BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with International Foundation Year

University Of East London

Program Overview

Do you want to make sense of the post-truth world, encapsulated by events such as Brexit and the US Election? Are you interested in understanding how global powers interact, both in times of war and peace?


Would you like to know more about international organisations and their capacity to control and shape development around the world? Do you want to learn about political participation and become an active citizen, so that you can contribute to policy-making processes?


If you answer 'Yes' to any of these questions, then our International Relations course is for you.


Global politics has become increasingly turbulent, foundations and systems are being shaken, and relations between nations are being shifted and tested. There is a new demand for experts who are able to understand and work in this new political arena. With our innovative Politics and International Relations course we can equip you with the skills and knowledge to play an active role in this new world.


There has never been a more pressing and fascinating time to study and make a career in international politics.


Our foundation year course is perfect if you want a degree in International Relations but you don't have the standard entry requirements. First we prepare you for your degree during the Foundation year, bringing you up to speed with academic skills and a firm grounding in the subject. Then you can go on to do the full undergraduate degree.


LondonUnited Kingdom

  Course Duration

60 Months

  Tuition Fee

£ 13,740



Need Study Abroad Counselling? Book A 1-on-1 With Our Experts
600+ Universities
30K+ Students Counselled
By submitting you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


Foundation Year


Knowledge, Skills, Practice and the Self: Mental Wealth


This module will allow you to acquire tangible evidence to support your employability narrative at interviews as you progress through your academic studies. The module recognises the importance of acknowledging the value of skills, competencies and experience (SCE) beyond academic subject assessment to aid you in securing a job and support your career acceleration. It forms the foundation of the Career Passport pathway in the Communities cluster of the Cass School of Education and Communities, anticipating the more in-depth approach to skills at Levels 4 and 5.


The focus will be on knowledge of the labour market and the range of individual intelligences and digital proficiency, required for social sciences related employment. The module will consider the relationship between skills, technology and work by introducing you to debates surrounding contemporary work theories. Concepts such as ‘skill’, ‘de-skilling’, ‘re-skilling’ and ‘under-utilisation of skills’ will be explored. You will draw on your own experiences of work and consider how university prepares you for careers in the 21st century, including that of social entrepreneurship; this will include group work and presentation skills. Digital proficiency will enable you to use ICT effectively, encourage technological literacy and reflections on your use of social media and your digital footprint. You will be encouraged to examine personal experience of technologies and how technologies are part of our private worlds - what Sherry Turkle terms ‘the inner history of devices’ and issues related to inequalities and the digital divide. You will develop their emotional, social, physical and cognitive intelligence in preparation for success at Level 4.


Exploring Communities as Social Scientists


This module extends your understanding of local and global communities through applying the sociological concepts of community, identity, place, social memory and migration. It builds on your existing knowledge of the global and local contexts of your future academic study and employment. Cultural capital and knowledge of the complexities of communities will be introduced through topical readings, a guided walk of a London neighbourhood and a visit to a museum that you will prepare for and reflect on, using the key concepts of identity, place, social memory and migration. The module frontloads key academic skills required for university education and consolidates them throughout the module in order to support your learning in other modules at this level and above as well as your future careers.


Researching Changing Communities

The module extends your previous knowledge and understanding of how and why local ‘communities’ change over time. ‘Communities’ will be defined either geographically - such as a territorial neighbourhood/post code or culturally - such as an ethnic, linguistic or religious group. It builds on your experiential knowledge of local and global communities through introducing you to academic and policy-related literature and to sociological concepts, research methods, skills and ethics. The module also consolidates core academic skills valuable in other modules as well as your future career. You will carry out a small, guided research project that will include a semi-structured interview with an individual professionally or socially connected to the ‘community’ combined with secondary research reading academic and policy literature) into the chosen ‘community’. In addition, the research project allows you to engage with and apply sociological concepts studied in all other L3 modules on this programme (for example crime, surveillance, globalisation, as well as core career related modules.).


Reimagining the Work of a Social Scientist


This module brings you into contact with the communities and professional settings that you, as social scientists, may aspire to engage with and/or work within. The module engages you in flipped classroom activities and real-world issues through visits, external speakers and group activities. Through engagement with people who work in social science related fields the module builds your social and cultural capital for future employment and helps you become a flexible thinker. It focuses on understanding inclusivity in the workplace and society. This module will also allow you the opportunity to acquire tangible evidence to support your employability narrative, including preparation for future placements and interviews, as you progress through your academic studies, The focus will be on professional communication skills, team work and industry and community connections. The module will consider the relationship between community action, critical thinking outside the classroom and career aspirations by introducing you to real world settings where social science and social theories are currently applied. It challenges you to think critically about the everyday.


