International Relations: Politics and History

International Relations: Politics and History
Bachelor of Arts - Undergraduate Program

The IRPH program is designed to address complex and pressing global issues today. The program takes a multidisciplinary approach, combining theories and methods from political science, history, law, and philosophy to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of international relations. The overarching goal of the program is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to analyze and tackle the historical origins and potential solutions to these global challenges.

The program has a proven track record of preparing students for success in further academic pursuits and the job market. Approximately 60% of IRPH graduates go on to attend prestigious graduate schools, including Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, and Sciences Po. The remaining 40% of graduates enter a variety of careers, including traditional international relations roles, public policy, development work, business, consulting, and more. The IRPH program has received high marks from the Centre for Higher Education (CHE), a further testament to the program's quality and effectiveness in preparing students for successful careers.

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Interested in the program?
Why study at Constructor University
International experience
Train your intercultural skills by studying with talents from more than 120 countries and excellent study abroad options.
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Benefit from highest standards in teaching, interdisciplinary learning, early research involvement, and hands-on education.
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Key facts
Constructor University, Bremen, Germany
€ 20,000 per academic year (two semesters) + € 8,000 on-campus room and board (double room, shared bathroom, full meal plan)
Fall intake 2024:
Apply by July 31st
Check-in days August 26th – 29th (orientation week), start first week of September (classes)
3 years full-time
Financing options:
Each admitted candidate will receive an individual financial package.
All students are considered for an academic achievement scholarship based on their school grade point average (GPA).
Study Program Chair
Complex Problems, Plural Rationality, and Public Policy
Distinguished Lecturer in History
Deputy Study Program Chair "International Relations: Politics and History" (IRPH)
Ready for your future?
4C Model

The undergraduate program at Constructor University is a three-year, 180-credit-point program designed to prepare students for a wide range of career paths.

The “4C Model” is the program's backbone, with disciplinary content grouped into three themes according to study years: CHOICE-CORE-CAREER. Additionally, the “CONSTRUCTOR Track”, an integral part of the program, runs parallel throughout the program. It provides students with multidisciplinary content and essential skills such as argumentation, data visualization, societal engagement, and communication.

The curriculum allows students to tailor their education to their goals and to explore different fields of study, with the flexibility to change their major within the first year. Moreover, the programs include a mandatory internship and a study-abroad opportunity in the fifth semester to provide students with hands-on experience and a global perspective.


4C Curriculum
Study program structure

The first study year is designed to build on and enhance the students' prior knowledge and qualifications. The program offers a wide range of introductory modules from which IRPH students can choose a total of 45 credits (CP) from various study programs, with 15 credits designated for their chosen major.

Students can switch to a different major at the beginning of the second year of studies if they have taken the corresponding modules of the study program in the first year of studies.

IRPH students take the following discipline-specific CHOICE Modules in their first year of study:

  • CHOICE Module: Introduction to International Relations (7.5 CP)
  • CHOICE Module: Introduction to Modern European History (7.5 CP)

While students have the option to switch to a different major at the start of their second year, the IRPH program requires students to complete two discipline-specific modules in their first year: "Introduction to International Relations" and "Introduction to Modern European History."  These modules provide students with a comprehensive overview of international relations and European history. The "Introduction to International Relations" module delves into the fundamental theories of international relations, cooperation, and collective security through examining texts by noted scholars and hands-on activities. The "Introduction to Modern European History" module focuses on European political, socio-economic, and cultural developments over the past two centuries. It provides students with opportunities to analyze scholarship and primary sources. Both modules aim to sharpen students' argumentation and academic writing skills.

In their second year, students take modules with a total of 45 CP from in-depth discipline-specific CORE modules. Building on the introductory CHOICE modules and applying the methods and skills students have already acquired, these modules extend students’ critical understanding of the key theories, principles, and methods in their major.

To pursue IRPH as a major, students take the following mandatory modules (15 CP):

  • CORE Module: International Political Economy (m, 5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Advanced International Relations Theory (m, 5 CP)
  • CORE Module: History of Globalization (m, 5 CP)

At least 15 CP from the following mandatory elective CORE modules need to be acquired:

  • CORE Module: Empires and Nation States (me, 5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Political Philosophy (me, 5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy and Data Science (me, 5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Digital Transformations beyond the West (me, 5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Decision Science for Politics (me, 5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Cybersecurity Governance (me, 5 CP)

The remaining 15 CP can be selected according to interest and/or with the aim of pursuing a minor in a second field of studies, or students complement their studies by taking all of the above listed mandatory-elective CORE modules.

