Best Universities to study International Relations? (Undergraduate)

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GlobalBelgium
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Hello TSR members!

I am in quite a unique situation. This year I am going to finish my first bachelor degree in Belgium, but for next year I am planning on doing a second undergraduate degree in the UK. Now the question is, which 5 universities should I put on UCAS? I am searching for the best in both international reputation AND academic excellence in the subject. One of the reasons I ask it here is because often people from the UK know a lot more about the real academic quality instead of the rankings that everyone sees. Currently my top 5 list is:

1) LSE: International Relations
2) LSE: Politics and International Relations
3) King's College London: International Relations
4) University of Edinburgh: International Relations (4 Year MA)
5) University of Essex: International Relations (Including Year Abroad)

What do you think? Is this the right way to order these, and should I substitute one of these? Any other suggestions or ideas?

FYI: My future career will be in the direction of foreign affairs and diplomacy.

NOTE: Please don't ask me why I want to study for a second bachelor degree or how costly that would be rather than focusing on the real question.

Thank you very much all!
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cambio wechsel
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(Original post by GlobalBelgium)

1) LSE: International Relations
2) LSE: Politics and International Relations
3) King's College London: International Relations
4) University of Edinburgh: International Relations (4 Year MA)
5) University of Essex: International Relations (Including Year Abroad)

What do you think? Is this the right way to order these, and should I substitute one of these? Any other suggestions or ideas?
If you've plausibly a chance at the first two, you might as well throw-in HSPS at Cambridge. An advantage there would be that you might have the opportunity to complete that second bachelors (but why?) in two years if registered as an affiliated student.

http://www.hsps.cam.ac.uk/prospectiv...urse-structure
http://www.pem.cam.ac.uk/prospective...ated-students/
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abc:)
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(Original post by GlobalBelgium)
...
Pretty please if I give my opinion answer my Q I just can't help myself!!! Personally I'd recommend LSE. It's clearly the best of those listed. I also know someone who has studied IR there and done an internship at the UN - although obviously this is down to individuals not just the uni they go to.

Now why are you not applying for postgraduate study?!
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GlobalBelgium
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(Original post by cambio wechsel)
If you've plausibly a chance at the first two, you might as well throw-in HSPS at Cambridge. An advantage there would be that you might have the opportunity to complete that second bachelors (but why?) in two years if registered as an affiliated student.

http://www.hsps.cam.ac.uk/prospectiv...urse-structure
http://www.pem.cam.ac.uk/prospective...ated-students/
Thank you for your suggestion! But sadly the application deadline was 15 October, so that won't work.

(Original post by abc:))
Pretty please if I give my opinion answer my Q I just can't help myself!!! Personally I'd recommend LSE. It's clearly the best of those listed. I also know someone who has studied IR there and done an internship at the UN - although obviously this is down to individuals not just the uni they go to.

Now why are you not applying for postgraduate study?!
I guess I have to answer the question once if I want to get out of here alive The reason why I am planning a second undergraduate is because I have no academic knowledge base in international relations whatsoever, plus I see it as an opportunity to build up a network in the UK (in fact, I might stay and become a citizen in the future) and real high level English language proficiency. Here in Belgium it is common to do a second bachelor degree, because education is almost free. I like the idea of building up a strong ground on the subject that I want to build my future career in. I found that my field of interest is International Relations and everything related. I don't want to just do a 1 or 2 year postgraduate program if I have the opportunity to do a four year program. I can only see advantages. I don't care about the 'social clock' of life. I don't care about studying for a few more years. Actually, I love to break conventions, so that fits into my life pattern

(Original post by Lay-Z)
2>1>4>3>5
Thank you for your suggestion! Are you sure you would put Essex as last? I did too, but I've heard that they have a very strong politics department that outranks many other UK universities.
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Snufkin
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You might also consider UCL (you can major in International Relations via the ESPS degree) and Aberystwyth.

