Politics and International Relations

The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Politics and International Relations) is a four years full time degree. This new degree covers all aspects of political, cultural and economic relations at both the domestic and international levels. It explores the world-shaping political forces that extend far beyond national boundaries and impact our lives in unexpected ways.

You will engage with contemporary issues such as the Syrian War, nuclear proliferation, the global refugee crisis, the crisis in the international political economy, the implications of Brexit, and what the election of President Trump means for the world, Australia, and you. Politics and International Relations is one of the most exciting and dynamic subjects to study at university, taught by a team of leading academics and researchers.

Requirements for completion

A program in Politics and International Relations requires 120 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:

(i) 24 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 24 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 3000-level core units
(iv) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units
(v) 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project units
(vi) Completion of either Honours or Advanced Coursework

First year

In level one, all students are given a basic grounding in the core elements of both politics and international relations. Students will be introduced to political theory, comparative political systems, and the history of international system and international relations theory. Students will also undertake specialised study focusing on contemporary issues in politics and international relations which will introduce the various ways in which academic researchers and public intellectuals respond to world events.

Second year

Students will take a dedicated unit in both politics and international relations. All students will also take a unit in Political Analysis, international security, and international organisations. Students will engage critically with current events through further specialised units that delve into current events and contemporary issues in politics and international relations in more depth.

Third year

All students will be required to complete an advanced unit that will engage with the theoretical underpinnings of the current academic discourse and understandings of politics and international relations. In addition, students can choose from a broad range of elective senior units in politics and international relations.

Fourth year

The fourth year offers students increased opportunities through project units, which encourage students to use their research skills and knowledge to contribute to public debate. Our work placement and interships program provides students with enquiry-based learning activities and the chance to conduct research for organisations in the areas of public policy and international affairs.

Honours Pathway

Admission to Honours in the Politics and International Relations stream requires a major in either Politics or International Relations with a weighted average mark of 70 or above, and a second major.

Advanced Coursework pathway

The Advanced Coursework option provides students with the opportunity to broaden and deepen their subject knowledge and conduct a semester long project that can be either research or career based.

Placement pathway

The placement pathway exposes students to real-world projects that will enhance their career-ready skills. This pathway aims to provide students with a high level of skills that contemporary employers require.

Sample pathway

Sample pathway for Honours within the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Politics and International Relations).
Note: Students are free to complete their majors and electives from the subject areas available in Table A or S.
* OLE units are indicative only. A comprehensive list of OLE units may be selected from Table O.

Year Semester Units of Study
1 1 GOVT1621 GOVT1661 Elective Sociology major
2 GOVT1641 GOVT1601 Elective Sociology major
2 1 GOVT2921 GOVT2941 Open Learning Environment units Sociology major
2 GOVT2991 GOVT2901 Open Learning Environment units Sociology major
3 1 PIR Elective PIR Elective Sociology major Sociology major
2 PIR Project PIR Advanced Sociology major Sociology major
4 1 Honours Seminar Honours Seminar Honours Thesis Honours Thesis
2 Honours Thesis Honours Thesis Honours Thesis Honours Thesis
Contact/further information

Department website: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/government_international_relations/

Undergraduate Coordinator:

Learning outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts, theories and methods used across the discipline of political science and international relations.
  2. Identify and compare key elements, actors and components of domestic and international political systems, such as government institutions, social movements, intergovernmental organisations, global civil society and individuals.
  3. Identify important changes and continuities in the historical development of the political systems at both the domestic and international level, and assess competing interpretations of political phenomena.
  4. Evaluate 'real world' political events and issues in the light of normative and empirical theories of political science and international relations.
  5. Engage in independent evidence gathering using a range of methods and sources, including digital sources, to answer contemporary issues in domestic and international politics.
  6. Demonstrate effective oral and written skills in communicating ideas about politics using a range of media.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of how international relations and political practices, such as politics, economics, society, culture, gender and sexuality are shaped.
  8. Demonstrate problem-solving skills, and interpersonal and communication skills through project work and interdisciplinary study.