In the “International Political Economy” module, students focus on the relationship between economics and international relations since the 1970s, with particular emphasis on the rise of China and East Asia.

The “Advanced International Relations Theory” module examines the past 60 years of theorizing about world politics and develops students’ debating skills.

The “History of Globalization” module explores the historical roots and emergence of globalization and studies the interconnectedness of social, economic, political, and cultural spheres, especially during the modern era.

The “Empires and Nation States” module introduces students to the historical events, ideas, and processes that have shaped modern politics and societies.

In the “Political Philosophy” module, students use philosophical tools such as conceptual analysis, formal and informal logic, and thought experiments to study the implications and tensions of our most important political ideas, especially as they interact with contemporary society.

In the “Foreign Policy, Diplomacy and Data Science” module, students are introduced to foreign policy concepts and acquire practical skills –including data science techniques – that diplomats, foreign policy and (international) civil servants employ in their professions.

In the “Digital Transformations beyond the West” module, participants focus on the ongoing digital transformations in Asia, and examine whether and how state actors as well as ‘Big Tech’ companies strive to gain influence over their own and other societies through dominance of information and production networks.

In “Decision Science for Politics”, students examine political decision-making from a variety of perspectives, including psychology, economics, and political science. Students will learn core theories as well as several key decision-making tools.

In “Cybersecurity Governance”, students consider which threats to cybersecurity have emerged, analyze the global governance efforts that have been made to tackle these threats, and reflect on how these efforts could be organized differently.

In their third year, IRPH students take the opportunity to prepare for their post-graduation career by completing a mandatory summer internship to gain professional experience and explore their interests.

This year also includes the option of studying abroad during the 5th semester, providing a unique opportunity for students to broaden their cultural horizons. In the 6th semester, students are fully immersed in research focusing on completing an extended Bachelor's thesis project.

To deepen their understanding of their chosen major, students take 15 CP from major-specific or major-related, advanced Specialization Modules to consolidate their knowledge and to be exposed to state-of-the-art research in the areas of their interest. This curricular component is offered as a portfolio of modules, from which students can make free selections during their fifth and sixth semester. The default Specialization Module size is 5 CP, with smaller 2.5 CP modules being possible as justified exceptions.

To pursue IRPH as a major, at least 10 of the 15 CP need to be taken from the following major-specific Specialization Modules:

  • IRPH Specialization: International Law (5 CP)
  • IRPH Specialization: Everyday Life under Dictatorships (5 CP)
  • IRPH Specialization: International Resource Politics (5 CP)
  • IRPH Specialization: China: Politics, Economy and Society (5 CP)

In the “International Law” module, students are introduced to public international law and how it governs the international conduct of state and non-state actors.

In the “Everyday Life under Dictatorships” module, students examine scholarly approaches toward and debates about the history of everyday life in totalitarian regimes with a focus on twentieth-century European dictatorships such as Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union under Stalin, and the GDR (East Germany).

The “International Resource Politics” module explores the intersection of politics, economics and resources – particularly energy – and examines the geopolitical jostling and conflicts over resources that have occurred from the late 19th century up to the present.

The “China: Politics, Economy, and Society” module deals with topical themes such as the transformation of the Chinese party-state, technological innovation, China ‘going global’ and other socio-political and economic challenges pertaining to China.

A maximum of 5 CP can be taken from major-related modules instead of major-specific Specialization Modules:

  • CORE Module: Comparing Economic Systems (7.5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Development Economics (7.5 CP)
  • Specialization: Managing Public Nonprofit Organization (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Applied Project Management (7.5 CP)

Students may also select 15 CP entirely from their major-specific Specialization Modules.

At Constructor University, students are given a unique opportunity to boost their employability through a mandatory two-month internship worth 15 credits. This opportunity usually takes place during the summer between the second and third year of study, providing students with the chance to gain practical experience in a professional setting. Through this internship, students can apply the knowledge and understanding they have gained from their major to real-world contexts, evaluate the significance of their major in the employment sector and society, reflect on their role in employment and society, and make informed career decisions. For students interested in starting their own company, an alternative to the full-time internship is offered as a start-up option, which allows them to focus on developing their business plan.

