2019
2020

International Relations and Social Policy BSc (Hons)

Course overview

  • Course level
    Undergraduate
  • Course type
    Full-time
  • Duration
    3 years full time or 4 years with integrated placement year
  • Course options
    Integrated placement, Optional placement year
  • UCAS code(s)
    LL2K
  • School

Entry requirements

  • A level (2019 entry)
    ABB from 3 A-levels. General Studies accepted.
  • BTEC extended diploma (2019 entry)
    DDD
More information

Key Dates

  • Start Date
    September
  • Open Days
    Our next Open Day is taking place on:
    Saturday 5th October

We’ll give you a head start. Social Policy is ranked 7th in the UK for Graduate Prospects (Complete University Guide, 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)

Teaching is informed by world-leading research that saw Politics ranked 12th in the UK for Research Quality (Complete University Guide, 2019)

Investigate the economic, social and political forces which influence government decision-making

Course summary

International Relations and Social Policy examines the major political and social issues faced by governments across the world.

Employed Aston Social Studies (including Politics) graduates earn £4,800 (27%) more than the UK average one year after graduating, according to the government's Longitudinal Education Outcomes survey (LEO).

Entry requirements & fees (2020 entry)

A levels

ABB 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.

International Baccalaureate

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 Higher Education

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:

3 years full time or 4 years with integrated placement year

UCAS Code:
LL2K

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 and Social Policy examines the major political and social issues faced by governments across the world. You will develop a knowledge and understanding of the nature between states and also of the roles played by international institutions, other intergovernmental organisations, multinational corporations and NGOs. You will also investigate the economic, social and political forces which influence policy and give rise to conflicts between the achievement of economic, environmental and social objectives. Important strengths of the programme include its focus on key contemporary issues in international relations and policy, such as global economic change and the environment as well as international comparisons of government policies. The professional placement year is an optional feature of the programme and is designed to give our students a distinct advantage on the graduate labour market. The programme is strongly geared towards increasing your employability since it is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills relevant to careers involving partnerships in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

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
Critical Debates in Society and Policy
From Social Problems to Public Policies
Becoming a Social Scientist

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
Critical Policy Analysis
Research Methods

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
Environmental Policy
Welfare States and Welfare Change
Global Society
CSI: Crime Subversion and Injustice
Contested Cities
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

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
Migration, Borders and Belonging
Health Policy
The Challenges of Climate Change
Corporate Power in a Globalised World
Work, Organisations and Society
Bodies, Power and Resistance
Contemporary Social Movements
Education and Digital Society
Religion and Society
Pregnancy and Politics: Cultural Norms and Family Policy
Community Engagement

 

Learning, teaching & assessment

You will be involved in lectures and seminars, small group work projects and independent study. Many of your modules will be in workshop format, alternating theoretical input with practical analysis, and allowing you to test out your understanding in discussion with other students and your tutor. There are also opportunities fro group and collaborative work. Students undertake a major piece of independent research in Final Year. You will be allocated an academic supervisor for this work and a Personal Tutor who can provide you with help and advice throughout your studies.

Assessment is through a combination of exams, project-based course work, essays, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year.

For further information, see the International Relations Joint Honours programme specification and the Social Policy Joint Honours programme specification.

Placement year

The placement year is optional for students studying International Relations and Social Policy. If you choose to take a placement year, this will take place during your third year at Aston and is worth 10% of the final degree result. Unlike some other universities, the placement year at Aston is not a ''bolt-on'' year it is an integral part of your degree for which you are prepared in your second year. 

A distinctive feature of our placement year is the flexibility that we offer. You will be able to choose between undertaking a paid work-experience placement with a company or working as a teaching assistant in a school (either in the UK or abroad) - you might even choose to combine two of these options.  

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 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 placement year.

Careers

Recent Destinations 

  • Hays
  • Bosch
  • British Gas 
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
  • Interserve 
  • Airbus 
  • J&J Insurance
  • Solihull Care Housing Association
  • Cap Gemini 
  • Imperial College London
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Recent Job Titles

  • Business Analyst
  • Corporate Engagement Executive
  • Insurance Broker
  • Mental Health Support Worker
  • National Project Coordinator
  • Person Centered Support Worker
  • Procurement Manager
  • Professor of Medical Sociology
  • Supporter Engagement Executive

To see recent International Relations and Politics careers and destinations please visit our careers gallery.

What's it like to study at Aston?

The staff and facilities at Aston blew me away, but the real winner was the opportunity to do a year abroad in any industry. During my placement year I worked in a secondary school, in Alicante, teaching English. I hadn’t considered a career in teaching before, but after finishing the year I knew it was how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. The lifelong friends at Aston were one of the best things about my time here. Being a small community, it was like one big happy family. I would do university at Aston all over again.

Nishtar Hussein
BSc Sociology
What's it like to study at Aston?

During my time at Aston, I received great academic teaching and support from lecturers. My placement prepared me for a career which is fast-paced and challenging. I am able to manage my workload efficiently and use my initiative.

Kanisha Warrican
BSc Sociology
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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