International Relations (with Foundation Year)UCAS Code: Combined Honours only – see combinations tab|Duration: 4 years|Full Time|Hope Park|UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
Every day, international issues are in the news headlines – this is your chance to become an expert on relations between states, economies, ideas and societies. In a world where nuclear weapons remain primed for use, the world economy teeters on the brink of collapse and delicate ecosystems are under threat, it is little wonder that our International Relations degree is proving a popular choice among students who wish to better understand the world’s most challenging problems.
International Relations is a multidisciplinary subject, which draws in contributions from politics, history, media, sociology, law, economics and religion. Global issues dominate the news headlines on a daily basis and International Relations will allow you to focus on this dimension of politics. This is an opportunity to become an expert in international issues in a historical, political and cultural context.
All our academics are conducting internationally published research. Our key strengths are in Theories of International Relations; Peace and Conflict; British and US foreign policy and EU and UN politics. Our subject deals squarely with some of the most daunting, intractable but important challenges of today.
Teaching on this degree is structured into lectures, seminars, and tutorials which typically have no more than 10 students in the first year. You also have the opportunity to have a one-to-one meeting with your tutor each week.
For the International Relations part of your Combined Honours degree, there are approximately 6 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 5 teaching hours in your second and third years. On top of teaching hours, you are also expected to spend a number of hours studying independently each week, as well as studying in groups to prepare for any group assessments you may have. You are expected to spend an average of 40 hours per week devoted to your studies, including taught hours and independent study.
Assessment and feedback
Assessments are varied and consist of a formal exams focusing on lecture topics, and a range of written coursework assignments. You will be given clear, generic and additional assessment criteria at the start of the degree and at appropriate points throughout your studies. In your final year, you will complete a special study or dissertation.
Assessment is regarded as an important aid to learning and the team recognises the importance of providing timely, high-quality, constructive written feedback to you that not only explains the strengths and weaknesses of the particular piece of work but which also makes clear what must be improved in future work. This also applies to exam scripts - feedback is given to you on a form and is discussed with you in the following autumn. Feedback is provided verbally to the whole year group where possible, to emphasise points of general relevance. You are also provided with individual written feedback and will have the opportunity either in class time or in 'drop in' office hours to discuss your work privately with the tutor.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
Introduction to International Relations
Your first year provides you with the knowledge of the key sub disciplines that underpin International Relations.
Year one consists of five dimensions of learning which aim to aid students to gradually develop their understanding of IR and master the basic of the discipline prior to advancing into second year.
These four dimensions consist of:
Students are introduced to the formative terms and concepts used by IR scholars in their everyday analysis of world politics. Students can expect to explore the origins of power, the concepts of the State and Nation, explore the differences between power and influence and the various dimensions of the security.
Theories of IR
Theory is a social scientist’s tool for understanding the world around us and for developing research. Students will be introduced to the formative theories of IR. They will learn to distinguish between Realism and neo realism, and liberalism and neo liberalism. They will learn to apply these theories to make sense of international events in real time. Far from exhaustive, these theories provide IR students with the necessary basics for further developing their theoretical toolkit as they progress through their degrees.
Global institutions and structures
Social scientists study human behaviour. For many disciplines, institutions are the product of human behaviour and subsequently shape human behaviour in turn. In order to understand world politics, students will expect to be introduced to global institutions that govern world affairs daily and manage the global balance of power in an ever uncertain and volatile world. Such institutions include the United Nations, NATO, the EU, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the International Criminal Court and World Trade organisation to name a few
Regional events and developments
Coming toward the end of their first year, and equipped with the basic conceptual, theoretical and institutional knowledge central to IR scholarship, students will be introduced to recent and current events across the globe. This section of the course takes on a regional focus with analysis of developmental trends in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Student will expect to touch on political, economic, social, cultural and diplomatic issues.
In addition to discipline focused lessons, students will have a one-hour lecture per week dedicated to academic skills developments. They will be introduced to research skills, writing techniques, skills in sourcing appropriate academic material, presentation skills and the basics of methodology.
Explorations in International Relations
Your second year is based around two components.
Understanding International Relations
This course builds and expands on the theoretical ideas you will have studied in first year and which goes on to examine a range of key issues and problems. These are discussed from both theoretical and practical perspectives.
The Challenges and Structures of Foreign Policy
The practical side of the programme is focused particularly on the challenges and structures of foreign policy, and there is a supporting seminar series focused on foreign policy. This looks at theoretical approaches to foreign policy analysis, and then develops a series of in-depth case study evaluations. These may include analyses of the foreign policies of particular countries, such as the UK or the United States, and of the foreign policy behaviour of international organisations, such as the European Union.
Advanced Studies in International Relations
As you would expect in your final year the pace steps up a gear and so too the complexity of the ideas and arguments you encounter.
- Critiquing theories, unsettling assumptions: re-visiting knowledge and understanding in International Relations’
This course scrutinises and deconstructs that which was encountered in the first two years to leave you with a very nuanced, critical understanding of International Relations theory and ‘real world’ dynamics.
You also specialise through seminars entitled:
- Security, Peace and Conflict
- Economic Crisis and Political Conflict
You will do either a 10,000 word dissertation in conjunction with your other subject, or a 5,000 words special study. You will receive guidance and individual support from an assigned tutor in the creation and completion of this work. You are expected to work, in the main, in an autonomous way on this work.
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
As a graduate of International Relations from Liverpool Hope University, you can move on to build an exciting, interesting and meaningful career at home or abroad. A familiar route for our graduates is to pursue a career in the foreign service. As a diplomat, you may work to further the interests of your country overseas or serve a regional organisation such as the European Union or United Nations. The knowledge, understanding and skills that you acquire during your degree can help address a varied range of major challenges in fields ranging from international conflict to trade and migration.
Similarly, graduates often choose to join the Armed Forces, to work for non-governmental organisations in the development aid sector or as foreign correspondents breaking international news. In each of these roles, your study of International Relations theory and practice – and what these tell you about relations between states, peoples and power – could make a critical difference on the ground.
Private sector organisations, especially those in globalised trade including banks and energy sector companies, value an International Relations background.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
On top of tuition fees, you also need to consider the cost of core textbooks at approximately £100. There are optional national and international fieldtrips and the cost of these vary, but these costs will be set out clearly with plenty of notice.
You will also need to consider the cost of your accommodation each year whilst you study at university. Visit our accommodation pages for further details about our Halls of Residence.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2023/24 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
This course is also available with Foundation Year as a Combined Honours degree with the following subjects: