MA International Relations

Key facts

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) rated 70% of UEA's research in Politics and International Studies as 4* (world leading) or 3* (internationally excellent).

"International politics has always fascinated me and postgraduate study enables you to understand current affairs and to broaden your knowledge on key debates"

In their words

Oliver Steward, MA International Relations

Terrorism, poverty, war, climate change, famine, disease pandemics, gender inequality, financial crises, transnational crime, underdevelopment: these are some of the issues that can only be fully understood through global politics.

Focusing on the big questions, our MA International Relations will equip you with the knowledge and skills to grapple with these challenges, helping you understand their causes and consequences within the international system.

Highlights of our course include a trip to Brussels, which we expect hope to run this year but this will be subject to government health advice at the time this activity takes place.

The trip is expected to include visits to the EU and NATO, opportunities to study with academics, politicians and officials, and visits to international organisations and non-governmental bodies and think tanks.

Overview

You will be taught by leading authorities in the field. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) rated 70% of UEA's research in Politics and International Studies as world leading or internationally excellent.

International Relations looks at the big questions within global politics. These include issues surrounding war, peace, conflict and security, as well as a range of other important transnational dynamics, such as global economics, the environment, human rights, religion and migration.

Whatever your background, this flexible and cross-disciplinary MA will have much to offer. Perhaps you have a degree in international relations, politics, economics, law or business studies, but you’re now looking to specialise. Perhaps you studied geography, environmental studies or economics, and are interested in the wider applications of your knowledge. Or maybe you simply have a keen interest in global politics, but no formal experience in any of these subjects.

We organise an annual trip to Brussels for our MA students and we hope this will take place. However, this will be subject to government health advice at the time this activity takes place. During the trip we visit the EU and NATO, where there will be opportunities to speak to officials and military personnel about their work. And we meet graduates from UEA who are now working in or near Brussels. Other visits within our programme have included trips to Paris, Kortrijk in Flanders, and Geneva.

The course also includes study and discussion with academics, politicians and officials, as well as visits to international organisations and non-governmental bodies and think tanks, such as the European Institute for Asian Studies, ICRC, WHO and UNESCO. All of these opportunities will be subject to government health advice.

We have an office in Brussels in association with the East of England European Partnership. The office provides a base for our teaching and employability activities, and as a postgraduate student, you will be able to use its facilities to carry out research and write your dissertation.

As a member of our postgraduate community you will also have the opportunity to attend numerous events and talks during your time here. We regularly attract distinguished lecturers, with previous guests including Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party; Caroline Lucas, MP for the Green Party; Gary Gibbon, Political Editor for Channel 4 News; Owen Jones, author and columnist for The Guardian; Caroline Flint, Labour MP; John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons; Shami Chakrabarti, former director of Liberty; Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Shirley Williams; Professor Anthony Giddens of the London School of Economics; Douglas Carswell, a UEA alumnus and former UK Independence Party MP; Sir Stephen Wall, retired diplomat; and Lord Richard Dannatt, formerly Chief of the General Staff. Find out more about our postgraduate community and experience some of these lectures.

Course Structure

This is a one-year, full-time Master’s degree programme. You will have lectures, seminars and workshops during your first two semesters, then over the summer you will work on your dissertation, which you’ll submit at the beginning of September.

Within your learning you will complete our core module, International Relations Theory, and choose from a number of options depending on your interests. For example, you may wish to specialise in European politics, or you may want to take a more global perspective, selecting from a broad range of modules.

Your dissertation is an integral element of your MA and an excellent opportunity to conduct independent research into a subject area that you find stimulating. You will select your own topic and will be allocated an individual supervisor to advise you on all aspects of writing and researching. We also organise a dedicated Postgraduate Day in the spring, when you will have the opportunity to discuss your dissertation as a work in progress with staff and fellow students.

Teaching and Learning

Our Political, Social and International Studies department within the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies possesses world-leading expertise in the research and teaching of international politics, public policy, media and society, and social and political theory.

