International Relations

BSc single honours or in combination with another subject International Relations 2020/21

Year of entry

Why do states co-operate? What is the effect of globalisation? As long as there have been states, there has been negotiation, cooperation and war. You will explore the links between identity, conflict and models of governance to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.

You will have the opportunity to examine a fascinating range of current issues, theoretical analysis and historical context based on three important elements:

  • international relations theories and their relevance
  • analysis of regional and global organisations
  • contemporary issues, such as migration and climate change.

91% of our most recent  International Relations students were satisfied with their learning opportunities.

National Student Survey 2018

If you are considering a degree in International Relations, then you are probably already quite well informed about what is happening both nationally and internationally. However, knowing what is happening, and fully understanding why the world is the way it is, are two different things. Our lecturers will introduce you to theories and conceptual approaches which will help you to make sense of political events and processes. Engaging with fellow students, who are as passionate as you are, brings further insights as you explore together the core themes of International Relations – power, justice, security and peace.

As long as there have been states, there has been negotiation, cooperation, conflict and war. However, in the age of globalisation, relations between states and individuals are changing faster, and it feels, more dramatically. Our International Relations degree looks at how, in a globalising world, states interact, and at the relationship between states and non­state actors, such as the UN, the EU, NATO and multinational corporations. Led by experts in international security, post­conflict institutional building, foreign policy, minority rights and global justice, our modules explore the links between identity, conflict and cooperation and models of governance to tackle 21st century challenges which extend beyond the borders of nation states.

We pride ourselves on the warm atmosphere and inclusive spirit of our courses and learning environment. Our teaching has been recognised for its innovative character, particularly the student centred nature of learning and assessment. Our priority is to provide high quality learning and teaching, and a transformative student experience. 

“Enrolling on the Politics & International Relations program at CCCU has been one of the best decisions I have made. The course gave me academic skills and knowledge relevant to my current work topics. The lecturing team helped me clarify my academic interests and gave me confidence to continue my higher education further. The programme is interesting, innovative and interdisciplinary, and a great start to exciting career in the field!”

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

more info

Our International Relations degree provides you with an exciting balance of current issues, theoretical analysis and historical context based on three important elements:

  • An examination of significant International Relations theories and their contemporary relevance
  • Critical analysis of regional and global organisations – for example, the United Nations or NATO, to illustrate the importance of international cooperation and global governance
  • Focus on contemporary issues such as the political influence of emerging powers and new international policy concerns such as energy security or climate change.

As well as traditional teaching methods such as lectures and tutorials, there are opportunities to go on field trips to Houses of Parliament or the European Union institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg.  In addition, you might be eligible to study abroad for a year as part of the Erasmus programme.

Our Making Politics Matter series regularly invites high-profile guest speakers, including politicians, to debate the issues of the day with our students and the general public.

Staff and students work together to organise these events, which gives students another opportunity to enhance their networking and employability skills. Guest lecturers are also invited to present specialised topics as part of certain modules. Wherever possible we invite practitioners to provide insights from their professional experience to add to the theoretical knowledge provided in academic literature.

We encourage, support and facilitate student work experience at all levels. Many of our students have undertaken internships or work shadowing with MPs, MEPs, and UN agencies. We also offer short term employment opportunities to our students as researchers on academic projects.

“The degree will challenge you to think critically, consistently. To assess conflicting opinions and understand perspectives outside of your immediate comfort zone, as political students should aim to do. Looking back on my 3 years studying Politics and International Relations, I absolutely loved the variety of modules made available to us. I was always spoilt for choice at every avenue; vital if like me at the time, you too are not yet sure what area of politics you would like to specialise in. I will cherish the time I spent here, the connections I made here, and the goals it sparked within me.”

