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Department of Politics and International Studies

BA International Relations

Duration: 3 Years


2016 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAA
  • IB: 37 (6/6/6)
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAA
  • Irish LC: 360 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 5 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 85%
  • French Bacc: 15/20
  • German Abitur: 1.5
  • Italy DES: 85/100
  • Austria Mat: 1.5
  • Polish Mat: 80%

Start of programme: October 2016

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Fees: Visit the Undergraduate fees web pages for further details

The SOAS BA International Relations degree provides a uniquely global and comparative approach to the study of world affairs. Through a study of world history and global power relations, students gain a better understanding of the sources of conflict and cooperation among states, shifts in the international economy, as well as the roles of culture, identity and ideas in world politics. Students finish the degree equipped with the conceptual tools and theoretical frameworks to understand contemporary world events.

The BA International relations programme is structured around a combination of disciplinary, regional and specialised courses, with opportunities to take other Politics option courses (e.g. Political Theory, government and Politics of the Middle east, Islam and Democracy) or a language.’

Teaching on the International relations degree focuses on providing students with individual attention and mentoring. All students are encouraged to specialise in a particular area of interest in their final year, by undertaking an independent study project, which pairs them with a member of staff. We also offer advice on careers, internships and further study in international affairs.


BA International Relations as a three-year degree programme consists of four units each year. Students have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of disciplinary units. In addition, students have the option of taking ‘open’ courses offered by any other SOAS department.

Our units or courses assume no previous disciplinary or regional knowledge. These are taught through lectures and tutorial seminars. Each course typically involves weekly lectures of 1 hour each and weekly tutorials of 1 hour each.

And ONE of the following:
OR- A first year course in another department
Year Two
TWO of the following:
ONE or TWO of the following regional units:
And/or options from the following:
OR A first year or second year course in another department
Year Three
AT LEAST ONE unit from the following:
Additional units from the following:
Any other unit available in another Department of SOAS an 'open option'
Availability of optional/elective courses

The availability of optional/elective courses may vary in a given academic session due to factors such as staff absence and student numbers. For an up to date list of courses running in a given academic session please refer to the degree structures as listed on the SOAS website for the degree programmes taught by each Department.

Programme Specification


Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

  • To provide a strong background in the concepts, theories and methods in the study of international relations.
  • The use of empirical evidence from Asia, Africa and the Middle East will illustrate the applicability and limitations of the aforementioned concepts, theories and methods beyond the North American and European confines from which these are largely derived.
  • To develop excellent knowledge of the politics of Asia, Africa and/or the Middle East.
  • To prepare students for entry to postgraduate study and professional employment.
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this programme, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of a wide range of concepts, theories, and methods in the discipline of international relations.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of a variety of contemporary debates in international relations
  • Develop detailed knowledge of regional politics and foreign relations in one or more regions in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East.
  • Assess the relevance of mainstream approaches in International Relations for the analysis of the international politics of Asia, Africa, or the Middle East.  Challenge commonly held views about major political issues related to Asia, Africa and/or the Middle East, including the student’s own previous assumptions.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
  • Analyse academic materials to identify their key arguments and underlying assumptions.
  • Evaluate arguments and empirical evidence from a variety of intellectual perspectives in a critical and balanced manner, with due regard to their strengths and limitations.
  • Construct arguments drawing upon leading theories, concepts and debates relating to Asia, Africa and/or the Middle East.
  • Exercise independence of thought, including a willingness to challenge own previous assumptions about various issues. Engage in debates about current political controversies.
Subject-based practical skills
  • Collect and synthesise information from a range of library and internet sources
  • Structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing
  • Assess the validity of different approaches to a topic
  • Make judgments in contexts of conflicting evidence
Transferable skills
  • Work independently and manage schedules
  • Explain and evaluate complex ideas and situations
  • Work effectively under time constraints
  • Work productively in and contribute to groups

A Student's Perspective

In my opinion, I think London is such an interesting city because of the unique composition of its population. It is the most internationally focused place I have ever lived. It is the meeting and merging point of people and cultures from around the world who are eager to share their experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives with you.

Natalie Chaney, Washington University in St. Louis