Governance and International Politics Double MA

Study the Governance and International Politics Double MA at Aston University, UK, and University of Bamberg, Germany, to gain an unparalleled understanding of key issues in governance and international politics, enriched by both British and German perspectives.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham and University of Bamberg, Germany

Course type
Full-time

Course format

No placements

Duration

2 years full-time

UCAS code(s)

Start date

Overview
Explore Governance and International Politics at Aston University

Why study a postgraduate degree at Aston University?

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Caiden Heaphy Double MA Governance and International Politics

“I applied to Aston because of the double-degree programme that they offered in collaboration with the University of Bamberg. I valued Aston’s international emphasis and their strong record for quality teaching. As students, we were respected and encouraged by our professors to engage in critical discussions about their own research which I have not experienced at other institutions. Thanks in large part to my education at Aston, I was accepted into a doctoral programme at the University of Bamberg sixth months prior to finishing my second masters degree.”

Caiden Heaphy

Double MA Governance and International Politics

Caiden Heaphy Double MA Governance and International Politics

“I applied to Aston because of the double-degree programme that they offered in collaboration with the University of Bamberg. I valued Aston’s international emphasis and their strong record for quality teaching. As students, we were respected and encouraged by our professors to engage in critical discussions about their own research which I have not experienced at other institutions. Thanks in large part to my education at Aston, I was accepted into a doctoral programme at the University of Bamberg sixth months prior to finishing my second masters degree.”

Caiden Heaphy

Double MA Governance and International Politics

Course outline and modules

The Governance and International Politics Double MA is an exciting two year joint masters course, which allows you to develop a deep understanding of issues of contemporary research in the field of governance and international politics. You will spend the first year at Aston University in Birmingham in the UK and the second year at Bamberg University in Germany, benefitting from the combined expertise and experience of teaching staff at two prestigious institutions to enable you to become a highly informed strategic thinker in the political arena.

What you’ll learn

As a student on the Governance and International Politics Double MA, you will be able to tailor make the course to suit your interests and future career goals.

You will study two core modules in International Relations Theory and Governance of Global Problems, which will give you an advanced grounding in the key concepts and ideas used in the analysis of international relations and international politics.

You will critically examine the nature and impact of the major schools of thought in International Relations and understand how problems such as terrorism, economic and financial crisis, armed conflict or trade wars occur and how they might be best resolved. This will offer you a sense of the identity of International Relations as an academic discipline and give you a set of conceptual tools, which will better enable you to make sense of international events.

You will also examine 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. You’ll gain an overview of political and social science approaches to the meaning of globalisation, global governance and regionalism, explore central issues and debates in relation to the impact of globalisation on social and political transformation, and critically evaluate contending interpretations of the impact of globalisation on social and political change.

Throughout your MA, you will benefit from the active membership of the Aston Centre for Europe, a thriving research hub which organises debates, study visits, and conferences and seminars on current international issues. The Department of Politics, History and International Relations also has strong links with the Centre for Migration and Forced Displacement.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies, in order to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020 at universities with a track record of compliance with immigration policy.

Find out more about the post-study work visa.

Modules

Core modules


International Relations Theory (15 credits)

This module provides an advanced grounding in the key concepts and ideas employed in the analysis of International Relations and International Politics. It seeks to understand and address some of the most compelling questions within the International Relations discipline, such as: Why do wars occur? How can states cooperate? What is the role of international organisations? This module will offer students a sense of the identity of International Relations as an academic discipline, whilst equipping them with a set of conceptual tools that will better enable them to make sense of the international system and the events that take place within it. International Relations Theory critically examines the nature, impact, and application of the major schools of thought in International Relations.

Assessment: class presentation (15%) and by one 2,500 word essay (85%).


The Governance of Global Problems (15 credits)

The module aims at a critical appraisal of existing models to address global problems. Starting from a critical engagement with the two key concepts of globalisation and global governance, the module goes on to assess different international, transnational, regional and local strategies to deal with selected global - or globalised - issues.

Assessment: 2.000 words policy paper (80%) and by portfolio (20%).