Planning is now underway in light of the covid-19 crisis to ensure that teaching will continue to be of the highest standard. We are prepared for teaching completely online, and for a mix of online teaching and we hope, face-to-face teaching on campus so you can be reassured that, whatever happens, you will be able to start your degree.

You will be taught by experts in international relations, security studies, political philosophy, political communications and media studies. Our teaching is research-led, in that we ask the same questions of our students as we do in our research. Which means you can be sure your learning is at the cutting-edge of the discipline.

The department comprises more than 30 members of staff, all of who actively engage with research in the field. We take an inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approach to our work, linking theory to practice, to create a distinctive programme of research. This has given us a strong international reputation for research in a wide variety of areas, including international relations, international security, terrorism, human rights, religion, Britain, the EU, Japan, Africa, the mass media (including digital media), political communications, popular culture, identity politics, public administration and public policy, political theory, and political rhetoric.

Independent study

Learning how to study and research independently, and how to present your subsequent work, are important skills that you will gain during this postgraduate degree. You will develop and hone these abilities from your first week with us, and you will build on them as you progress through the degree to your final dissertation.

Assessment

You will be assessed through a range of methods on this degree, including essays, project work, presentations and the dissertation.

All of our modules include opportunities for formative assessments, which will provide you with the expert feedback you need before you submit your final work.

After the course

An MA is an excellent way to set yourself apart from other graduates when it comes to securing a good job. An understanding of international affairs is increasingly important in all kinds of careers, while our programme will provide you with vital employability skills and many networking opportunities.

Recent graduates from our School have taken jobs in business, teaching, research, journalism, and many international organisations, including the UN, EU and NATO.

We work closely with UEA Careers Service, which can provide advice on all aspects of graduate employment as well as helping you arrange internships and work placements.

Career destinations

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Journalism
  • The UN
  • The EU
  • NATO

Course related costs

The trip to Brussels is subsidised but there will be some additional cost.

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 80 credits:

Name Code Credits

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORY

The main objective of this course is to introduce you to the academic study of International Relations theory. You'll investigate leading theoretical approaches and become familiar with important concepts and debates in International Relations theory. You'll be introduced to the nature of knowledge claims (epistemology) and fundamental assumptions about social/international reality (ontology) in International Relations.

PPLI7005A

20

PSI DISSERTATION

For all MA students registered on programmes in Political Social and International Studies except those undertaking a Dissertation by Practice. Students are required to write a dissertation of 10,000 words on a topic approved by the Course Director or other authorised person. The dissertation is to be submitted the first working day of September in the relevant year.

PPLX7010X

60

Students will select 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

GOVERNANCE, DEMOCRACY AND DEVELOPMENT

"Good governance" and durable democracy are key items on the International Development agenda. However, despite their prominence in the development discourse, it remains contested not only how to achieve these political development goals, but also how to define them in the first place. The aim of Governance, Democracy and Development is to critically assess the possible definitions, contested causes and arguable consequences of "good governance" and democracy. Key topics to be discussed include how to define and measure democracy and "good governance", explanations for the emergence of democracy, theories on the survival of democracy and dictatorship, local forms of governance and democracy, aid and governance, trust and cooperation, the effects of democracy and dictatorship on prospects of economic development, and key challenges to democracy in the 21st century. Throughout the module, you will be expected to assess the strengths and limitations of central concepts and theories from the academic debate by applying them to relevant empirical evidence, such as political regime trends in Turkey or the economic effects of recent elections in Kenya.

DEV-7023A

20

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

States, communities, people and others often seek 'security' from various threats and dangers but what, exactly, does it mean to be secure? Is security even possible? Who should have security, and from what should we be - or do we need to be - secured? Is security even desirable, or does the search for it sometimes have negative consequences for ourselves or for others? This module introduces you to these 'big questions' of security studies. You will examine the study of security in the international system, from its roots in political theory and Cold War strategic studies through to the development of a more broadly focused field today. We will explore different theoretical perspectives on these 'big questions', with particular emphasis on contemporary and critical approaches. And we will apply all of this to a range of contemporary security issues including conflict, war, terrorism, pandemics, migration, crime, illicit drugs, gender-based violence, and environmental degradation.

