MA International Relations


The School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies offers a wide range of MA degrees.

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Key facts

(Research Excellence Framework 2014)

"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

It is ever more important to understand how the world works. Few problems today can be easily confined to the domestic arena. A better knowledge of the world and international relations can help explain why problems – from terrorism to financial crises – occur and how best to resolve them.

We pride ourselves on providing top quality teaching. Independent monitors have given us top marks for our teaching and we have consistently scored highly in student surveys too. We offer research-led teaching which means that your lecturers will be able to give the most up-to-date, cutting edge information on your subject of study.

70% of research in Politics and International Relations was rated 4* (world leading) or 3* (internationally excellent) according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), a major Government analysis of university research quality.


You will take the core module, International Relations Theory, in the first semester, and then you can choose from a number of options depending on your interests. For example, you may wish to specialise in Europe, in which case you could take European Union: Power, Politics and Policy; and the EU and the World. On the other hand, you may want a more global perspective and then you might take American Foreign Policy; Foreign Relations of China and Japan; and BRICS: Emerging Powers in Global Politics. Other options include International Security; International Organisations; and War Games. You can also select modules from other sectors and Schools within the University which are of interest and fall within the general parameters of the discipline.

The MA lasts twelve months for full-time students. You will have lectures, seminars and workshops during the first two semesters and then over the summer you will work on your dissertation which is submitted at the beginning of September.


The dissertation is a most important part of your MA. You choose your own topic and have an individual supervisor who gives advice on all aspects of writing and researching a dissertation. We also organise a Postgraduate Day in the spring when you will have the opportunity to discuss your dissertation with staff and fellow students. 

Brussels Trip

We organise a trip to Brussels every year for our MA students. The trip includes three or more nights in a city centre hotel at a heavily subsidised rate. We visit the EU and NATO and there are opportunities to ask officials and military people questions about their work. We also meet graduates from UEA who are now working in or near Brussels.

International Studies Programme  

Our International Studies Programme involves studies in a number of locations in continental Europe with visits most years to Paris, Brussels, Kortrijk in Flanders, and Geneva. The Programme includes study and discussion with academics, politicians and officials as well as visits to international organisations, including EU and  NATO institutions, and non-governmental bodies and Think Tanks, such as the European Institute for Asian Studies, ICRC, WHO, UNESCO, etc. Students taking part are awarded a certificate for successfully completing the Programme. 

UEA Brussels

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 PPL postgraduate student you can use the facilities to carry out research and write your dissertation.  


We think this MA will give you a significant step up in getting a good job after graduation. An understanding of international affairs is increasingly important in all kinds of career, whilst our new International Studies Programme, alongside a number of other initiatives, will provide you with vital employability skills and many social networking opportunities. The School collaborates closely with the UEA Careers Office, which can give you advice on all aspects of graduate employment as well as help you arrange internships and work placements.

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

This course is also available on a part time basis.

Course Modules

Students must study the following modules for 80 credits:

Name Code Credits


The main objectives of this course are to introduce students to the academic study of International Relations theory. This is done by investigating leading theoretical approaches and becoming familiar with important concepts and debates in International Relations theory. Students are introduced to the nature of knowledge claims (epistemology) and fundamental assumptions about social/international reality (ontology) in International Relations. Please note that this is an introductory module and should not be taken if you have already studied IR theory.




For all MA students registered in PSI 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 2016.



Students will select 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


This MA module examines in depth the works of selected thinkers who are seminal to the Western tradition of political thought, including Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill and Machiavelli. Their work will also be compared thematically, with a focus on themes such as the natural law and social contract traditions, and other schools of thought which have been influenced by these traditions. The module will be based on the study and interpretation of key texts and will enable students to develop skills of textual analysis and critique. This is a compulsory module for students studying for the MA in Social and Political Theory.




