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International Politics, Economics and Law BA Honours

Focusing on international political systems and law, this course will interest those who care about human rights and development from legal, political and economic perspectives.
October 2023
3 years full-time
4 or 6 years part-time
£9,250 (UK) *
£15,100 (EU / INT) *
Course leader
Helen Hawthorne

Why study international politics, economics and law* with us

Our course will give you a broad understanding of international political systems, economics and international law while enabling you to carefully consider the ever-evolving international context for maximum relevance.

You’ll learn the different international legal, political, and economic perspectives to enhance your critical and analytical ability, and develop your policy analysis skills. The course offers a active role play base learning, including an interactive UN role play event addressing the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goal. You will have the opportunity for small group teaching with opportunities for students to have maximum engagement with staff.

You’ll also get plenty of support from teaching staff who are actively engaged in research on human rights, gender, and environmental issues. Many of our academics have used their research to influence on-going policy processes, including the United Nations international frameworks.

Build the skills you need to succeed in your career

As a politics, economics and law undergraduate, you’ll be part of one of the most culturally and socially diverse universities in the UK, with plenty of opportunities for experiential learning and career development through staff and student led activities. In the past, students have visited key facilities related to International Politics such as Houses of Parliament, International Maritime Organisation and the Bank of England Museum. You'll benefit from assessed work placement possibilities in your final year and working with a diverse cohort. Our course opens career opportunities at embassies, the Foreign Office, diplomatic missions, and human rights advocacy centres.

Our course will not only enhance your critical and analytical skills, but will also give you the opportunity to develop specialist in-depth knowledge of an international policy of interest to you with a wide range of module options in years 2 and 3.

Get the support you need to succeed

Our personalised approach gives you the support you need to succeed as a student. While you are an undergraduate or foundation year student, you’ll have a Personal Tutor directly related to your course. If you need support with academic writing, numeracy and library skills, we’ll be sure to provide it. Our Student Learning and Graduate Academic Assistants have studied your subject and can support you based on their own experience.

Our course opens up a wide range of career opportunities in politics, economics and law. We’ll also support you in your efforts to secure part-time work, work experience placements, internships, and volunteering opportunities – and our enterprise support will even help you start your own business.

*Please note this course was reviewed in 2020.

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What will you study on the BA International Politics, Economics and Law?

This programme is made up of year-long 30 credit taught modules, with a strong emphasis on undertaking an internship or work placement in Year 2 or 3. You will study a combination of the three disciplines within an international framework and a specific focus on the developing world. You will focus on human rights, as understood from the legal, political and social science perspectives, and key cross-cutting themes include gender and environmental change. Your study during the first two years will provide the basis to develop in-depth knowledge of a specialist area in the final year through your choice of options and an independent study undertaken during the final year core module.

What will you gain?

During the three years of study, you will develop your ability to reflect upon and evaluate the principles, values and ideologies underlying perspectives on politics, law and economics. You will be able to locate and critically evaluate different sources of information and analyse and synthesise this information to construct evidenced arguments. You will present clear and convincing arguments through your written work and through oral presentations and have the expertise and skills to study, in-depth, a particular topic of interest, evaluate the existing policy frameworks related to this topic and provide recommendations for improvement.


  • Year 1

    • Global Political Thought (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will introduce the key concepts, institutions, ideologies and contexts of global politics. You'll gain a broad, critical and inclusive knowledge of political orders at national, regional and global levels within and beyond the western conceptualisation of political world. You'll be encouraged to explore the alternative ways of understanding and appreciating global political ideologies beyond those primarily influenced by the west and western scholars. You'll become aware that theoretical knowledge and political thought is socially and historically situated. You'll explore how political concepts and thoughts are articulated in different parts of the world. In this sense, recognising multiple identities of your fellow students in terms of gender, class, ethnicity and culture is necessary for a genuinely constructive class dialogue in a "world of worlds" in which student diversity flourishes.

    • Understanding Political Economy (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module gives you a grounding in the political and social context of economic ideas, theories and ideologies which continue to impact contemporary international politics. You'll develop an understanding of the content and origins of economic ideas that have articulated and criticised the emergence and development of capitalism. In particular, classical, Marxist, neo-classical, institutional, Keynesian and monetarist political economy will be examined as contested theories and ideologies. You'll also develop an understanding of the claims of these distinct approaches to political economy to represent scientific explanation of trends in the economic and political world.

    • The Politics of Sustainability and Development (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces two of the most pressing issues facing the world today from a ‘Global South’ perspective; Sustainability and Development.
      You'll learn about the processes and changing discourses that have shaped, and continue to shape, the Global South. You'll address key questions surrounding issues of the colonial legacy, post-colonialism, poverty and inequality through the lens of sustainable development and consider the frameworks that have attempted to shape the world up until the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030). You will also begin considering what's next for post-2030.