PPLI7006A

20

PERSPECTIVES ON GLOBALISATION

Globalisation refers to the increasingly interconnected nature of social life on our planet. It has been described as 'the most important change in human history'. You will critically examine a number of key debates about globalisation: about what is driving the process, and about what impacts it is having - for example, on economic development, poverty and inequality, conflict, and the environment. This module takes an inter-disciplinary approach, presenting different conceptual frameworks within which contemporary globalisation is analysed.

DEV-7028A

20

PUBLIC POLICY: THEORY AND ANALYSIS

How and why is public policy made the way it is? Our aim is to enable students to develop a rich and wide appreciation of the many ways that policy is made and the factors that influence these. You will gain advanced critical understanding some of the main theories, models and concepts used in the study of public policy and how they are applied. You will also develop substantive knowledge of specific policies and policy areas, which may include environment, health, immigration and welfare policy. In addition, students successfully completing the module will be able to demonstrate an empirical understanding of the public policy process in the UK, ability to make comparisons with other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) democracies, and an understanding of the changing role of nation-states in policy development.

PPLX7002A

20

RUNNING THE WORLD: GLOBAL GOVERNANCE AND EMERGING POWERS

Who runs the world? The United Nations and Bretton Woods institutions -the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organisation - form the bedrock of the 20th Century Liberal world order. But there is much more to global governance than these liberal institutions dominated by Western powers. The last century was shaped by postcolonial independence movements, by South-South commitments to make global governance more inclusive, such as the Non-Allied Movement during the Cold War, and by powerful cartels such as OPEC. Rising powers in the global South are now reshaping global governance structures through new groups and projects such as the BRICS, the AIIB and the Belt and Road Initiative. This module offers students the opportunity to study different components of global governance in the 21st Century, from the North Atlantic power axis of the USA and Western Europe, to changes arising from Asia, while also considering Russia, the Middle East and African powers.

PPLI7014A

20

SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION

If everyone on Earth lived like a typical UK citizen, we'd need three planets-worth of resources. But we only have one. Why do we consume the way we do? What drives our behaviour and how might we persuade people to live more sustainably? What do we mean by a sustainable lifestyle, anyway? These are questions academics, business people, campaigners and policy makers struggle with every day and there are no easy answers. In this module you'll get to grips with competing visions about what sustainable consumption is. You'll gain an understanding of a range of theoretical approaches to understanding consumption behaviour and you'll learn how to apply these theories to develop strategies for achieving sustainable consumption. You'll begin by examining the impacts of western-style consumerism on the Earth's social, economic and environmental systems. Drawing on interdisciplinary social science theories from economics, psychology, sociology and ethnography, you'll go on to investigate a range of strategies for achieving change. You'll get hands-on experience testing and applying these ideas yourselves, in participative workshops, alongside award-winning innovative teaching methods. In lectures, you'll learn about topics such as Ethical Consumption, Limits to Growth, Collaborative Consumption, Community-based initiatives, Life Cycle Analysis and Behaviour-change campaigns. Understanding the theoretical debates behind everyday actions for sustainability will make you better able to design and implement sustainability strategies in the workplace - whether in the public or private sector, or civil society. You'll be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses in sustainable consumption campaigns and policies and offer theoretically-informed solutions.

ENV-7025A

20

UNDERSTANDING DIGITAL MEDIA

Digital technologies are often hyped as revolutionising society. You will be introduced to the ways in which the internet and other digital technologies are (and are not) affecting society from theoretical and empirical perspectives. The module is divided into three blocks: the first introduces the theoretical debates surrounding digital media; the second discusses how our everyday interpersonal relations are affected by digital media; the third addresses the impact of digital technology on media and politics. Topics covered include: the network society; social networking and virtual communities, surveillance, digital journalism and online activism.

PPLM7000A

20

Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY

This module will use case studies of Southeast Asia, Central America and the Middle East to explore the reasons for American interventions and to assess their success or failure. It will offer an historical understanding of the assumptions and practices which lie behind contemporary US foreign policy-making. The module will introduce students to the institutions and processes involved in the making of American foreign policy.