This module introduces to students the basic concepts of integration/disintegration, globalisation, regionalism and the purpose of the existence of and inter-relationship between international regional Organisations. It then goes on to examine the structure and functions of several major international organisations such as the United Nations, NATO, the EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, MERCOSUR, the AU, etc, and their role in international conflict and economic development with specific case studies. A brief coverage of international financial institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, the WTO and the G8 will complement the main areas of study above. The style of the module consists of a series of lectures/seminars, class presentations, video showings and workshops. Although this is a mostly empirically based module, students will be expected to apply International Relations and Development theories which they will be studying alongside, in their other modules, as appropriate.




The module offers a basic training in social research methods, provided flexibly to meet different needs and interests. There are opportunities to learn skills in use of SPSS for statistical analysis of large datasets, interviewing, transcription, document analysis, research uses of electronic media, devising a research proposal, writing a research report and oral presentations. Students will learn to evaluate research methods from the perspectives of ethics, methodology and practicality.




'War Games' introduces some of the major issues and ideas around diplomacy and strategy in the field of International Relations. Topics covered include the causes and costs of war, military strategy, nuclear warfare, and statecraft. Three of the teaching sessions are simulation exercises, where students attempt to resolve an international crisis using the knowledge they have gained. Students therefore engage with the theoretical and practical challenges of inter-state relations, thus developing a more nuanced understanding of war and peace in international politics.'



Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


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.




The BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - grouping is a symbol of our changing world. This module examines how dynamic emerging powers - and not only the BRICS - are spurring global change. When it comes time to write the story of the 21st century, the global narrative will not only be about the challenges of the USA and EU to adjust to a world of diffuse power, or the rise of China and the decline of Europe. It will also be about the way that substantial portions of the world's societies emerged from poverty and how ICT is reshaping vast regions of Africa, and also about how India's middle classes started to redefine that. As a consequence, the fundamental logic of the need to reform global governance structures emerges. We are seeing new international governance through stronger regional blocs, new South-South alliances, and the progress of international institutions such as the BRICS Development Bank. For policy makers in the West, engaging emerging powers is the only way of assuring that international institutions remain functional once the traditional powers are no longer in control of social, political and economic change underway in world order.




This module examines the position of Europe in International Relations. Weekly lectures and seminars centre upon contemporary debates on Globalisation and Regionalism, Europe's trade relations with the US, China, Russia and the European neighbourhood, security strategies and responses to topical international conflicts like Palestine, Syria, and African civil wars, inter-regional co-operation among trading blocs in politics and commerce, relations with emerging powers and the Developing World, and environmental/energy issues.




This module examines the origins and development of the European Union, EU decision making, and EU policies in key areas, such as the single market, economic and monetary union, and external relations. It looks at the relationship between the EU and the member states. Students will also be introduced to the key theories, models and concepts used in the study of the EU.




This module examines the study of security in the international system, through its roots in Cold War strategic studies to the development of the more broadly focused field of security studies today. The module critically analyses contemporary security issues and provides a sound theoretical base for considering practical issues of security, including new wars, intervention and terrorism. Themes are explored from theoretical perspectives and include security and the nation state, war and peace, new wars, alliances, democratic peace, securitisation, human security, the arms industry, religion and security and terrorism.




The module looks at the history of China and Japan from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. The attempts at modernisation, conflict between the two nations, their relationships with the Asian region and the United States are covered. Their contrasting attempts to develop in the postwar period are investigated. We also assess their current policies and the issues of importance to China and Japan in the twenty first century, and assess whether they can move beyond the legacy of this difficult history.




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. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Humanities or Social Sciences
  • Degree Classification UK BA (Hons) 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 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 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

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


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.


All applications for postgraduate study are processed through the Faculty Admissions Office and then forwarded to the relevant School of Study for consideration. If you are currently completing your first degree or have not yet taken a required English language test, any offer of a place will be conditional upon you achieving this before you arrive.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2017/18 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,300
  • International Students: £14,800

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).

We estimate living expenses at £820 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.

You can apply online.

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

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: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515