Download our brochure to find out more about studying International Relations at Lancaster.
Top reasons to study with us
7th for Graduate Prospects on Track (Politics)
The Complete University Guide (2022)
7th for Politics
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide (2022)
Study abroad and placement opportunities
On this degree you'll be taught by academic staff from the department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion where you will examine how conflicts can be resolved and prevented within the context of global politics and international security. In year one, you’ll be introduced to core concepts through the module International Relations: Theory and Practice plus two further modules either from within the Department or in subjects that complement your studies.
In your second and final years, you’ll examine peace and conflict resolution in detail. You can select from second year modules which include Peace Studies in Action; International Relations, Security and Sustainability and Politics of Development and Global Changes. Final year modules include Politics of Global Danger; Contemporary Issues in Human Rights, and Understanding External Intervention in Violent Conflicts.
The study abroad option is an exciting and informative experience for anyone who is thinking of working abroad during their career or who simply wants the experience of living and studying overseas as part of their degree. You will study in your third year at one of our international partner universities. This will help you to develop your global outlook, expand your professional network, and gain cultural and personal skills. During your year abroad, you will choose specialist modules relating to your degree as well as other modules from across the host university.
Lancaster University will make reasonable endeavours to place students at an approved overseas partner university that offers appropriate modules. Occasionally places overseas may not be available for all students who want to study abroad or the place at the partner university may be withdrawn if core modules are unavailable. If you are not offered a place to study overseas, you will be able to transfer to the equivalent standard 3-year degree scheme and would complete your studies at Lancaster.
Lancaster University cannot accept responsibility for any financial aspects of the year abroad.
As a graduate of Peace Studies and International Relations you may be interested in careers such as teaching, journalism, corporate planning, civil service, international charities and international business. We will help you determine your direction and aim to support you in getting there. We do this by offering subject-specific support from academic tutors and careers advisers.
We are home to the Richardson Institute, which undertakes peace and conflict research. In recent years, the Institute has offered around 60 internships per year for students to undertake research projects for external organisations. You can also apply for internships as part of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Internship Scheme. Past employers have included Carnegie Publishing, The Dukes Theatre, and the Ethical Consumer Research Association, with roles ranging from marketing and PR to specific research projects with heritage or humanitarian organisations.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, but that you also graduate with relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
A Level ABB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 32 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects.
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Merit
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme to complement your main specialism. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster please visit our Teaching and Learning section.
The following courses do not offer modules outside of the subject area due to the structured nature of the programmes: Architecture, Law, Physics, Engineering, Medicine, Sports and Exercise Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine and Biomedical Science.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, and the University will make every reasonable effort to offer modules as advertised. In some cases changes may be necessary and may result in some combinations being unavailable, for example as a result of student feedback, timetabling, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes and new research.
International Relations: Theory and Practice
We will introduce you to some of the central aspects of the discipline of International Relations, providing a firm grounding in the major concepts and debates necessary to understand the modern world of international politics. You will have the opportunity to learn about: the dominant features and power relations of the contemporary global system; the nature of sovereignty and security, their expression and limitations; the real-world problems confronting the international community today.
Areas of study typically include:
+ International Relations Theory: the study of how relations between states can and should be viewed and theorised, Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism and Feminism.
+ Regional Studies: the study of some of the key regions of the world, and the politics of their interactions.
+ International Institutions and Law: the international organisations, customs, and rules that govern inter-state relationships.
+ Global Politics and Belief: the study of how religious and ideological belief can shape international politics and the relation of states.
+ International Crises: the study of pressing issues confronting the international community, such as environmental collapse, technological advance, the rise of non-state actors, and terrorism.
+ International Relations and the Domestic: the study of how the domestic agendas can shape and influence international politics.
Because of the increasing interdependence of the national and global, domestic politics and international relations can no longer be properly understood in isolation from one another. To ensure the best possible foundation for a degree in International Relations, in first year, we strongly recommend you also take Politics in the Modern World.
China's International Relations
This module focuses on the international relations of one of the most influential actors in world politics: China. The module explores the key question of when and how China’s actions conform with – and diverge from – various international relations (IR) theories. In the module, you have the opportunity to gain a broad understanding of how China’s foreign policies are made, its relations with its neighbours in East Asia, with international organizations, and with other global powers including Britain. At the same time, you can gain a deeper, more concrete understanding of the uses and limitations of IR theory in explaining global politics.
