International Relations

Staff member? Login here

Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
International Relations
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Politics and International Relations
BA L258

Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: BBB

IB: 30 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Dr Mohammed Rodwan Abouharb

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 27 January 2020 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  GV103-4-AU  Introduction to International Relations  Core  15 
02  GV113-4-SP  Co-Operation and Conflict  Core  15 
03    Option(s) from list or Outside Option(s)  Optional  30 
04    Option(s) from list or Outside Option(s)  Optional  30 
05  GV110-4-AU  Scientific Reasoning for the Social Sciences  Compulsory  15 
06  GV112-4-SP  Comparative Political Analysis  Compulsory  15 
07  GV711-4-FY  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01    GV207-5-AU or GV252-5-SP  Core with Options  15 
02  GV214-5-AU  International Relations: Theories and Approaches  Core  15 
03  GV211-5-SP  Violent Non State Actors: Violence, Crime and Conflict  Compulsory  15 
04  GV217-5-SP  Conflict Analysis  Compulsory  15 
05    Option(s) from list  Optional  30 
06    Option from list  Optional  15 
07    Option from list  Optional  15 
08  GV711-5-FY  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

Year 3 - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01    Final year Politics option(s) from list  Optional  30 
02    Final year Politics option(s) from list  Optional  30 
03    GV831-6-FY or GV832-6-FY  Compulsory with Options  30 
04    Politics option(s) or outside option(s) from list  Optional  30 
05  GV711-6-FY  Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

1. To develop knowledge and understanding of the major theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues associated with the study of international relations and of quantitative methods for studying politics.

2. To provide the opportunity for students to learn about existing political science and international relations research.

3. To develop and promote students' general analytical skills and capacities to undertake subsequent academic study and for employment, personal development and social participation.

4. To maintain an intellectual environment that is exciting and challenging, fostering students' capacities for study and dialogue and maintaining high standards of teaching and learning.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1: Knowledge of the main theoretical and empirical concepts in politics and international relations, including the international system, methodological issues and theories of international relations.

A2: Knowledge of the processes of interaction between domestic and international politics.

A3: Knowledge of developments, issues and debates in the specialist regions or subjects they choose to study.

A4: Knowledge of the statistical methods appropriate to political science.

A5: Knowledge of sources of information for studying politics.

Learning methods

A1 - A3 are addressed in lectures, participation in seminars and classes and written comments on essays.

A3 is additionally addressed in optional choices in years 2 and 3 and/or in projects.

Assessment methods

The assessment of most full-year modules is normally based equally on course work and (potentially) on a written examination, each counting for 50 per cent of the final mark.

An average coursework load consists of two-three essays per module or quivalent.

Class tests are used to assess A4.

The Project counts as a separate module and is assessed on its own merits.

An average course work load consists of three two to three essays per module or equivalent.

Class tests are used to assess A4.

The Project counts as a separate module and is assessed on its own merits.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: To question received thinking.

B2: To develop own thinking.

B3: Advanced knowledge of different modes of explanation and theoretical perspectives in political science and international relations at an appropriate level.

B4: To analyse and evaluate data.

B5: To reason critically.

B6: To argue coherently and persuasively.

B7: To present ideas in a structured form in writing.

Learning methods

These skills are developed in seminars and classes; class presentations; written comments on essays.

Individual guidance is available for the writing of essays and the construction of presentations.

Opportunities exist to consult a Study Skills Officer.

Assessment methods

Essays and written examinations.

C: Practical skills

C1: Organise and structure an extended argument, advancing clear critical positions.

C2: Use theoretical terms correctly.

C3: Compile systematic bibliographies.

C4: Provide references according to accepted conventions.

C5: Use quantitative methods, abstract and synthesise relevant information.

Learning methods

This range of practical skills (C1 - C5) is taught in seminars and developed through Module Supervisors’ comments on essays and in supervision of written work.

Assessment methods

Essays and projects are assessed for these skills while written examinations are assessed for skills C1, C2 and C5.

D: Key skills

D1: Clear, focused, relevant and effective expression and communication.

D2: To use electronic information sources.

D3: To use basic statistical methods.

D4: To manage projects and timetables. To find, understand and organise information. To work with ideas.

D6: To be receptive to feedback; to manage time and resources and to be self-critical.

Learning methods

The five relevant key skills are implicit throughout the degree.

1, 2 and 4 are employed in essays.

1 and 6 are employed in seminars, classes and one-on-one discussions with class teachers.

Assessment methods

Essays and projects are assessed for qualities that implicitly incorporate all these skills.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: