The concept arose from bipolarity during the Cold War, with the international system dominated by the conflict between two superpowers, and has been applied retrospectively by theorists. However, the term bipolar was notably used by Stalin who said he saw the international system as a bipolar one with two opposing powerbases and ideologies. Consequently, the international system prior to 1945 can be described as multipolar, with power being shared among Great powers. In the 21st century, the status-quo of the international system is no longer monopolized by states alone. Rather, it is the presence of non-state actors, who autonomously act to implement unpredictable behaviour to the international system. Whether it is transnational corporations, liberation movements, non-governmental agencies, or international organizations, these entities have the potential to significantly influence the outcome of any international transaction.

  • Where a programme requires a specific A’level subject grade please refer to the guidance below for Indian Standard XII equivalent.
  • Studies of international relations start thousands of years ago; Barry Buzan and Richard Little consider the interaction of ancient Sumerian city-states, starting in 3,500 BC, as the first fully-fledged international system.
  • “Levels of analysis” is a way of looking at the international system, which includes the individual level, the domestic state as a unit, the international level of transnational and intergovernmental affairs, and the global level.
  • These theorists view the world stage as occupied by a society of states that are bound by a set of rules, norms, and institutions that are mutually agreed upon by their members.
  • Many cite Sun Tzu’s The Art of War , Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War , Chanakya’s Arthashastra , as the inspiration for realist theory, with Hobbes’ Leviathan and Machiavelli’s The Prince providing further elaboration.
  • Students need a sufficiently high score in their Diploma or University level study (3.0+/4.0 or 3.2+/4.5).

The mutual exchange of ideas, information, art, music and language among nations through cultural diplomacy has also been recognized by governments as an important tool in the development of international relations. The Department of International Relations in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts explores the interrelations of the world’s primary political institutions, nation-states. Increasingly, International Relations at SF State also focuses on multinational corporations, international governmental and non-governmental organizations and social movements.

For Medicine country-specific requirements, please visit our Applying to Medicine website. For Medicine country specific requirements please visit our Applying to Medicine website. For Medicine country specific requirements, please visit our Applying to Medicine website.

Programme Details

It allows you to pursue your own lines of enquiry, inspired by the taught content, and become an independent thinker. As well as time with your lecturers, class teachers, and personal tutor, academic and professional services staff will be available to offer individual and group support throughout your time studying your degree here at Birmingham. Students who have completed the first year of a University programme in Vietnam will be considered for direct entry of the undergraduate programme at the University of Birmingham. As a reminder you don’t need to have completed all of these tests to apply through UCAS.

Please view the entry requirements for specific programme requirements, and details on our presessional English language courses. The second-year of your degree course further develops your understanding of the discipline and introduces new perspectives on international relations. It is designed to develop your knowledge and theoretical understanding of this dynamic and changing field.


As such, the liberal framework stresses cooperation between states as a fundamental part of the international system. States are not seen as unitary actors, but pluralistic arenas where interest groups, non-governmental organisations, and economic actors also shape the creation of foreign policy. Global studies focuses more generally on issues of global scope; specifically macro-processes in ecology, anthropology, ethnography, communication, migration, and the general processes of cultural and economic globalisation.

International Students

Our curriculum is under constant review to reflect these global and regional trends. One of the key features of the international system is that it’s a state of anarchy – each state in the system is sovereign and does not have to answer to a higher authority. Explore global issues in relation to the world of politics and international law, in times of peace and conflict. Candidates from Venezuela generally require a) A levels or IB Diploma or b) a recognised foundation programme or c) successfully completed the first year of the Licenciatura/Título with 70% or equivalent overall. Applicants studying A levels or the International Baccalaureate Diploma, will be eligible for direct entry if you meet your chosen programme’s entry requirements.

International relations advances human culture through cultural exchanges, diplomacy and policy development. International relations allows nations to cooperate with one another, pool resources, and share information as a way to face global issues that go beyond any particular country or region. International political economy examines the relationships between states, nongovernmental organizations, and multinational corporations in the international economy. Regarded as an international centre of academic excellence and innovation in the social sciences – ranked 2nd in the world for social sciences and management. LSE’s Summer School is the most well-established and the largest of its kind in the whole of Europe, with over 80 academically rigorous courses on offer.