Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112* (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



Joint Honours

Start date



One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus

What is Joint Honours?

A Joint Honours degree gives you the opportunity to study two subjects as one degree. This type of degree will broaden your skill set and enhance your career prospects.

You can combine any two subjects as long as they’re in different zones, find out what you can combine this subject with.

Course description

If you would like a career in international affairs, diplomatic practice and global politics, this course is for you. Offering unique opportunities for work-based learning overseas, International Relations and Diplomacy is a stimulating, topical and challenging subject.

Why you should study International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Derby

Offering fascinating perspectives on current affairs and international events as they affect people around the world, this course will help you to become a better-informed global citizen.

You will study key international relations themes such as advocacy, democracy, human rights, social policy and international security in the context of global conflict, peace and international law. At the same time, you will develop valuable vocational and transferable skills which will equip you to work with international organisations in a wide variety of settings.

A strong emphasis on diplomacy

This course reflects the growing need to resolve intra-national and international conflicts through diplomacy rather than the use of military force.

It will give you a strong knowledge and understanding of the varied diplomatic exchanges that take place between governments and inter-government institutions. You will be well prepared to work in the general field of international politics and will gain the key skills needed for a successful career within diplomatic communities.

There is the opportunity to visit the Foreign Office and embassies to see how they work with diplomats, ambassadors and other government representatives around the world. You will also draw inspiration from our vibrant programme of guest speakers and specialist seminars.

International study visits and internships

As a core element of the course, you will undertake a week-long fieldtrip to Geneva, visiting the United Nations Office and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). You will benefit from lectures and tutorials led by government representatives, UN officials and professionals who work in the field of international relations and diplomacy. There are opportunities for internships too.

These experiences are designed to link the practice of international relations with your theoretical knowledge of the subject They will foster your understanding of the environment in which political decisions are made, especially in the context of an international or supra-state inter-governmental institution.

Expertise and enthusiasm

Our experienced and enthusiastic team are passionate about International Relations and Diplomacy and keen to share their knowledge with you. They will encourage you to do your best throughout your studies as part of a student-centred and varied learning experience.

We employ several approaches to teaching and learning, including formal lectures, student-led seminars, workshops and tutorials. We encourage active student participation and foster a relaxed, inclusive environment where students learn both with one another and from each other.

Fascinating research

You will be inspired and motivated by our research-active team whose specialist areas span issues such as diplomatic practice, international security, arbitration, international dispute resolution, post-9/11 America and the ‘War on Terror’, international institutions, human rights and public international law.

Broaden your perspective

We will foster your awareness of key issues such as power, justice, order, conflict, legitimacy, accountability, obligation, sovereignty, mediation, security, governance and other themes relating to inter-governmental relations and decision-making processes within the international system.

You will also learn about concepts such as anarchy, statism, security-dilemma, self-help, nationalism, institutionalism, regimes, realism, neo-realism, liberalism, globalisation, peace-building, conflict resolution and arbitration. Each of these concepts can help you understand, analyse and interpret political developments.

Popular Joint Honours combinations

Joint Honours gives you the flexibility to cover two subjects in one degree. Popular combinations with International Relations and Diplomacy include:

What you will study

You can study International Relations and Diplomacy as either a joint, major or minor subject. This will determine how many modules you’ll study at each stage. Please check your other subject to ensure it is possible to create your chosen combination.


The emphasis throughout the programme is upon interdisciplinary work that encourages you to see the connections between International Relations, Politics and other disciplines. We draw upon Politics, Law, History, Sociology, Geography and American Studies to provide an expansive and stimulating range of ideas for your analysis of International Relations and Diplomacy.

