Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

MA International Relations

This programme will shape your understanding of global politics in the contemporary world by introducing you to a wide range of theories, approaches and stimulating debates surrounding international politics and relations.

You’ll analyse topics central to the functioning of the international system and explore contemporary and historical approaches, focusing on country-specific, regional and international processes. Our emphasis on international studies invites an interdisciplinary approach and reflects the broadening nature of the subject beyond the confines of inter-state relationships.

You’ll have the opportunity to develop expertise in a specialist area of interest to you, whilst working with leaders in the field of international relations. As well as enhancing your knowledge in international relations and the complex and contradictory forces that shape the global agenda, this programme will equip you with excellent research skills, methodologies and approaches.

Our department is one of the largest and most diverse in the UK with academics who are widely recognised as leading experts in their field. You’ll therefore benefit from a very broad range of expertise in terms of substantive issues and regional specialisms that you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else.

Colleagues working in the International Relations and Security research group participate in research clusters on ‘The Responsibility to Protect and Prosecute’ and ‘Contemporary Democracy and Authoritarianism’ as well as the Middle East Research Group.


This programme will give you the opportunity to combine the study of global challenges with an in-depth examination of the international relations of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The modules studied will enable you to:

  • gain a better understanding of the international system and how it interacts with states and societies world-wide
  • link theoretical ideas to events in the international system, both historical and contemporary
  • demonstrate that international politics is a struggle for ideas as well as power.


You’ll be introduced to the relationship between the struggle for power and the struggle between ideas. You’ll investigate some of the ideological and philosophical movements that have shaped, and continue to shape, the international system, and you’ll examine a variety of competing positions with reference to events in the real world.

You’ll also be able to hone your research and writing skills in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.

The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.

If you’re a part-time student, you’ll take one compulsory module and choose one optional modules in your first year. You’ll then take the compulsory dissertation module and two optional modules in your second year to complete your programme.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

As a full-time student, you’ll study two compulsory modules – including your dissertation. You’ll also choose a number of optional modules from a wide-ranging list.

Compulsory modulesOptional modules
- Theoretical Approaches in International Relations
- International Relations Dissertation
- American Foreign Policy
- Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance
- Contemporary Issues in Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Weapons of - Mass Destruction
- Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
- European Defence and Security Analysis
- International Relations and the Environment
- Global Justice
- Global Politics of Health: Power and Inequity
- Policing Post-Conflict Cities
- The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
- The Rise of China

Learning and teaching

Teaching is through a combination of lectures, lively seminar discussions and guided weekly readings. We expect you to participate fully in taught sessions and to study independently, developing your skills and preparing for lectures and seminars. You’ll also be able to benefit from an impressive range of research talks and seminars led by outside speakers or colleagues from within the department and University.

Assessment

Within modules, assessment consists exclusively of assessed essays. At the end of your studies, a 12,000 word dissertation will allow you to pursue your own research interest under close supervision by one of our expert colleagues.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a related discipline or an equivalent professional qualification. Relevant experience will also be taken into account.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Politics and International Studies admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Communication and Society (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Communication and Society (10 weeks).

How to apply

Application deadlines

UK/EU students: 31 July

International students: 30 June

Documents and information you’ll need

A copy of your degree certificate or equivalent, as well as a copy of the transcript of your grades (or partial transcript if you’re still studying) certified by the awarding institution

Two references

Evidence of your English language qualifications, if English isn’t your first language.

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
 
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Interviews

The School of POLIS doesn’t typically interview applicants; however, in certain circumstances programme leaders may invite you to interview as part of the selection procedure. This may allow us to further assess your aptitude and interest in the programme if your circumstances are not straightforward. If invited to interview, you’ll receive an email invitation from the School to attend an interview on a specific date. We’ll do our best to accommodate requests for an alternative date but this cannot be guaranteed.

Admissions policy

School of Politics and International Studies Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy

Fees

UK/EU: £6,000

International: £15,000

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Scholarships and financial support

POLIS Scholarships

POLIS offers one full-fees and one partial-fees scholarship for UK/EU applicants wishing to study a full-time Masters.For applicants who are nationals of China, Japan, Nigeria, India and South Korea and wishing to study a full-time Masters, POLIS offers up to five scholarships to the value of £3000.
Find out further details of the POLIS Excellence Scholarships schemes.

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out if you can get help at Postgraduate funding.


Career opportunities

This programme provides you with an ideal preparation for a career in the international political arena.

Many of our students go on to have high-profile careers in politics, the civil service, the media, non-governmental organisations and international organisations such as the UN and World Bank, as well as roles in the private sector. Others have continued to pursue their research interests at PhD level.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.


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