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Joint MA in Multilevel Governance & International Relations (with integrated professional training) 

Delivered jointly by Aston University and the Institute d’Etudes Politiques (SciencesPo) de Rennes, France
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Why choose this course?

  • Benefit from the combined knowledge and expertise of teaching staff at two leading sites for research on governance in both Britain and France
  • Undertake a work placement within the framework of the year of study, and reflect critically on your placement through a written exercise, which forms a key element of the MA



Duration: 1 year full time

Start date(s): October 

Distance learning available: No

Intake: Approximately 20 per year

Entry requirements:
2.1 Degree in any discipline (or equivalent). 
An overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of Band 7 in Writing and Band 6 in Speaking, Reading and Listening; or TOEFL 105 (with 25 minimum in Writing and Speaking and 23 minimum in Reading and Listening); or Pearson Academic results of minimum 68 in Writing and Speaking and minimum 61 in Listening.

Fees for 2014/2015*: 
UK/EU: £2,070 to be paid at Aston & €2,070 to be paid at Renne

Non-EU: £6,500 to be paid at Aston & €6,500 to be paid at Renne 

Scholarships available. Click here for more information.

*These figures have not been confirmed, but they are expected to be approximately as stated. Part-time students pay a pro-rata version of full-time fees.

Application:
We recommend that overseas students apply before the end of June due to visa requirements as these can take a few weeks to process.

Apply for this course online


 

This new Joint MA programme offers students an exceptional opportunity to pursue a graduate programme that will deliver an excellent understanding of multilevel governance and international relations which is enhanced and enriched by the mix of both British and French perspectives. Students spend the first semester at Aston University, taking a number of core and optional modules. They then spend semester two at Sciences Po, Rennes, where they study a further suite of core modules through the medium of French language, before moving on to undertake a related internship, and completing a final “Rapport de Stage”.

This is a demanding programme, which challenges students to engage fully with study opportunities in both learning institutions, but it is a rewarding experience, developing life-long skills and opening up new professional opportunities to its graduates.

Sample module options

The following module descriptions are indications only - the modules on offer and the content of the modules is subject to change.

Core modules:

A better understanding of International Relations can help to explain why and how problems such as terrorism, economic and financial crisis, armed conflict or trade wars occur and how they might be best resolved. This course provides an advanced grounding in the key concepts and ideas employed in the analysis of International Relations and International Politics.  This will offer you a sense of the identity of International Relations as an academic discipline and also give you a set of conceptual tools, which will better enable you to make sense of international events. International Relations Theory critically examines the nature and the impact of the major schools of thought in International Relations.

Assessment method: The assessment is by class presentation (15%) and by one 3000 word essay (85%).

This module examines the key issues in relation to globalisation, global governance and regional integration.Globalisation is the buzzword of our times. No other term has been used and abused as frequently as globalisation. It is variously seen as a threat to established social, political and economic interests or as an opportunity. This module will offer an overview of political and social science approaches to the meaning of globalisation, global governance and regionalism, highlight central issues and debates in the relation to the impact of globalisation on social and political transformation, and encourage students to evaluate critically contending interpretations of the impact of globalisation on social and political change.

Assessment method: Assessment will be by way of a presentation (15%) and one 3000 word essay (85%).

Elective modules:

The aim is that the student acquires knowledge and understanding of key methodological processes in social science research, and, by the end of the module, should be able to apply appropriate selected methods to his/her own research (notably the dissertation). The student should also learn to use a multi-media VLE environment effectively and confidently in a self-directed (though supervised) way.

Students learn to apply conceptual and ethical approaches to social science research, develop high-level quantitative and qualitative methods of social science data collection and data analysis.

Assessment method: The assessment is by one essay (3000 words; 40% of grade) and completion of the task-focused continuous assessment (60%).
This course aims to enable students to acquire familiarity with main areas and problems of leadership studies in political science, and with key concepts used in the analysis of political institutions and leadership. This knowledge forms the conceptual, methodological and analytical basis for many of the political and politics-related issues to be studied by MA students. This course aims to enable students to acquire familiarity with main areas and problems of the study of political leaders and leadership, and with key concepts used in their analysis.