    • Global Governance, Regulation, and Law (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will give you a broad knowledge of law, governance and regulatory politics at national, regional and global levels that will underpin your studies and enhance your appreciation of your place in the world. In an increasingly complex world, being better skilled to appreciate and evaluate how and why the varied rules that govern our lives are made is essential to both academic and personal development.

  • Year 2: Core modules

    • Theories of International Relations (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces the main theories, concepts and themes of International Relations. The rival theories of the discipline are initially explored and then applied to the understanding of key topics concerning the relations between states and also non-state global actors.

    • UK and European Human Rights Law (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will engage you in active investigation of the values, principles and detailed application of human rights law in the UK and Europe. You’ll focus on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and its incorporation into UK law by means of the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998. You’ll be able to critically analyse legal principles and cases, as well as broader political and normative discourse about the role of human rights in a modern democracy, thereby broadening your horizons and developing your own value systems.

    • Economic Policy and Analysis (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will develop your ability and skills to analyse and critique on the purpose and effectiveness of current economic policies and their implications. Research, analytical, communication, presentation and inter-personal skills will be sharpened through student centred activities such as group discussion, regression analysis, debate, presentation and report writing. Awareness of current economic issues and policies and their economic underpinnings will be raised and emphasised. Ideas on how existing policies could be improved or modified will also be cultivated.

  • Year 2: Choose one or two optional modules (up to 30 credits)

    • Comparative Political Systems (15 credits) - Optional

      This modules examines the different political systems of the developed and developing worlds. You'll look at the different forms of government across the world and consider the patterns of political behaviour adopted by these governments. You'll also focus on systems of government and the organisations of formal political processes. Finally, you'll examine key concepts which help to explain political behaviour within the state in order to provide a deeper basis for comparison.

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Political Systems in Comparison (15 credits) - Optional

      This module examines specific examples of different political systems in the developed and developing worlds. You’ll look at the different forms of government across the world and consider the patterns of political behaviour adopted by these governments. You’ll focus on different states in order to gain an understanding of how they differ in terms of organisation, electoral systems, constitution and legal frameworks.

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Research Design, Theories and Concepts: Analysing Political Discourse (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will develop your critical evaluation of the range of secondary research methodologies available, and your understanding of the underlying philosophical and ethical principles of social research. The module aims to make clear the links between theory, method and data as well as defining what data is within different research paradigms and the various ways of generating and analysing it. Emphasis is placed on developing your ability to evaluate and critique published research and to use this to construct evidenced arguments. You’ll also be prepared for secondary research, a requirement for your dissertation which can also be used in further studies and/or the workplace.

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Constructing Knowledge for Politics (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will give you the knowledge and skills to design and undertake both quantitative and qualitative research as well as the ability to assess when each is the appropriate tool to use. You’ll be supported to use SPSS to undertake statistical analysis and develop your ability to analyse qualitative data using thematic analysis. You’ll be prepared to undertake both qualitative and quantitative research for your dissertation and gain useful skills which can be used in  further studies and/ or the workplace.

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Post Brexit Europe: Transformation and Challenges (15 credits) - Optional

      Historically speaking, the pendulum of European integration swings between the forces of integration and disintegration. As the recent developments indicate, European integration, as the most advanced model of regional integration, is facing enormous challenges; Brexit, the rise of populism, identity crisis, migration, democratic deficit debates, enlargement fatigue, north south, east west divisions and legitimacy issues. This module will introduce the context, theories and issues of European integration with reference to the economic, social, cultural and geopolitical challenges that the EU will be facing in the 21st Century.

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Regions and Regionalism in the Global South and Eurasia (15 credits) - Optional

      There has been a growing movement of regionalisms and regionalisation of global politics and economy across the world and beyond Europe. This module will introduce you to regions, regionalist movements and regional organisations beyond the west. Regionalism is also a continuously evolving phenomenon serving distinct purposes and definitions within different regional geopolitical settings from Africa to Eurasia and from South East Asia to Latin America as alternatives to the core and northern regions of the world. This module is concerned with conceptual and theoretical approaches to regionalism and exploration of specific case studies including China, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America and the Indian Ocean, Asia Pacific Regions and the Middle East.

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Politics of Global Climate Change (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will give you a detailed understanding of climate change, its drivers, and the need for mitigation and adaptation to its already inevitable impacts. The perspective of the module is global, but national and local level case studies will be featured to provide an understanding of different contexts, sectors and policy frameworks and their relevance to climate change. The concept of climate justice will be interrogated and the ability of existing global agreements and national policy mechanism such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals to deliver to it will be assessed. Climate change raises some fundamental questions regarding human rights, individual and collective action and sustainable lifestyles. Class based group work and debates will be central to analysing principles and concepts and recognising the role of competing perspectives and judging the significance of evidence in finding societal solutions to climate change.

