BA (Hons) International RelationsSouthwark Campus
During this degree, you'll explore development and underdevelopment, conflict and conflict resolution, war and terrorism, and globalisation and activism.
This fascinating interdisciplinary degree will help you to become an active agent of change in the international system. You’ll explore the issues the world faces from a number of perspectives – global and systemic, individual and rational, cultural and critical and Western-centric and post-Western. Our interactive seminars and workshop encourage exciting, free and open debate.
We offer the opportunity for all undergraduate Home/EU students to undertake a work placement, internship or work experience while studying a full-time course starting in September 2020.
Why International Relations at LSBU?
- Wide ranging research interests: global political economy, international human rights, sexualities and society, global sport, human trafficking, sustainability and climate change.
- Our interactive seminars and workshops encourage free and open debate - for you to share ideas and learn from each other.
- Global alumni network: Become part of an 80,000-strong alumni network.
- No. 1 in UK for teaching in Politics (National Student Survey 2018).
- Enhance your employability by taking part in our volunteering programme - and take advantage of optional 'work placement' module.
- Be part of an academic community dedicated to social justice and global responsibility - with inspiring schedule of guest speakers, events, volunteering opportunities and exchange of ideas.
Modules cover an array of enticing topics. You’ll consider issues of equity, ethics, social justice, and global responsibility, as well as learning chief IR concepts, theories and perspectives. Other topics include sustainability and climate change, and citizenship and nationality.
- Introduction to International Relations
This module introduces students to key issues in International Relations and many of the concepts and themes that will be further developed during their studies. Its focus will be on major contemporary global events and processes and it will provide an opportunity to explore and apply key perspectives and concepts that inform international analysis. The content is not fixed, but will be amended each year to reflect real-world controversies and events.
- Introduction to Political Theory
This module introduces students to key ideas and concepts in political theory. These include democracy, freedom, justice, rights, equality and power. These ideas and concepts are explored with reference to the social and historical contexts in which they developed. Students will also be encouraged to explore the way that these ideas and concepts have been transformed historically and the manner in which they are mobilised in contemporary political debates.
- Revolutions, Wars and the Making of the Modern World
This module is an introduction to some of the major themes and events in modern world history. It begins with an examination of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. It moves on to look at the Industrial Revolution, national unification movements in Italy and Germany in the nineteenth century, Empire, the First World War and the ideologies of Fascism, Nazism and Soviet Communism. It looks at the impact of key historical figures such as Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler and their impact on the shape of the modern world.
- North and South: Issues of International Development
This module explores the political economy of the world’s developing societies in a historical and global perspective by focusing on some of the key processes that have contributed to global inequality. The role of powerful global actors (including the major states and transnational corporations) and of international financial institutions will be a central theme, but local, national and international development initiatives will also be explored. The module also enables students to explore the various theories of development and underdevelopment used in the explanation of the major constraints and opportunities facing developing countries.
- Theoretical Perspectives in International Relations
This module introduces students to the key perspectives in international relations theory, both classical and modern, that are used to analyse, understand and explain the nature, key features and transformations of international relations. Throughout the module, IR theory will be related to real-world developments such as war and peace, global justice, human rights, foreign policy and diplomacy, nationalism, and revolution.
- War and Social Change in the Twentieth Century
This module is an introduction to some of the major themes and events in twentieth century world history from the Second World War onward. It examines contemporary historical events that have impacted society, including the Cold War, decolonisation, Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist revolution, the effect of New Right ideologies in the 1980s, the fall of the Soviet Union and its consequences, globalisation, as well as moves towards European integration and the development of the European Union. The module analyses the impact of these key events on the shaping of the modern and contemporary world.
- Foreign Policy Analysis
This module introduces students to the study of decision-making in international relations. It looks at how international, domestic and individual pressures shape the decisions leaders make and the actions states take. The first half of the module explores conceptual matters, gradually building a toolkit of approaches to help explain and understand the behaviour of states. In the second half we work through a series of detailed case studies, covering foreign policy decision-making and outcomes in a range of states and actors, including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, South Africa, and China.