External visits include group visits to art gallery or a museum, community organisation or an NGO supporting and advocating for people with vulnerabilities and other professional organisations. These visits are followed by guest speakers and lectures which engage you in similar debates. You may also make an independent visit to a court, political organisation or a museum and develop your organisational, independent research and professional communication skills through such visits.




Crime, Justice and Surveillance


This module introduces you to crime and surveillance from sociological and criminological perspectives and offers you theoretical and practical skills and experiences that prepare you for your journey as a criminologist. It considers how surveillance overlaps with many fields, including crime detection and prevention and the management of dangerous spaces and people.  It also offers an introduction to Cybercrime and you will be  asked to produce a public information leaflet that outlines the dangers of the internet. It includes a field trip to see a court in action as part of the teaching for coursework two.


Reading the Body Psychosocially


In this module, you will consider the choices you make in relation to your own body and its presentation to others and in so doing will consider how a psychosocial approach to the body embraces choices informed rationally and irrationally. The latter incorporate the personal and political as well as changing attitudes to health and life.


The human body and the nature of embodiment constitute a critical area of academic research and are central to cultural and social change. In a rapidly changing globalised world the body is a prime terrain of identity formation through popular discourses, surgical interventions, the aesthetisation of everyday life and online practices. At the same time, the commodification of the body, whereby the body becomes fragmented into a series of parts, objectified and represented through the media and promotional culture, is normalised as ‘ideal’. But what of its counterparts: the diseased body; the ageing body; the disabled body or even the monstrous body, the subject of literature and film since Shelley’s Frankenstein and the postmodern turn to vampires and zombies?


This module adopts a Psychosocial approach (as an integral part of the Social Sciences), whereby the body can be explored as a contested site for the operations of affect, power and identity, and explored via social categories such as gender, race, class and dis/ability. Bringing together sociological and cultural theory with basic concept of Freudian psychoanalysis, this module provides you with a succinct and focused introduction to interdisciplinary thinking within the Social Sciences.


Introduction to Digital Sociology

This module introduces you to Digital Sociology by exploring what it means to be a sociologist in the rapidly developing technological world. It will also introduce you to digital social research methods, asking what issues there are for social researchers in a digital society; what new material is available to social researchers; how social scientists can harness the new tools available to them and how they can navigate through this space in a secure, mindful and ethical way? 


Globalisation and Society


This module introduces you to key issues and debates about globalisation and society.  Knowledge of the complexities of globalisation is introduced through [a] topical readings [b] a guided tour of Parliament [c] a visit to the British Museum that you will prepare for and reflect on, using the key concepts of political economy. As well as the two core visits, the topics are presented and examined through lectures, seminars, workshops and film.


Year 1



Mental Wealth 1: Knowledge, Skills, Practice and the Self

The module aims to ground and complement other shared or common level 4 programme modules by providing an introduction to the key Vision 2028 ‘UEL Graduate Attributes’, such as the psychological and physical determinants of human performance that are difficult or impossible to be replicated by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The module takes a psychosocial approach to exploring ‘the self’ in both personal and professional contemporary contexts. The module aspires to provide an intellectually integrative and socially cohesive workshop experience.


The module will provide an opportunity for students to review their own personal development to date self-reflexively.


With these ends in mind, the module introduces students to theories of individual and social inequalities and how the latter can inform one’s approach to ‘community businesses ‘that is, all kinds of activities and enterprises run by local people for local people’ In the context of understanding the concept of, designing and exploring a community business, students will identify their employment and career aspirations and their personal, professionally relevant skills and potential abilities. Students will learn to develop skills with a psychosocial approach to research by gathering and presenting data in relation to their proposed community project.




To provide students with an introduction to the language and conceptual tools used by the discipline of politics in the analysis of political practice and public policies.


Global Political Economy


This module will help you to make sense of the complex world facing us today and will demystify economics by thinking about this from political perspectives. It is a crucial foundation for you if you have an interest in global affairs and the module seeks to look backwards to important classical theories, to look at the world facing us today (and in the future) to see whether classical approaches from political economy make sense in global times. You will learn some of the basics of economic theory (not through maths) and will consider key traditions within political and economic thought. Further to this you will develop a good understanding of the contemporary global economy and where it came from, focusing particularly on the post-war period, crisis in the global economy over the past thirty years, and what all of this means for us today. By the end of this module you will have a strong understanding of the three main traditions within political economy and how influential they remain in the key social, political and economic.


The Mess We Are In (And How We Got Here)


In this module we will consider the representation of the present as a moment of crisis. This will include consideration of:


  • Economic crisis, including welfare reform and austerity
  • Political crisis, including democratic deficits and populism
  • Ecological crisis
  • National crisis, including questions of identity, racism and justice
  • Emotional crisis, including links between individual well-being and social structures.
  • The module will introduce students to histories of empire and colonialism in order to understand long-standing processes of expropriation and ecological degradation in the name of progress.

