International Relations and Modern Languages BSc (Hons)

Course overview

  • Course level
    Undergraduate
  • Course type
    Full-time
  • Duration
    4 years
  • Course options
    Integrated International placement / study abroad, Beginner's language routes
  • UCAS code(s)
    LR2C
  • School

Entry requirements

  • A level entry
    BBC-CCC
  • BTEC extended diploma
    DDM
  • International Baccalaureate
    29 points overall with grades 5,5,4 in 3 higher level subjects. Standard level Maths and English 5 required and 6 in Higher Level French, German or Spanish
More information

Key Dates

  • Start date
    September
Play Video

Placement Stories: Rebecca, BSc International Relations, French & Spanish

Rebecca talks about her work placements in France and Argentina. Rebecca worked at Total in Pau, South of France and taught English at a university in Buenos Aires through the British Council Language Assistant programme.

Students are happy. Modern Languages and Linguistics at Aston are ranked 5th for Teaching Satisfaction (Guardian, 2020)

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)

We’ll make sure you’re career-ready. Employed Aston Politics graduates earn £5,300 (22%) more than expected five years after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2018)

Develop your linguistic skills to near-native proficiency and fluency. Examine the complex relationships between ethics and international action via cooperation or conflict.

Course summary

A combination of courses reflecting the current state of global affairs, with a particular European focus, allows students to maximize their understanding of political institutional arrangements and practices while honing their chosen language skills while focusing on topics of contemporary social and political interest.

Entry requirements & fees (2020 entry)

4 years full-time with integrated year abroad

UCAS Code:
International Relations and French LR2C
International Relations and German LR2G
International Relations and Spanish LR2K

Please note these UCAS codes apply to applicants who wish to apply for Post A-Level German/Spanish or for beginners German/Spanish.

Typical Offers
A Levels
: BBC-CCC from 3 A-levels, including at least one of French, German or Spanish (unless taking Beginners/Ab Initio route).  General Studies accepted.

BBC in 3 A-Level subjects

BCC with B in Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or Core Maths

CCC  in 3 A-level subjects for our contextual offer scheme



Applicants for beginners French, Spanish or German are not required to have any previous experience of language learning but we would anticipate that applicants receiving an offer would demonstrate a clear commitment to studying languages via the AS Personal Statement.

Applicants with GCSE Spanish are welcome to apply for the ab initio programmes. Applicants with AS would normally be interviewed and may receive an offer for the ab initio programme or for the post A-Level programme depending on the level of language demonstrated at interview.

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, any offer made will not be lower than stated above.  In addition to your predicted grades, when making offers we also consider your previous academic performance (e.g. GCSEs), your school/college reference and the commitment and motivation you demonstrate for your chosen course via the personal statement. Applicants and their teachers/advisers are welcome to contact us with individual queries about entry qualifications via ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk.  If you already have your grades and would like to check your suitability for one of our courses please contact us via e-mail.  Applicants and their teachers/advisers are welcome to contact us with individual queries about entry qualifications via ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk

View our Admissions Policy. 

IB: 29 points overall with grades 5,5,4 in 3 higher level subjects. Standard level Maths and English 5 required and 6 in Higher Level French, German or Spanish.

Access
: Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in each module.  Humanities or Social Sciences Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis.  A-level grade B in French, German or Spanish or equivalent.

BTEC:
 

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM

BTEC Diploma (QCF/National) with A-Levels - Distinction, Merit (DM) and Grade B at A-Level

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma (QCF) or Extended Certificate (national) with A-Levels – Distinction (D) and grades BC at A-Level.

We accept a wide range of UK, EU and International qualifications: please contact us for further advice.

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

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.

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.

Applicants receiving offers are invited to an open day.

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.

Course outline

This programme highlights the benefits of an interdisciplinary course of study.  A combination of courses reflecting the current state of global affairs, with a particular European focus, allows students to maximize their understanding of political institutional arrangements and practices while honing their chosen language skills while focusing on topics of contemporary social and political interest.

Students will begin their course of study acquiring a sound knowledge of domestic and international politics. Upon completion students will have a sound understanding of the nature of global and European and domestic political institutions, which, when combined with the year abroad component of this degree programme, will set them on a strong career path further developing the language and critical thinking skills acquired during their four years at Aston University.