(Original post by GlobalBelgium)
NOTE: Please don't ask me why I want to study for a second bachelor degree or how costly that would be rather than focusing on the real question.
But how will you pay for it? If you have £50k-£60k to spare, surely there are better things to spend it on?
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Michael_Fishy
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St Andrews has one of the best IR/Politics faculties in the country. It's pretty much on par with Oxbridge.
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Tcannon
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You did not provide your grades. So our suggestions are based on assumption that you have excellent grades. Entry is highly competitive to IR courses. Have you thought about funding? Student Loan Company will unlikely provide loan as you already have a first BA.

Concur with LSE
UCL ESPS with concentrations on Europe
St Andrews IR is highly regarded and has one of UK's best departments
Warwick BA Politics and International Studies (good at Int Political Economy and Governance)
Maybe Durham BA IR
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GlobalBelgium
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(Original post by Snufkin)
You might also consider UCL (you can major in International Relations via the ESPS degree) and Aberystwyth.



But how will you pay for it? If you have £50k-£60k to spare, surely there are better things to spend it on?
Thank you for the suggestions, Snufkin. I find it strange that you recommend Aberystwyth. As someone looking from outside the UK, the general and subject rankings don't seem to give much respect to Aberystwyth.

The question you raise is an interesting one. You say there could be better things to spend money on, but are there really? Studying at a world top university and building a base for your future career and life in the subject you love, creating a network with equally ambitious students and collaborate with professors at the front of your field? Is that not worth the investment? I think it is. I would, however, only do it if I am accepted in one of the best universities in the world, because it remains an incredibly huge investment.

(Original post by Michael_Fishy)
St Andrews has one of the best IR/Politics faculties in the country. It's pretty much on par with Oxbridge.
Thank you for the suggestion! Strange that it is not top in the subject rankings if it really is on par with Oxbridge (not that I think the rankings are the holy grail, just a remark).

(Original post by Tcannon)
You did not provide your grades. So our suggestions are based on assumption that you have excellent grades. Entry is highly competitive to IR courses. Have you thought about funding? Student Loan Company will unlikely provide loan as you already have a first BA.

Concur with LSE
UCL ESPS with concentrations on Europe
St Andrews IR is highly regarded and has one of UK's best departments
Warwick BA Politics and International Studies (good at Int Political Economy and Governance)
Maybe Durham BA IR
Maybe I indeed should have mentioned something about my grades. My scores at University are near-perfect, I'm more or less in the 1% best students of my year group (and we are with about 600 students in 3rd bachelor, that's what you get with almost free education with no selection). So yes, please build on the assumption that grades will be no issue. Also the funding will be no issue. I got an unconditional offer from a private organisation in Belgium for an interest-free loan.

And thank you for the suggestions!
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Michael_Fishy
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(Original post by GlobalBelgium)
Thank you for the suggestions, Snufkin. I find it strange that you recommend Aberystwyth. As someone looking from outside the UK, the general and subject rankings don't seem to give much respect to Aberystwyth.

The question you raise is an interesting one. You say there could be better things to spend money on, but are there really? Studying at a world top university and building a base for your future career and life in the subject you love, creating a network with equally ambitious students and collaborate with professors at the front of your field? Is that not worth the investment? I think it is. I would, however, only do it if I am accepted in one of the best universities in the world, because it remains an incredibly huge investment.



Thank you for the suggestion! Strange that it is not top in the subject rankings if it really is on par with Oxbridge (not that I think the rankings are the holy grail, just a remark).



Maybe I indeed should have mentioned something about my grades. My scores at University are near-perfect, I'm more or less in the 1% best students of my year group (and we are with about 600 students in 3rd bachelor, that's what you get with almost free education with no selection). So yes, please build on the assumption that grades will be no issue. Also the funding will be no issue. I got an unconditional offer from a private organisation in Belgium for an interest-free loan.