International Relations

The module introduces students to the study of international relations through the study of a range of international issues.


Public Policy


This module provides students with an introduction to the language and conceptual tools used by the discipline of politics in the analysis of public policies, and encourages students to critically reflect upon the government policies that shape the world we live in.


Year 2


Global Governance


The module provides an overview of the theory and practice of global governance, with a particular focus on the structure, functioning and competences of the United Nations. By exploring a whole range of policy dilemmas, alternatives and outcomes, the module will help students to develop a critical understanding of the dominant concerns and possible solutions (at national, regional and global levels). In addition, the module addresses the nature of cooperation and major policy initiatives between the UN and other international organizations. In conclusion, the module will revisit the main problems that global governance has encountered along with proposals for solutions.


In this module, each session comprises a lecture plus a seminar. The aims of the seminars are to stimulate debate, to provide an opportunity for all students to swap ideas, to explore different theories and policy preferences, to link with the lectures in order to aid understanding of the key topics of the course. The module benefits from a variety of approaches (debates, presentations and group discussions) to explore the issues in global governance.


Space, Bodies and Power

This module introduces students to debates about bodies and embodiment and the exercise of power across spaces. We will discuss practices of surveillance, bordering and the relation of these practices to colonial practices of ordering and to ecological crisis. We will revisit questions of inequality, inclusion and stigmatisation. This will include a consideration of questions of sexuality and sexual rights and disability rights.


Mental Wealth 2: Social Enterprise

This module aims to introduce students to a range of planning and fundraising models and techniques used in the third sector. It will build their competence and confidence in designing and presenting their own projects and fundraising ideas. It will be delivered in collaboration with UEL Enterprise and other partner third sector organisations. This is the second of 3 modules running through the BA (Hons) International Development with NGO Management, which will incrementally build a full set of competencies for work in the not-for-profit sector.


Great Power Politics

The module examines the emergence, success and possible decline of global powers, such as the United States, Russia, China and emerging powers such as India, Brazil and South Africa.


Research Methods


This module explores methods of professional learning, including literature research, practitioner enquiry, action research and ethics.




Human Mobility and Forced Migration


This module offers you the skills and knowledge to understand causes, patterns and impacts of migration, including forced migration and displacement. In this module we will develop critical thinking, analytical skills, teamwork skills, group facilitation and active listening skills to explore the diversity of experiences of displacement, diaspora, asylum, and integration. We will use subject-based, digital and life skills in groups to discuss legal regimes governing migration, human rights, reconciliation and peace building and promote social change.


Alternative Approaches to Development


This module introduces students to the understandings of development and the alternative approaches to development deployed in different socioeconomic and cultural contexts. Drawing case studies from Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Global North (developed countries), the module examines how comparable development issues are understood, problematised and what mechanisms are adopted to resolve the problems in each situation. The discussions will also critique and focus on 'what works and why' in development in different contexts.


The second half of the module will engage with the theoretical and epistemic foundations, the critique and the way forward for global development within the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 to run from 2016-2030 as the global framework for addressing the root causes of poverty in the Global South and the Global North (developing and developed countries) to leave no one behind. These 17 global goals with 169 targets include the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. UK is a signatory to these goals. A London Scholars' UEL supported project that maps the SDGs in the boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets will be a key resource to demonstrate the application of the SDG framework in the context of UK.


Year 3



Mental Wealth 3: Placement Reflections


The Placement Reflections module aims to bring together learning from reading, lectures, coursework and discussions during the first two years, first by applying the skills learned in a real- life work environment, then by reflecting on the Placement experience and relating it to the key concepts and debates in your area of study. To achieve this, you are required to work for at least two days a week for a minimum of 10 weeks (or 20 working days total) as a volunteer for an organisation with a speciality in your area of study. During this time, you should carry out an identifiable project agreed with the host organisation for this Module. The Module Leaders of each programmes will provide guidance and briefings for you on securing a suitable placement.


During the work placement you are expected to:


  • Improve skills for future employment
  • Engage in “real -life” projects which will enable students to put academic knowledge into practice and place practice into an academic context.
  • Develop key personal and professional skills such as team-working, time management, working under pressure and self-evaluation.

Gender, Power and Politics


In this module you will explore gendered power relations within the political realm of society. You will be engaged in critical examination of the differential inclusion of men and women in the political realm. This will enable you to understand different forms of their political action in their historical and contemporary contexts.


