Students studying International Studies and Spanish appreciate how the insights of political analysis (e.g. political theory, political institutions, international relations) and the tools of literary and linguistic inquiry combine to illuminate political and historical developments, including those in the contemporary world.
By studying International Studies and Spanish, students can also analyse a wide variety of literary, political, social, cultural and linguistic aspects of Spanish-speaking countries across the globe. All students follow modules in Spanish language which are of a broadly communicative nature, focusing on contemporary Spanish/Hispanic social and cultural issues and drawing on authentic materials. The degree takes four years to complete (which includes the study abroad year).
International Relations and Spanish Degree highlights
In the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021, Iberian Languages is ranked • 7th in the UK overall • 2nd for Research Quality • 5th for Research Intensity.
- After stage 2, you will spend an academic year working or studying in a Spanish-speaking country. Students have the possibility of acquiring valuable professional experience by teaching in a school, undertaking a work placement, or doing voluntary work; they may also elect to study at a Spanish university.
- Students taking a BA in Spanish undertake an extended period of residence abroad (typically 8 months), normally working as an assistant in a school or undertaking a paid work placement in a Spanish-speaking country (options include Spain and Latin America). Students can also elect to study at a Spanish university, or do voluntary work.
In addition to the benefits for oral competence, the residence provides a unique opportunity for immersion in Spanish and Spanish/Hispanic culture. Moreover, the Year Abroad is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity. This feature of our degree programme gives students the opportunity for personal development, and further develops communication and language skills and intercultural awareness. The challenges of living abroad come to be a unique (and unforgettable) stage in their own personal development.
- Graduates have risen to the top in a number of fields, including media, print journalism, translating, marketing, local government, fast-stream Civil Service, and a very wide range of local, national and international companies.
International Relations offers a range of employment placements where students can gain real world work experience which is invaluable in terms of employment after graduation.
Given that Belfast is a regional capital with devolved powers, we can offer students placements in the high profile political and related institutions on our doorstep – for example in the departments in the Northern Ireland Executive, the Equality Commission, the NI Local Government Association. We also offer work experience placements with charities such as Women’s Aid and public affairs companies.
World Class Facilities
- Queen’s Library has an outstanding collection of resources relating to Spain and Latin America, as well as a range of political topics. The Language Centre has state-of-the-art facilities for language learning, and the IT provision more generally is excellent.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- With over 30 staff at the cutting edge of research and publication, the School is the largest in Ireland and one of the largest in the UK and Ireland, with specialisms in Irish and British politics, political theory, sustainable development, the politics of film and literature, gender, democratic innovations, European
- Students run both a lively Spanish and Portuguese Society and Politics Society, and staff offer support through a personal tutoring system, skills development programme and a structured framework for feedback.
- Spanish at Queen’s is one of the few areas in the UK where you can study courses that cover the 15th-21st centuries in Spain and Latin America. Subject include:
• Visual Cultures (cinema, art, textiles, photography)
• History (colonialism, disease, Civil War)
• Digital Humanities
“When I came to visit Queen‘s, the facilities, the city and the feel of the place were far above any of the other universities I‘d visited. I chose this particular course as it looked interesting, and covered a variety of topics. Belfast itself is a lovely city, with an amazing river walk. I‘ve loved trips to the coast and to the mountains and it really is a beautiful place to live.”
Additional Information In order to ensure that students studying International Relations and Spanish degree have sufficient grounding in both subjects, you will take an equal number of International Relations and Spanish modules. At level 3, you will have greater flexibility in terms of your module choices, having the option to substitute either a dissertation or internship in place of two taught modules.
In your final year, you can to write a dissertation based on a research topic of your choice and under one-to-one supervision by an academic with specialist knowledge in the chosen field. This provides a unique opportunity to marshal all the research and writing skills you have learned through the course of your degree to produce an original piece of research which reflects the particular interests that you have acquired in your time studying at Queen’s.
Introduction Students on this pathway take three courses per subject at each level, as well as a language year abroad. Stage 1 • Comparative Politics
• World Politics
• Issues in Contemporary Politics
• Spanish 1
• Intermediate Spanish
• Spanish for Beginners
Stage 1 Optional Course • Introduction to Iberian Studies
• Introduction to Latin American
Stage 2 In your second year, you will focus on the political, economic and social transformations of the 20th century and beyond, and will be able to advance your conceptual understanding of the field of international relations and conflict. You will also deepen your understanding of Spanish and Spanish-language literature and cultures.
• International Relations
• Spanish 2
Stage 2 Optional Courses • Politics and Policy of the European Union
• Apocalypse! The End of the World
• Politics and Policies of the EU
• Modern Political Thought
• Studying Politics
• British politics in crisis?
• Irish Politics
• American Politics
• Peace and Conflict Studies
• Identity Politics in Diverse Societies
• The Politics of Deeply Divided Societies
• Security and Terrorism
• International Organisations
• The Northern Ireland Conflict and Paths to Peace
• Afterlives: Rogues & Mystics
• Issues and Culture
• Spanish Memoirs and Autobiographies
• The Fantastic in Latin America
• Issue and Culture of the US-Mexico Borderlands
• Representation in Lusophone Africa in Postcolonial Cinema
Stage 3 Placement Year Stage 4 In year 4 you will have more flexibility and choice.
International Relations and Spanish students can required to take:
• THREE modules from the list of options in International Relations PLUS THREE modules in Spanish (including Spanish 3); OR
• PAI3097 Internship (double weighted) and ONE International Relations module from below PLUS THREE modules in Spanish (including Spanish 3); OR
• PAI3099 Dissertation (double weighted) and ONE International Relations module from below PLUS THREE modules in Spanish (including Spanish 3)
Stage 4 Optional Courses • Dissertation (Politics and International Studies)
• Gender and Politics
• Earth, Energy, Ethics & Economy
• National and Ethnic Minorities in European Politics
• The Politics of the Global Economy
• Politics, Public Administration, and Policy-Making
• The Global Political Economy of Energy
• Contemporary Political Philosophy
• European Cultural Identities
• Radical Hope: Inspiring Present-day Sustainability Transformations
• Arms Control
• Northern Ireland: A Case Study
• Asylum and Migration in Global Politics
• National and Ethnic Minorities
• US Foreign Policy
• The Far Right in Western Europe
• Security and Technology
• War and Visual Culture
• Rewriting Love in the Renaissance
• Failed Romances of Latin
• American Literature
• Brazilian Digital Culture
• Imperfect Heroines: Spanish fiction in the 19th and 20th centuries
• Disease and Society in Colonial Latin America
• Inner Journeys
• The Sacred Made Real: Representing Spirituality in Spain’s Golden Age
• The Placement
Note: Modules at Stage 2 and 4 are subject to change based on availability.
People teaching you
HAPPDr Gabriel Sánchez Espinosa
Reader in Spanish Studies
Arts, English and Languages
Dr Sánchez Espinosa is Head of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and teaches Spanish language, and 18th-century Spanish literature and culture.
Contact Teaching Times
Large Group Teaching 5 (hours maximum)
3-5 hours of lectures
Medium Group Teaching 8 (hours maximum)
hours of small-group teaching
Personal Study 25 (hours maximum)
22-25 hours preparing and revising
Learning and Teaching
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable our students to achieve their full academic potential.
On the BA in International Studies and Spanish we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. We create a supportive environment in which we get to know each of our students individually. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- E-Learning technologies
Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: computer-based grammar learning packages; interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes in project- based work and for presentations etc.
These introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments.
- Oral classes
Students will have opportunities to develop oral skills and apply grammar and vocabulary in real-life, practical contexts. All these classes are taught in very small groups (typically 6-12 students) and are facilitated by a native speaker (from Spain or Latin America). Students will be expected to attend 1 oral class per week as part of your core language course.
- Personal Tutor
Students are allocated a Personal Tutor who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development. This gives students one identified contact to discuss any difficulties they might encounter and who can answer any queries they might have.
- Self-directed study
This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
Almost all of the teaching in International Studies and Spanish is carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students). These provide significant opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess your own progress and understanding with the support of peers. Students should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups. All of our language teaching and the vast majority of our other modules are delivered through small-group seminars.
- Year Abroad
Students taking a BA in International Studies and Spanish undertake a year abroad in a Spanish-speaking country after Level 2. This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity during which students can study in a Spanish University, work as an English-Language Teacher, undertake a paid work placement etc. This feature of our degree programme gives students the opportunity for personal development, gives them a job placement, further develops communication and language skills, and the challenges of living abroad come to be a unique (and unforgettable) stage in their own personal development.
Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
- The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of the year examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook or module guides which are provided to all students.
As students progress through this course they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module convenors, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Formal written comments and marks relating to work that students, as individuals or as part of a group, have submitted. The vast majority of our written feedback is provided electronically to your personal online account.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities during or at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Immediate, on-the-spot feedback from your teacher during language classes.
- Individual consultations addressing specific queries with lecturers during designated consultation hours.
- Online or emailed comment to specific queries.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which students can review in their own time.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service
- Once students have reviewed their feedback, they are encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of their work.
Queen’s has an excellent library with an outstanding range of resources in Peninsular Spanish and Hispanic cultures. The Language Centre has state-of-the-art facilities for language learning, and IT provision more generally is excellent.
- E-Learning technologies
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by individual University Schools. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form, which is considered by the Selector for that particular subject or degree programme along with a member of administrative staff from the Admissions Service. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
For entry last year, applicants for this BA programme must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of 5 GCSE passes at grade C or better (to include English Language). Performance in any AS or A-level examinations already completed would also have been taken into account and the Selector will check that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects (in this case A-Level Spanish) can be fulfilled.
Offers are normally made on the basis of 3 A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat applicants is set in terms of 3 A-levels and may be one grade higher than that asked from first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.
Applicants offering two A-Levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-Level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.