You will study modules such as:

  • Introduction to International Relations and Global Development
  • Diplomatic Induction
  • Contemporary Issues in International Politics
  • Perspectives on Crime
  • Freedom’s Conflicts: An introduction to American History
  • Principles of Law


You will study modules such as:

  • International Institutions and Diplomacy
  • Diplomatic Practice
  • Research Methods in International Relations and Diplomacy 
  • European Cultural Identities and Ethnic Minorities
  • International Human Rights Law 
  • Public International Law
  • Globalisation and Social Change

You will study modules such as:

  • International Security
  • Independent Study in International Relations and Diplomacy
  • International Economic Relations
  • Arbitration and International Dispute Resolution
  • Global Watch: International Events and the Media 
  • Sustainable development and International Business Law
  • Keeping the Peace: Conflict, Power and Diplomacy since 1945
  • International Human Rights Law  
  • Internship/Vocation Module
  • Gender and Inequality in the global age

Please note: modules are subject to availability, and may change to suit the needs of industry. 

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

University of Derby student drinking coffee

How you will learn

Teaching and learning

Equipped with analytical and critical skills, you will gain an in-depth knowledge of key political ideas; the machinery of government; diplomatic practices; and right, left, radical and moderate political ideologies and theories as they shape the complex relations between states within the international system.

You will learn and practise technical skills, honing your abilities in research, writing reports, debating and facilitating discussions around issues of national and international political significance. This will be achieved through lectures, seminars, individual and group presentations, workshops, screenings and guest lectures.

Study visits to embassies, the British Foreign Office, the United Nations and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in Geneva, will be an important part of your learning experience.


Assessment in all the modules, except one, is based 100% on coursework, incorporating different tasks and modes such as essays of varied length, scale and scope; document analyses; book, film and music reviews; project and dissertation work; individual and group oral presentations; poster exhibitions; portfolio compilation; and seminar presentation and participation.

Supporting you all the way

We pride ourselves on being approachable and supportive. You will have a personal tutor to help and advise you throughout your degree, providing an exceptional level of support. Workshops on issues such as writing and study skills, preparatory sessions for project-based study, and employability events will also assist your progress.

Who you will meet

A highly qualified and experienced team of lecturers teach International Relations and Diplomacy at Derby. They are committed to the subject as an interdisciplinary exploration of International Relations in its broadest sense within the Political Science subject arena, but all have individual areas of expertise, publications and research interests.

Dr Francesco Belcastro, the Subject Leader for International Relations with wide-ranging research interests in the fields of international relations and Middle East studies. He is particularly interested in the application of traditional international relations theories and concepts at regional level and his current studies focus on regional involvement in civil wars both at theoretical level and with reference to Syria. Dr Belcastro is also a Fellow of the Centre for Syrian Studies at the University of St Andrews.

Dr Franc Jegede, Senior Lectuer in International Relations and Diplomacy. His research interests include International Security, Terrorism, International Development and International Institutions. Francis has a well-established links with a number of international organisations and has published chapters in books and journal articles relating to his areas of research. He has also undertaken consultancy services for a number of international organisations including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and European Union (EU). He is co-author of ‘Population, Resources and Development’ book published by Collins Educational (2000).

Anna Doswell - Anna is an Associate Lecturer in International Relations & Diplomacy. She currently teaches International Security and Global Watch: International Event and the media modules both at level six. She also has responsibility for the supervision of a number of students for their dissertation and personal tutorship.

Dr Sung-Hee Lee - Sung-Hee is a lecturer in Sociology with interest in the characteristics of care provision systems implemented in different policy regimes across East Asia and some European countries. Her research covers underlying policy shifts towards the socialising of care responsibilities for older and disabled groups, who need long term care. She is the author of a number of publications including:  “A Study on the Curricula of Social Welfare in the UK Universities and their Content Analysis” (2013), “The current coordinates of the Korean care regime”, “Comparison of Divergent Response in Welfare State Restructuring focused on Childcare Policy” and ”The Curricula of Social Welfare in UK Universities and the Implications for Korean Social Welfare Education”.