Each session of this module comprises a lecture and a seminar. Lectures are based on interactive teaching methods and aim to inform, provide evidence and stimulate informed critical debate on a range of key issues relevant for gender equality in the contemporary world. Seminars are designed to further critical debates relevant for this module by providing students with opportunity to swap ideas, explore concepts, policies, and modes of thinking about gender, gender power systems and identities in the modern world.


Applied Research Project in Social Sciences


This module allows you to apply your understanding of key social scientific theories and concepts as well as issues and methods in social and community work to a research question of your choice. The module introduces necessary research and evaluation tools and methods and ethical procedures, data collection and analysis methods and starts you on your journey to becoming independent researchers. You will complete an independent research project or an evaluation of a project you have been involved with through placements, volunteering or work experience. You will receive support and guidance throughout the independent research and are encouraged to reflect on the methodological, ethical and theoretical issues that you will face in the course of your research experience.


European Politics


The module examines the trends in post-WWII European politics, with a particular focus on the European integrationist project. More precisely, it looks into the theories of European integration, institutional structure of the EU, policy-making processes and the state of current affairs across the EU, such as Brexit and the rise of populism. By exploring the aforementioned aspects, the module will help students to develop a critical understanding of the different stages of the development of the EU.


In this module, each session comprises a lecture plus a seminar. The aims of the seminars are to stimulate debate, to provide an opportunity for all students to swap ideas, to explore different theories and policy preferences, to link with the lectures in order to aid understanding of the key topics of the course. The module benefits from a variety of approaches (debates, presentations and group discussions) to explore the issues in global governance.




African Politics and Development


This module will provide you with a thorough introduction to African politics and the place of the continent in global affairs today. African political and economic systems are introduced and critiqued, supported by evidence from across the continent. This module will consider the relevance of important political concepts within African contexts and aligns these with relevant social theories from African and non-African theorists alike.


You will learn through different case studies each week, focusing on one or more African country in order to bring the political theories and concepts to life and to compare and contrast their relevance within different national contexts across the African continent. The development implications of political and economic realities will be discussed, in order to ensure that you understand the importance of this notion in African contexts and how difficult it has been to achieve.


During the course you will write and publish a blog focusing on a political issue facing one or more African countries and you will also act as a reviewer to the blog that another student has written, prior to submission. These blogs will then be uploaded onto the module website for consumption by the public. You will also complete one section of a country report as part of a student group and collectively you will produce a detailed report about a given African country, considering the political, economic, security, humanitarian and development situation. Sections will be written separately but then co-edited to create a coherent overall piece. On completing this module, you will have both a blog and a country report which will be available online and can be shared with potential employers in future. The skills that you develop, coupled with the in-depth regional knowledge, will prove to be priceless.


Conflict Intervention and Development


To examine the causes and consequences of the proliferation of internal armed conflicts since the last decade of the 20th century, often referred to as complex political emergencies. To engage critically with current conceptual debates on different forms of intervention - particularly emergency aid and military intervention, that characterise so-called New World Order. and, through detailed case studies, different forms of intervention – particularly emergency aid and military intervention - in the post-Cold War order. To provide a critical assessment of these interventions, by focusing on different case studies, and by relating these to contemporary debates around notions of humanitarian assistance, transitional justice and global community.

English Language requirements

Overall Academic IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing and Speaking; minimum 5.5 in Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

If you do not meet the academic English language requirements for your course, you may be eligible to enrol onto a pre-sessional English programme. The length of the course will depend on your current level of English and the requirements for your degree programme. We offer a 5-week and an 11-week pre-sessional course. Find out more.

International Fees Full time, 3/4/5 years
£13,740 Per year

You'll develop a range of skills, knowledge and insights that you can transfer to careers in public bodies such as central and local government, pressure groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or community organisations.


Your tutors place a strong emphasis on role-playing and simulation of real-life situations throughout the course. These will allow you to step into the world of work with confidence.


The variety of roles into which University of East London graduates go into is as wide as it is interesting. You could decide to move into the not-for-profit sector as a community organiser, a case worker or a civic engagement officer. Or how about becoming a project manager or a campaign organiser? Equally, you'll have gained the skills necessary to land a job as a communications officer or to specialise in research.


Not only is UEL at the forefront of research, it's also pioneering new fields of study. Among the many postgraduate courses on offer for those who decide to stay with us is the innovative Refugee Studies MA course – the first of its kind in the country.


Kathryn Perera, chief executive of Movement for Change, can vouch for the rich opportunities available to our undergraduates.


"Studying international relations at UEL offers students the opportunity to access state-of-the-art political training and work with inspiring mentors," she says.

Need Study Abroad Counselling? Book A 1-on-1 With Our Experts
600+ Universities
30K+ Students Counselled
By submitting you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.