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Undergraduate Course

International Relations and History BA (Hons)

Discover how the events of the past have shaped international relations in the modern world.

Student at the minster library

Find out how history informs the ideas and debates taking place on the global stage today. Explore issues of state power, human rights and global justice. Investigate historical research from around the world to build a global view of our past, present and future.

93% of History students felt that their lecturers were good at explaining things. (National Student Survey 2021)

90% of History students were satisfied with their course. (National Student Survey 2021)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – L230
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2022
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Discover Politics and International Relations at York St John University

Course overview

International Relations and History are closely related subjects. Studying them together will deepen your understanding of the institutions, processes and events that shape states and societies. Learning about the historical events which paved the way for contemporary international politics is crucial to fully understand them. Equally, we can apply some of the modern concepts and theories behind international relations to analyse historical events and processes. This degree will allow you to explore this relationship, while also delving deep into specialist topics.  We have designed the modules you will study to compliment and reinforce your learning across both subjects.

York has played a central part in many of our country’s stories. This makes it an inspiring place to study history. There are many ways you can explore these subjects beyond the classroom. You may have the opportunity to:

  • Go on local, national and international field trips
  • Take part in a work experience project. Our connections in the city include York Museums Trust, York Explore and Yorkshire Film Archive.
  • Study abroad in your second year
  • Hear from visiting speakers with many different areas of expertise.
  • Attend conferences, seminars, workshops and events within the School.

By the end of your degree you will be able to explain the historical drivers of developments in international relations. You will have the expertise to analyse the current international political and economic landscape and identify the challenges that will shape our shared future.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are st­udying full time or part time. You must study at least 1 module from each subject every semester.

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will gain a comprehensive historical overview of world politics and the most important themes and concepts needed to study it. This will provide you with a strong foundation from which you can build your knowledge as your progress through your degree. You will also develop the essential skills for engaging with academic literature, constructing effective arguments and working within conceptual frameworks, which will be essential to your success in studying International Relations.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will help you gain the most important skills needed to be a successful historian. Focusing on analytical interpretation rather than historical narrative, this module will prepare you for the independent study skills required for degree level study. You will explore how historians:

  • Examine primary sources
  • Write and engage with secondary sources
  • Construct arguments and apply theories
  • Work with established historical concepts
  • Question conventions and established time periods in history.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on how war impacts society. Examining different types of war from different periods will build your skills in comparative analysis. You will also engage with contemporary historical debates about the relationship between war and society. We will examine case studies to discuss themes such as:

  • The causes of war
  • Who wins wars and why
  • The effect of war on technological and historical development
  • The role of citizens
  • The importance of the state.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Security Studies has emerged as an essential strand of International Relations, and studying it involves a growing range of approaches, traditions and debates. On this module we will introduce you to the study of security. You will develop the skills needed to critically analyse and reflect on the historical development of security threats and challenges. This will involve focusing on specific case studies, debating and discussing the policy decision making they prompted.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will engage with the most important debates surrounding global inequality and the politics of foreign aid. We will discuss these issues in relation to both historic developments and contemporary concerns. You will investigate the issues of inequality and development through various theoretical perspectives. You will also debate the prospects of a more inclusive and equitable plan for global development. The topics you  will engage with may include:

  • Poverty
  • Economic growth
  • Interstate and non-state development
  • Aid and international trade regimes
  • The politics of wealth accumulation.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will give you a broad understanding of the history of the USA, from both a domestic and an international point of view. You will learn about America’s gradual emergence as a leading international power, economically, militarily and politically. We will explore historical developments in the American experience, including political, social and economic changes. You will consider the continuing tension between unity and diversity in American history, exploring topics such as the Civil War, industrialisation, consumer culture, foreign policy and immigration.