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Gender, Power and Global Politics (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will give you experience in thinking critically about gendered power relations and global politics. Gender is an important process that shapes how we see and even how we act in the world as well as what resources we have access to. By studying gender from a globalised perspective, you’ll develop a comprehensive understanding of intersectionality, particularly in relation to colonial legacies, race, class, sexuality and youth through creative and exploratory problem-based learning (PBL).

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Social Movements in an International Context (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will help you better understand and explain the operations of social movements that have an international focus. You'll be expected to apply the knowledge they have gained of social movements to examine the real-world context of organisations operating in any of the following fields: women’s rights, climate change and justice, or democratic governance and citizenship. This will involve engaging individually and collectively with such organisations to gain a familiarity with their aims and objectives, organisational structure, accountability, and mode of operation.

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Equality and the Law (30 credits) - Optional

      This module will explore general issues relating to equality and discrimination and examine specific individual areas of inequalities. You’ll look at these issues from a legal, ethical, social, political, historical and economic perspective. This module is ideal preparation for third year modules such as Employment Law, and International Public Law.

    • EU Internal Market Law (30 credits) - Optional

      This module will give you a firm grounding in the rules and principles that govern the free movement of goods, services and persons (workers, self-employed and EU citizens). You’ll develop your research and presentation skills as well as your awareness of the ethical dimension of the EU Internal Market in which persons are not only regarded as factors of production, but as EU citizens with family ties and a cultural background.

    • Theories of Global Political Economy (15 credits) - Optional

      This module will give you the opportunity to develop conceptual skills to explore, both historically and conceptually, the interplay of economics and politics at the global level. You’ll explore the economic, political and cultural implications of living in an increasingly interdependent world. You’ll also examine and formulate judgements about the workings of the global economy and identify key issues of global governance that affect the global economy. The issues of global governance will be examined both theoretically and empirically within the overall framework of global political economy.

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Issues of Global Political Economy (15 credits) - Optional

      This module gives you the opportunity to develop conceptual skills to explore, both historically and conceptually, the interplay of economics and politics at the global level. The economic, political and cultural implications of living in an increasingly interdependent world will be explored. You'll examine and formulate judgements about the workings of the global economy and key issues of global governance that affect the global economy. You'll also examine the issues of global governance, both theoretically and empirically, within the overall framework of global political economy. This module will build on your previous learning from Year 1 around the political and social context of economic ideas, theories and ideologies which continue to impact contemporary international politics.

      If you choose this module, you must choose another 15 credit module

    • Trade and International Business (30 credits) - Optional

      This module aims to develop your in-depth understanding of international trade and FDI theories, their application to an increasingly interdependent world, and the role of multinational enterprises in the world trade system. You'll deepen your knowledge of practical issues relating to international trade, such as incoterms, documentation, payment process and instruments, and trade compliance. Taken together, these elements will equip you with comprehensive knowledge and a broader sense of running a business beyond the domestic market.

  • Year 3: Core modules

    • Global Geopolitics: Critical Perspectives and Issues (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module is designed to give you a deep understanding of the traditions, concepts, and perspectives in the study of geopolitics. You'll develop an advanced, critical appreciation of international politics along with a detailed understanding of key geopolitical issues and cases of the day. This module particularly encourages reflective, critical and analytical use of geopolitical theories and methods in appreciation of the key global and regional issues, world cultures, foreign policy and diplomatic state craft practices. Throughout the module, you'll use written and original texts, films and documentaries as well as visual material and maps to gain the skills to critically analyse the discourses and their role in the production and construction of the geopolitical spaces, drawn from the lecturers’ own research interests. The module should be of special interest if you're looking to proceed into further specialised study of global politics, law, society and economics and/or employment in fields related to governance, business, politics, diplomacy, law, risk and foreign policy analysis or media.

    • Public International Law (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will develop your skills to analyse, critically evaluate, and provide informed commentary on how international law impacts international relations and contemporary concerns such as globalisation, the use of armed force, terrorism, and the regulation of ownership over territory, including the law of the sea. The module has been designed to maximise your career potential, giving you an insight into the extent to which international law underpins international relations between states and non-state actors as well as the work of international organisations. You'll also develop your knowledge of law in an international and globalised context as well as broaden your horizons as you develop as a professional in the area of law and politics.

