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Undergraduate Course

International Relations and War Studies BA (Hons)

Explore the impact international relations has on security, conflict and global justice.

6 students sit around a table reading war studies books.

Our International Relations and War Studies degree combines 2 complementary subjects which are growing in popularity and prominence. On this degree you will explore state power, international security, human rights and the causes and consequences of war.

  • Available in Clearing

York campus

  • UCAS Code – L240
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • 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 is the study of the relationships between states in a complex and evolving international system. War Studies explores what we mean by war, how wars start and end, the morality of war and the concept of a ‘just’ war. It approaches war from many different theoretical approaches, drawing upon history, politics, and philosophy. By combining these subjects you will gain a deep understanding of the development, resolution and consequences of armed conflict on the global stage.

Topics you will study include:

  • International security
  • The causes and consequences of international conflict
  • The nature of warfare
  • Peacekeeping and the responsibility to protect
  • Gender and conflict
  • Military history
  • War and the media.

We give you lots of opportunities to take your learning beyond the classroom - You can get involved with local and international field trips, undertake work experience within the city or choose to study abroad as part of your degree. We make use of York’s rich heritage by interacting with local experts and sources from:

  • Yorkshire Air Museum
  • York Cold War Bunker
  • The Kohima Museum at Imphal Barracks
  • York Army Museum
  • Yorkshire Film Archive
  • War veterans living in the local area.

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 is your introduction to War Studies as an academic subject. You will learn about the history of the subject and familiarise yourself with some of the different approaches you will take and techniques you will use throughout the course. We will introduce you to the essential definitions and classifications of war, and you will work to understand what war is, and how and why we study it.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will tackle the complex question of why wars do or do not occur. We will introduce you to a range of historical and theoretical arguments that attempt to answer this question, and which will be relevant throughout your course. We will investigate this question through analysis of case studies ranging from ancient to present day conflicts. We will encourage you to consider broad themes across these case studies and carry out comparative analysis between them.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

War makes for dramatic headlines and engaging copy, but there is frequent and often heated debate about the power and the biases of the media in war. On this module you will explore the relationship between warfare and the media. This includes both a discussion of the representation and reporting of war in the media, and how you can use media to research and understand war.

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 we will investigate the UK’s role in international relations from historical, political and ethical perspectives. You will explore the changing position of the UK as a global force in world affairs by exploring primary and secondary sources. This is also an opportunity to familiarise yourself with key terms and concepts in foreign policy. We will encourage you to reflect on your own assumptions and moral standpoints about the UK’s actions overseas.

Year 2

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

  • 1 compulsory module and 2 optional modules 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

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

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

Optional 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

Optional module

Our politics degree teaches you to understand not just political concepts, but also how politics is studied and researched. This module will give you an overview of the different theoretical and methodological approaches used to study the political world.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will have the chance to take part in work related learning and explore the possibilities your degree will offer for your career. We will help you see how you can transfer the skills and knowledge you acquire throughout the course to the workplace. You can choose to complete a minimum of 10 days work experience, or focus on a work related project. It is your responsibility to find your placement, with advice on how to do this included within the module.

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 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 investigate the experience and impact of war on both civilians and soldiers. We explore this through a series of case studies focusing on wartime experiences from York and its surrounding area. You will make use of first-hand accounts of battle and cinematic representations of combat, using these sources to explore some of the philosophical questions arising from attempts to understand and depict warfare. A series of tours and walks will help bring the historic resources on our doorstep to life.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus on the wider cultural diplomatic and political aspects of warfare. We will explore major military campaigns fought in Western Europe during the second world war. This includes:

  • The German drive to the coast in 1940
  • The continuation of the 1940 campaign after Dunkirk
  • The projected German Operation Sealion to invade the British Isles and British counter-preparations
  • British offensive strategy prior to the Normandy invasion
  • The amphibious landing in Normandy in June 1944
  • The Battle of the Bulge
  • Crossing the Rhine.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will explore the role, function and evolution of peace organisations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. You will learn about their origin and formation, evaluating the effectiveness of their practices. We will explore a range of primary sources and public debates to investigate the processes behind organisations such as:

  • The League of Nations
  • The United Nations
  • The African Union
  • NATO
  • The Warsaw Pact
  • Amnesty International.

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

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

On this module you will consider what it means to be a global citizen, and how far we should think of our ethical obligations and responsibilities to others in global terms. You will reflect on your experiences of citizenship in an increasingly interconnected world while considering the role of the state in ethical decision making. You will also think about the global ethical implications of your decisions and actions. You will discuss topics including:

  • Global poverty
  • Environmental degradation
  • The responsibilities of multinational corporations
  • Refugee protection
  • Humanitarian intervention.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This is an opportunity to study a specialist area relating to War Studies. 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.

Your Special Subject will explore a topic within War Studies or Military History. Examples of previous Special Subject projects are:

  • War Studies: The International Origins of the Second World War
  • Military History: War in the East: 1940-45.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore American history, culture and politics as you consider the ideas and values behind the USA’s military past. We will investigate how Americans have experienced war, and how this experience has been represented in film, literature, music and more. Some of the topics you will encounter include:

  • War and American national identity
  • Early American wars of colonization
  • American military strategy and leadership
  • War and rhetoric in American political culture
  • The Traumatic impact of war on American soldiers and veterans.

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.

Alongside your timetabled contact time, you will be expected to study independently. You will need to read around your subject and engaging with various academic resources. 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. The different assessment types you will encounter may include:

  • Essays
  • Portfolios
  • Open and closed exams
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Video presentations
  • Posters
  • Group reports
  • Book and article reviews
  • Study reports.

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 War Studies

On this course you will 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.

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

  • The armed forces
  • The Civil Service (the offer a fast stream graduate scheme)
  • Charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • Security and intelligence
  • Policy making
  • International aid.

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

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

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 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 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 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 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

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