The CONSTRUCTOR Track is another important feature of Constructor University’s educational model. The Constructor Track runs orthogonal to the disciplinary CHOICE, CORE, and CAREER modules across all study years and is an integral part of all undergraduate study programs. It provides an intellectual tool kit for lifelong learning and encourages the use of diverse methodologies to approach cross-disciplinary problems. The CONSTRUCTOR track contains Methods, New Skills and German Language and Humanities modules.

Methods and skills such as mathematics, statistics, programming, data handling, presentation skills, academic writing, and scientific and experimental skills are offered to all students as part of the Methods area in their curriculum. The modules that are specifically assigned to each study programs equip students with transferable academic skills. They convey and practice specific methods that are indispensable for each students’ chosen study program. Students are required to take 20 CP in the Methods area. The size of all Methods modules is 5 CP.

To pursue IRPH as a major, the following Methods modules (15 CP) need to be taken as mandatory modules:

  • Methods Module: Academic Writing and Academic Skills (m, 5 CP)
  • Methods Module: Qualitative Research Methods (m, 5 CP)
  • Methods Module: Data Collection and Empirical Research Methodologies (m, 5 CP)

Furthermore, IRPH students must choose either

  • Methods Module: Applied Statistics with R (me, 5 CP) or
  • Methods Module: Applied Statistics with SPSS (me, 5 CP)

New Skills Modules
This part of the curriculum constitutes an intellectual and conceptual tool kit that cultivates the capacity for a particular set of intellectual dispositions including curiosity, imagination, critical thought, and transferability. It nurtures a range of individual and societal capacities, such as self-reflection, argumentation and communication. Finally, it introduces students to the normative aspects of inquiry and research, including the norms governing sourcing, sharing, withholding materials and research results as well as others governing the responsibilities of expertise as well as the professional point of view. Students in this study program are required to take the following modules in their second and third year:

  • New Skills Module: Logic (m, 2.5 CP)
  • New Skills Module: Causation and Correlation (m, 2.5 CP)
  • New Skills Module: Argumentation, Data Visualization and Communication (m, 5 CP)

Furthermore, they must choose either

  • New Skills Module: Linear Model/Matrices (me, 5 CP) or
  • New Skills Module: Complex Problem Solving (me, 5 CP)

as well one of the following modules:

  • New Skills Module: Agency, Leadership and Accountability (me, 5 CP) or
  • New Skills Module: Community Impact Project (me, 5 CP).

German Language and Humanities Modules
German language abilities foster students’ intercultural awareness and enhance their employability in their host country. They are also beneficial for securing mandatory internships (between the 2nd and 3rd year) in German companies and academic institutions. Constructor University supports its students in acquiring basic as well as advanced German skills in the first year of the Constructor Track. Non-native speakers of German are encouraged to take 2 German modules (2.5 CP each), but are not obliged to do so. Native speakers and other students not taking advantage of this offering take alternative modules in Humanities in each of the first two semesters.

The curriculum of the study program is outlined in the schematic study plan:

irph study plan
Study Program Handbook Fall 2023 - International Relations: Politics and History
Study Program Handbook Fall 2022 - International Relations: Politics and History
Study Program Handbook Fall 2021 - International Relations: Politics and History
Students and teacher
Career perspectives

The IRPH program provides students with the foundations for a variety of careers. By equipping them with an in-depth understanding of international relations and history, from both empirical and theoretical perspectives, they gain the knowledge and the analytical tools required for fields like politics and diplomacy, public policy and administration, communications and journalism.

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Students & alumni
Leonoor Cornelissen
I sought an international community that celebrated its diversity—and that’s exactly what I found.
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Lisa Begusch
The university is an excellent way to constantly push yourself to go the extra mile and not give up at the first wind coming your way.
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School of Business, Social & Decision Sciences

This study program is part of the School of Business, Social & Decision Sciences.

The School of Business, Social and Decision Sciences focuses on interdisciplinary research and education in business sciences, finance and economics, political sciences, as well as in fields related social interactions and to cognitive processes underlying behavior of individuals, groups, or institutions.

Key disciplines in the school include Management Science, Finance, Economics, Industrial Engineering, Logistics, Political Science, Cognitive Psychology, and Sociology.

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Constructor University Students come from all over the world to live and learn at Constructor University. Our student body represents 110 nations. They form an ambitious campus community whose internationality is unprecedented in Europe. Constructor University’s green and tree-shaded 80-acre campus provides much more than buildings for teaching and research.

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