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International Relations - MA

Why study this course?

This course focuses on international relations today and on providing an understanding of global dynamics. It offers a broad range of modules including a work placement opportunity, with subject areas encompassing international relations theory, international politics and international public law. In the most recent (2015-16) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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The International Relations MA aims to equip you for analytical research on contemporary structures, processes and factors in international relations. It's ideal for those whose career plans involve dealing with international affairs but who lack an academic background in the field.

The course is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, and there's a heavy emphasis on discussion and presentation.

If you're interested in policy issues, the vocational nature of the course is further enhanced by the dissertation; this allows you to engage in a substantial piece of research and to apply your knowledge and skills in an area of particular interest to you and your career aspirations.

Assessment

Assessment varies from module to module but typically encompasses a combination of essays, project work, oral presentations and unseen examinations. The dissertation element forms a third of the overall assessment weighting.

You will be required to have:

  • an undergraduate degree of second class honours or above in a relevant discipline

Candidates with other qualifications may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday

    This core module introduces students to the systematic study of International Law in an international relations context.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon
    • spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

    This module asks students to undertake a major piece of independent research in International Relations and write up their findings as a dissertation.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday

    This core module is devoted to approaches in International Relations, their relation to more general social science theories and the theoretical basis of research strategies in international relations. The module also includes workshops on research methods and practical exercises in designing a piece of IR research. The module will give a broad overview of the discipline of International Relations, engaging with the scope of study, key theories and concepts, and will ground these in a historical overview of the international system. Key historical themes are highlighted to demonstrate changes in the patterns and conduct of world politics.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday afternoon

    This module will examine the changing, contemporary foreign policy of the United States of America in the 21st Century.

    It will explore the constitutional, institutional, and political frameworks within which contemporary foreign policy in the U.S. is formulated and executed, illustrating the complexities and difficulties faced by U.S. decision makers. In particular, attention will be paid to the changing nature of power, and whether America remains a unipolar power, as argued by Charles Krauthammer, or if it is now having to adjust to a multipolar world, and what that might mean for the U.S. in the future. This will include considering how power may be shifting in the 21st Century from the U.S., and the West, to the East, or the so-called “Rest”.

    The module begins with a survey of the American foreign policy process. Topics that we will examine include international political forces, the Presidency and Congress, the executive bureaucracy, interest groups, public opinion and the media. Subsequent sections of the module examine the nature and role of power and force in today’s world; the challenges to American power; human rights and the role of moral principles in American foreign policy; the debate surrounding multilateral and unilateral foreign policies; the response to 9/11 and new security threats; and the future of American foreign policy in the 21st century.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Thursday

    This module examines the theory and institutionalized practice of human rights and the significance of human rights politics for the structure of the present world order. It contextualises, analyzes, evaluates and applies various conceptions of human rights that are operative within international relations and within the study of international relations. Attention is paid to the transformation of state sovereignty by human rights discourse and practice. The relation of human rights to the international order is problematised in the context of the history and philosophy of human rights, liberalism and its critics and opponents, and institutions and systems of international governance and conflict.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

    This module examines the development of the concept of Human Security within the discipline of International Relations. It will explore its implications for our broad understanding of security. It will then examine its application to specific problems and policy areas ranging from the environment to food and disease. Finally, it will examine the concept’s operationalisation by key international bodies, such as the UN and the EU, and by individual states.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday afternoon

    This module examines the theoretical, analytical, normative and practical aspects of international conflict resolution. It draws upon concepts, theories and policy prescriptions developed by both academics and practitioners. It explores the roles and activities of a range of actors in resolving intra-state and inter-state conflicts. It also offers the opportunity to examine specific conflicts in-depth.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday

    Examines role of religion in international relations, especially since the end of the Cold War, the deepening of globalisation and the impact of 9/11

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon

    Defining security remains a difficult academic task and it is this ambiguous nature of the concept which forms the basis for this core unit. Security Studies is one of the most important sub-disciplines within the overarching field of International Relations (IR) and its close association to the theories of IR ensures a rich and vast array of subject matter. At the same time, however, it remains distinct in terms of its central objectives, theories and approaches despite being able to draw on International Relations for support.

    Security Studies begins by addressing a number of fundamental issues, the most important of which is perhaps defining what we actually mean by the concept. This pursuit is dominated by debates between a variety of discourses: namely, those who seek to retain the discipline's focus purely on military conflict and those who argue that in a globalised world Security Studies needs to be expanded to a consideration of economic, environmental as well as social issues. This Module will seek to address these debates in the context of both national as well as international security issues. At the same time this Module will show that the debates between the traditionalists and the advocates of "new thinking" are having a profound impact on the discipline as both military and non-military issues begin to compete for the attention of academics and policy elites.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday

    This module explores the development of the modern inter-state system from the end of the 19th century to the present. It will focus on the dramatic transformations and continuities in the structure of the international system in this period and consider the determinants of both continuity and change. In the course of the module, the decline and rise of ‘great powers’, the source of their power and the dynamics of their interaction will be examined.

    Read full details.

The course is divided into six modules, some compulsory and other that allow you to develop your preferred subject areas.

Core modules:

  • Theory and Research in International Relations
  • The Evolution of the Modern Inter-state System
  • International Relations and the Legal Regulation of Conflict

Option modules include:

  • Religion in International Relations
  • Human Security
  • Security Studies
  • International Conflict Resolution
  • The New Europe in the New International System

Finally, you're required to produce a dissertation of 15,000 words to be submitted at the end of the course. This forms a central component of the degree. You're invited to propose a topic for detailed independent research before working with staff to develop your ideas into a coherent and feasible research proposal.

Students who have taken this course have progressed to an array of careers ranging from the public sector, through NGOs to international companies. The course has proven particularly beneficial for those who are seeking work in organisations operating in a transnational environment.

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2018. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

Use the apply button to begin your application.

When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

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