Dissertation (60 credits)

Students will demonstrate their ability to design, conduct and report the results of a research project in the subject domain relevant to their masters programme. They will work independently, under the guidance of a supervisor. Preparing a masters dissertation is a complex exercise which will strengthen and test various subject-specific and transferable research skills, including research methodology and academic writing.

Assessment: Students prepare a 15,000 word dissertation on a research subject of their choosing, guided by a member of the academic staff.

Optional modules

You will choose six of the following modules, totaling 90 credits.


Research Design in the Social Sciences (15 credits)

The module enables students to acquire knowledge and understanding of key methodological processes in social science research, focusing on both qualitative and quantitative methods. The module will provide a core understanding of research design and the core principles of qualitative and quantitative research with a practical component when suitable. Concretely, the students will learn the strengths and weaknesses of different types of methods. Additionally, during the second part of the module, focused on quantitative methods, students will learn basic statistics and how to implement them in SPSS.

Assessment: a quantitative methods worksheet (30%) and an essay (70%).


Conflict and Security (15 credits)

Conflict and security are perennial features of the international system. Understanding the contemporary security challenges the international system faces requires a blend of both traditional and critical perspectives. This module would seek to highlight the key means by which constructivist understandings of security apply to understand key dynamics of peace and conflict.

Assessment: UN Simulation position paper (20%) and a 3,000 word essay (80%)


Comparative Regionalism and Regional Cooperation (15 credits)

Regionalism remains an enduring feature of international order. This module will analyse the multifaceted role of regional institutions within a broader context of international order. Building from a solid theoretical platform, the module will focus on the differences and similarities in regional institution-building processes in different regions.

Assessment: Essay (80%) and presentation (20%)


International Development (15 credits)

The module introduces students to the main theories and key aspects of practice in international development. It discusses ways to explain development (or the lack of it) and how the international community promotes development in countries of the Global South.

Assessment: an essay (2000 words) and a group development project plan (2000 words).


The State in the Global Context (15 credits)

The modern state is central to the study of politics. In this module we investigate the role and power of the state in a globalising and rapidly changing world. The last four decades have witnessed a series of major (economic, political and technological) challenges to the capacity of the state. Some have argued that the state has been irrevocably diminished and should no longer be assumed to be the principal political actor. In response, others have highlighted the ability of the state to adapt to this changing environment and retain, and even enhance, its pre-eminence.

To critically examine the state in the twenty-first century, this module adopts a broad view that extends beyond the traditional study of government and state institutions. A multi-level approach is adopted that considers how the practice of politics has been transformed at the various global, national, and sub-national scales. The module is thematically organised around a range of theoretical debates and concepts, such as: governance; globalization; marketization; regulation; surveillance; and decentralization. These theoretical debates are underpinned by empirical reference to real-world practice, encompassing both democratic and authoritarian states.

Assessment: Essay (85%) and presentation (15%)


Negotiation skills: EuroSim and Model UN (15 credits)

The module focuses on the development of negotiation skills in multicultural and international environments. Next to more general knowledge, the module focuses in particular on negotiations within UN and EU.

Assessment: two oral examinations/simulations (25% each) and two position/strategy papers (25% each)


Migration and Forced Displacement (15 credits)

This module considers migration and forced displacement in a global and contemporary context. It offers an overview of the various stages of migratory journeys, from causes of forced displacement to asylum seeking and reception. The module considers structures, institutions and practices that shape migratory journeys and displacement, such as border security, violence, racism and ‘offshoring’.

Assessment: 3,000 word written project (100%)


Religion, Politics and Development (15 credits)

This module will introduce students to the study of the complex relationships between religion, politics and development in different regions of the world, focusing on cases and debates in the period from 1945 to the present.

Assessment: 3,000 word essay (100%)


The History and Politics of Decolonisation (15 credits)

The aim of the module is to explore processes of decolonisation across different global regions from the nineteenth into the twenty-first centuries, to assess the successes and failures of these processes, and to identify lessons for policymakers grappling with the legacy of colonialism today.

Assessment: Document analysis (30%) and research memo (70%)


Aston Global Advantage (15 credits)

 

Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.
 

Post-study work visa

Graduate Immigration Route

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Find out more information about the Graduate Immigration Route.