Year 1  

Central to our International Relations degree is the opportunity to learn more about why all forms of political enquiry are necessarily contested. These critical thinking skills are at the core of all of our teaching and learning in the first year. You will learn about the different political, social, economic, and historical elements that make up the fabric of world politics and determine the lives of not just nation-states and international institutions but also (and perhaps most importantly) the 7.5 billion people living on this planet. You will look at issues as diverse as climate change, migration, terrorism, nationalism, and globalisation but also delve into the theoretical and ideological traditions that inform our understanding of the world.

Introduction to International Relations 20 credits.

Core for Single Honours and Core for Combined Honours Students

This module has two main aims: first, to develop the key skills students will need to progress through their university studies (e.g. library and online research skills, essay writing skills and presentation skills), and second, to provide students with an understanding of key issues and theories in the study of International Relations. The former includes topics like migration, conflict, inequality, violence, climate change, etc. These will be approached by using theories as old as liberalism and realism but also look at more recent theories such as feminism, post-colonialism, and Marxism.

Contemporary Global Politics 20 credits.

Core for Single Honours and Core for Combined Honours Students

How has our world come to be shaped in the way that it is today? We will consider how the international political system of the past is being replaced by something markedly different – a global political world where state power is less significant. We will explore how the acquisition, possession and loss of state power became systematised over time and in different ways, and explain critically the responses which have been made to this loss of power, from protectionism to full scale war.

British Politics in Context 20 credits.

Core for Single Honours; Optional for Combined Honours Students

British Politics is an ongoing attempt by more or less self-interested actors to cope with the issues, conflicts, opportunities and threats thrown up by time and chance, as well as by underlying economic and social developments. This module provides students with an improved understanding of why, politically, we are as we are today. Topics covered may include: the post-war consensus, the miners’ Strike, Thatcherism, New Labour, the fall and rise of the Liberals, Britain and Europe.

Reimagining the EU in the World 20 credits.

Core for Single Honours; Optional for Combined Honours Students

Why do nation states choose to join the EU? Why do others wish to leave? How much sovereignty do states sign over to the EU? Why are certain policies so controversial? What is the purpose of the European institutions? What role does the EU play on the global stage? To answer these important questions this module will examine European integration during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and analyse the main policies and institutions of the European Union. 

Key Political Thinkers 20 credits.

Core for Single Honours; Optional for Combined Honours Students

What is the purpose of government? Is it ever permissible for politicians to act immorally? Should national interest take primacy over individual rights? Is it ever ok to break the law? Would it be wrong to smash capitalism? This module explores key thinkers in the history of political thought, and their attempts to answer these and other challenging political and philosophical questions. It scrutinises a range of long-standing arguments and ideas in the history of political thought, and uses these to interrogate current dilemmas in domestic and international politics, and to establish connections between the political concerns of the past and present.

Year 2 

The second year is all about deepening your knowledge of the subject area and further developing the transferable skills which will assist you in your career, once you leave university. You will strengthen your ability to critique interactions between people, ideas, structures of power and institutions. During your second year it may be possible to spend time studying abroad at a partner institution. Language skills need not be a barrier as some of our partners teach in English. This is a competitive process as the opportunity to live and study in a foreign country is an incredible privilege. Previous students who have participated in these exchanges have benefitted academically and in their personal development. 

Theories of International Relations 20 credits

This module explores the different ways in which the world of international politics can be understood. This not only refers to the many perspectives that exist politically, culturally, socially or religiously but also to our perspective on the world. To complement this, the module will look at a range of theories that further expand on the idea that there is not just one way of looking at the world. We will look at key events in the 20th and 21st century like WWI, WWII, the Cold War, decolonisation, 9/11, and the Financial Crisis and analyse them by using different theories that look at power (realism), cooperation (liberalism), identity (constructivism), gender (feminism), race (post-colonialism), or class (Marxism), to name but a few.

Political Research 20 credits

Core for Single Honours; Optional for Combined Honours Students

You will examine certain methods used in political research; for example, survey and interview design; primary and secondary data analysis; and the use of statistics. We will explore the ethical issues that can arise when undertaking political research. Emphasis will also be placed on the theoretical context of research – specifically the domain of social scientific epistemology.

