Politics & International Relations

The study of politics and international relations is indispensable for understanding our rapidly changing world. In a time of a climate emergency, global pandemics, political and ideological uncertainty and upheaval, social and economic transformation and increasingly diverse forms of conflict and violence, everyone has a stake in tackling these global challenges. This increasingly interconnected, contested, and complex world is being reshaped by the emergence of new powers at the local, national, regional, international, and global levels.    

To help understand these dynamics and build your confidence, our courses encourage you to question and challenge established ideas and practices in order to develop new and innovative ways of thinking about politics and international relations and engaging with the issues in ways that can transform our societies.

  • We are in the Top 5 in the UK for Student Experience and Teaching Quality for the subject of Politics (Good University Guide, The Times and Sunday Times 2022)
  • Choice and flexibility in degree schemes and modules​, taught through innovate, engaging, and student-centred approaches.
  • We are second in the UK in Politics and International Relations for student satisfaction and 7th for research quality (Complete University Guide 2022)

Why study Politics & International Relations at Aberystwyth University?

  • We put our students at the heart of their own learning experience through choice and flexibility in our curriculum. This allows you to tailor your degree to your own interests. 
  • You will explore and tackle global challenges, from the local to the planetary level, and you'll be introduced to dynamic and diverse ways of looking at the world. 
  • You will engage with a wide range of innovative and engaging learning and teaching styles, from role play and simulations to workshops and group presentations. 
  • Our teaching is based on internationally excellent and world-leading research. 
  • You will develop a range of skills crucial to enhancing your employability, from analysis and argumentation to presentations and report writing.  
  • You will benefit from our networks that stretch across the globe and will engage with practitioners both in and out of the classroom. 
  • You will have the chance to experience a range of exciting activities such as our famous student Crisis Games (simulations), International Exchanges and Parliamentary Placements. 
  • We welcome students from all over the world, which makes for a lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere for debate and learning. 
  • Finally, we are a vibrant, close-knit, intellectual community in an affordable, and friendly seaside town.
“Teaching in the large range of modules has been of a constantly high quality and very engaging, especially in seminars, which give more room for discussion. Modules are not only taught well, but in a way that sparks the student’s curiosity and makes you want to learn more about the topic. However, studying in Aber means much more than just staying within your department. With a wide range of clubs and societies on offer, there is a community for everyone and many friendships waiting to be made. ”
Sarah Lehmkuehler Sarah Lehmkuehler BA International Relations

Employability

Politics and International Relations are fields that suit those who want to shape the world around them, and a degree in this subject area provides the foundation for pursuing this ambition. Our approaches to teaching and learning provide you with a wide range of skills that are transferable to future careers, including research skills, oral and written presentations, policy report and opinion piece writing, debating and negotiation skills, and many more. 

While you are studying with us, you will also have opportunities to develop and explore a range of workplace experiences and options. There is the opportunity to take part in the Parliamentary Placement Scheme which offers an exceptional opportunity for you to obtain insight into the real-world of politics while also providing invaluable work experience that will stand out on your CV. If studying one of our degrees with a ‘Year in Industry’, you will spend your third year working with organisations relevant to your studies. We also have an Alumni mentoring scheme to assist with ideas for career development and thinking through the transition from university to the first steps on the career ladder. 

In addition, the University Careers Service can help you to recognise what you are good at, and where you might like to develop your career. It also offers opportunities for you to get your first taste of work and get involved in a variety of events. 

Our graduates have gone on to successful careers in: 

  • the civil service, including diplomacy and security services 
  • local and national politics 
  • non-governmental organisations 
  • international organisations
  • journalism, including print, television and online 
  • teaching in schools and colleges 
  • public affairs and communications  
  • the private sector, including research analysis and risk management 
  • the armed forces. 

And some love studying politics and international relations so much that they stay on in academia and become eminent scholars in the field! 

Research

We are a centre of innovative research in international relations and politics that is a leader in the world. Our staff and postgraduate students conduct research on some of the most difficult and important global challenges facing human communities today – from questions of conflict, war, nuclear weapons, and security to issues of migration, development, democracy, global health and environment. We also study political processes in the UK and the individual home nations and hold regional expertise in the politics of Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Latin America, the BRICS, and the USA. 

In our research we seek to develop bold new perspectives on how to understand and negotiate the intense and sometimes difficult global interconnections around us. In so doing we also engage with policy makers to develop concrete new ideas for change. From working with civil society actors to informing national and global players we seek to be at the heart of communicating our research to the relevant stakeholders and to the public. 

The wide range of perspectives and interests is reflected in the department’s rich variety of research groups, which serve both postgraduate students and staff. They seek to allow for specialization within communities of experts in the context of the friendly research community here at Aberystwyth. 

Finally, reflecting the cutting-edge nature of our research, we have been consistently rated as internationally excellent and world-leading in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessments.