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MA International Relations: Theories, Practices and Policy

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  • Objectives
    The course offers students the opportunity to follow a course of study which leads both to successful professional development in the practice of international relations (with an emphasis on international institutions, work in non-governmental organisations and global political economy/global business) and to research at a higher level. The course includes core modules in contemporary issues in International Relations (IR) theory and practice, and specialisms in contemporary theory in IR, Asia Pacific studies, negotiation, international institutions, global political economy and the politics and culture of globalisation. The course is taught by an enthusiastic team with a strong commitment to teaching and to individual attention to graduate students from a wide variety of backgrounds. The course is flexible enough to allow students to pursue their own particular interests, but structured enough to enable students to achieve the highest standards in their work. In the past, students from our MA courses have gone on to work in the diplomatic and trade ministries of a number of countries, in security and intelligence work, in non-governmental organisations, in business and the voluntary sector, and in international banking, as well as moving on to further academic study. Four of our former graduates who went on to take PhDs now teach in '5' rated departments in the UK, but we also have former students who teach in universities from Hong Kong to Santiago de Chile, including universities in Ireland, the US and Trinidad.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry requirements Applicants should normally have a good honours degree and a demonstrated interest in environmental issues and human security. For applicants whose first language is not English, English should have been studied to a high level e.g. an IELTS profile of 6.5. Specialist courses in English Language are also available in the University's new Language Teaching facilities. We welcome applications from mature students, from learners with backgrounds which do not fit a conventional pattern, or who might have the ability to benefit from the course but have professional rather than conventional qualifications. These candidates are considered on an individual basis, usually through an interview.
  • Academic Title
    MA International Relations: Theories, Practices and Policy
  • Course description
    Course content
    Nottingham Trent University has offered an MA in international relations since 1992. This successful course has been re-developed and further improved for 2004 entry. It offers either full-time or part-time courses, which enable graduates to go on to study for a PhD or to move into business or work in government/international organisations.

    The course offers a core of modules designed to develop a sophisticated and critical understanding of different theoretical approaches to international relations. Students develop a knowledge of the history of thought in the subject as well as of the main contemporary theoretical approaches.

    As part of a strong research training dimension of the course, students study a range of different methodologies, considering their uses and abuses, and how to criticise as well as use a range of methods and methodologies. All MA students produce a 15,000-word dissertation on a subject of their choice under the guidance of an experienced supervisor.

    The NTU team specialises in contemporary issues and problems in international relations. This includes political and economic problems, but also international cultural issues, including global technology and communications and issues of cultural imperialism, global political economy (including development, economic institutions and policy making), foreign policy, and Asia-pacific and European international relations. Core and option modules reflect these specialisms.

    The course draws on these strengths, and the course structure is as follows:

    Three core modules (students take all three):

        * history of thought in international relations
        * theories and methodologies of international relations
        * globalisation

    The following option modules (students choose two):

        * global political economy and global economic institutions
        * international relations of the asia-pacific region
        * international institutions: negotiation and cooperation
        * Islamic culture and globalisation

    NB: A further module on International Environment Management will be introduced in 2005.

    Students who do not wish to write a dissertation for whatever reason are welcome to apply for the postgraduate diploma course. It is straightforward to transfer from the diploma to the full MA course at a later stage if a student decides to progress with a dissertation.

    A positive working environment, including excellent learning resources, supports the academic element of the course. We respect and welcome students from many varied backgrounds.

    Assessment on the course involves course work, report writing, presentations and group work. There are also class tests and critical reviews and critical bibliographies to prepare. The course is structured with no formal examinations. All candidates for the MA write a 15,000 word dissertation, and prepare work on research methods including an assessed dissertation proposal as part of the research training element of the degree. The option modules include assessment of 'professional elements' such as the drafting of negotiation briefs and preparatory documentation for negotiations. This varied pattern of assessment reflects the main aim of the course in preparing students for work either in academic, research, analysis or practical policy management fields.

    Resources and facilities
    The department has a well resourced library with a good journal stock and excellent on-line facilities. Students will have access to training for the use of library and computing resources, and where appropriate to other kinds of training to enable them to complete the course successfully. Nottingham Trent University has a strong reputation in the teaching of IR, which has been a major subject in the university for about 30 years. As a result, we have built up a considerable stock of resources and expertise in the subject. Students will have access to a sophisticated and innovative data bank of questions for self-assessment on-line. All students will have a personal tutor and regular personal contact with key members of staff.

    Study routes
    MA full-time: 12 months
    MA part-time: 24 months
    PgDip full-time: 12 months
    PgDip part-time: 24 months
    PgCert full-time: 9 months

    Special benefits
    The particular strengths of this course include:

        * the high standard of teaching and learning, and the strong experienced team of committed staff working on the teaching of the course;
        * the opportunity for academic development within the course and afterwards;
        * the excellence of the teaching as recognised by external bodies (Nottingham Trent IR staff were graded "excellent" in a recent quality assessment);
        * the opportunity for professional development within the option modules on the course;
        * the opportunity to live and work in a strong research culture in the school and university as a whole, in a well resourced and intellectually challenging context, and in a thriving and lively city.

    Research opportunities
    The course helps to develop students understanding and skills towards research work, and in the past many of our MA students have gone on to undertake research for PhD and comparable awards successfully.

    The methods and methodology elements of the course provide specific training in research which facilitates students who wish to go on to higher study.

    The course builds on the research and publishing strengths of the staff teaching on it, and the main areas of the MA degree are also the main areas in which we supervise PhD students (contemporary theory; political economy; Asia-Pacific; institutions; development and development policies; IR in the EU; IR in South Asia; contemporary theories of conflict and war). About 40 PhD students have successfully completed their theses with us in the last 8 years, and we have a strong record of success in research learning and teaching.

    Professional recognition
    The course has been designed to conform to ESRC requirements for taught courses in international relations, and does so in all respects. We are currently waiting to apply for ESRC recognition for 2005.

    Professional development
    We encourage our MA students to work on their course with the minimum of distraction. However all students have the opportunity to take part in research seminars, day schools and to hear and meet visiting specialists. MA students do not contribute to teaching

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