Year 3

The final year of your degree is when all the ground work laid in the first two years comes together. You will have amassed a great deal of knowledge and you will have more confidence in critically assessing the information you find and reaching your own reasoned conclusions. In your final year, you’ll pursue your own specialist study; you are given the opportunity to produce an extended piece of individual research on a topic of your choosing when you complete your dissertation, and to select from a range of specialised modules delivered by staff in areas of their own expertise.

Foreign Policy Analysis 20 credits

Core for Single Honours and Combined Honours Students

Why do some foreign policy choices end in success and others in failure? Is it due to the way decisions are made or how policies are implemented? Who are the important actors and what factors influence their behaviour? What are the consequences of the rise of new powers and the shifts in priorities in a globalising world?Foreign Policy Analysis examines the nature of diplomacy and foreign policy in the 21st century. Students address both conceptual and empirical issues in relation to how foreign policy is designed and implemented.

Individual Study 40 credits

Core for Single Honours and Optional for Combined Honours Students

For most students the main focus in your final year is the Individual Study. This is a significant piece of independent research, where you may select a topic of special interest within your discipline area. You will be guided by a lecturer, but the main direction of the work will be decided by you. Students who invest time in their work are rewarded by a huge sense of personal satisfaction as they produce academic research which is entirely their own. Your individual study also acts as a step on the path to your career as it allows students to demonstrate effective time and workload management in the production of an extended piece of work. 

Likely optional modules

Year 1

Power, Politics and the State 20 credits.

What is the nature of political power? How does it operate in practice? How do structures of race, gender and class affect access to power? What role does the state play in contemporary society? This module will cover a number of key issues central to understanding the relationship between the realm of the state, its modes of power and authority, its various ideologies, and its connection with modes of governance.

Year 2

European Union: Power, Policy and Integration 20 credits

You will examine the scope of community power, the supremacy of EU law and the complexity of EU decision making. Furthermore, you will explore some of the major policy areas covered by the EU - for example, the continuing debate over the role of the EU in a common defence strategy, and some of its major legal doctrines.

Federalism, Conflict Resolution and Good Governance 20 credits

Some places on our prestigious international summer school are reserved for students who wish to remain in Canterbury over the summer. The course gives you an insight into the theory and practice of federalism and regionalism in a number of political systems. By focusing on the issue of multinationalism, you will see how federalism can be seen as a form of conflict management in divided societies in Europe and beyond.

Global Governance 20 credits

This module has three aims. First, it provides a broad introduction to concepts and examples of globalisation and governance. Second, it provides a detailed exploration of international, supra-state and global dynamics, and retraces them through a range of issues that are often the solved but sometimes also caused by globalisation and governance such as humanitarian interventions, climate change, or global inequality. Third, it invites you to take part in a class-wide simulation where you will represent a particular party (state, organisation, NGO, social movement) at a negotiation. This will certainly give you a very direct experience of the promises and perils of global governance!

Year 3

Module options change annually and therefore it is not possible to offer further details here at present.

Contemporary Security: Theory & Practice 20 credits

Students taking this module will learn about the most influential theoretical approaches in Security Studies, as well as to some of the major issues in contemporary international security. You will first look at the conceptual and theoretical history of Security Studies.  Themes to be examined will include: NATO after the end of the Cold war and the security priorities for the United Kingdom. This will be followed by an in-depth study of what is known in the literature as ‘Critical Security Studies’. Here, the main theoretical schools – from the Copenhagen School to Post-Colonialism – will be discussed at length, supported by the analysis of specific case studies as diverse as the Arab Spring or global warming as a security issue. The third and last part of the module deals with the interaction between theory and technological development, focusing on post-modernity and risk as conceptual tools for the understanding of issues such as cybersecurity or the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the so-called drones.

