International Relations BA (International Hons) 2020 entry
The BA (International Hons) in International Relations will teach you to understand how major features of the international system operate as well as the major challenges it faces. You will learn to approach issues from different epistemological and methodological angles, and to relate your knowledge to issues including development, international political economies, environmental politics, human rights, and the various impacts of globalization, among others.
The BA (International Hons) is a joint degree delivered by both the University of St Andrews and the College of William & Mary in Virginia, USA. This joint degree allows you to spend two years at each institution.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 International Relations BA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
Admission to the BA (International Honours) is highly competitive. These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry.
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English language qualification.
How to apply
You can only apply for the programme through one institution, and each institution will honour the admissions decisions of the other. You must specify which subject area you wish to apply for on your application form.
St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.
The School of International Relations has been placed among the very best in the UK for the quality of its research.
The School was ranked second in Scotland for research by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, with 72% of its research rated world leading and internationally excellent.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% of St Andrews final year students were satisfied with the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
The BA (International Hons) in International Relations is a four-year course run jointly by the School of International Relations at St Andrews and the Department of Government at the College of William & Mary.
You will study for two years at both St Andrews and William & Mary, spending the first year of the programme at one institution and the second year at the other. You will then be able to choose where you wish to spend your third and fourth years of study and graduate from either university.
You will apply to the university where you intend to spend your first year, and then you will transfer to the other institution for your second year.
What you will study
During your degree, you will cover topics and issues including:
world trade and finance
regional and ethnic conflict
impact of globalisation.
The BA (International Honours) is a single Honours degree, and other combinations – such as joint Honours degrees – are not available with this programme. However, during the programme you will have opportunities to study a range of other subjects offered by both institutions. Find out more about more about the St Andrews – William & Mary joint degree.
In your fourth year, you will pursue an independent study project. If your fourth year is at St Andrews, this will be a dissertation; if you spend your fourth year at William & Mary, you will either complete an Honors thesis or take a senior research seminar.
The BA (International Honours) is a four-year undergraduate degree that combines the best of the Scottish and American educational experience.
Both St Andrews and William & Mary offer a broad interdisciplinary approach to understanding global and international politics. At St Andrews, students select two-thirds of their sub-honours modules outside core IR topics. At William & Mary, the programme covers modules from at least three departments: Government, Economics and History.
In their Honours years, students specialise in areas and topics in international politics that are of interest to them. These elective modules — covering all major world regions, trade, security, foreign policy, peace and conflict studies, international organisations, etc — are offered in a small class setting where students learn from experts researching on the topics they teach.
Both programmes also have their unique strengths, allowing students to design a truly unparalleled programme which builds on the specifics of North American and British approaches to International Relations. Studying at William & Mary incorporates strong methodological training, while St Andrews’ strengths in international political theory and critical approaches encourage students to question their own assumptions about the world we live in.
Students studying the International Relations BA (International Hons) will take the required modules at both institutions in their first and second years.
At St Andrews, the compulsory modules in International Relations in first year are:
Introduction to International Relations: provides students with some of the basic theoretical approaches and concepts used in the study of international relations.
Foreign Policy Analysis and International Security: looks at the way states make foreign policy and the importance of security to this process.
You must also take the following Economics modules:
Macroeconomics: teaches you to use simple models to analyse such issues as the determinants of economic growth, unemployment, inflation and business cycles.
Microeconomics: explores the basics of the market system and consumer and producer behaviour.
At St Andrews, the compulsory modules in International Relations in second year are:
Theoretical Approaches to International Relations: examines the main current theories in IR and provides an overview of their main theoretical approaches to the study of IR, from Liberalism and Realism through Constructivism and the English School, to radical Marxist and Neo-Marxist perspectives as well as Feminism, Post-Colonialism and Postmodernism.
Issues in International Relations: explores how main current theories in IR relate to some of the issues that confront those engaged in the world of international politics.
Students will spend either their third or fourth year in St Andrews. You will be able to choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules in conflict and conflict resolution, human rights, international law, international security, globalisation, terrorism, and comparative politics including Africa, Middle East, Latin America, China, Central and East Asia.
Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered at St Andrews in previous years:
International Political Economy
Case Studies in Conflict Analysis
Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Intervention
Armed Conflict in Postcolonial Africa
Global Public Policy
Identities, Belonging and Others
Activism and Resistance
Music, Politics and International Relations
Ideologies and Social Movements in the Middle East.
If at St Andrews for fourth year, students also undertake a 12,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.
The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
Research-led teaching brings cutting-edge research directly to the classroom in St Andrews.
Students at St Andrews for their first or second year will have three lectures a week per module (approximately 365 students), which decreases to one lecture per module per week at Honours level (15 to 25 students).
Lectures are supported by weekly small group tutorials (10 to 15 students) to discuss the material covered in lectures.
When not attending lectures and tutorials, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:
working on individual and group projects
undertaking research in the library
preparing coursework assignments and presentations
preparing for examinations.
At St Andrews, you will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of International Relations. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials under the supervision of the module leader.
In addition to your studies in the School, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.
The University’s Student Services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.
Modules in International Relations at St Andrews are assessed by a mixture of coursework and written exams. Some modules have only written essays rather than final exams.
Coursework takes the form of essays, along with other kinds of assessed work including oral presentations and group projects.
Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.
The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.
Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.
Online visiting days
If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join one of our online visiting days to learn about the town, find out about our courses and talk to University staff.
The tuition fee for all students on the BA (International Honours) is the same regardless of domicile, and will always be the pound sterling equivalent of the US dollar amount per year, as converted on 1 June preceding the start of each academic year.
If you commence your studies at the University of St Andrews, you will pay your tuition each year to St Andrews regardless of which institution you are studying at for that year.
Further information regarding scholarships available to students on the BA International Honours can be found in the fees and funding section of the BA International Honours web page.
Graduates have expertise in area studies including Africa, Europe and the Middle East; foreign policy; international organisations and regimes; peace and conflict studies; political theory; and terrorism and political violence. Therefore, they are well equipped for careers in:
banking and insurance
media, radio and television
public services (civil service, local governments, public corporations, hospital management)
social services (childcare, youth employment, probation).
Career destinations for recent graduates from St Andrews include:
Crown Office and Fiscal Service
The Scotsman newspaper
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.
From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.
Students of International Relations may be interested in joining the following student societies:
Model United Nations runs a programme of events throughout the year, culminating in a conference with nearly 700 international delegates.
The Foreign Affairs Society is a diverse and dynamic society that encourages the St Andrews community to explore global politics and current affairs.
International Relations at St Andrews is housed in the Arts Building, which is centrally located right next to the University library. Students will primarily attend lectures here, but may go to other buildings around St Andrews for larger lectures.
The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh makes it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.
“Joining the programme has been one of the best decisions of my life. The friends I have made on both campuses and amongst my WaMStA peers, the places I have explored, the materials I have studied in a subject I love dearly in two different academic styles, and the lessons I have learned transitioning between continents have changed me for the better in a way no study abroad opportunity could. I am a more well-rounded and knowledgeable person because of this programme, and I could not be more thankful for the chance to serve both institutions as a proud WaMStA student.”
Liam (Virginia, USA)
Admissions University of St Andrews St Katharine's West The Scores St Andrews KY16 9AX
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).