- Global Governance, Religionalism and the Nation-State
This module explores the contemporary multi-layered international system. It focuses on the complex, dialectical (non-linear) economic, social and political relations between nation-states, regionalisation and globalisation. Regionalisation has emerged across the world, but is most developed in Europe, on which the module will place particular emphasis. The module will also explore the role of international organisations in the global system, with particular emphasis on the United Nations system, including International Financial Institutions. In problematising one-sided arguments about the decline of the state, the module encourages critical reflection on state power and global inter-dependence in the 21st Century.
- Globalisation and Development
This module builds upon the evidential, conceptual and theoretical work undertaken in the level 4 module North and South: Issues in International Development. It focuses on the developing world and provides a comparative analysis of the different developmental experiences of the BRICS economies. The module locates the debates and issues that it explores within an historical and global context and encourages students to explore the inter-dependence of the developed and developing world. The form of assessment, group presentation and report, encourages students to work collaboratively and develops skills that are important for future employment.
- International Security
This module focuses on security studies. Security is central to government debates and pivotal to the priorities they establish. The module explores traditional threats since 1945, including inter-state armed conflict and nuclear weapons, and discusses more recent non-traditional threats, including pandemics (e.g. HIV/AIDS), environmental degradation, terrorism and gender violence. The module maps the discipline of security studies since 1945 and offers a historiography of the concepts of ‘security’ and threats, exploring both state-centric and human approaches, mainstream and critical approaches, to security. This innovative module explores international security by examining referent objects, human security, popular culture and the discursive construction of threats.
Plus two optional modules from:
- European Politics in Transition
The module explores political processes in Europe in a comparative perspective. It aims to examine the factors that explain the issue of political continuity and stability in Europe as well as the changes that have taken place over the last two decades. The module looks at ideology, power and decision making. There is a focus on political events and policy processes, looking at both individual nation states and the European Union. An organising theme of the module is the impact of the end of the cold war on the politics of Europe over recent decades.
- Exploring British Attitudes: Quantitative Methods in Social Research
In the first half of this module students are introduced to basic issues in research design and methodology. Topics covered include experimental design and random assignment, formulating research questions sampling and measurement. In the second half of the module they learn the basics of statistical analysis and how to use SPSS. Throughout the module students will be introduced to empirical examples from the British Social Attitudes survey and other nationally representative material.
- Gender, Sexualities and Society
This module focuses on sociological understandings of the related concepts, gender and sexuality. It offers comprehensive theoretical overviews of gender and sexuality. It challenges the binary distinction of gender construction by exploring alternatives such as transgender and gender fluidity. The module explores the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, ethnicity, social class and geographic location and how they can reproduce inequalities. An in-depth approach to the study of gender and sexuality is provided by covering the following areas: masculinities, femininities, bodies and sexualities: homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality and their historical, cultural, social and political dimensions.
- The Making of Modern Society: The Light and the Dark
Modern societies see themselves as beacons of light and ‘goodness’. But is there darkness, danger and harm built in to being modern? This is the fundamental question of this module. Along the way we will also ask: How did societies become modern? What does being modern mean? Have modern societies lived up to their own ideals of liberty, opportunity and respect for the individual?
- Interpreting Society: Qualitative Methods in Social Research
This module introduces students to the basics of qualitative research methodologies. Students learn about central philosophical questions in the philosophy of the social sciences and how they relate to the qualitative/quantitative distinction. Students are taught a range of qualitative data collection techniques ranging from interviews to archival research. They are also introduced to different qualitative analytic techniques. Finally they are made aware of the ethical issues that are specific to qualitative research. Students are taught through lectures and workshops where they apply the principles to specific research questions.
- The Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change
This module addresses the social and political dimensions of ecology. It examines defining features of the concept of (environmental) sustainability, introducing various political perspectives. We will see how local and global environmental risks demand new forms of urban, national and international governmentality. The module will discuss how societies affect and are affected by changes in the natural environment. Finally, we will engage with how climate change impacts on our understanding of time, including how we imagine the end of the world. Throughout the module, we will research and look at the activities of organisations and movements involved in environmental sustainability.