Radical Political Thought 20 Credits

This module will begin by outlining key thematic tensions and theoretical difficulties in the classical Marxist tradition. The module will draw on the theoretical resources of political philosophy and positive political theory. Here attention will be given to the issues of ideology, revolutionary morality, strategy, democracy and ‘emancipatory knowledge’. Key thinkers to be explored include Althusser, Laclau and Mouffe, Geras, Badiou, and Žižek. Key questions will include: To what extent are the ‘problems of Marxism’ insurmountable for its reform? Is ideology a permanent aspect of human existence? Can a revolutionary ethics address the issue of ‘dirty hands’? How does desire motivate politics? Can we imagine a world free of ‘the state’? Is social clear still relevant for emancipatory politics? How important is the ecological ‘crisis’ for our understanding of radical politics? Can we imagine a world ‘beyond capitalism’? Is the ‘idea of communism’ dead?

“I really enjoyed my time at CCCU and found the lecturers to be very encouraging, welcoming and helpful, throughout my time at university. They were always willing to help, whether it was giving advice about an essay, dissertation or career opportunities.”

100% of our most recent International Relations students were in jobs or further study 6 months after finishing their course.

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016-2017

In a competitive job market, it is crucial that as a graduate you have all the right skills that employers are looking for. Our International Relations degree emphasises transferable skills at each level of study, with a strong focus on career development. You can expect to gain skills in critical thought and analysis, working autonomously and as part of a team, networking, and the ability to communicate complex ideas in a clear and concise fashion.

International Relations graduates have gone on to enter a variety of roles in sectors such as diplomacy, leading international nongovernmental organisations in London, Brussels and other European capital states, journalism, law, and graduate training schemes in the public and private sectors. A high proportion of our students also go on to study at postgraduate level in the UK and internationally.

My degree helped my career in many ways. My clients are banking institutions, asset management and law firms. They are all tied to international developments around the globe. Conflicts, trading regulations and political instabilities shape our global society and affect everyone. Thanks to my degree I can relate with my clients, track potential opportunities and understand my clients' preoccupations.

Fees

Tuition Fees for 2020/21 have not yet been finalised. Course webpages will be updated with Tuition Fee information once these have been agreed.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

CategoryDescription
Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

CategoryDescription
Field Trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc)

Compulsory field trips are all covered by tuition fees or by external funding. On these trips students would be expected to pay only for food and drink.

Occasional non-compulsory interest based trips may also be organised during the course of the degree programme. These trips are funded for those students in receipt of a student hardship fund, but all other students would be expected to pay train fares and subsistence. Most of these outings take place in London and would last no longer than one day, thus costing the student no more than £40.

Text books

Text books for each module are advised for purchase. Normally we advise one core reading text per module. We have 6 modules per year for single honours students and text books cost around £30 each. This would come to £180 if all books were purchased.

These books are however also available in the library and are therefore not compulsory purchases.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

93% of our most recent International Relations students were satisfied with the teaching quality of their course.

National Student Survey 2018

Teaching

Central to our degree is the belief that reading books and writing essays is only part of the learning process. We want our students to engage in politics and apply their knowledge to real world cases. Using innovative teaching methods, we bring the outside world into our degrees , with role-plays and interactive learning via webinars and other digital platforms. We also take our students out into the wider world on study trips. Our Making Politics Matter series regularly invites high-profile guest speakers, including politicians, to debate the issues of the day with our students and the general public.

Teaching is structured to allow for flexibility. Your actual contact hours will depend on the optional modules you select. However, typically you will have 9-12 hours of structured contact time per week. This may be in lectures, where the module leader delivers key material to a large group, or seminars, where smaller groups discuss and debate the material being studied. Workshops blend the delivery of lectures and seminars when the class size is smaller. Delivery may vary week to week as the module leader designs activities which are most appropriate for the theme. All courses are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020.

Our degrees have a strong focus on career development. Students can build up experience with us by developing relevant skills together with our partners from the political arena (journalists, diplomats, parliamentarians, civil servants, NGOs), who are actively involved with our curriculum. We provide opportunities for students to develop and enhance analytical and communication skills. We prioritise activities such as political role plays, policy brief writing and blogging. Such diverse activities bring politics to life and help you to develop specific work related skills.

