, 95% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.
Degrees in Politics and International Relations provide you with a foundation for a wide range of careers such as in non-governmental organisations, global development, international business, diplomacy and intelligence in government, journalism, and policy research, as well as a basis for more specialist subjects taught at postgraduate level.