Modules with Post A-Level French/German/Spanish

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 modules: 
Introduction to the Concepts and Methods of International Relations
Introduction to the European Union

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


Core if taking French:
French Language Skills I

Optional if taking French:
Introduction to the French-Speaking Countries
Introduction to the French-Speaking Countries
IBE (France)


Core if taking German:
German Language Skills I
Introduction to the German-Speaking Countries
IBE (German)


Core if taking Spanish:
Spanish Language Skills I

Optional if taking Spanish:
Introduction to Spain and Latin America
IBE (Spain)


Year 2

Core modules: 
International Relations: Theories
Critical Approaches to Security Studies

Optional modules: 
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

Core if taking French: 
French Language Skills II

Optional if taking French:
Politics and Society (French-speaking countries)
Politics and Society (French-speaking countries)
Culture and Conflict (French-speaking countries)
IBE (France)
TESOL


Core if taking German: 
German Language Skills II
Politics and Society (German-speaking countries)
IBE (German)


Core if taking Spanish:
Spanish Language Skills II

Optional if taking Spanish:
Politics and Society Spain and Latin America
Culture and Conflict Spain and Latin America
IBE (Latin America)
TESOL


Year 3 -
Year Abroad

 

Final Year

Core modules: 
Dissertation
Research and Dissertation Skills

Optional modules:

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

Core if taking French

French Language Skills III

Optional if taking French

La France d’Outre Mer
Vichy France: Occupation, Collaboration, Liberation
Contemporary French
Technology in France: Inventing Progress and Disaster
Representations of Minorities

Core if taking German:
German Language Skills III

Optional if taking German:
Cultural Identities in the German-speaking countries
Global Germany
IBE (German)


Core if taking Spanish:
Spanish Language Skills III

Optional if taking Spanish:

Cultural Studies in the Spanish-speaking countries
National and Transnational Identities in Spanish-Speaking Countries
IBE (Spain)

Modules with Ab Initio (Beginners) German/Spanish/French

As an ab initio student, you will take an intensive 40 credit language module in year one and two and will be taught separately from those students who already have an A-level to ensure that your language skills progress rapidly. You will spend your third year in a German/Spanish-speaking country in order to allow for maximum exposure to the language and culture, and can choose between an approved study programme at a partner exchange university, a work placement or a post as a Teaching Assistant in a school. If you are studying two languages (including one language ab initio) you will normally divide your time equally between the two countries where each of your languages are spoken. After the Year Abroad, students who studied Spanish/German ab initio are taught with those who started university with an A-level and take the usual final year modules, including modules taught in the target language. 

Learning, teaching and assessment

You will take part in interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study. We teach our courses in French/German/Spanish, which means that our students are at a real advantage when it comes to gaining maximum benefit and experience from the year abroad. 

You will be allocated a Personal Tutor when you join us and you will be encouraged to make regular contact with them throughout your studies. Personal Tutors are there to help discuss academic and, in some cases, personal issues. Personal Tutors can also often offer support by writing references for placement/graduate employment and academic research.

Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, translation tasks, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year. Exams take place in January and May/June.

 

 

Year abroad

Campus accommodation guaranteed for First Year and Final Year students returning from year abroad.

The Third Year of your course is spent abroad in a French/German/Spanish speaking country - increasing your fluency, enhancing your cultural awareness and adding value to your degree. The year abroad is an integral and assessed part of language studies at Aston University, fully supported by us, and of direct relevance to your degree. A distinctive feature of our year abroad is the flexibility that we offer. You will be able to choose between undertaking a paid work-experience placement with a company, working as a teaching assistant in a school or studying at one of our partner universities. We are extremely proud of the high level of preparation, orientation and support that we provide before and during your year abroad. We have a full-time International Placements Team who will give you plenty of individual help and advice, and even come and visit you during your time away. Find out more about the year abroad.

What's it like to study at Aston?

I worked as an English Language Assistant in France during my year abroad. The highlight for me was getting to experience a new culture and having the opportunity to travel and explore new cities. The experience also gave me the ability to live independently and filled me with confidence and open-mindedness to grabbing new challenges.

Sumbal Gul Zaman
BSc International Relations and Sociology
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
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

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