Independent learning

When not attending timetabled sessions we expect you to continue learning through self-directed study.  Typically, this involves undertaking research in the library, working on projects, and preparing for coursework assignments/examinations, workshops and seminars.

Your lecturers will indicate specific readings and/or activities to complete before class. We will also provide reading lists for further study. Seminars are enriched when students have completed their independent reading, allowing everyone to interact with this learning and benefitting the whole group.

The Individual Study in your final year is a significant piece of independent research, where you may select a topic of special interest. You will be guided by a supervisor, but the main direction of the work will be decided by you.  Students who invest time in their work are rewarded by a huge sense of personal satisfaction as they produce academic research which is their own.

Overall workload

For every hour of contact we ask students to complete three hours of private study. Much like a full time job, we anticipate that as a full time student you will devote about 35-40 hours a week to learning for your degree.

Academic input

You will be taught by academics at all stages of their careers – from postdoctoral researchers to professors. Every member of our teaching team is committed to innovative and engaging approaches to teaching. We have excellent teaching qualifications (Higher Education Academy accredited) and academic qualifications (PhDs in Politics or International Relations). We are also research active, publishing our research in academic journals and books, engaging in work with academic and professional bodies, and featuring in the media when our expertise is required.

Our students tell us that they value the opportunities they have to be taught by experts in particular areas. Of equal importance to us is the positive feedback we receive through evaluations and teaching awards, where students confirm that we are always very approachable, supportive and encouraging.

We recognise that people learn differently and our assessments are designed to be as varied as possible to maximise the opportunities for students to demonstrate the knowledge they have acquired. You will be assessed through a range of methods, including essays, examinations, individual and group oral presentations, practical assignments and reports, active simulations which recreate political scenarios, social media blogs and research projects. These will evaluate your acquisition of relevant knowledge and understanding and the development of academic style and practical skills. The balance of assessment depends on how you select your options.

Single Honours students are required to undertake a 40 credit Individual Study which explores a theme related to International Relations of your own choosing. This is also an option for Combined Honours students who wish to major with our programme. 

To progress from one level of study to the next you must pass 120 credits (typically six 20 credit modules). The standard pass mark for a module is 40%.

Our aim is to ensure that assessments cater for a range of students’ requirements. Throughout the course, strong emphasis is placed on regular feedback in order to provide you with the opportunity to enhance your performance. 

 

Our International Relations degree is enhanced by our links with local, national and international politicians and policy makers. External funding from the European Commission’s Jean Monnet programme for European political study supports our Centre for European Studies. This allows us to take students on fully paid visits to sites of European interest and has previously included trips to Brussels and the war graves of Northern France.

Where appropriate we invite practitioners to speak to students about their experiences working on policy issues which relate to the academic material under investigation. For example, the Foreign Policy Analysis module has been addressed by former ambassadors and foreign affairs correspondents. Representatives of NGOs supporting refugees have participated in sessions of the Politics of Migration module. Our own graduates regularly return and get involved in the Political Research module. 

 

“My time at university not only opened my eyes to what it was that I was passionate about but it gave me the time and support that I needed to gain the experience and skills to enable me to be where I am today.”

Georgia Outteridge

UK/EU

Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Part-time study

Apply directly to us

International

Full-time study

Need some help?

UK

For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Email: courses@canterbury.ac.uk
Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000 (0)1227 928000

EU/International

Contact our International Team

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • L250 International Relations
  • L257 International Relations (4 years with Foundation)

UCAS institution code

  • C10

Length

  • 3 years full-time

    6 years part-time

Starts

  • September 2020

Entry requirements

Location

School

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20 in the UK for student satisfaction with the quality of feedback.

The Guardian University League Tables 2019

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Last edited: 29/05/2019 11:15:00