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Master International Relations

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  • Objectives
    The course provides an innovative grounding in the central theoretical and practical aspects of International Relations, as well as an opportunity for specialist study in a range of subject areas. The 15,000 word dissertation enables students to engage in independent research in a topic of their own choosing. Students are able to undertake research training modules, essential for those intending to proceed to a research degree, and offering a range of transferable skills relevant to professional life.
  • Entry requirements
    Prospective students are expected to have a second class honours degree in International Relations or in social science or humanities subjects.
  • Academic Title
    MA, MRes International Relations
  • Course description
    Full-Time & Part-Time study


    The School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE) has an outstanding international reputation, evidenced by our 5A rating in the last Research Assessment Exercise, and our maximum score of 24 in the Quality Assurance Agency review of teaching. SPIRE contains some of the most prominent figures in the field, and provides a vibrant environment within which to pursue postgraduate study. In a given year, we have about 40-50 MA and MRes students across the various programmes we offer. There is a very active student World Today society, and SPIRE has recently hosted events such as a Forum on 9/11. We also hold regular research seminars, which MA and MRes students are encouraged to attend.

    Students who have taken the Masters degree at Keele have progressed to a range of professions. Some have gone on to study for a doctoral degree, while others have pursued careers in international business, law, the diplomatic service, non-governmental organisations, the charity sector and the armed services.

    Our courses have an MA and MRes version. The MA version provides you with an opportunity for in-depth study in your chosen field. MA classes are generally smaller than undergraduate classes, and you will have the opportunity for detailed discussion and contemplation of specific questions. The research dissertation enables you to pursue with a member of staff a topic of particular interest to you. An MA is ideal for anyone thinking about a career related to these subject-areas, but also generally for those with a passion for the subject and an interest to find out more. Not everyone on the MA programmes have studied the subjects before. The MRes is designed specifically as a programme for those intending to pursue PhD study after their Masters’ year, and contains a large emphasis on research training. All students hoping to apply for ESRC funding must follow the MRes route. If you are thinking of applying for ESRC funding, you must make contact with the department well in advice of the deadline date.

    Course Structure and Content

    Taught Masters programmes require satisfactory completion of at least 180 credits, made up of 6 taught modules each of 20 credits (120 credits) plus a 15,000 word dissertation (60 credits). The MA and MRes programmes differ in that the MA programme contains more substantive subject modules and less research training, while the MRes programme contains more research training, as preparation directly for a research career or for undertaking a research degree such as a PhD. Details of the two programmes are as follows:

    Course Modules


    • Perspectives in International Relations
    • Research Training in Politics and International Relations and the Environment
    • The Changing International Agenda since 1945
    • Three optional modules chosen from the list below
    • 15,000 word dissertation on an approved topic in International Relations


    • Research Skills
    • Quantitative Data Analysis I (basic)
    • Qualitative Data Analysis
    • Research Design and Process
    • Perspectives in International Relations
    • One other subject-specific module
    • 15,000 word dissertation on an approved topic in International Relations


    Optional modules can be drawn from modules such as those listed below, although the precise list of available modules may vary from year to year.

    • Arms Control
    • Global Security
    • Diplomatic Theory and Practice
    • The EU and the Global Commons
    • Dimensions of Environmental Politics
    • Environmental Diplomacy
    • Green Political Theory
    • Diplomatic Law
    • Extreme Right Wing Parties
    • Green Parties and Movements
    • European Culture and Politics
    • Wilderness and Civilisation
    • Environment and Development in the Global South
    • Terrorist Groups and Terror Regimes
    • International Minority Rights
    • The Changing International Agenda since 1945
    • Feminist Perspectives on Environmental Politics
    • A Modern Foreign Language other than English
    • Research Skills
    • Philosophy of the Social Sciences


    Each module has its own methods of assessment, based on a combination of coursework and written examinations, with some assessment of tutorial performance. Students demonstrating an outstanding level of work will receive their degree with distinction.

    Staff and Research Interests

    Professor Chris Bailey – Environmental policy-making in the USA.
    Dr Elisabeth Carter – Political Parties and Party Systems, Electoral Systems, Right Wing Extremism.
    Professor Costas Constantinou – Global Politics and Culture, Theories of Mediation and Diplomacy, Politics and Language, History of Social and Political Thought, Cyprus.
    Professor Andrew Dobson – Environmental political theory.
    Dr Brian Doherty – Politics of social movements; green parties; ideologies of radical social movements.
    Professor Tim Doyle – Environmental politics and social movements.
    Mr Kyril Drezov – Post communist Eastern Europe.
    Dr David Dunn – Peace Research, Conflict Resolution and Theoretical Issues in International Relations.
    Dr Bulent Gokay – Decline and Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe and post-Soviet space, Caspian Oil Politics, Nationalism in the Balkans, Espionage and International Politics.
    Dr Jon Herbert – US politics.
    Professor John Horton – Contemporary Political Philosophy.
    Dr Robert Ladrech – Social democratic parties; European transnational party federations; French political parties.
    Dr Lorna Lloyd – Diplomatic, historical, legal and political aspects of the League of Nations, the UN, the Commonwealth, the permanent Court of International Justice.
    Dr Kurt Richard Luther – Radical right-wing parties; parties and consociational democracy; parties and party system in Austria.
    Dr Sherilyn MacGregor – Environmental Political Theory Feminism.
    Dr Monica Mookherjee – Feminist and multicultural aspects of contemporary political philosophy.
    Professor Glen Newey – Contemporary Political Philosophy.
    Professor Rosemary O’Kane – Revolutions, coups d’état, military regimes and terror states.
    Dr Jonathan Parker – US politics.
    Dr Helen Parr – British foreign policy, the Cold War, Britain and Europe.
    Dr Steve Quilley – Ethics of land use, wildlife habitats, risk.
    Mr David Scrivener – Arctic international relations; international environmental co-operation; arms control.
    Mr Naveed Sheikh – Islam, security studies, terrorism and political violence.
    Professor Patrick Thornberry – Public international law and human rights.
    Professor John Vogler – International Relations of the environment, the EU as a global actor; politics of the global commons; regime theory.
    Professor Rob Walker – Sovereignty and subjectivity, international political theory, theories of modernity, the spatiotemporal framing of political practice.

Other programs related to International Relations

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