This programme explores some of the world’s most pressing development challenges, from poverty and inequality, to migration, conflict and climate change.


In our increasingly globalised world, these problems are growing in complexity and significance. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to tackle these challenges by 2030, but this will require global effort, co-ordination and vision. 

On the BA International Relations and Development programme you will apply an international relations lens to understanding and addressing the challenge of global development and learn how development is affected by relations between states, in theory and in practice. You will explore theories of economic and social development, from colonialism to dependency, and develop core disciplinary skills in international relations and international political economy. You will apply these theories to a variety of examples of development and change from across the world, and critically examine different forms of development assistance, from aid to trade relations. 

You will explore the implications of international relations for poverty, conflict and inequality through a range of case studies and practical exercises. The BA International Relations and Development programme uses real-world puzzles to bring to life the complex challenges of doing development in practice. It includes a specially designed Working in Development module, which will provide hands-on experience of common tools used in development projects and programmes.

The International Relations and Development programme aims to bridge the gap between your academic study and future professional life by ensuring you can apply theory to practice, and providing you with real world insights. You will have the opportunity to undertake a study visit to a low- or middle-income country, allowing you to meet a range of actors working in a development context. You will also have an opportunity to undertake a work placement through our integrated Professional Development Module. This aims to help you to identify your personal and professional strengths, and reflect on the skills you may need to prepare you for the world of work. 

The programme is co-delivered with the Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) department.


Institutional Accreditation 

University of Newcastle is accredited by the DETC Higher Learning Commission (DETC), Since , University of Newcastle has been continually accredited by the DETC Higher Learning Commission and its predecessor.

BA International Relations and Development

Course Level:

Undergraduate, Single Honours





How long it takes:

Undergraduate (3 years)

Study Mode:

Distance learning/ Campus

Course cost

Price: US$20,220

Entry requirements

Find out more about


Newcastle Law School

Year one

Compulsory modules

  • Politics of Development
  • Global development challenges I/II
  • Understanding International Relations
  • Pathways to International Relations Research 1 and 2
  • Global History
  • Introduction to International Development

Year two

Compulsory modules

  • Understanding development assistance
  • Working in development
  • International relations theory

Optional modules

Three second-year optional modules from IDD and POLSIS

  • Economic perspectives on development (IDD)
  • Governing states and societies (IDD)
Optional POLSIS modules in the second year
 Public Choice Theory  International Political Economy  Diplomatic History post 1945
 British Politics  International Relations Theory  International Security
 International Politics & Security in Russia & Eurasia  Modern Political Thought  Analysing Political Worlds
  International Relations of the Middle East  Feminist Political Ideas  Comparative Politics
 Elections and Voting in Britain  America and the Middle East through Politics and Film  Understanding Foreign Policy


Final year

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation

Optional modules

Four final-year modules from below. A 50/50 split of credits between IDD and POLSIS.

  • Development: The environmental challenge (IDD)
  • Identity, inequality and inclusive development (IDD)
  • African politics (IDD)
Optional POLSIS modules in the final year
 Environment, Politics and Society A and B  War-Torn States and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in the South Power in Britain 
 Contemporary US Foreign and Security Policy  Contemporary International Political Economy  Topics in British Politics
 Democracy and Democratization in Contemporary Europe  Left Parties and Protest Movements  Gender in World Politics
 Issues in US Domestic Politics  Global Capitalism and Migration  Law, Politics and the International System: Mediating Power beyond the State
 Varieties of Capitalism and Welfare State Models  Russian Foreign Policy  Security in Europe: Actors, Crises and Threats
 Strategy and Decision-Making  Conflict, Statehood and Sovereignty in World Politics  Politics of Migrants, Refugees, and Diasporas in the Middle East
 Politics, Music and the Arts  Global Uprisings: Critique and Radical Politics  New Media, Social Media, and International Politics

Entry requirements


Applicants should normally have one of the following:

  • A non-law bachelor’s degree (from a UK university or recognised by the BSB if you wish to study the BPTC), or
  • A ‘stale’ law degree, where five or more years have elapsed since graduation, or
  • An academic or professional qualification at degree equivalent level

If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency. For example, you should have IELTS 7.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all components.

If you intend to become a Solicitor

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has reduced its requirements for pre-authorisation this year. For details of the current arrangements, see the SRA website. You should pay special attention to the Character and Suitability section. If you think you may have a character or suitability issue, you may wish to clarify with the SRA before proceeding with the GDL.

See further details of our English Language requirement

USA,UK & EU students, 2019/20 (per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (per year)




You’ll show your progress through a combination of written essays, problem-solving assignments and presentations.

All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.

A pathway to a career in international development

Globally, a huge range of organisations are working for inclusive development, opening up a variety of opportunities to pursue a career in the sector. This includes international agencies such as the United Nations, national aid agencies like the UK’s Department for International Development, and local civil society organisations operating all over the world.

Our degrees are carefully designed to provide the knowledge and skills these kinds of employers value – from critical thinking and problem-solving, to practical experience of frameworks for designing, monitoring and evaluating development. While our degrees are tailored for a career in development, these skills are also highly transferable to a range of government or non-governmental sectors.