Applicants offering other qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate or an Access course, will also be considered.
Applicants offering Access/Certificate in Foundation Studies courses will be considered individually on their own merits and the standard required is an overall average of 70% in Level 3 modules. Applicants must also have the appropriate qualification to fulfil the entry requirements for Spanish.
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of BA degrees, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking 4 A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
Applicants are not normally asked to attend for interview, though there are some exceptions and specific information is provided with the relevant subject areas.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to an Open Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions Service (firstname.lastname@example.org), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes
INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Studying for an International Relations and Spanish degree at Queen’s will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Graduates from this degree at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline.
The First Destination Survey showed that none of our language graduates were unemployed six months after graduating in 2010. A Higher Education Funding Council report for 2008 also showed that 3.5 years after graduation, languages students have the fourth highest mean salary (after graduates in Medicine, Pharmacy and Architecture).
Although the majority of our graduates are interested in pursuing careers in law, business, banking and translation, significant numbers develop careers in a wide range of other sectors. Typical careers pursued by graduates in Spanish can include publishing, education/teaching, translation/interpreting, PR, fast stream Civil Service, and banking.
Employment after the Course
Graduates go on to work in a very wide range of sectors, including media and communications, advertising, journalism, tourism, teaching and translation. They are particularly in demand in careers requiring a high level of communication and presentation skills, as well as strong critical and analytical thinking.
We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of employers including, for example, Santander and the British Council who provide sponsorship for our year abroad placements as well as Rolls Royce, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Moy Park / MARFRIG who are members of the employer liaison panel for the course.
Michael, a 2016 Spanish graduate remarked:
‘Studying Spanish at QUB was a very rewarding experience for me personally and one that I would recommend to anyone considering it. The truth is that the 4 years passed in what seemed the blink of an eye, but it is clear to me that I really developed not just in terms of my language, but also my critical thinking, my ability to research independently and work as part of a team, my public speaking and many more valuable skills for entering into the world of employment. I am currently working at an educational technology start-up in Madrid where Spanish is the lingua franca. I know for a fact that being a native English speaker with a degree in Spanish from a renowned institution helped me to get my foot in the door here and I am putting into practice many of the skills I learned studying Spanish at Queen’s on a daily basis.’
Our past students have also gained work placement with organisations such as:
• British Council Assistantships Program,
• Santander Bank
• Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Graduate Careers and Achievements: Many of our former graduates have risen to the top of their fields and include many famous figures; for example:
• Hilary Oliver, Managing Director, Cameo Productions
• Carla Leonard, Business Performance Manager, Barclays
• Nuala McKeever, Comedian
• Niall Donnelly, Reporter, UTV
What employers say
‘We are looking for graduates who can be our future leaders who demonstrate qualities of courage, judgement and breadth. Where do we find such qualities? Linguists or arts graduates.’
Miles Cowdry, Director of Global Corporate Development, Rolls Royce PLC
Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Prizes and Awards
Certificates of Distinction in Spoken Spanish: A certificate of Distinction in spoken Spanish is awarded to students whose performance is 1st class in their final year oral examination.
Queen’s Foundation Scholarship: Awarded by the School for the best overall performance in Spanish at Stage 1.
The O’Rawe Prize for Academic Progress: This award recognises the achievements of the student at stage 2 who has demonstrated the most significant academic improvement.
The prize of £500 will be awarded to the student who, according to the established criteria shows the most academic improvement between their first year and their second year of study on the BA Spanish programme at joint honours level or above
Xavier Giralt Prize: This prize, which is derived from funds bequeathed by the late Xavier Giralt, will be awarded each year to one or more Final Year candidates in Spanish language, whose exceptional academic performance merits recognition
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £4,530 Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,530 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250 EU Other 3 £17,400 International £17,400
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2021-22, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.
If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.
Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
International Relations and Spanish costs
In Year 2 students can apply for a number of optional history exchanges with institutions in the USA. The cost will vary depending on the institution and length of exchange and can range from £500 - £6,000.
Students who undertake a period of study or work abroad, are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. These costs vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. Students should be aware that placement and internship modules do not normally involve payment or financial support from either Queen’s or the placement/internship provider.
Students have a compulsory year abroad in year 3 of their degree.
A limited amount of funding may be available to contribute towards these additional costs, if the placement takes place through a government student mobility scheme.
How do I fund my study?
There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.
Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How and when to Apply
How to Apply
Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/students.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2022 from 1 September 2021.
Advisory closing date: 15 January 2022 (18:00). This is the 'equal consideration' deadline for this course.
Applications from UK and EU (Republic of Ireland) students after this date are, in practice, considered by Queen’s for entry to this course throughout the remainder of the application cycle (30 June 2022) subject to the availability of places.
Applications from International and EU (Other) students are normally considered by Queen’s for entry to this course until 30 June 2022. If you apply for 2022 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
The Institution code name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study. Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.
Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students
- Applying through UCAS
Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2022.
- Applying direct
The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
- Applying through agents and partners
The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.
Fees and Funding
- Applying through UCAS