2019
2020

Business and International Relations BSc (Hons)

Course overview

  • Course level
    Undergraduate
  • Course type
    Full-time
  • Duration
    4 years
  • Course options
    Integrated placement
  • UCAS code(s)
    LN21
  • School
    Aston Business School, School of Languages & Social Sciences

Entry requirements

  • A level (2019 entry)
    ABB - BBB
  • BTEC extended diploma (2019 entry)
    DDD
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma (2019 entry)
    32 points in the IB diploma (including TOK/Bonus points) with 6,5,5 at higher level.
More information

Key Dates

  • Start date
    September
  • Open Days
    Our next Open Day is taking place on:
    Saturday 23rd November

Business modules delivered by Aston Business School - one of just 1% of business schools in the world to hold AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA accreditation.

We’ll make sure you’re career-ready. Employed Aston Business graduates earn £9,100 (34%) more than expected five years after graduating (Longitudinal Educational Outcomes, 2018)

We’re #1 for Added Value. Comparing our students’ entry grades (A Levels/BTECS/IB etc) with their final degree result shows the quality of our teaching. We’re ranked us 1st in the UK by this measure (Guardian, 2020)

Understand the roles played by international institutions, intergovernmental organisations, multinational corporations and NGOs.

Course summary

This course is designed to help you build a comprehensive understanding of the various functions of management and examine politics in the international realm.

Entry requirements & fees (2020 entry)

A levels

  • ABB - BBB from 3 A Levels. General Studies accepted.
  • A Level applicants who select this course as their Firm UCAS choice may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme. This means that the grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course will be reduced.
  • We welcome applications from students who have tried to improve their examination grades by taking resits. We treat these applications in exactly the same way as other applications.

BTEC

  • BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma (QCF) / BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate: Distinction plus two A Levels at grade BB*.
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma (QCF) / BTEC Level 3 National Diploma: Distinction, Distinction plus grade B* in one A-level.
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF) / BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma  Distinction, Distinction, Distinction.

*Applicants who select this course as their Firm UCAS choice may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme. This means that the A Level grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course will be reduced.

IB

  • 32 points in the IB diploma (including TOK/Bonus points) with 6,5,5 at HL.
  • Standard level Maths and English grade 5 required in lieu of GCSE English and Maths grade C/4.
  • Applicants who select this course as their Firm UCAS choice may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme. This means that the grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course will be reduced.

Access to HE

  • Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in each module. Humanities, Social Sciences or Business Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis.

Other qualifications:

  • EPQ: A Level applicants who meet our offer criteria will be made the standard offer for their programme of choice, plus an alternative offer which will be one grade lower plus a grade B in EPQ, providing this course is selected as their Firm UCAS choice.
  • Other qualifications: If your qualification is not listed, please contact us using the form at the bottom of the page.
  • International Qualifications: International students can discover more about the qualifications we accept on our international pages. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements. For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.
  • Foundation Programme in Social Science (Aston University): For students with good A-level (or equivalent) grades, but who narrowly miss our standard requirements, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing a Foundation Year, although please note the progression requirements.

Key Information:

4 years full-time with integrated placement year

UCAS Code: LN21

GCSE requirements:
GCSE English Language and Maths Grade C/4.

Tuition fees 2020/21: £9,250 (£1,250 during placement year) for UK/EU students. £15,600* (£2,500 during placement year) for overseas students. More on fees.

*Tuition fees are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

  • Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with predicted grades that fall below these entry requirements if the application is of a high standard (however, initial offers will not be lower than stated below).
  • In addition to your predicted grades, when making offers we also consider your previous academic performance (eg GCSEs), your school/college reference and the commitment and motivation you demonstrate for your chosen course via the personal statement.
  • Application for second year entry will be considered by the programme director if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, successful applicants for second year entry will:
    • Have A level (or equivalent) qualifications similar to those required for first year entry
    • Have gained (or be expected to gain) 120 credits on an equivalent programme at another recognised university
    • Obtained (or be expected to obtain) an overall average of 60% or above on an equivalent programme at another recognised university
    • Have not previously attempted the second year of a programme elsewhere
    • Individual programmes may have additional requirements in addition to those stated above. These will be clarified upon application.
  • Applicants receiving offers are invited to an Applicant Visit Day

View our Admissions Policy. 

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Course outline

International Relations

You will develop a knowledge and understanding of the nature of relations between states and also of the roles played by international institutions, other intergovernmental organisations, multinational corporations and NGOs.

Year one introduces you to key modules focusing on the international state system and to the structure and purpose of international organisations; you also learn about ethics and international politics.

Your second year covers theories and contemporary issues in international relations, security studies and the globalisation of the international political economy.

During the final year you will explore more specialised topics through the completion of an individual research dissertation and a range of modules covering topics such as the  international relations of East Asia, US foreign policy, and the international relations between post Soviet Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Business

You’ll study the theories, principles and underlying concepts of the main functions of management and develop a strong understanding of business models and processes. You’ll examine how strategic decision-making within organisations takes place, and develop the ability to recognise and analyse the economic, technical, financial, social and organisational parameters within which modern managers make decisions.

Your career

Your placement year will give you the opportunity to apply your key skills and competencies within a real work-based situation.

The course is strongly geared towards increasing your employability since it is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills required of professionals working in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Subject guides and modules

Sample module options: The modules below are indicative only. When an offer is made, students will receive a detailed programme specification which forms part of our terms and conditions. 

 

Year 1
Core
Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
Introduction to the European Union
Introductory Accounting for Business
Economic Environment of Business
Law for Business
Introduction to Marketing Management

Options
The Making of the Modern World
What’s Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)


Year 2
Core
International Relations: Theories
Critical Approaches to Security Studies
Fundamental Strategy
Strategic Finance
Operations Management
Virtual Business Simulation

Options
West European Politics and Society
Russian and East European Politics and Society
North American Politics and Society
East Asian Politics and Society: China and Japan
South Asian Politics and Society
International Relations in Political Thought
Security Studies: Theories and Issues
The Politics and Policies of the European Union
International Political Economy


Year 3
Integrated placement year


Final Year
Core
Dissertation
Theories and Practice of Leadership
Business Ethics

Options
A Great Misunderstanding: Britain and the EU
African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day
America in the World
The American Presidency
BRICS and Emerging Power Shifts in World Politics
Chinese Politics and Society
Conflict and Intervention
Democracy, Authoritarianism and Regime Change
Diplomacy and Soft Power
Ethics and International Relations
EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games
Gender and Politics
Interest Groups and Lobbying
International Institutions
Nationalism and Political Power
Political Communication
Leaders and Leadership: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives
Politics and Islam: Past and Present
Politics and Protest in a Globalised World
Politics of Development
Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe
Sport and Politics
The International Relations of East Asia
The Populist Radical Right in Europe
Understanding Foreign Policy
Debates in Contemporary British Politics
Changing Patterns of Warfare
Intelligence Agencies and the Modern World – MI6, CIA & ISI
Political Parties
International Marketing
International Operations
Strategic HRM
Innovation & New Product & Service Development
Global Working

Learning, teaching & assessment

Although based in the School of Languages & Social Sciences, this course is taught jointly with staff from Aston Business School.

You will participate in lectures, tutorials, seminars, group and individual project work.  Traditional teaching is supported by a virtual learning environment that is used to host a range of electronic supporting materials.

The course deals with many topical issues, and as a result we try to incorporate current media coverage and public debates into class discussions and to link these to academic research and commentary wherever possible.

There is a much stronger emphasis on reading and on your own private, independent study than at pre-degree level. The University offers training courses in study skills, and the Library’s Learning Development Centre provides one-to-one instruction, workshops and study guides for academic research and writing.

We use a range of assessment methods and most modules are assessed with a combination of coursework and an end of year examination. Coursework includes essays, research reports, individual and group projects, statistics assignments, class tests and both individual and group presentations.

Placement year

The placement year is an opportunity for you to set your studies in context and gain valuable professional experience. It is highly attractive to potential employers and many of our students are offered graduate jobs by their placement employer.

You can choose whether your placement has an international relations or a business focus and may be in the UK or abroad. Placements taken by Aston students are generally paid, with the average salary being around £16,000.

In recent years our Joint Honours international relations and business degrees at Aston have undertaken placements in a variety of organisations, including:

  • African Development Bank in Uganda
  • Aston Villa Football Club
  • Audit Commission
  • British Energy
  • British High Commission in Ghana
  • Civil Service
  • Ford Motor Company
  • HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
  • Home Office
  • House of Lords
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Ministry of Defence
  • NHS
  • TNS Global Market Research
  • University research and study placements (UK, US, Australia, Finland and Singapore)
  • Working for local MPs

You'll receive plenty of help and advice in finding your placement and specialist support and supervision from the University during your placement.

Find out more about placement years at Aston.

What's it like to study at Aston?

I spent my placement year in Paris, where I worked as a General Manager and Language Assistant at HSBC for part of the year and a Digital Marketer at Digimind for the rest of my time. The highlight of my placement experience was being able to improve and really get a hold on the French language which at the start was not easy! I also enjoyed having the flexibility to travel around Europe and beyond to see friends and of course finding all the hidden treasures in Paris.

Jessica Metcalfe
BSc International Relations and English Language
What's it like to study at Aston?

Aston’s teachers and lecturers are excellent. They each are passionate about their subject area and are always willing to provide any assistance if necessary. They also gave individual feedback on work which helps to enhance one’s abilities even further.

Daniel Devane
BSc Politics and International Relations
What's it like to study at Aston?

The highlight of my degree was my placement year at the European Parliament in Brussels. Being in the political heart of Europe and experiencing new things every single day in a thriving capital city was amazing. Aston is right in the city centre of Birmingham; a huge city. In comparison, the Languages and Social Sciences school is small and tight-knit, comprised of lecturers who have excellent relationships with students. The lecturers and student support team at Aston are second to none. Being a small university means that staff and students enjoy closer relationships than in most other universities, and I have really benefitted from that closeness during my time at Aston.

Rebecca Aylott
BSc International Relations and French

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