Joel Klaff - Joel teaches across  LL.B, LLM and supervises PhD research students. His teaching and research interest includes, Contractual Obligations, Commercial Law, International Trade, International Business and Commercial Theory. Joel is keenly interested in sustainability, which includes the sustainability of international political relations and international environmental laws. Joel examines the issue of sustainability using established legal and political philosophy such as Amartya Sen’s capability theory and John Rawls’s theory of justice as Fairness.

Rachael Ita - Rachael joined the University of Derby in 2011. Prior to that, Rachael practised as a Barrister and Solicitor in Nigeria. Rachael’s current research is in Human Rights Law. Her particular focus is on the Margin of Appreciation Doctrine and the living character of the European Convention on Human Rights. Rachel teaches modules on Public International Law, International Human Rights Law and Administrative Law.

Alasdair Kean - Alasdair is a Principal Lecturer in American Studies. His areas of research include 19th Century Social History, US popular culture abroad and American music. Alasdair is co-author of American Cultural Studies (1997).

Chris Poole - Before joining Derby, Chris was Coventry University’s Head of Department of Legal Studies.  He has lectured in Germany, the Czech Republic, Israel and Malaysia. His teaching areas include information Law, intellectual property law and Electronic Commercial Law. Chris has a very keen research interest in intellectual property law (copyright, trademarks, patents, confidential information), information technology law (relating to computers, the internet and technology) and contract law.

Professor Robert Hudson - Robert is a professor of History.  He specialises in the history of Russia and Eastern Europe, but is also interested in twentieth-century French history.

Dr David Holloway - Senior Lecturer. His research interests include 19th and 20th Century American literature and film, narratives of apocalypse in American culture, and the “War on Terror”. He has published a number of articles on the novelist Cormac McCarthy and has written a chapter on the literature of youth in Radiant Hour (2000). His book on Cormac McCarthy was published in 2002 and 9/11 and the War on Terror was published in 2008.  He is also the co-editor of American Visual Cultures (2005).

Dr Thomas Neuhaus - Tom is a Senior Lecturer in History. He teaches international history, focusing on relations between Europe and Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has published a book on Tibet in the Western imagination.

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112* (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

At least a C in any Social Science subjects such as History, Citizenship, Sociology or Politics at A Level (or equivalent qualification)

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

For joint honours degree entry you will need to choose two subjects. The entry criteria here is for this subject only. Your offer will be based on the higher entry criteria from the two subjects you choose to do. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

*The UCAS Points required for entry will depend on the subjects you choose to combine. The subject with the higher entry requirements will determine your offer.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*



£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


A broad choice

As an International Relations and Diplomacy graduate, you could pursue a career working for government embassies, international institutions and agencies, international development organisations, public and voluntary bodies or transnational corporations. You could also work in many other fields, including teaching, political analysis, media, law, the civil service, and the uniformed services.

Skills for success

Your degree will help set you apart as an independent and confident individual who can view the world from different perspectives. Your experience of work-based learning - through study visits and internship opportunities with international organisations such as the UN and UNITAR - will signal to any prospective employer that you are adept at linking international relations and diplomacy theories to practice.

As the business world becomes increasingly global, your knowledge of international politics, together with your understanding of the complex relations between governments around the world, will help you to secure a rewarding career.

Ensuring you’re ‘work-ready’

Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with support from day one of your course to ensure that you leave Derby as a ‘work-ready’ graduate - industry aware, motivated and enterprising. Throughout your studies, you will also benefit from our Personal Development Planning (PDP) scheme which enables you to reflect on your learning and develop your career ambitions. The support continues once you’ve completed your course too: you are entitled to further help and guidance from the Careers and Employment Service for up to three years after leaving the University.

Dr Francesco Belcastro
Programme leader

Francesco Belcastro is a Lecturer and the programme leader of International Relations at the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences here at the University of Derby. He is currently the admissions tutor for International Relations and Diplomacy. He is also a Fellow of the Centre for Syrian Studies, University of St Andrews.

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Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

You will typically study your two subjects equally at stage one, before choosing whether you want to major in one subject at stages two and three.

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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