International relations is the study of how states and national societies interact across borders, especially in the areas of political, military, economic and cultural relations.
Glasgow has a growing reputation for its research and teaching in the field of international relations, particularly in global security and conflict. You will be taught by leading academics who are experts in this field.
Like all disciplines in the social sciences, international relations is a subject that is open to interpretation and debate. Our methods of teaching are based largely on classroom discussion. You will attend lectures that identify important themes in international relations and then explore these themes in depth during seminars.
You will think about ethical questions such as the role and limits of state power, the nature of “just war”, conflict and political violence, and the obligations that one state has to another. You will also consider empirical questions such as what are the causes of war, under what conditions do states cooperate to address common problems such as global warming, human rights violations and development, and how influential are non-state actors.
- Introduction to politics examines the British and Scottish political systems in a comparative perspective to introduce key concepts in the study of politics and foreign policy making.
- Introduction to international relations introduces students to key approaches to explaining and understanding key aspects of international order.
- History of political thought examines political thought from the ancients, primarily Aristotle, through Machiavelli, Hobbes and Locke to Rousseau and Karl Marx.
- Comparative politics in a globalising world explores and compares different countries to introduce students to the variety of political regimes that exist in the contemporary international system.
You will also study other subjects in year 1 and 2: see Flexible degrees.
Years 3 and 4
Year 3 students will take a core course on Advanced International Relations. During both of your Honours years (3 and 4) you can select from over 30 courses in Politics and International Relations, including Postcolonial international relations theory, Global environmental politics, War and international security and Latin American politics.
Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.
Our international links
You will have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner universities as part of your degree. This won’t add any extra time to your studies.
for entry in 2021
Summary of entry requirements for International Relations
SQA Higher Entry Requirements (by end of S6)
- AAAAB (AABB S5 minimum for consideration)
- Additional requirements: Higher English or Higher Humanities subject.
SQA Higher Adjusted Entry Requirements* (by end of S6)
- AABBB – BBBBB
- Additional requirements: Higher English or Higher Humanities subject. Successful completion of Top-Up or one of our Summer Schools.
A-level Standard Entry Requirements
- AAB – BBB
- Additional requirements: A-level English or Humanities subject.
IB Standard Entry Requirements
- 38 (6,6,6 HL) – 32 (6,5,5 HL)
- Additional requirements: HL English or Humanities subject.
For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.
English language requirements
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):
- overall score 6.5
- no sub-test less than 6.0
- or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)
Common equivalent English language qualifications:
- ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
- CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
- CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
- PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
- IGCSE: English as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
- IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests
* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:
What do I do if...
my language qualifications are below the requirements?
The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.
my language qualifications are not listed here?
Please contact External Relations
If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:
- UK Border Agency Tier 4 English Language requirements
- UKBA list of approved English language tests [pdf]
Visa requirements and proof of English language level
It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.
For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.
This exciting programme will prepare you for a wide variety of careers. You will develop your research and analytical skills, writing abilities, and capacity to communicate effectively. Popular career destinations for our graduates include the civil and foreign service, local government, the charity sector, international organisations, teaching, business and the armed forces.
Degrees and UCAS codes
When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:
Due to high demand, if you wish to be considered for International Relations you must apply and be admitted using a UCAS code for International Relations. It will not be possible to transfer to International Relations, or progress to Years 3 or 4 of an International Relations degree, unless you apply using an International Relations specific UCAS code.
Fees and funding
How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.
The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.
Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship
The University of Glasgow has a number of Undergraduate Excellence Scholarships available to new International and EU students for 2021 entry. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount of £5,000 per year of study and is subject to satisfactory progress for consecutive years of study.
James McCune Smith Scholarship
The University of Glasgow has 30 undergraduate scholarships available for students Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students. The scholarship supports students who could face financial difficulties taking up their place to study at the University. The value of the scholarship is £2,000, paid in instalments for the first year of undergraduate study. The scholarship is open to new applicants to the University. Current students who have previously been in receipt of the award may reapply, however, preference will be given to applicants entering their first year of study.
The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.
Undergraduate Talent Scholarships
The University of Glasgow awards c.50 undergraduate Talent Scholarships each academic year to support students who could face financial difficulties in taking up their place to study at the University. The value of each scholarship is typically £1,500 p.a. for each year of the degree programme, subject to satisfactory progress. Talent Scholarships are available to students entering any of the University's Colleges.
Dental School students are eligible for a Talent Scholarship in their first year of study only. They are eligible for the NHS Dental Student Support Grant in the following years.
The University of Glasgow is offering four scholarships (one per college) for applicants to the University who are staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds and are facing challenges in progressing onto Higher Education. The scholarship is open to prospective undergraduate and postgraduate taught students of the University of Glasgow applying for entry in 2021/22. The scholarship meets the full cost of tuition fees for the duration of your programme as well providing an additional £5,000 per year stipend, if the eligibility criteria for university accommodation is met this will also be provided for the duration of your degree. For more information on the accommodation criteria, please see the Accommodation Services section on the website.
We are also offering eight scholarships to students who hold refugee status. This scholarship is awarded as a £2,500 stipend towards study costs, per year of study.
The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database
How to apply
Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
International students to Arts, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS. Applications to Dentistry, Education, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine must be made through UCAS.
- 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
- 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
- 30 June: international (non-EU) students
We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.
It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.
- Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college
- Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468
- Apply at commonapp.org (international students to certain areas only)
Politics students thought course was intellectually stimulating
UK top 20: Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide [Politics]