Assessment method: Assessment is by one 5,000 word essay.

The module provides a comprehensive comparative overview of regions, and forms of regionalism / “minority nationalism” in present-day Europe. The course will focus on (i) constitutional, legal and political arrangements for regions within the EU, including in the recently reformed countries of East-Central Europe; (ii) the EU’s own regional policy-making, (iii) a survey of on-going reform processes of territorial governance in a variety of countries (e.g. UK, Spain, Poland), and (iv) the increased levels of paradiplomacy and cross-border engagement of regional governments and authorities across the EU.

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is by way of one 4, 000 to 5, 000 word essay.

The module will be an advanced level course comparing the EU with East Asian visions of regionalism and analysing the political, economic and social relations between the EU, its member-states with East Asia (here defined as the ASEAN 10 plus Japan, North and South Korea, China and Taiwan). It is an interdisciplinary module and students will be exposed to the wide and diverse perspectives on international and interregional relations. The module will draw from history, area studies, international relations, sociology, business and economics and comparative regionalism. It will also call upon the participation of a variety of external experts.

Assessment method: Assessment is by means of a portfolio (75%) and an exam (25%)

For the portfolio, students will be required to prepare short class presentations for each session and to complete one written assignment (2,500 words). The presentations ought to be accompanied by a one-page handout containing the main points. The assignment will be in form of a briefing paper/ policy analysis of a topical issue chosen by the student. The portfolio will contain the handouts and the briefing paper.

This module provides a detailed overview of the most important aspects of religious and political development in Europe from 1945 until today. It includes a detailed empirical account of the following main themes of research: theoretical approaches to religion and politics; the historical trajectory of religion and politics after 1945; an overview of Huntington’s theory of the conflict of civilisations; European secularism and fundamentalism; Christianity and politics; models of church-state relations; Islam and politics; religion and politics in the construction of the European Union; and religion and

international relations.

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is by way of one 5, 000 word essay
This module focuses on the evolution of security and defence policies in the European Union. It will start by considering the origins of security cooperation in Europe before going to consider the evolution of EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).

The module will then examine the broader issues of European security by looking at several case studies starting with European involvement in former Yugoslavia and moving onto more recent ESDP missions, including EUFOR Chad, EUPOL  Afghanistan and EULEX Kosovo.  By focusing on ESDP case studies, the module aims to explore wider issues concerning EU’s security policies such as its unique approaches to crisis management, military capacity and civilian-military dimensions of conflict intervention and state-building. 

Assessment method: Assessment is by means of one 5,000 word essay
This module provides students with a thorough knowledge of the theoretical foundations of political communication in contemporary democracies. It examines various aspects of government information policy and the relationship between government, the media and the public, exploring the political content of the mass media. It assesses the relationship between media, political actors and the public, and considers the extent to which mediated activity has influenced politics and the distribution of power. This is a policy-relevant module that distinguishes students as highly informed and strategic thinkers in the political arena.

Assessment method: Assessment is by means of a campaign portfolio – materials and presentation, to include analysis of strategy deployed (20%) and one 3,500 word essay (80%).

This module engages with the praxiological element of international politics.  It begins with the theoretical discourses surrounding international politics as a way of exploring the practices that emerge within its structures.  It then examines the interplay of theory and practice by engaging with alternative textual sources namely, works of fiction, memoires, diaries and film to grasp the nature of ethical and moral debates of international politics.
 

Assessment method: Assessment for this module 4 bi-weekly submissions each worth 25 % To be submitted in class on the following weeks: 16, 18, 20, 22. 

This module provides students with an appreciation of the broad and complex issue of political leadership as an academic discipline in the context of Europe, both within the EU, Europe more generally, and its nation states. There will also be comparative analysis with leadership in the US. Students will be able to understand key political concepts regarding leadership, and to use them in political debates.  They will also develop an understanding of the key contents and problems of the major sub-discipline of leadership studies in political science.