PPLI7008B

20

CONFLICT, CIVIL WARS AND PEACE

The number of violent intrastate conflicts has outweighed the number of violent interstate conflicts for more than five decades. Yet it was only with the end of the Cold War that academics and policy-makers started paying more attention to the possible causes and consequences of large-scale intrastate violence. Today, questions of effective conflict management, especially of large-scale civil wars, are among the top priorities of international development agencies. The aim of the Conflict, Civil Wars and Peace module is to critically assess the possible causes and consequences of violent intrastate conflicts as well as their implications for the wider development agenda. Key topics to be discussed in the module include causes, dynamics and consequences of different types of violent conflict, strategies and causes of terrorism, the role of gender during and after violent intrastate conflicts, the (contested) relationship(s) between natural resource wealth and civil wars, institutional approaches to conflict management, the rationale and possible effects of third-party intervention in civil wars, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts, including state- and peace-building as well as transitional justice. Throughout the module, you will be expected to assess the strengths and limitations of central concepts and theories from the academic debate by applying them to relevant empirical evidence, such as the role of gender during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 or the performance of Bosnia and Herzegovina's post-civil war power-sharing arrangement.

DEV-7015B

20

CONTEMPORARY WORLD DEVELOPMENT

The objective of Contemporary World Development is to examine key debates around development objectives, processes and agencies. While issues discussed here are of contemporary significance, references will be made to the historical contexts in which these debates have arisen. Concerns central to development policy making will be reviewed through theoretically grounded critical perspectives. Topics covered include the Millennium Development Goals, donors and aid politics, state and NGOs, and poverty.

DEV-7000B

20

EUROPEAN UNION: POWER, POLITICS AND POLICY

You will examine the origins, development and recent history of the European Union, the dynamics of EU decision making, and the working of EU policies in key areas, such as the single market, economic and monetary union, trade, and security and defence. You will explore the role and internal operation of the EU institutions, as well as the interaction between the EU and the member states, including what the obligations of membership imply for member countries. You will critically assess the key theories, models and concepts used in the study of the EU.

PPLI7013B

20

GENDER AND POWER

Providing a conceptual overview of feminist research approaches, you will examine contemporary gender and power relations. You will examine both the formal and informal power structures that shape the experience of gender. Bringing together the fields of media, sociology, politics and cultural studies, the module explores the extent to which feminist theory informs gender-based activism.

PPLM7015B

20

PUBLIC RELATIONS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND THE MEDIA

This module enables students to develop an advanced understanding of the theory and practice of public affairs, interest intermediation, and the strategies used by interest, advocacy groups and others to influence the political process. As well as covering the main debates in the academic literature, it draws directly on the experience of practitioners and offers unique insights into this under-studied area of politics.

PPLX7005B

20

THE FOREIGN RELATIONS OF CHINA AND JAPAN IN THE MODERN WORLD

The module looks at the history of China and Japan from the mid-19th century to the present day. You'll cover the attempts at modernisation, conflict between the two nations, their relationships with the Asian region and the United States. You'll also investigate their contrasting attempts to develop in the post-war period. In addition, you'll assess their current policies and the issues of importance to China and Japan in the 21st century, and explore whether they can move beyond the legacy of this difficult history.

PPLI7007B

20

Disclaimer

Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Humanities or Social Sciences
  • Degree Classification Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2.1 or equivalent

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 58 (minimum 42 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO University of East Anglia

If you do not meet the academic requirements for this course, you may be able to study one of the International Graduate Diploma programmes offered by our partner INTO UEA. These programmes guarantee progression to selected masters degrees if students achieve the appropriate grade. For more details please click here:

International Graduate Diploma in Political, Social and International Studies

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Pre-sessional courses online from June to September 2020. Further details can be found on the INTO UEA Online Pre-Sessional English webpage.

 

Intakes

This course's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact university directly for further information.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,850
  • International Students: £16,400

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

Living Expenses

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

Scholarships and Awards:

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a number of Scholarships and Awards on offer. For further information relevant to Political, Social and International Studies, please click here.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515