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International Relations MA

Key Facts

  • Level:


  • Duration:

    Full Time: 1 Year

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK:


  • Fees International:


  • Location:


Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries
0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries
+44 (0)1604 894503


Our International Relations MA course is especially designed for those with an interdisciplinary background who wish to fully comprehend core issues and approaches within International Relations post 9/11.

Updated 11/11/2021


  • Diverse range of study.
  • Opportunities to meet industry leaders through events and conferences.

Course Content

  • This course has been designed to contribute towards achieving the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goal: SDG10 of Reduced Inequalities.

    In today’s society the emergence of transnational economies, increased global communications, the movement of people, cultures and ideas are reshaping the notions of citizenship and community. With this the increase in sectarian violence and new fundamentalisms are challenging security on an individual to international level. With this in mind, there has never been a more interesting time or a greater need for the study of International Relations. The subject gives you a thorough and sensitive knowledge of interests, ethnicities and cultures allowing you to understand the global condition.

    International Relations is a vital and dynamic subject that offers you an interdisciplinary exploration of human interaction. It is not so much a single discipline; rather it is a study of a particular type of behaviour whose comprehension requires the insight and methods of a number of disciplines. Although your MA is set within a strong political and sociological framework, the course is enhanced through the support of Law, History, and American Studies.

    Studying International Relations provides you with an opportunity to engage with and adapt to the changing international, national and regional realities post 9/11. The security implications of the events of 9/11, and the impact of global developments on everyday lives, are present in the public mind as never before. Current topical issues are explored through this course including:

    • nuclear proliferation
    • international crime and terrorism
    • Israel and Palestine
    • western intervention and civil war in Iraq

    International Relations develops your critical awareness, conceptual understanding, research methods and the way that you apply your knowledge. Your MA will provide you with an appropriate set of intellectual skills to enable you to come to more informed and effective conclusions in an ‘ever-changing’ global context.

    It is our aim to complement your existing knowledge and build upon your first degree, giving you transferable capabilities and a specialist area of knowledge. This course provides you with a unique opportunity for you to study at a very high level for a postgraduate degree with global relevance, regardless of whether you have studied this subject previously or not.

    The MA offers an exciting opportunity for graduates to develop their understanding of international affairs both theoretically and through your own or others’ experience.

    List of modules
      • Module code: ECNM014
        Status: Designate
        This module provides students with a critical approach to the post-independence model adopted by developing countries and to compare and contrast its achievements and limitations with the outcomes of the model adopted over the Neoliberal era.
      • Module code: IRDM025
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to cultivate an understanding of some of the central debates concepts themes and contestations within the general framework of IR studies. In particular it is concerned to develop a clear sense of IR as an evolving discipline that continues to draw upon a range of conceptual and theoretical advances in its analyses of the contemporary world.
      • Module code: IRDM030
        Status: Designate
        This module explores the creation of the European Union and its subsequent development. It examines the major institutions and competences of the European Union and major domestic and foreign policies.
      • Module code: IRDM033
        Status: Designate
        China is a 'superpower' allowing the re-establishment of a bi-polar world. Many of its crucial domestic political questions impinge both upon its foreign policy and its relations with other countries and international organizations. This module will explore the key elements drivers and impacts of China's foreign policy and thereby allow greater understanding of the complexities and dilemmas associated with relations between the occident and orient.
      • Module code: IRDM047
        Status: Designate
        The purpose of this module is to encourage the formation of competing explanations of how Russia has emerged from the relative chaos of the fall of the Berlin Wall through the Yeltsin period. It further considers Russia?s attempts to reassert itself as a world power in relation to its former vassal states such as the Balkans and the Baltics as well as the USA EU and China.
      • Module code: IRDM077
        Status: Designate
        This module will provide an inter-disciplinary evaluation of the impacts politics and socio-cultural ramifications of the emergence of electronic communications systems that have helped to transform the structure of effects of information across the world. Theoretically the module will explore the erosion of institutional structures and stabilities by more fluid and rapidly changing patterns of international communications.
      • Module code: IRDM079
        Status: Compulsory
        This module provides the necessary knowledge of international organisations required for employment in such bodies. It will offer a structural analysis and critique of specific institutions situating them in historical and operational contexts.
      • Module code: IRDM081
        Status: Designate
        The purpose of this module is to provide critical analysis of how and by what means and initiatives key states (USA UK Soviet Union/Russia China EU) in the 20th and 21st Centuries have developed policies unilaterally or multilaterally towards the Middle East and with what short and long-term outcomes for the region.
      • Module code: IRDM082
        Status: Designate
        The purpose of this module is to examine the development of American foreign policy after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the transition of the United States from leader of a multilateral military-political alliance during the Cold War to a unilateral hegemon challenged by rising powers such as China and Russia.
      • Module code: IRDM083
        Status: Designate
        The purpose of this module is to engage students in the analysis of contemporary-Saharan African politics incorporating insights from political science history and anthropology in addition to international relations. It will offer a wide-ranging analytical approach to African political dynamics during and in the aftermath of European colonialism.
      • Module code: IRDM084
        Status: Compulsory
        This module critically evaluates methodological approaches to research and provides practical training in the formulation of research design as preparation for the dissertation. The dissertation is an independent piece of research that allows students to produce an analytical and well-organised thesis on a particular area of International Relations in-depth.
      • Module code: LAWM051
        Status: Designate
        The purpose of this module is to analyse how effectively European and international law recognizes protects and enforces human rights standards. This will be examined in the context of specific legal documents and contemporary human rights issues such as genocide socio-economic rights and terrorism.
    Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme

    MA International Relations is part of the Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELCS). The ELCS is an opportunity for members of the Armed Forces to further or expand on their education. The scheme offers support financially in a maximum of three separate financial years for higher level learning of a nationally recognised qualification at a Level three or above.

  • If you have a first or second class honours degree, preferably in a social sciences subject, from a British university or its equivalent overseas then you will be eligible to apply for this course. You are encouraged to discuss the course with tutors prior to making an application.

    For more information on how to make an application, please visit our How to Apply page.

    If you are an International student and would like information on making an application, please see our How to Apply page.

    English Language Requirements

    All International and EU students applying for a course with us must meet the following minimum English language requirements:

    • Minimum standard – IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) for study at postgraduate level.

    For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.

  • 22/23 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 22/23 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK: £7,650
    • International: £15,000

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

    Additional costs

    There are no additional costs for this course for students beginning their studies in September 2022. Should this change, applicants and students will be contacted by the university with details of the costs.

    21/22 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 21/22 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK: £7,470
    • International: £14,000

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

  • Our graduate discount scheme is open to graduates of the University of Northampton who enrol on a full master’s programme with us.

    Qualifying students will receive 20% discount on the full tuition fee for their Master’s course.

    *Find out if you are eligible for 20% fee discount by visiting our page.

  • How will I learn?

    Our International Relations MA is awarded after completion of a mixture of taught courses and a programme of research. The MA lasts at least one year if taken full-time, two years part-time. We also offer advanced short courses that lead to Postgraduate Certificates and Postgraduate Diplomas in International Relations.

    We recognise that some students may prefer to study in ‘stages’ – funds or time permitting. This is why we provide a named Postgraduate Certificate and a named Postgraduate Diploma. A Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations is available if you successfully complete 120 CATS points but do not complete the 60 CATS dissertation. Alternatively, there is the opportunity to achieve a Postgraduate Certificate in International Relations by successfully gaining 60 CATS points including 40 CATS of IR theory, but excluding 20 CATS of methodology/research, and the 60 CATS dissertation module.

    All of this gives you the added flexibility of opting in or out of awards depending upon your individual needs. This also enables you to complete your study within a timescale suitable to your own specific needs. We offer multiple points of entry (February and September) over a one or two year cycle to give you added flexibility.

    How will I be assessed?

    You will study through a range of coursework and your dissertation. Assessment methods on this course include essays, literature reviews, presentations and research reports. Depending on your option choices, it is possible to study this course without examinations. All coursework reflects the high level of intellectual demands associated with a taught MA and has the aim of developing a range of oral and written skills. You need to be prepared to commit yourself to substantial reading and thought for successful completion of an MA. The lectures and tutor-led teaching on this course provide you with overviews of major theories and themes but the seminars and workshops are where your learning is consolidated, exemplified and put into context.

    What is the schedule like for this course?

    We aim to encourage student-led debates and the exchange of ideas. Modules will typically alternate fortnightly between classes on campus and online learning activities. Each module incorporates a variety of teaching methods in class, including workshops, presentations and discussions of primary and secondary materials (such as film, images and online resources). Online learning activities include online seminars, discussion boards, podcasts and blogs.

    If you are studying this course full-time you will have six hours of timetabled contact per week, if you are studying this course part-time you will have three hours. Please note that this does not include individual tutorials or dissertation supervision.

    Independent study and assessment time equate to approximately 18 hours per week full-time or nine hours part-time.

    Are there any special features on this course?
    • strong staff expertise
    • enthusiastic and approachable teaching team providing a supportive atmosphere for research
    • the core modules consider classic texts and the very latest thinking on international theory
    • focus on the study of distinct global regions not just Europe, North America or the West
    • you will be assigned a personal tutor and will be encouraged to form study groups with colleagues
    • we invite a variety of guest speakers in to give you their personal insights and experiences

Upcoming Open Days

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Careers and Employability

The MA International Relations aims to provide you with a suitable foundation for careers in both private and public sectors where there is a need for international sensitivity.

If you are wishing to engage in later doctoral research or in careers within voluntary organisations, the civil and diplomatic service, international organisations, research posts or journalism you will particularly benefit from studying this course.

We have excellent links with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Members of European Parliament and representatives from the United Nations, as well as a number of pressure groups.