Plymouth Business School

BSc (Hons) Economics with International Relations

Do you aspire to become an expert in economics? Modern economics is an exciting and challenging subject which, explores the production, distribution and consumption of wealth and resources. You'll cover topics including financial markets, globalisation, international and local trade, consumption and the way government and international policies influence these processes. You’ll also discover more about the political, economic and social issues that affect all our lives.

The combination of academic excellence and practical knowledge we encourage on this course will help you stand out when it comes to entering the world of work. Our accomplished and analytically-adept graduates are snapped up for high-flying and varied careers with KPMG, HM Treasury, Ernst and Young, and other private and public sector organisations.

Key features

  • Feel confident and be inspired by a course rated 16th out of 70 in the Guardian League Tables 2013. Our Plymouth Business School was shortlisted for Business School of the Year 2012 in the annual Times Higher Education Awards.
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of economics and acquire key analytical and numerical skills. All named awards share a common core syllabus, which stresses the integration of theory and evidence in economic analysis and research.
  • Discover the political, economic and social issues that affect all our lives with the international relations minor. You’ll be introduced to key events and debates and have the opportunity to study a number of relevant themes and issues.
  • Tailor your degree to match your interests and your career goals, by studying economics alongside other subjects including business, social sciences and languages.
  • Apply your skills in a work environment by taking our optional four year degree course, which contains an industrial placement, working full-time for a public or private sector organisation.
  • Engage with current and past economic students with our Economics Society. Hear talks from visiting academics and professional economists and find out what our graduates are up to now. The Economics Society also awards a graduation prize for best academic paper in the final year.
  • Money matters - a number of scholarships are available if you decide to study an economics degree.
  • Think sustainably – in your final year you may choose to take Environmental and Resource Economics and analyse the issue of environmental and resource scarcity and the possible policy responses to market failure.
  • Open doors to a wide range of career roles including industry economist, financial risk analyst, credit analyst and chartered accountant. Our accomplished and analytically-adept graduates are snapped up for high-flying and varied careers with KPMG, HM Treasury, Ernst and Young, and other private and public sector organisations. Our postgraduate programmes draw many students back to continue their learning.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll explore the world of economics and learn how to interpret economic data. You’ll build up a range of principles and theories and develop quantitative methods and study skills that will provide a firm foundation for further studies. You’ll also grasp the key processes of international relations through topics including international institutions and regimes, sovereignty to global governance and contemporary international relations.
    Core modules
    • ECN1001PP Introduction to Business and Financial Economics

      The module provides an introduction to the subject of business and financial economics it combines an understanding of theory and frameworks with the practical skills necessary to apply acquired knowledge to a business, industrial or financial context.

    • ECN1005 Contemporary Economics

      This module provides an introduction to selected contemporary economic topics and the basic tools of economic reasoning.

    • ECN1011 Principles of Economics A

      This module provides an introduction to the theories and concepts of modern microeconomics and mathematical techniques, and applies them to a range of contemporary issues.

    • ECN1012 Principles of Economics B

      This module provides an introduction to the theories and concepts of modern macroeconomics and statistical techniques, and applies them to a range of contemporary issues.

    • IRL100 Imagining World Order

      This module introduces the essential terms, concepts and processes of international relations analysis. It describes the main features of the international system since its evolution from the Treaty of Westphalia, continuities and discontinuities with earlier international systems, plus the move from state sovereignty to global governance in the contemporary context. It also introduces the primary theories of international relations analysis, whilst putting their emergence and development into historical context.

    • IRL102 International Relations Since 1945

      This module provides an introduction to the historical development of the international political system since 1945. It provides a crucial background to the major processes and actors that have shaped the contemporary international system.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll build on the core syllabus of the first year, and develop your knowledge of theories and methods that are central to modern economic analysis. You’ll study micro and macro economics in depth and improve your quantitative skills with econometrics. You’ll also cover international relations topics including international security, peace and conflict resolution, imagining global society, north-south relations and international political economy.
    Core modules
    • ECN2005 Econometrics

      This module provides an introduction to basic econometric techniques with an emphasis upon learning through practical investigation and experimentation.

    • ECN2006 Microeconomics

      This module develops concepts and theories of microeconomics analysis at an intermediate level and applies them to a range of contemporary issues.

    • ECN2012 Macroeconomics

      This module develops concepts and theories of microeconomic analysis at an intermediate level and applies them to the analysis of real world issues of macroeconomic stability, growth and government policy.

    • EPIE200 Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who will be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their degree. It is designed to build on skills learned in Stage 1 and helps students in their search for a placement, and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • IRL200 Understanding Global Politics

      This module provides an introduction to the main authors and debates in contemporary IR theory, from mainstream theories to critical approaches. The module pays particular attention to the historical context of each approach, and the relationship between theory and practice in contemporary global politics.

    Optional modules
    • ECN2008B Contemporary Business Economics

      This module develops and applies concepts of economics and industrial organization to the analysis of the behaviour of firms, industries and markets.

    • ECN2009 Economic Perspectives

      This module provides an introduction to the philosophy of science and considers economics within that context. The course introduces the different schools of thought within economics and examines different methodological approaches used within the social sciences, with a core focus on those used by economists.

    • ECN2011 Financial Economics

      This module provides an introduction to financial economics. The course considers theory, empirical evidence and practical application.

    • IRL201 International Security Studies

      This module considers the issue of security in contemporary international relations. It examines a variety of different security concepts from deterrence and the security dilemma to arms control, peacekeeping, terrorism, regional security complexes and governance. It then seeks to relate these to practical examples from world politics.

    • IRL202 The Third World

      This module embraces both theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding development issues and policies, at national, international and multilateral scale. The approach taken is deliberately inter-disciplinary, incorporating historical, economic, political and social perspectives. The module also uses case studies based in Africa, Latin America and Asia to illustrate and provide context for the discussion of various developmental concerns. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the development policy arena; how it is framed and constituted; the power relations between actors; and the impact on human communities and their environments.

  • Optional placement year
  • Get paid for hands-on work experience and develop your economic flair during our optional industrial placement. We'll support you to find the most suitable private or public sector placement. With the guidance of your host organisation, plus support from academic staff on your course, this provides an extremely valuable opportunity to apply and deepen your knowledge and to develop a range of skills that will be invaluable to your future career.
    Core modules
    • EPIE300 Placement Year

      The placement year consists of an extended period of appropriate professional experience in a business or organisation. It allows the student to gain relevant experience to consolidate their studies and prepare for final stage study and employment after graduation.

    • EPIE301 The Placement Project

      This module requires students to produce a project relating to their placement experience.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll research a dedicated honours project on a subject of your choice. You’ll learn more about the global economy and specialise in business, finance or economics topics of your choice. You can study a number of economics topics including economics of renewable energies in the UK and issues relating to environmental and economic sustainability, or discover more about international relations in operation by opting for modules from refugee studies to maritime security.
    Core modules
    • ECN3017 International Economics

      This module explores the economic implications of globalisation by investigating current trends in international trade and capital markets.

    • ECN3020 Economics Project

      This module allows students to undertake supervised economic research in an area of interest to them using quantitative or qualitative research methods.

    Optional modules
    • ECN3018 Economic Growth and Development

      This module covers issues in economic growth and development. The focus is on studying the proximate (i.e. factors accumulation and productivity) and the fundamental (i.e. institutions, culture, geography and climate) determinants of economic growth.

    • ECN3019 Games and Strategy

      This module develops and explores ideas in game theory, and applies them to the analysis of a range of contemporary economic, business, political and social problems.

    • HRL308 Gender at Work

      This module will explore the gendered nature of work and employment and the competing theoretical perspectives which attempt to explain the differential labour market outcomes for women and men. Gender also impacts significantly upon our experiences of organisational life, consequently this module will focus on organisations and the way in which their environments, processes and practices systematically and informally work to produce gendered identities and gender inequities.

    • IRL302 NATO after the Cold War and Beyond

      "This module proposes to study the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from a theoretical as well policy point of view. The aim is to investigate the relevance of NATO in the 21st century by looking at how NATO survived and developed in the aftermath of the Cold War as it appeared to have lost its original purpose of containing the Soviet Union. By looking at key developments within NATO in the post-Cold War period, this module also looks at the challenges which NATO has faced and overcome but it also critically reflects on the contemporary relevance of NATO. "

    • PIR304 US Foreign Policy Since 1945

      This module introduces students to different approaches to studying US foreign policy. As well as providing an empirical survey of America's foreign relations since 1945, it draws on IR theory to examine its changing place in the world. Students will examine historical and contemporary themes in US foreign policy and explore the complex mix of factors that combine to influence it. The module will examine US interests in different parts of the world and evaluate how US foreign policy has affected regional and international orders. The ultimate objective of the course is to explore how US foreign policy shapes the world we live in.

    • PIR305 The Politics of the United States

      This module introduces students to the fundamental principles of politics in the United States. Domestic politics and the foreign influence of the United States is considered, with specific emphasis placed on the role of the Constitution and institutions of governance in promoting (or inhibiting) democracy both domestically and abroad.

    • PIR306 Environmental Political Economy

      This module examines the problem of environmental degradation and its implications for our global political economy. It discusses the major debates in political thought around the causes of environmental degradation. The module outlines the major attempts to build international regimes for global environmental governance, and the difficulties and obstacles that such attempts have encountered. A wide range of ideas, policy proposals, innovations in governance, and templates for political activism within the environmental movement are critically evaluated.

    • PIR307 Europe in the World

      The European Union is the world's major trading block and its most integrated region. This module takes a holistic look at the EU's role in the world and the link between its economic and political presence. Accordingly it concentrates on the impact of the EU on the world (including the developing world) but also considers the internal dynamics of Europe.