And thank you for the suggestions!
St Andrews occupies the top spots in the main league tables in the UK for politics/IR:

https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...e-for-politics - Number 1
http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...ngs?s=politics - Number 2
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Snufkin
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(Original post by GlobalBelgium)
Thank you for the suggestions, Snufkin. I find it strange that you recommend Aberystwyth. As someone looking from outside the UK, the general and subject rankings don't seem to give much respect to Aberystwyth.

The question you raise is an interesting one. You say there could be better things to spend money on, but are there really? Studying at a world top university and building a base for your future career and life in the subject you love, creating a network with equally ambitious students and collaborate with professors at the front of your field? Is that not worth the investment? I think it is. I would, however, only do it if I am accepted in one of the best universities in the world, because it remains an incredibly huge investment.
Aberystwyth might not rank highly in league tables and most people on the street have probably never heard of it, but within the IR community it is very well respected. Lots of people from 'top' universities go there to do their postgrad degrees.

I don't think networking with other students and being taught by professors at the front of their field is worth 50k, no. You call it an investment, but having a degree from a top UK university (except perhaps Oxbridge) is unlikely to pay you dividends in the future. Why can't you study IR in Europe where costs are much lower? The UK doesn't have a monopoly on top universities/professors... there's SciencesPo, ENS Paris, Trinity College Dublin and Leiden to name a few.
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Capricancer
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(Original post by GlobalBelgium)
Thank you for the suggestion! Strange that it is not top in the subject rankings if it really is on par with Oxbridge (not that I think the rankings are the holy grail, just a remark).
It's ranked #1 in The Guardian for IR and #2 in both the CUG and The Times and Sunday Times. Don't know how that's not top of the subject rankings.

You also get free tuition in Scotland since you're an EU student.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by Capricancer)
You also get free tuition in Scotland since you're an EU student.
I don't think you can if you already have a degree.
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Capricancer
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(Original post by Snufkin)
I don't think you can if you already have a degree.
Oh yeah maybe you're right, well the fees are £1820 compared to £9250 for rUK students so it's still cheaper.
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GlobalBelgium
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(Original post by Michael_Fishy)
St Andrews occupies the top spots in the main league tables in the UK for politics/IR:

https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...e-for-politics - Number 1
http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...ngs?s=politics - Number 2
Thank you for linking the information!

(Original post by Snufkin)
Aberystwyth might not rank highly in league tables and most people on the street have probably never heard of it, but within the IR community it is very well respected. Lots of people from 'top' universities go there to do their postgrad degrees.

I don't think networking with other students and being taught by professors at the front of their field is worth 50k, no. You call it an investment, but having a degree from a top UK university (except perhaps Oxbridge) is unlikely to pay you dividends in the future. Why can't you study IR in Europe where costs are much lower? The UK doesn't have a monopoly on top universities/professors... there's SciencesPo, ENS Paris, Trinity College Dublin and Leiden to name a few.
It is interesting advise. Actually, you're coming close to convincing me. I think I'm going to apply for LSE only now. If I don't get accepted, I'll finish my current study here in Belgium and try again next year at Oxbridge and LSE. If I don't get accepted, then I might choose Scotland or Ireland because of the lower tuition fees, then try again for my postgraduate in Oxbrdige of LSE (or even some US university).

(Original post by Capricancer)
It's ranked #1 in The Guardian for IR and #2 in both the CUG and The Times and Sunday Times. Don't know how that's not top of the subject rankings.

You also get free tuition in Scotland since you're an EU student.
Seems like I've used the wrong rankings then. Thank you for pointing that out!

The free tuition in Scotland is a very interesting remark!

(Original post by Snufkin)
I don't think you can if you already have a degree.
(Original post by Capricancer)
Oh yeah maybe you're right, well the fees are £1820 compared to £9250 for rUK students so it's still cheaper.
Didn't know about such differences within the UK! It will also be interesting to see what's going to happen with Brexit.
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username941859
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I'm in my last year of an IR degree at St Andrews and I can 10/10 recommend it. The department is amazing.
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