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus on the relationship between international politics and economics. You will learn about power structures within the contemporary global economy and consider who the winners and losers are within these interactions. You will also reflect on how your everyday financial decisions feed into the broader dynamics of the global economy, considering how your choices affect others and reinforce existing power structures.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore contemporary questions around the meaning of security, and how we address the new security issues that are emerging in the 21st century. We will consider the causes of these threats, how they are identified, the ways states respond to them, and the changing nature of international security. We will do this using both theoretical approaches and relevant policy case studies. Some of the issues we will look at include:

  • Environmental security
  • Cyber security
  • Terrorism
  • Drones and drone warfare
  • Health security
  • Intelligence and surveillance
  • Sexual violence in armed conflict.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus your studies on a particular geographical region, for example, East Asia, South America, Africa or the Middle East. You will explore the key relationships, movements, dynamics and political figures within this region using primary and secondary sources to assess historical developments and contemporary issues. This will allow you to develop a more nuanced understanding of regional politics within a global context. You will also consider the impact of recent global developments on the region, such as climate change, technology and changing identities.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

International Relations addresses the fundamental nature of power in the international system, and the approaches used in this module are essential for understanding regional, international and global events. On this module we will introduce you to some of the major theories of international relations, such as:

  • Realism
  • Liberalism
  • Neoliberalism
  • Marxism
  • Critical theory
  • Constructivism
  • Feminism
  • Postcolonialism.

Using case studies and coverage of historical and contemporary events, you will consider how you can apply these theories to developments in state relations, taking into account the growing institutions and processes of globalisation.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module is a great opportunity to improve your employability and start thinking about your career. You will consider how history, and the skills you have developed by studying it, relate to potential career paths. As part of this module you will participate in a 75 hour work placement. You will need to secure this placement yourself, but you can take advantage of the many connections we have established with heritage organisations in York and the wider region.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module builds on the Year 1 module Research and Presenting the Past, allowing you to develop your research skills even further. You will conduct project work in groups and engage in independent research that will prepare you for the dissertation module in your final year. We will discuss the importance of primary sources for understanding an event, period or theme. This may include opportunities to work with local archives. We will also look in detail at various schools of historical theory and methodology.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus on the experience of African Americans both as enslaved people and slavery and in the years following the abolition of slavery. You will learn about the origins, development and abolition of slavery in the USA, assessing the impact and nature of the American slave system. We will frame these discussions through the contemporary responses of both African Americans and white Americans concerning slavery, relationships between races after slavery ended, and the emergence of cultural expression among African Americans.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will study the history of the Soviet Union, from the October Revolution in 1917 to the collapse of the Soviet experiment in 1991. In doing so you will identify the underlying reasons for both the rise and the fall of the Soviet state, as well as assessing its impact on the rest of the world. You will examine Soviet communism from various different perspectives, taking in political, economic, social, military and cultural history.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The 1960s were a turbulent time for the USA. President Lyndon Johnson was embarking on a series of reforms aiming to create “the Great Society” at the same time as the seemingly endless war in Vietnam. It was also a time of great achievements, with America leading the first moon landings. Topics you will cover on this module include:

  • The image and domestic policies of the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon presidencies
  • Radicalism and dissent, including counterculture, urban riots and student protests
  • The domestic impact of the Vietnam War.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine the traumatic history of China throughout the lifetime of Mao Zedong. You will confront and evaluate the historical debates surrounding China’s transition from the world’s oldest imperial power to a revolutionary Communist state. In doing so you will consider the political, ideological, economic, military, social and cultural forces that shaped these events. Given China's modern status as a major world power, learning about its turbulent past and Mao's legacy will help you to understand wider global developments.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will have the chance to get involved with some of the research taking place within our department. The content will be different every year, depending on the current research taking place in the academic team, the resources available and what you and your course mates are interested in. This is an opportunity to be part of our ongoing contribution to historical knowledge and to build your research skills before starting your dissertation in the final year.

Credits: 20

Optional module

In the early 20th century France had a pivotal role in both world wars, suffering both invasion and conquest and undergoing a traumatic process of decolonisation. On this module you will learn about France’s role on the world stage as a political, military, imperial and cultural force. You will consider both the impact of international forces upon France and the country’s influence on the course of world history.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine, confront and evaluate the historical debates surrounding the American Civil War. You will learn about the campaigns and strategies of the war itself, as well as its social and political impact and its lasting cultural legacy. You will also consider the social and political forces that have shaped how this period has been retold in historical and pop culture representations. This will open wider discussion about how wars are remembered and commemorated.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • A dissertation module studied across semesters 1 and 2
  • 2 optional modules in semester 1
  • 2 optional module in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This year long module will involve working independently to research a topic of your choice, using primary sources, cultural literature and advanced secondary sources. It is the culmination of your degree studies, and your chance to explore a topic that you are passionate about. A dissertation supervisor will help you define and develop your project throughout the year.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore in detail the institutions, structures and processes of global governance. In particular we focus on the institutions of the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We also cover regional organisations such as the European Union, and other intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. Global issues will be examined to analyse the work of these institutions, which may include:

  • Human rights
  • International terrorism
  • Global inequality
  • The environment
  • Conflict and peace.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Global health concerns are becoming increasingly important to ongoing debates about the social impact of worldwide economic and environmental change. On this module you will learn about contemporary health issues from the point of view of both international relations and ethics, and explore the connections between these approaches.

You will study:

  • Infectious and non infectious diseases
  • The relationship between war and disease
  • The role of the World Health Organisation
  • Health in foreign policy
  • Responses to global health emergencies.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine complex issues and debates concerning the challenge of international peacekeeping. We will focus on the Responsibility to Protect approach, which the United Nations (UN) developed in response to atrocities in the 1990s. This new approach laid out the responsibilities of its member states to protect people across the globe from genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. You will engage with important questions about when and how the UN should intervene in conflict and the moral and legal authority with which they do so.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Issues of security and conflict affect different lives in different ways, and gender is one of the biggest factors determining how someone may experience violent conflict. On this module you will study the latest theoretical innovations in feminist and gender scholarship and relate it to discussions about international conflict, peacebuilding and reconstruction. You will challenge preconceptions and reflect on ethical questions surrounding gender, power and violence from various feminist perspectives. We will use different academic subjects to analyse the topic, studying theories from sociology, gender studies and anthropology alongside international relations.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus on 2 of the most cutting edge areas of international relations research: the rise of visual analysis of global politics and the impact of technological change. By examining the interaction between these topics we can consider how changes in information technology, and a shift to a more image focused world, shape our perceptions of international events. You will reflect on how these developments impact on our everyday lives, drawing on discussions from sociology, history and media studies.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This is an opportunity to study a specialist area within your chosen historical era. The topics are closely related to staff research interest, meaning your work will be aligned with current research. This will help you develop your skills in research and historical investigation.

Through these special subject modules you can choose to explore topics such as:

  • The Korean War
  • The Russian Revolution
  • The Vietnam War
  • Britain against Napoleon
  • Reagan and his America
  • International Origins of the Second World War.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We use a range of teaching styles and settings to support your learning. This will include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Events
  • Field trips.

1 to 1 sessions with your tutor are also an integral part of your learning. They are essential in providing feedback, addressing your individual study needs and fostering your personal academic development.

Alongside your timetabled contact time, you will be expected to study independently. This will ensure that you get the most out of your degree, as well as building valuable time management skills.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.

Assessment

We are committed to authentic, relevant assessment. Authentic assessments mean your work is kept relevant and reflects workplace tasks or further study.

  • Essays
  • Portfolios
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Video presentations
  • Posters
  • Group reports
  • Book/article reviews
  • Study reports
  • Primary source exercises
  • Site reports
  • Open and closed exams
  • Reflective pieces.

Feedback is essential in identifying what you have done well and how you can improve. You will receive detailed feedback on your final assessments for each module, as well as on formative assessments which help you to improve as you learn.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in International Relations and History

This course allows you to build skills which can be applied to many different careers. You will leave with skills in problem solving, developing arguments, analysing and evaluating information, collaboration, independent working, communication and more. These are valuable skills in diverse professional settings.

This degree could be the first step toward your career in:

  • The Civil Service (the offer a fast stream graduate scheme)
  • Charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • Security and intelligence
  • Heritage and tourism
  • Historic building conservation
  • Law.

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

Postgraduate degrees at York St John University

History MA

International History MA

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice.

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

This course is available with a foundation year

This course is available with a foundation year. This option is ideal if you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto a degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education. A foundation year prepares you for degree level study, giving you the confidence and skills needed to make the most of your course. Passing it guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Liberal Arts Foundation Year

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and Funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

International 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email fundingadvice@yorksj.ac.uk

Course highlights

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