    • PIR311 Global Governance and the United Nations

      This module will explore the transformation of political community in the 21st century through the prism of international organisations such as the United Nations. The aim is to consider the key question whether `governance¿ is possible in world politics, and whether and to what extent international organisations can play a constructive role in such governance. The module offers an overview of international organisations and global governance, including various theoretical approaches with their different assumptions about the nature of international politics, and competing predictions about international organisations in global governance.

    • PIR312 The Politics and International Relations of the Middle East

      "The module introduces students to international relations in the Middle East. It equips them with the analytical skills to examine the Arab-Israeli conflict, Gulf conflicts, and the impact of the Arab Spring on regional politics. "

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Economics programme specification 3259

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

88 - 104

  • A levels: 88-104 points including a minimum of 2 A Levels. This course considers general studies.
  • BTEC: 18 Unit BTEC Extended Diploma: MMM–DMM in any subject. 
  • Access: Pass a named Access to HE Diploma in any subject with at least 33 credits at merit/distinction.
  • GCSE: All applicants must have GCSE (or equivalent) mathematics and English at grade C or above. 
  • International Baccalaureate: 26 - 28 overall to include 4 at any subject at Higher Level. English and Maths accepted within: Higher Level = 4 Standard Level = 5
  • Other: 14-19 Diplomas are accepted – please enquire. 

Other combinations and non-A level qualifications also considered.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Short of the entry requirements for this course? Don’t worry you may be eligible for a foundation year to prepare you for possible entry onto this course for the following year.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

English language requirements.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,000 £13,400
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

International relations

International relations is about matters of life and death - not just for soldiers and citizens lying in the path of war but for the whole human race.

Studying BSc (Hons) International Relations with the University of Plymouth offers you a fresh, contemporary approach.

View the BSc (Hons) International Relations course page

William Wai Yip Au Yeung, BSc (Hons) Economics graduate, with the Business School team who made it to the semi-finals of the IBM Business Challenge.

William Wai Yip Au Yeung, BSc (Hons) Economics graduate

Entering the IBM business challenge was a great way to network and develop existing skills such as my analytical and business acumen skill sets. We got the opportunity to meet a large assortment of people and really put our current knowledge to good use.

“The lecturers were great, very informal and informative. I really liked behavioural economics covering topics. Challenging yet satisfying!”

Find out more about what William has to say about the course

Careers in economics

Competition for graduate jobs is fierce. The combination of academic excellence and practical knowledge we encourage on this course will help you stand out when it comes to entering the world of work.

Our students graduate ready to take on all sorts of finance and economics roles – from industry economist to financial risk analyst.

Where could you go with economics at Plymouth?

The Economics Society

Run jointly by staff and students, the Economics Society organises a range of events from field trips and social evenings to talks from visiting academics, professional economists and Plymouth graduates.

Come together with current and past economics students in social, academic and professional contexts.

Visit the Economics Society Facebook page to find out more

Plymouth Business School partnership with CMI

Chartered Management Institute membership for PBS students

Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body dedicated to promoting the highest standards in management and leadership, being at the forefront of all aspects of management training and thinking. Plymouth Business School engages in a partnership with CMI to offer students free membership, enabling them to use ManagementDirect - the online multimedia knowledge base providing instant answers to every managerial challenge you can think of.

Find out more about our partnership and how to join CMI

Meet some of our staff

Study sessions for students by students: Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS)

To complement your formal learning we offer regular sessions that provide the opportunity for you to learn with and from your peers. Share knowledge, discuss ideas, and ask questions in a relaxed and friendly environment

If you are a first or second year take the opportunity to study in a relaxed environment, along with other students on the same programme.

Find out more about how PALS can benefit your studies

Faculty of Business Potential High Achievers Scheme

We recognise that our students are the future business leaders of the world. We know that our applicants will thrive in this environment, and we want to ensure our best applicants believe in this.

We will be contacting applicants who are not only on course to achieve top marks but who have an outstanding personal statement. 

As recognition of the potential we think an applicant has we will then change their offer to unconditional. Your place at the University of Plymouth will then be confirmed and you can go ahead and make arrangements for your accommodation and move to Plymouth in September.

Find out all the details

Looking for foundation level entry to Business courses?

The following foundation level programmes are currently being updated for a 2019/20 start:

  • BA Accounting and Finance with Foundation Year
  • BSc Business Management (2 year fast track and 3 year programme) with Foundation Year
  • BSc Economics with Foundation Year
  • BSc Events Management with Foundation Year
  • BSc Marketing with Foundation Year
  • BSc Maritime Business and Logistics with Foundation Year
  • BSc Maritime Business and Maritime Law with Foundation Year
  • BSc Tourism and Hospitality Management with Foundation Year

Look out for further details here and on our UCAS pages.

If you are interested in hearing more about these developments, let us know at and we'll keep you up to date.