International Relations, Security and Sustainability
The module explores some of the main theoretical foundations to International Relations, including realism and neo-realism, liberalism, and social constructivism and critical IR. We also explore how complexity theory relates to these theories. The second section focuses on some of the major international events of the 20th and early 21st centuries and how these relate to and interact with the development of international relations theories. The final weeks of the module focus on key relevant topics and developments including issues such as international political economy, debates relating to human/environmental sustainability and the impact of climate change and the practicality of an ethical foreign policy.
Issues in Contemporary Political Philosophy
This module will consider some of the major issues currently being debated by political philosophers and political theorists. Specific topics may change from year to year, but issues usually covered include some of the following:
- - State power and citizens’ obligations
- - Equality between social groups
- - Material equality
- - Environmental politics
- - Public goods and state action
- - Politics and regulation of business activity
- - Global justice
Peace Studies in Action
This module seeks to identify and analyse violent and non-violent conflict behaviour as well as the structural mechanisms that are required to seek peace. In this module we examine various theoretical positions in this regard and their application in managing, preventing and transforming conflicts into situations and outcomes that are more peaceful. We look at both top down and bottom up approaches to peace enforcement and peacebuilding in ongoing conflict locations as well as in many post-conflict settings. In the course of the discussion, we interrogate various intervention strategies such as: the place of nonviolence in peace activism, the concept of just war in imposing a resolution, the role that women play in peacebuilding, global institutions that facilitate peacekeeping, inter-faith debate and dialogue that contribute to addressing religious extremism and radicalism. The overriding question that we examine through the course of this module, is transition from a belligerent world to a more peaceful and harmonious one through cosmopolitan responsibility. The module ends by exploring the ways that seek to reaffirm the ideal of peace in an increasingly volatile and fractured international society.
Peace Studies in the Middle East
This module provides amongst a range of other issues: a study of war, its causes and consequences; violence at personal and structural levels within society (especially racism); positive definitions of peace; and misperceptions and enemy images through the media.
The module investigates and examines theoretical and practical issues surrounding peace and violence within modern society. It also examines the conditions of peace and war, assessing the scope for conflict resolution, non-violence and reconciliation. The first term introduces the main approaches within Peace Studies, exploring the development of ideas in the field as they bear on the roots of violence and understandings of peace and peace-making. The second term applies this thinking to contemporary conflicts, focusing on policies of conflict prevention and conflict resolution.
The module is taught in a non-dogmatic and interdisciplinary manner, encouraging students to develop their own perspectives and conclusions following discussions and debates throughout the year.
The Politics of Religion and Gender
Questions about the nature, salience and consequences of gender have now become central to social debates. The politics of gender, however, is deeply influenced by cultural forms and the religious sources that inform them even in apparently secular contexts. In this module we will look at the textual traditions of Hinduism and Islam (together with some aspects of Christianity) and their intersection with social, political and ideological conditions today.
Your Year Abroad
In your third year you will study at one of our international partner universities. This will help you to develop your global outlook, expand your professional network, and gain cultural and personal skills. You will choose specialist modules relating to your degree as well as other modules from across the host university.
This module provides you with an opportunity to choose a topic related to some aspect of Politics and International Relations, Philosophy and Religious Studies which particularly interests you, and to pursue it in depth. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. We encourage you to develop your research skills, and your ability to work at length under your own direction. You submit a 9,000 - 10,000 word dissertation by the end of the Lent term in your third year. To help you prepare for work on the dissertation, typically there is an introductory talk in second year on topics relating to doing one's own research and planning and writing a dissertation
Dissertation with external collaboration
The aim of this module is to allow you to pursue independent in-depth studies of a topic of your choice, within the scope of your scheme of study. The topic will be formulated in dialogue with one or more external collaborator(s) and may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. You will have the opportunity to develop your employability and research skills, and your ability to work independently at length under your own direction with input from external and an academic supervisor. The external collaboration will give you the chance to enhance your ability to reflect on the impact of academic work. One option is to incorporate work done through the Richardson Institute Internship Programme, but you may also discuss other forms of collaboration with their supervisor. The completed dissertation is usually submitted at the start of Summer Term in the third year. To help you prepare for work on the dissertation, typically there is an introductory talk in second year on topics relating to doing one’s own research and planning and writing a dissertation.
