BA (Honours) International Studies
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Our world is divided into many different societies. Yet it is increasingly interconnected. Relationships between nations, companies, cultures and individuals extend across regions and the globe. The BA (Honours) International Studies enables you to explore the political, economic and cultural issues that these complex interconnections create. The core concerns of this degree course range from international politics, diplomacy, cooperation, war and security to international economics and development; from cultural and religious interactions between different societies to global environmental problems. Although International Studies at the OU has a particular emphasis on development and the issues and problems facing developing countries, this degree is also concerned with the overall political make-up of the international system and the sources of order and disorder within it. Throughout your studies, you’ll have specialist, subject-based academic support and the chance to join in online communities of other social sciences students for teaching, learning and peer support.
Fees and facts
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Flexible, part-time study through
Undergraduate or bachelors degrees are nationally recognised qualifications consisting of academic study designed to help you gain a thorough understanding of a subject.
For a degree in a named subject, such as business studies or humanities, you'll study mainly in your chosen subject, although you may be able to include some modules from other subjects.
With The Open University you could also study an Open degree where you can combine a range of modules from similar or different subjects to suit either your particular career or personal interests.
You can use a degree to:
change careers or progress your current career gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a subject you are interested in gain professional recognition go onto postgraduate study, such as a diploma or masters degree.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree.
Career relevance and employability
An international studies degree is applicable to a wide range of professions in the private and public sectors, including international agencies and government bodies (national and European), businesses and non-governmental organisations. If you choose one of the language options, it may add to your professional opportunities.
Employers value the diversity of transferable skills that this degree course develops, along with breadth of mind and ability to critically analyse processes of change. You’ll be able to analyse problems relating to a range of international issues including: co-operation and conflict; cultural difference; development and international economic change. Key transferable skills include the ability to:
use a range of communication technologies to independently research, select and present information
analyse and critically evaluate information and data
write and communicate concisely and clearly
assemble reasoned arguments for particular audiences
use a range of formats: essays, presentations, reports, collaborative working, online forums
use strategies to update your knowledge
value critical feedback to reflect on your progress and improve your work.
These skills will also be valuable for other roles not directly related to your degree – whether you’re already working, volunteering or changing careers.
There’s more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the
OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication and look at our OU study and your career subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
Choose a pathway and register
Pathways allow you to specialise or choose particular topics that interest you. You will need to choose a pathway before registering.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
If you have already completed some successful study at higher education level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible, and before you register for this qualification.
If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete this qualification. This may also mean that the next start date and the maximum time limit for this qualification are different to those shown above.
Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Practical and professional skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
Classification of your degree
On successful completion of the required number and type of modules you will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) International Studies degree. Your honours degree will be classified either as first-class honours, upper second-class honours, lower second-class honours or third-class honours. The class of degree is determined by the best grades you achieve in 240 credits from those modules above Level 1. At least 120 of those credits must come from modules at Level 3. You will have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:
These regulations are also available on our
Essential Documents website.
If you have a disability
Choosing the qualification that’s right for you is very important. Depending on your disability, long-term health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty, you may need to consider any challenges posed by:
the learning objectives: for example, to gain an honours degree in a language you must be physically able to speak the language
how the modules are taught: for example, some of our science qualifications require that you complete laboratory work
any work-based competency requirements.
Choosing the right qualification can be a complex mix of the subject requirements and the support you may need. To help you assess whether the qualification you are interested in will work for you, further advice is available from:
You will need a computer with internet access to study for this qualification. For most OU qualifications a Microsoft Windows (new since 2007),
Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer should be adequate. However, some qualifications require more specific IT equipment, in which case you
will need additional software to use an Apple Mac or Linux computer. A detailed technical specification for your modules will be made available when you
register. Please note, technical specifications do change over time to match computer developments and the way we teach.
The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities
we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move.
As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed
feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online
tutorials, or by phone.
For more information read
Distance learning explained.