Undergraduate study in International Relations

St Andrews is one of the few universities in the UK that offers a single Honours degree specifically in International Relations. The School specialises in:

  • international security
  • peace and conflict studies
  • terrorism studies
  • international institutions
  • international theory
  • regional studies. 

The study of International Relations is about both theory and practice. It asks how should we understand the world and how should we act in it? Those studying International Relations will have broad intellectual interests in areas such as history, politics, moral philosophy and modern languages, and an enthusiasm for critical engagement with ideas old and new.

The School provides extra-curricular opportunities including internships in School research centres and outreach programmes in the local community. Prizes are awarded to students for essays at various stages in their academic careers.

Find out more about taking IR as part of a undergraduate degree at St Andrews

Studying International Relations

Each year the University receives many more applications for a degree in International Relations than there are places. Due to this, access to first year modules in International Relations is restricted.

Students offered admission to study IR as a single or joint subject have guaranteed access to the first year modules in International Relations.

Additionally, some first year students in the Faculties of Arts and Divinity who meet the entry requirements will be able to access first year modules as a third subject, but that access will be limited and is not guaranteed. More information is communicated to students during advising. 

Entry requirements for IR modules

All students who wish to study first year modules offered by the School must meet the following entry requirements. This is in addition to the University entry requirements. 

SQA Highers AAAB
GCE A-Levels AAA
IB points 38

For all other qualifications please visit the Study at St Andrews web pages.

Students who are following a US-based curriculum must also present at least one of the following standardized tests:

  • SAT: the School accepts both the SAT Reasoning Test and the Redesigned SAT Test.
    • SAT Reasoning Test for scores achieved prior to March 2016: candidates are expected to obtain 1950 or higher across the three elements with at least 700 on each of the critical reading and writing elements.
    • Redesigned SAT Test: the full Redesigned SAT including the essay is required. Admissions officers will assess the SAT total score out of 1600, with a separate score for the essay, and will focus on individual sub-scores in a holistic manner and within the context of the overall application.
    • Admissions officers will superscore (consider your highest section scores across all the dates you took the SAT) within both the current and the Redesigned SAT, but will not superscore using results from both versions of the test.
  • SAT Subject Tests: scores of 700 or more on at least two subject tests (recommended subject tests are World History, US History, and languages).
  • Advanced Placement (AP) tests: scores of 5 on at least two tests (recommended AP tests are Comparative Government and Politics, US History, US Government and Politics, World History, and languages). AP scores are used for admissions purposes only; no credits or exemptions are awarded.

  • ACT score of at least 28