Search form



Bachelor of Arts - Undergraduate Program

International Relations: Politics and History (IRPH)

The problems and threats facing the world today are complex. Navigating the international political arena and creating sustainable solutions require both a nuanced and multi-faceted approach. Thus, the International Relations: Politics and History (IRPH) program teaches students concepts and methods from a number of fields, including political science, history, law, and philosophy. The overall aim is twofold: first, to equip students with the theoretical knowledge and analytical skills required to explore the historical emergence of, and remedies for, pressing global ills. And, second, to prepare our students so they can succeed either on the job market or in graduate school.

Upon graduating, about 60% of our students enter prestigious graduate schools, such as Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics (LSE), Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, and Sciences Po. About 40% of our graduates opt for the job market and secure positions in traditional international relations fields, public policy, or development work as well as in the business sector, consulting, and in many other areas. The success of our students attests to the excellence of the IRPH program, which is also confirmed by the program’s outstanding rankings from the Centre for Higher Education (CHE).

Read more

WHY Study at jacobs

  • Train your intercultural skills by studying with talents from more than 100 countries and excellent study abroad options.

  • Benefit from highest standards in teaching, interdisciplinary learning, early research involvement, and hands-on education.

  • Connect with Alumni to broaden your professional network & start your career with our individual career service support.

Key Facts


Jacobs University
Bremen, Germany

Fall Intake 2023:

Apply by June 1 (global) and July 15 (for applicants who do not need a visa)
Start last week of August (orientation week), first week of September (classes)


3 years full-time


€ 20,000 per academic year (two semesters)
+ € 8,000 on-campus room and board (full meal plan)


All students are considered for an academic achievement scholarship based on their school grade point average (GPA).
EU students are eligible for a minimum guaranteed scholarship of € 4.000.

Financing Options:

Each admitted candidate will receive an individual financial package.

Ready for your future?


The three-year undergraduate program involves six semesters of study with a total of 180 ECTS credit points (CP). The curricular structure follows an innovative and student-centered modularization scheme - the 3C-Model - that groups the disciplinary content of the three study years according to overarching themes:


Study program structure

The first study year is characterized by a broad offer in disciplinary education that builds on and extends the students’ entrance qualification. IRPH Students select introductory modules with a total of 45 CP from the CHOICE area of a variety of study programs, of which 15 CP will be from their intended major.

Students can still change to another 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)

In accordance with the program’s dual primary focus on politics and history, the two first-year modules in IRPH provide an introduction to the study on international relations and history respectively. The module “Introduction to International Relations” covers the core theories of international relations and theories of cooperation and collective security, which students learn by reading texts of renowned scholars as well as engaging in interactive exercises. The module “Introduction to Modern European History” examines political, socio-economic and cultural developments in Europe during the past two centuries, by studying scholarship and interpreting primary sources. Both modules also provide methodological training to students, developing their 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. These modules aim to extend the students’ critical understanding of the key theories, principles, and methods in their major at the current state of knowledge and best practice.

IRPH students take 30 CP from the following CORE modules:

  • CORE Module: Understanding International Political Economy (7.5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Advanced International Relations Theory (7.5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Empires and Nation States (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: History of Globalization (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: International Law (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Regional Integration (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: International Resource Politics (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Diplomacy and Foreign Policy (5 CP)

15 CP in CORE modules can be selected in the second year of studies according to interest and/or with the aim to pursue a minor in a second field of studies.

In the module “Understanding International Political Economy”, students focus on the relationship between economics and international relations since the 1970s, with particular emphasis on the rise of China and East Asia. In the module “Advanced International Relations Theory”, students are familiarized with the past 60 years of theorizing about world politics and learn debating skills. The module “Empires and Nation States” introduces students to the events, ideas and processes that shape modern politics and societies. The module “History of Globalization” explores the historical roots and emergence of globalization, that is, the interconnectedness of social, economic, political, and cultural spheres. In the module “International Law”, students are introduced to public international law and how it governs the international conduct of states and non-state actors. The module “Regional Integration” examines states’ efforts to overcome their boundaries and forge economic, political, and strategic integration on a regional level. The module “International Resource Politics” 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 present times. In the module “Diplomacy and Foreign Policy”, students study foreign policy concepts and tools as well as learn the practical skills that diplomats, foreign policy experts and (international) civil servants employ in their professions.

During their third year, students prepare and make decisions for their career after graduation. To explore available choices fitting individual interests, and to gain professional experience, students take a mandatory summer internship.

The 5th semester opens also a mobility window for ample study abroad options. Finally, the 6th semester is dedicated to fostering the research experience of students by involving them in an extended Bachelor thesis project.