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is by one 5,000 word essay

This module considers key questions in post-Cold War international security. It starts by considering the scope and evolution of Security Studies, and introducing students to key approaches to security, including realism, liberalism and constructivism. Subsequently, students will have the opportunity to examine key concerns of global security by considering issues such as the pattern of global conflict, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, energy security, piracy and the defence trade. We will also consider the changing role of key security actors, such as the UN and NATO.

Guiding questions of this module are: What are the key concerns of international security? What are perceived to be the key threats and how are they managed? Are international security concerns different to national security?

Assessment method: Assessment for this module will be by way of one 5, 000 word essay
This is a truly unique module combining the subject areas of International and Comparative Political Economy. The module is divided into two parts. Part I is dedicated to an introduction to International Political Economy (IPE), a branch of International Relations, which focuses on the interactions between states and markets, power and wealth in the international system. Why do we live in a world characterised by inequality? What are the reasons for underdevelopment and what are the possible solutions? What is driving the North-South conflict? Why is it so difficult to solve the problem of re-occurring financial crisis despite its devastating social consequences?

Assessment method: Assessment for this module is by means of one 3,000 word essay (85%). 15% of the grade for this module comes from presentation, preparation and involvement(15%): this involves  a presentation to the group of around 20 minutes, as well as preparation for and contribution to the weekly seminar sessions.

You will take part in interactive seminars, discussion and simulation exercises, as well as undertaking group project work. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study. MA students are a fundamental part of the intellectual life of the Politics and International Relations study group. All students on MA programmes take part in study visits and the regular series of guest lectures and research seminars on issues of contemporary political relevance as well as taking part in the conferences and events organised and hosted by the Aston Centre for Europe and by the study group. All students have the opportunity to take part in a week long study trip to visit the EU institutions and related organisation in Brussels. 

All students are allocated a personal tutor at the start of their studies; this member of academic staff can offer individual study advice and guidance and is there to help support your studies.

Assessments on the MA programme take a wide variety of forms, ranging from essays and examinations through to policy reports, briefings and campaign portfolios.


All of our MA Programmes equip students with the knowledge and analytical and transferable skills to pursue further postgraduate research or a successful career in the public and private sector. The careers pursued by our students vary greatly, but typical careers include:

  • employment in international organisations (EU, WTO, UN etc.),
  • research in policy-oriented domestic or international think tanks,
  • careers in government administration,
  • further postgraduate research at PhD level,
  • journalism,
  • international marketing or business.
You will have access to:
  • Our Virtual Learning Environment – Blackboard – to support your studies, including Blackboard discussion groups
  • The University Library, including over 25,000 books and a wide range of electronic journals.  The library has special provision in place to help part time and distance learning students access their resources: www.aston.ac.uk/lis/studentinfo/parttime
  • University wide facilities such as the Careers Service, Students’ Advice Centre, Students’ Jobshop, Counselling Service, Sports Facilities, and Chaplaincy.

Read what the staff have to say about their programme:

The Presidence of the Fifth Republic

Professor John Gaffney, Professor of Politics, Co-director Aston Centre for Europe. Author of “The Presidents of the Fifth Republic” (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)

 

DPhil (Politics) Sussex University, MA (Comparative Politics), BA (French and European Studies)

“This Joint MA delivered by Aston and by Sciences Po, Rennes, enhances and enriches students’ understanding of issues of contemporary governance and international relations, through its unique blend of teaching in the UK and in France, complemented by a professional work placement. I can think of few other Masters programmes which produce such well-rounded graduates, who are able to speak competently and with authority about the nature of global affairs today.”

Graduate Profile

Graduate Profile

Marine Le Cam

Joint MA in Multilevel Governance & International Relations

As a master's student, professors treat you as young professionals, which was very encouraging. I was amazed by the quality and variety of the events organised by teachers and speakers, all of whom were eager to share their experience and knowledge with us. I felt truly inspired by all of my classmates and their diverse cultural backgrounds.

 

Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and bursaries

Accommodation

Accommodation
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Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research