International Relations at Durham University - UCAS

Course summary

Our BA in International Relations will give you a grounding in global politics and so much more. Taking a research-led approach you’ll develop an understanding of many of the relationships that shape our complex and interconnected world. Issues that range from regional studies and global security to the balance of power and social norms. Study is structured around three main themes: political thought, political institutions and international relations. Following an introduction to these themes, you’ll begin to tailor the course to your interests and aspirations with a selection of optional modules. These include areas such as security, interdependence, liberty, comparative studies of political economies, democratic practice, and the role of global politics in the environment. You can further tailor your course by applying to add a work placement, or an international dimension with an overseas study year in locations such as Boston College in the USA, the University of British Columbia in Canada, the University of Hong Kong or the National University of Singapore. The School of Government and International Affairs is home to a number of research centres and institutes. This innovative work is fed into the BA, so you can be sure the curriculum is informed by contemporary political debate. The critical analytical and research skills that underpin the course, coupled with an understanding of global current affairs and the connections between countries, governments, NGOs and the business sector, will put you in a strong position to pursue a career in areas including social policy, international finance, business, journalism and the charity sector.


Year 1 Core modules: Introduction to International Relations provides an overview of the field of international relations including its historical context and traditions of thought. The module addresses core concepts in the field including power, sovereignty, the international system, the international society, the state and norms. International Security, Interdependence and Organisation introduces the major theoretical and analytical problems in the field, including the concept of war, conflict and security; interdependence among states and international organisations; and the practice of interdependence in global politics and security. Perspectives of Political Economy through an enquiry-based learning approach to contemporary issues in everyday life, the module introduces you to the central concerns of political economy as an inter-disciplinary social science that focuses on the relationship between political and economic systems, agents and institutions. Researching Politics and International Relations introduces a range of strategies used to produce knowledge in politics and international relations. This module examines the strengths and weaknesses of a range of research methods. You will gain some practical experience of carrying out research in politics and international relations. In recent years, optional modules have included: Democratic Political Systems Introduction to Political Theory Introduction to Comparative Politics. Year 2 Core modules: The Research Project is an extended piece of work produced within a structured framework that will help prepare you for the demands of writing a dissertation. You will gain a deeper understanding of politics as an academic subject and as an aspect of wider human activity. International Theory develops knowledge of the major debates in contemporary international relations theory. The module helps to build a wider understanding of theoretical, conceptual and methodological matters in the study of domestic and international politics. International Organisations examines the role of key organisations in international relations, and their external impact. Looking at organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union, the World Trade Organization, NATO, ASEAN, etc., you will gain an understanding of the dynamic nature of global governance with emphasis on the dynamics of the global international environment. In recent years, optional modules have included: International Theory The Politics of Pacific Asia Foundations of Western Political Thought International Organisations Sovereignty, State and Empire Capitalism: History and Theory Middle East in the International System Debates in Political Theory. Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement year or year abroad) The Dissertation is a detailed and critical examination of a relevant area of politics. It develops your ability to plan and manage your own learning and provides you with an opportunity to research a specific topic in greater depth and present your findings and conclusions. In recent years, optional modules have included: British Political Thought Muslims and Politics in the Modern World Theories of Liberty The American Presidency China in Global Political Economy Israel: Politics and Society Political Psychology in International Relations Woman, Gender and Politics in the US Elections and British Politics Advanced Topic in International Political Theory: the International Politics of the Everyday.

Assessment method

Assessment takes various forms including examinations and unseen essay questions, essays, group projects and the final-year dissertation. The range of assessment methods vary between modules. They have been designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of course material, test critical thinking skills, enhance written and oral communication skills, and assess your ability to relate your learning to real-world issues. The dissertation is an in-depth study of a topic of your choice which makes up one-third of your final-year marks.

How to apply

Application codes

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Durham City
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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

International applicants

Durham has a long and proud history of welcoming students from countries across the globe.

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course

English language requirements

Durham University welcomes applications from all students irrespective of background. We encourage the recruitment of academically well-qualified and highly motivated students, who are non-native speakers of English, whose full potential can be realised with a limited amount of English Language training either prior to entry or through pre-sessional and/or in-sessional courses. It is the normal expectation that candidates for admission should be able to demonstrate satisfactory English proficiency before the start of a programme of study, whether via the submission of an appropriate English language qualification or by attendance on an appropriate pre-sessional course. Acceptable evidence and levels required can be viewed by following the link provided.

English language requirements

Student Outcomes

Operated by the Office for Students
Employment after 15 months (Most common jobs)
Go onto work and study

The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. This data will be based on the subject area rather than the specific course. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Republic of Ireland £9250 Year 1
EU £24750* Year 1
England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
International £24750* Year 1
Channel Islands £9250 Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

Additional fee information

The tuition fees for 2025/26 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved. The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full-time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government. The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full-time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated). There may also be additional course costs for things like books (if you want to purchase them), field trips etc.

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International Relations at Durham University - UCAS