IRPH students take major-specific and major-related advanced Specialization modules to consolidate their knowledge at the current state of research in areas of their choice.

IRPH students can choose four of the following Specialization Modules:

  • Specialization: Political Philosophy (5 CP)
  • Specialization: China: Politics, Economy and Society (5 CP)
  • Specialization: Oppression, Conformity and Resistance under Dictatorships (5 CP)
  • Specialization: A New Cold War? EU-Russian Relations (5 CP)

In the module “Political Philosophy”, 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. The module “China: Politics, Economy and Society” deals with topical themes such as the transformation of the Chinese party-state, technological and social innovation, China ‘going global’ and other socio-political and economic challenges. In the module “Oppression, Conformity and Resistance under Dictatorships”, students are introduced to scholarly approaches toward and debates about the history of everyday life under tyranny with a focus on European twentieth-century dictatorships such as Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Socialist Eastern Germany.

Specialization modules from other programs can also be taken, contingent on IRPH SPC approval and on prerequisites. The following modules are approved to be taken from the SMP study program and do not need any further approval:

  • CORE Module: Systems of Democratic Governance (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: The Sociology of Conflict and Crisis (5 CP)
  • Specialization: A New Cold War? EU-Russian Relations (5 CP)

As a core element of Jacobs University’s employability approach students are required to engage in a mandatory two-month internship of 15 CP that will usually be completed during the summer between the second and third year of study. This gives students the opportunity to gain first-hand practical experience in a professional environment, apply their knowledge and understanding to a professional context, reflect on the relevance of their major in employment and society, reflect on their own role in employment and society, and find professional orientation. As an alternative to the full-time internship, students interested in setting up their own company can apply for a start-up option to focus on the development of their business plan.

The Jacobs Track, an important feature of Jacobs University’s educational concept, runs parallel to the disciplinary modules across all study years and is an integral part of the study program. It reflects a university-wide commitment to an in-depth training in scientific methods, fosters an interdisciplinary approach, raises awareness of global challenges and societal responsibility, enhances employability, and equips students with extra skills desirable in the general field of study. Additionally, it integrates (German) language and culture modules.

Methods and Skills 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 modules within the Methods and Skills area. Students are required to take 20 CP in the Methods/Skills area.

IRPH students take the following Methods modules:

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

For the remaining 5 CP IRPH students can choose between the following two Methods modules:

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

Big Questions modules
The modules of the Big Questions area intend to broaden the students’ horizon with applied problem solving between and beyond the disciplines. The offerings comprise problem-solving oriented modules that tackle global challenges from the perspectives of different disciplinary backgrounds and that allow, in particular, a reflection of the acquired disciplinary knowledge in economic, societal, technological, and/or ecological contexts.

IRPH students take 2-4 courses from a broad portfolio of Big Questions modules.

Community Impact Project
In their 5th semester, students are required to take a 5 CP Community Impact Project (CIP) module. Students engage in on-campus or off-campus activities that challenge their social responsibility, i.e., they typically work on major-related projects that make a difference in the community life on campus, in its neighborhood, in Bremen, or on a cross-regional level.

Language modules
Jacobs University supports its students in acquiring and improving these skills by offering a variety of language modules at all proficiency levels. Emphasis is put on fostering German language skills of international students as they are an important prerequisite for non-native speaking students to learn about, explore, and eventually integrate into their host country and its professional environment.
All students take four language courses in the first and second year.


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

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.

Read more —

Do you have any questions or need consultation?

Call us or write us – we are happy to help you with your inquiry.



Phone: 0421 200 4200
Email: study [at]




Interview with Prof. Karen Smith Stegen

Karen Smith Stegen, Prof. of Political Sciences, International Relations, Politics & History
What makes the bachelor's program International Relations, Politics & History at Jacobs unique? Prof. Smith Stegen explains what students can expect - and what kind of job perspectives they have after graduating.

Students & Alumni

What I sought was exactly that: an international community that really celebrated its diversity—and that’s what I found.

Leonoor Cornelissen

Jacobs was a very good way to always push yourself to go the one extra mile and not give up at the first wind that is coming your way.

Lisa Begusch

This area includes topics such as social cohesion, state systems, and the preservation of social welfare or the effects of regulatory systems on the individual, such as their impact on human rights. Diversity is thus regarded as a driving force behind development and progress.
Life on campus
Become part of a global community
Jacobs Students come from all over the world to live and learn at Jacobs University. Our student body represents 110 nations. They form an ambitious campus community whose internationality is unprecedented in Europe. Jacobs University’s green and tree-shaded 80-acre campus provides much more than buildings for teaching and research.