International Relations MSc

(with two pathways in “Conflict and Cooperation” and “Development and Governance”)

Study the International Relations MSc course at Aston University – a leading centre for research on politics and international relations – to give you a head start in your future career. The programme offers opportunities to specialise in the areas of “Conflict and Cooperation” and “Development and Governance”. Students will also have the option to complete Aston Global Advantage – our professional development programme.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Full-time / Part-time

Course format

No placements

Duration

1 year (full-time)
2 years (part-time)

UCAS code(s)

N/A

Start date

Overview
Explore MSc International Relations at Aston University

Why study a postgraduate degree at Aston University?

Hear from MBA student Monique Farquharson.

Best Placement Service

Here to support you.

Aston University was recognised as the 'Best University Placement Service' at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2022.

 

Click here to find out more.

Simona Braileanu BSc (Hons) Sociology and French MA International Relations and Global Governance

I think what makes Aston so special is the lecturers they have; so dedicated, genuine and passionate about their job. Birmingham has everything you want from a city as a student. There were so many opportunities, I felt like I was living in the capital but without the high costs. I discovered so many cultures and really broadened my horizons, not only culturally but also in terms of food, partying and getting to know people from everywhere in the world.”

Simona Braileanu

BSc (Hons) Sociology and French

MA International Relations and Global Governance

Simona Braileanu BSc (Hons) Sociology and French MA International Relations and Global Governance

I think what makes Aston so special is the lecturers they have; so dedicated, genuine and passionate about their job. Birmingham has everything you want from a city as a student. There were so many opportunities, I felt like I was living in the capital but without the high costs. I discovered so many cultures and really broadened my horizons, not only culturally but also in terms of food, partying and getting to know people from everywhere in the world.”

Simona Braileanu

BSc (Hons) Sociology and French

MA International Relations and Global Governance

Course outline and modules

This cutting-edge postgraduate course, delivered at Aston University over one full academic year, will help you to get a broader perspective on global issues and build an international career in public and private organisations, the business sector, policy-oriented institutions and think tanks, academia or journalism.

What you’ll learn

You can complete a general MSc International Relations or you can specialise in these two areas: “Conflict and Cooperation” and “Development and Governance”.

The MSc offers thematic modules that are applied to different regions of the world. You will also be given the opportunity to focus on different aspects of international relations and international politics. If you decide to follow the “Conflict and Cooperation” pathway, you will concentrate on the international/global arena, relations among states and transnational actors. If you choose the second pathway, “Development and Governance”, you will work more on domestic issues – particularly economic development, institutional reforms and governance – in a context of increasing global interdependence. You can also complete a general MSc International Relations combining both perspectives.

All students are expected to complete core modules, which provides an overview of international relations theories, global governance and research design. Additionally, they can select optional modules (see full list below), including the Aston Global Advantage – a professional development programme and integrated module designed in collaboration with Aston Business School.

The MSc is offered by the Department of Politics, History and International Relations within the College of Business and Social Sciences and is also linked to two key research centres: Aston Centre for Europe and 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.


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.’


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.


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 programme. They will work independently, under the guidance of a supervisor. Preparing a masters dissertation (around 15,000 words) is a complex exercise which will strengthen and test various subject-specific and transferable research skills, including research methodology and academic writing.

Optional modules

You will choose five of the following modules, totaling 75 credits.

Choosing a specialism

Students may select one of the following specialisms (pathways), as approved by the University, recorded on the Degree Certificate, provided they fulfil the following criteria:

MSc SpecialismCriteria
Conflict and Cooperation

The following optional modules must be selected and the Dissertation must be within the subject area:

  • Conflict and Security
  • Comparative Regionalism and Regional Cooperation
Development and Governance

The following optional modules must be selected and the Dissertation must be within the subject area:

  • International Development
  • The State in the Global Context


Conflict and Security (15 credits)


Comparative Regionalism and Regional Cooperation (15 credits)


International Development (15 credits)


The State in the Global Context (15 credits)


Negotiation skills: EuroSim and Model UN (15 credits)


Migration and Forced Displacement (15 credits)


Religion, Politics and Development (15 credits)


The History and Politics of Decolonisation (15 credits)


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.

 

Entry requirements

2:2 degree in social science, language or a related subject. Other degrees might be suitable depending on personal statement and motivation.

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

For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.

For International Students intending to do a foundation year. Click here to find out more.

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.

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. MSc students are a fundamental part of the intellectual life of the Politics, History and International Relations study group.

All students on MSc 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

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

Assessment

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

Personal development

The MSc focuses on developing your practical and employability 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 student 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

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

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 MA International Relations and Global Governance 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

The careers pursued by our students vary greatly, but typical careers include: employment in international organisations, (for example the EU, WTO, UN), 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 International Relations and Global Governance MA at Aston?

The International Relations and Global Governance MA course at Aston will help you to get a broader perspective on issues of globalised governance and contemporary international relations alongside the opportunity to learn in an exciting multicultural environment.

Why should I do a master’s 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.

 

Chat with current students

 
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