This module examines central themes in the liberal branch of contemporary Anglo-American analytic political philosophy. The liberal positions on justice, liberty, equality, the state, power, rights and utility are all explored. The approach is philosophical rather than applied; focusing on the ideas of liberal politics: how individual liberty can be maximised while not harming others; how an individual philosophical position can guide political determinants of a society and places the developments of liberal ideas in their appropriate historical contexts.
The module also examines the connection between the ideas of liberalism and the idea of democracy to explore the philosophical tensions between the two and how these might be resolved.
The module will include among other topics: questions about justice: analytic philosophy and liberalism; visions of the state: liberalism, republicanism, socialism; liberty and individuality; liberalism and democracy; negative and positive liberty; equality; utility and rights; and toleration and multiculturalism: responses to diversity.
Understanding External Intervention in Violent Conflicts
The module aims to provide you with an in-depth knowledge of the different facets of contemporary Asian conflicts and how international organisations such as the UN, and how Western and Asian governments have attempted to deal with these challenges in recent times. Conceptually, the module will examine the principles of state failure; terrorism, ‘New Wars’, the New Security Agenda, Islamism, nationalism and sub nationalism, international conflict prevention; peace keeping and global governance. Empirically, the module will focus on conflict zones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indian Kashmir, the Indian northeast, Chinese Xinjiang and Tibet. Thus, the aim of this module is to provide you with an overview of the security of a region which is now of tremendous global importance.
Fees and Funding
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2023/24 entry fees have not yet been set.
Scholarships and bursaries
At Lancaster, we believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover the cost of tuition fees and/or living expenses.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small college membership fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2022, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2023 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Study abroad courses
In addition to travel and accommodation costs, while you are studying abroad, you will need to have a passport and, depending on the country, there may be other costs such as travel documents (e.g. VISA or work permit) and any tests and vaccines that are required at the time of travel. Some countries may require proof of funds.
Placement and industry year courses
In addition to possible commuting costs during your placement, you may need to buy clothing that is suitable for your workplace and you may have accommodation costs. Depending on the employer and your job, you may have other costs such as copies of personal documents required by your employer for example.
Fees in subsequent years
Fees are set by the UK Government annually, and subsequent years' fees may be subject to increases. For international applicants starting in 2022, any annual increase will be capped at 4% of the previous year's fee.
Politics and International Relations
- Chinese Studies and Politics BA Hons : T1L2
- Economics, Politics and International Relations BA Hons : LL22
- French Studies and Politics BA Hons : RL12
- German Studies and Politics BA Hons : RL22
- History and International Relations BA Hons : VL12
- History and International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : VL13
- History and International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : VL14
- History and Politics BA Hons : LV21
- History and Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : LV22
- History and Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : LV23
- History, Philosophy and Politics BA Hons : V0L0
- History, Philosophy and Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : V0L1
- History, Philosophy and Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : V0L2
- International Relations BA Hons : 6T99
- International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : 6T91
- International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : 6T92
- Law with Politics LLB Hons : M1L2
- Management, Politics and International Relations (Industry) BSc Hons : N230
- Peace Studies and International Relations BA Hons : LL92
- Peace Studies and International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : LL93
- Philosophy and Politics BA Hons : VL52
- Philosophy and Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : VL53
- Philosophy and Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : VL54
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics BA Hons : L0V0
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Placement Year) BA Hons : L0V1
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : L0V2
- Politics BA Hons : L200
- Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : L202
- Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : L203
- Politics and International Relations BA Hons : L250
- Politics and International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : L251
- Politics and International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : L252
- Politics and Sociology BA Hons : LL23
- Politics and Sociology (Placement Year) BA Hons : LL24
- Politics and Sociology (Study Abroad) BA Hons : LL25
- Politics, International Relations and Management BSc Hons : LN30
- Politics, Religion and Values BA Hons : LV28
- Politics, Religion and Values (Placement Year) BA Hons : LV29
- Politics, Religion and Values (Study Abroad) BA Hons : LV30
- Spanish Studies and Politics BA Hons : RL42
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.