    • International Finance (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will develop your knowledge of exchange rate theories and balance of  payments, as well as the skills of managing international financial assets and exchange rate risks in a global environment. You'll examine the operation of the world’s capital markets, evaluate global financial issues and their implications on international businesses. You'll also learn how to apply effective tools to assess and manage foreign exchange risks for businesses operating internationally.

  • Year 3: Choose one optional module

    • Dissertation (30 credits) - Optional

      This module will synthesise your previous learning on the course and give you the opportunity to study independently and investigate a topic in depth. It fosters academic curiosity, an inquiry based approach, the employment and application of research skills thus facilitating the development of a higher level of theorising. You'll select a topic of personal interest you wish to study further and will manage your own learning with the support of an allocated supervisor. You'll be responsible for your own learning as you conduct an in-depth study and demonstrate your abilities to select and appropriately use a wide range of sources to analyse, challenge and critically evaluate the received views. You'll also be able to demonstrate your ability in a range of research skills.

    • The Politics of Policy in Practice (30 credits) - Optional

      Development is increasingly policy rather than theory led and elements of social policy have entered the traditionally macroeconomic policy focused prescriptions of the International Financial Institutions. This module aims to develop your ability to analyse and critique development policy from formulation through to implementation. This requires well developed critical reasoning skills and you'll be able to develop as an independent thinker and learner who can take responsibility for facilitating debate and advancing knowledge and understanding. You'll be able to evidence this by running a series of seminars where you'll take the role of chair, discussant and presenter, giving you hands-on experience of facilitating a session as well as presenting a paper.

    • Integrated Learning and Work Placement (30 credits) - Optional

      Placement learning aims to link academic work with the 'real world' situation in order to conceptualise the meaning of theory in the wider world context. You'll be encouraged to reflect upon your areas of knowledge and how they apply to the placement learning experience as well as developing personal knowledge through a review of your learning. The placement learning experience provides for two types of placement; standard placements and project-based placements. The placement experience gives you the opportunity to enhance your skills of self-expression, communication, self-reliance and co-operation, and embeds your transferable and graduate skills required for future career paths and employment.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information about typical course content outside of the coronavirus outbreak:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning from 2022
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU / International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BA International Politics, Economics and Law support your career?

Students graduating with this degree may go on to work for diplomatic missions, embassies, the Foreign Office, human rights advocacy centres or conduct regional economic analysis.

What support is available?

Our Employability Service will help you to develop skills desired by top employers and gain valuable work experience. We provide workshops, events and one-to-one support with job hunting, writing your CV and cover letters, interview coaching and advice on how to network effectively. We also support you in securing part-time work, placements, internships, and volunteering opportunities, and offer an enterprise support service for those looking to start their own business.

Harry Phinda

International Politics BA Honours, graduate

Youth for Change is a global youth advocacy organisation I started with other young people who wanted to create an authentic youth led organisation. Our launch was in 2014 and we partnered with the UK Government to create the Global Girls’ Summit. To date, we operate in Bangladesh, Tanzania and Ethiopia where we work to end gender based violence. In the UK, we have trained 100 teachers in six schools in London.

The best moment of my career so far was being able to put on the first ever national schools conference on gender based violence. The conference was held at Winchmore School in collaboration with IKRWO (The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation) and Not in My Classroom. We also partnered with the Harris Academy schools to deliver training to 10 schools across London. This was one of my biggest highlights with Youth for Change because we were actually training front line professionals who would safeguard the very girls we were trying to protect. We have also led a workshop on gender-based violence at the United Nations and our Bangladesh team was invited onto national TV to speak about child marriage.

I have just been awarded The Queen’s Young Leader Award in recognition for my work in bettering the lives of young people in the Commonwealth. I have contributed my whole life to advocating for young people and their rights in top spaces; whether that was my initial engagement at 15 at the G8 summit in Italy, or my five year board position at UNICEF UK. It feels very surreal that I actually won the Award but this is just the beginning of my journey. I am glad the Queen recognises the importance of young people to create change.

After graduating with my International Politics degree I took a break and travelled which was really important to my development. I carried on working on Youth for Change and saw a strategy position in the Cabinet Office which I successfully applied for. Currently, my job is creating a process to internalise a function we outsourced to KPMG, saving the government thousands of pounds. I am also responsible for policy delivering for the First Commissioner’s priorities across government departments.

I will be moving to the Home Office soon and I am also going to be starting a podcast, sharing stories of people who have redrawn the boundary that society has drawn for them called Age is Just a Number. I will also be launching a new campaign to change the societal narrative of black men and success.

Middlesex gave me the flexibility to do well in my studies as well as my extra-curricular activities. The really inspiring lecturers who would talk about their real life experience was crucial. They always encouraged me in all my endeavours and I am forever thankful!

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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