SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

International Relations (2021 entry)

Academic Subject Summer Course

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  • Teaching and Learning
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These courses offer students an introduction to key issues and ideas in International Relations. It is intended for people interested in how modern relations between nations and people have evolved and how they are changing in a globalising world. The course is taught through a series of lectures, seminars, case studies and discussion classes with supporting English tuition.

The courses explore a wide range of developments in international relations today, including: the rise of nationalism in Europe; democratic revolutions in the Middle East; the waning hegemony of the USA; and the challenges of global warming and nuclear proliferation.

Students will have the opportunity to produce group presentations on a variety of different international questions, and to participate in role-playing exercises that give an insight into the practical diplomacy of international relations.

International Relations can be taken either as a full 6-week course, or alternatively as a single 3-week course in Block 1 or Block 2. The content for each block is different.

“The lectures were very interesting and comprehensive, and I covered many topics I hadn’t studied before. The English Language support was very helpful too, and the study atmosphere was very comfortable and friendly.” - Student comment

The Plumb-pudding in danger, or, State epicures taking un petit souper ... Js. Gillray, inv. & fecit.  

Mode of Attendance: Online Learning

Entry requirements

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Areas of Study will include:

Block 1 - International Order and Change

The focus of this first block is the rise of the modern state system and the structures of power that shape international politics today. How can states with different national interests maintain peace and security?

Lecture Topics
  • Sovereignty and the Modern International Order
  • Great powers - US Hegemony
  • Collective Security - United Nations
  • Global Inequality - North-South Relations
  • The Shifting Balance of Power - China's Rise
  • Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control
Block 2 - Culture, States and Security

The second block explores the influence of domestic institutions and national cultures on the relations between states. What role does liberal democracy play in shaping the dynamics of world politics? Can societies with different cultures live peacefully?

Lecture Topics
  • Nationalism and the Modern State
  • Democracy and Liberal Peace
  • Autocratic States and the West
  • Failed States and New Wars
  • Human Security and Development
  • Revolution in World Politics
Block 3 - Individuals and Ethics in a Globalising Worl

(N.B. In 2021 International Relations is running only in Blocks 1 and 2)

The third block shifts the focus to the level of the individual. How are traditional notions of security and power in world politics being transformed by the rise of transnational economic and social relations? Will globalisation give rise to a more cosmopolitan, less nationalistic world?

Lecture Topics
  • Migrants, Refugees and Citizens
  • Transnational Actors and Global Civil Society
  • Religion, Identity and the 'War on Terror'
  • Universal Human Rights and International Law
  • Humanitarian Intervention and State Sovereignty
  • Global Environmental Politics

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Subject courses with English support are taught by two teachers, a subject specialist and a language expert. The subject classes use lectures, seminars and cases studies, whereas the integrated language classes focus on skills development (especially speaking and listening) using the subject content.

This is a full-time course with interactive live classes every day (mornings UK time), plus daily independent guided study. Students work towards delivering a presentation at the end of the course. You can expect to strengthen language skills and deepen subject knowledge, whilst gaining greater confidence in communicating in English in an academic setting.

All teaching takes place online using easy-to-use platforms. You will need a computer with a webcam and mic.

The maximum number of students per class is 15.

You will receive a certificate for successful course completion.

Students will also have access to SOAS library including our wide range of e-books and e-journals.

Entry Recommendations

Students should be at an intermediate level of English in order to follow and participate in classes. We do not require proof of English level, but as a guideline IELTS 5.5, TOEFL IBT 76 (or equivalent) are recommended.


For further information please see our Frequently Asked Questions page

Fees and funding

2021 Tuition Fees

• 3 weeks (1 block): £1,200 GBP
• 6 weeks (2 blocks): £2,250 GBP (save £150*)
• 9 weeks (3 blocks): £3,075 GBP (save £525*)

*Compared to the cost of multiple individual blocks. The reduced fees for multiple blocks above are available for 2 or 3 blocks booked at the same time. The fee for any additional blocks booked after the initial application will be £1,200 for one extra block and £2,250 for two.


How to Apply

Apply through the Summer Online Application, or if you have problems with the online form, the application form is also available in PDF and Word format to download on the right side of the main Summer Programme Page.

Please ensure you send a scanned copy of a suitable identity document (see form for details).

You will be sent an invoice and receipt for the course fees when you have accepted the offer and paid for your place on the course. Refunds of the course fees are only made at the discretion of SOAS in exceptional circumstances. If you have any queries, please see the FAQs or email

For instructions on how to pay, see IFCELS Fees. Please also see the full Terms and Conditions