Entry requirements

2:1 degree in Social Science, Business, Language or a related subject. Other degrees might be suitable depending on personal statement and motivation. No level of German language required. 

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements

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. 

Please note, if you do not meet the subject-specific requirements for this programme, you may be considered for an alternative programme which may be better suited to your academic/professional background. If you receive an offer for an alternative programme and do not wish to move forward with this, please contact the Admissions team at pgadmissions@aston.ac.uk

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching

You will take part in interactive seminars, discussion and simulation exercises, as well as undertaking group project work. All assignments are designed in a practical way to enable you to link your learning to real world issues. 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 degrees take part in 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 department, Aston Centre for Europe and the Centre for Migration and Forced Displacement.

During your postgraduate year, you will get the opportunity to select the EuroSim optional module. EuroSim is an annual international intercollegiate simulation of the European Union (EU). The purpose of this module is to educate you about the inner workings of the European Union, which will provide you with a great experience of how to use politics in a real-world setting.

Find out more about the module here.

You can also select the Aston Global Advantage as an optional module.

Study skills

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.

Furthermore, 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
  •  University wide facilities such as the Careers Service, Students’ Advice Centre, Students’ Jobshop, Counselling Service, Sports Facilities and the Chaplaincy.

Assessment

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

Personal development

The MA focuses on developing your practical skills, so assignments may include working with simulated negotiation sessions, and analysing speeches delivered by politicians. We also help you develop your presentation skills and public speaking, alongside classical assignments such as essay writing.

Students on this postgraduate course come to study at Aston from the UK and all different parts of the world, so you’ll become part of a diverse academic community which will further broaden your horizons.

Programme Director(s)

Dr Davide Vampa

Politics and International Relations Research

Dr Laura Southgate

Listen to Laura discuss her research on China, US relations, and the likelihood of future conflict between the US and China.

Dr Davide Vampa

Listen to Davide discuss his research on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the relationship between the national and subnational authorities in the 5 largest countries of Western Europe.

Dr Ying Miao

Listen to Ying discuss her research on air inequality, and how socioeconomic classes can change the air quality individuals access.

Fees and scholarships

UK students (2023/24): £11,850*

International/EU students (2023/24): £22,750*

*This tuition fee is for the first year of the course at Aston University and does not include the tuition fee requirement for the partner institution.

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as home students. Further information can be found here.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees and funding

UK postgraduate loans

If you're thinking about studying a masters course with us, you may be eligible for a postgraduate loan to help with course fees and living costs. Find out more here.

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

20 per cent postgraduate alumni scholarship

 

Cost shouldn't limit your career aspirations, which is why we are delighted to offer all Aston graduates (including exchange students) a 20% loyalty scholarship in standard taught MA, MSc and Full-time MBA course fees.

This means that as an Aston University graduate applying to our Double MA Governance and International Politics course, you could save...

£2,370

UK students
(Total saving equivalent to 20% of the annual tuition fee)

£4,550

International/EU students
(Total saving equivalent to 20% of the annual tuition fee)

As an Aston University graduate you will automatically qualify. For more information visit our webpage.

Career prospects

All 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.

NUE

Aston University was recognised as the 'Best University Placement Service'.

The Careers and Placements team at Aston University won the 'Best University Placement Service' category at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2022. This was achieved by launching Virtual Employability Festivals and recognising the power of peer-to-peer communication by pairing 500 students looking for placements with 500 students who had completed placements.

Frequently asked questions

Why should I study my postgraduate degree at Aston University?

There are lots of benefits of studying a postgraduate degree at Aston University.

Watch this video from MBA student, Monique, who talks about just a few of them:

Why should I study Governance and International Politics Double MA at Aston?

The two year Governance and International Politics Double MA course at Aston will give you an unparalleled understanding of key issues in governance and international politics alongside the opportunity to spend a year in the UK and in Germany, benefiting from the academic and multicultural experience of studying at two prestigious European universities.

Do I need to speak German to take this Double Masters?

No level of German language is required to take this double masters.

Why should I do a masters degree with Aston?

All our MA courses equip students with the knowledge, along with analytical and transferable skills to pursue further postgraduate research or a successful career in the public or private sector.

 

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