- Making Identities: Citizenship, Race and Nation
This module aims to examine the processes that have shaped key facets of identity in contemporary societies: citizenship, race and nation. By examining their inter-relationship, key sociological debates will be used to understand social and political identities. The module explores important theoretical questions and analyses specific historical processes and contemporary situations. The module encourages students to think across the boundaries of race and nation, gender and sexuality, as well as locality or environment (including animal welfare) in order to understand the different interrelationships between these forms of identity formation and citizenship in the modern world.
- Work Placement
This module provides an opportunity for students to work in settings related to their studies and, more generally, gain meaningful workplace experience in which to apply their social scientific learning. It will also reinforce their studies through the application and integration of relevant workplace experience into the academic context. Voluntary and community sector organisations, charities and most political organisations are particularly suitable for work placements, although much can also be learned from placements in commercial settings. Students are required to consult with the module coordinator to identify an appropriate organisation in which to carry out their work placement.
- Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution
This module examines the historical, theoretical, normative and practical aspects of diplomacy and conflict resolution, having defined the key concepts, the module explores a range of approaches to the subject, including political and legal approaches. The primary focus of the module is on the role of states but consideration is also given to international institutions and non-state actors, such as NGOOs. Key topics covered include the nature and history and nature of diplomacy, the history of conflict resolution, the processes of conflict resolution including peace-keeping, humanitarian intervention, and responsibility to protect, including a critique of liberal interventionism.
- Contemporary Dynamics of the World System
This module explores the structures, dynamics and transformations of world orders and provides students with an understanding of international relations since the demise of the nineteenth-century Pax Britannica. A central focus of the module is on post-Cold War developments, including the rise of China, the debate on US empire and hegemony, and processes of globalization and transnationalisation. Contemporary patterns of international disorder, including the developing multi-polarity and the rise of transnational Islamic activism, are also explored.
- Research project (double module)
This level six double module covers two semesters and consists of the research for and completion of an academic project with a 9,000 word limit. Each student chooses a subject relevant to the study of International Relations in which they wish to specialize, and then uses the skills and knowledge that they have accumulated and developed through modules studied at previous levels to undertake and complete the project. During the whole process, from choice of subject to final submission, each student will have the support and guidance of a supervisor allocated for this purpose.
Plus two optional modules from:
- American Politics: Ideology and Power
This module examines the government and politics of the USA, underpinned by analysis of political economy and social change. Attention will be given to historical developments by examining aspects of political culture and values, the idea of American exceptionalism, and wider ideological questions, including analysis of emergent phenomena such as populism, Black Lives Matter, the Alt-Right movement and #MeToo. Key institutions and political processes analysed include the presidency, legislature and Supreme Court, the federal system, the media, the military, law enforcement, elections and electoral demography and changes to the dominant political parties.
- Crimes of the Powerful: States, Corporations and Human Rights
This module explores the phenomena of state crime, corporate crime and the involvement of powerful social forces in human rights abuses. It examines the problems involved in conceptualising state crimes and human rights and looks at contemporary crimes against humanity, including in the area of environmental rights. The module also explores the problems involved in regulating and controlling state crime and human rights atrocities in which states and state officials play a key role. The critical engagement with globalization provides a framework within which students explore significant contemporary debates and developments.
- Life and Times in Nazi Germany
This module analyses the rise of Hitler and the history of Nazism. It examines how Hitler consolidated his power and the relationship between the dictatorial regime and the German people. It deals with aspects of everyday life, such as coercion and consensus, propaganda and the use of terror, including the secret police and the concentration camp system. The module also analyses Nazi ideology, Nazi economic policy, foreign policy, resistance, education and youth groups. It examines cultural life, including cinema, theatre, art, architecture, literature, music, as well as the press and radio.
- Black British History: Concepts and Debates
This module explores the concept of black history within British historiography, engaging in debates around its definition and representation. You’ll critically examine concepts relating to the construction of race including theories of ‘political blackness’, the ‘Black Atlantic’, ‘Pan-Africanism’, ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘decolonisation’. You’ll explore the rich histories of black Britons in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century. Films, documentaries, music and art will be analysed. You’ll visit libraries and archives including the Black Cultural Archive and Autograph ABP. Taught through: lectures, workshops, group work, visits.
- Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity
This module explores the history of genocide and crimes against humanity in the twentieth century and beyond. It begins with an introduction to the related concepts of genocide and crimes against humanity before considering a range of events including colonial genocides, the Armenian Genocide, the Nazi ‘Final Solution’, alleged genocides in Cambodia, Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as cases of genocide in the twenty-first century in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It analyses the dynamics of genocide and crimes against humanity in order to shed light upon their origins, characteristics and consequences.
- The Politics of the Middle East
This module explores the government and politics of the Middle East, including their regional and international dimensions. It locates contemporary political issues and processes within their historical contexts, including the roles played by powerful external forces, notably (but not exclusively) the United States in the post-1945 era. It understands politics in the broad sense of the organisation and dynamics of state-society complexes rather than in the traditional sense of the actions of state bodies and actors. It encourages students to appreciate the complex interdependencies of the region while also recognising the specificity of national societies and state-society relations.
Graduates are in demand for their skill-mix, including analysis, critical thinking, research, and strong communication skills.
As a graduate you’ll be able to appreciate that problems are often multi-faceted and require thoughtful, creative and logical approaches. Such graduates are highly valuable (in both commercial and Not-for- Profit sectors) because of their ability to contribute to strategic decision making.
Typical careers are:
- voluntary sector project management
- work in NGOs, local and central government
- general commercial businesses
- national delegations at the United Nations
We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment for the second year in a row - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, 2019.
At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:
- An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
- Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.
Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.
A placement can not only help you place your studies into a context and apply your learning to practice, it's also a great opportunity to contribute to real world situations. Many former students have maintained a relationship with their placement organisation, and some have used it as the basis for their dissertation.
Recent successful placements have included working in MPs’ constituency offices and the European Parliament in Brussels.
Teaching and learning
You can expect to be taught through a mix of innovative and traditional teaching methods:
- social media
- group work
- policy briefs
- essay writing
Our central London location means that our you can benefit from London’s rich resources:
- British Library
- Imperial War Museum
- Institute of Historical Research
- Wiener Library
- Women’s Library @LSE
- Black Cultural Archive
Personal Academic Tutoring
As an undergraduate Law and Social Science student, you will be allocated a named tutor during your first semester at LSBU. The role of your tutor is to be your primary contact for academic and professional development support.
Your tutor will support you to get the most of your time at LSBU, providing advice and signposting to other sources of support in the University. They should be the first person at the university that you speak to if you are having any difficulties that are affecting your work. These could be academic, financial, health-related or another type of problem.
- A Level BCC or:
- BTEC National Diploma MMM or:
- Access to HE qualifications with 9 Distinctions and 36 Merits or:
- Equivalent Level 3 qualifications worth 106 UCAS points
- Applicants must hold 5 GCSEs A-C including Maths and English, or equivalent (reformed GCSEs grade 4 or above).
Visit UCAS for guidance on entry tariffs.
If you have already completed some studies at another university, we may be able to consider you for advanced entry. Please see our advanced entry page for more information.
How to apply
International (non Home/EU) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.
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Once we have made you an offer, you can apply for accommodation. You can rent from LSBU and you’ll deal directly with the university, not third party providers. That means we can guarantee you options to suit all budgets, with clear tenancy agreements and all-inclusive rents that include insurance for your personal belongings, internet access in each bedroom and on-site laundry facilities.
Or, if you’d rather rent privately, we can give you a list of landlords – just ask our Accommodation Service.
Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.
You don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as an undergraduate student.
Prepare to start
After you’ve received your offer we’ll send you emails about events we run to help you prepare for your course.
Before you start your course we’ll send you information on what you’ll need to do before you arrive and during your first few days on campus. You can read about the process on our Enrolment pages.
Fees and funding
Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursaries Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.
Year 1 FT Southwark SEPT
|UK/EU fee: £9250||International fee: £14470|
|AOS/LSBU code: 4821||Session code: 1FS00|
|Total course fee:|
For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for undergraduate students.
Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a Home, EU or International student for fee-paying purposes and for our regulatory returns, by reading the UKCISA regulations.
Possible fee changes
The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions.
The fees for international students are reviewed annually and the University reserves the right to increase the tuition fees in line with the RPIX measure of inflation up to 4 per cent.
We offer several types of fee reduction through our scholarships and bursaries. Find the full list and other useful information on our scholarships page.
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