Master International Studies

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  • Objectives
    The course promotes critical approaches to the study of contemporary politics and societies in regional and international contexts, based on rigorous theoretical and empirical enquiry.
  • Entry requirements
    A good Honours degree (First or Upper Second Class) or equivalent. Equivalent qualifications from overseas are welcome. If you hold or are expecting to gain a good first degree in an unrelated subject, you may be required to complete a summer school (for example, in international relations) or the equivalent approved by the course admissions tutor. You will need fluent written and spoken English to study at postgraduate level. If your first language is not English, an attainment of at least IELTS 6.5 or equivalent must be demonstrated. The University offers pre-sessional summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course. Applications must be supported by a reference written on institutional notepaper by an academic familiar with your abilities. Applications from mature candidates are welcome.
  • Academic title
    MA International Studies
  • Course description
    This course at the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) offers you an integrated course combining regional specialisms with political and cultural studies. You focus on East Asia, drawing on the research expertise of CSD staff in political theory, cultural studies and international relations. The course as a whole acknowledges the political, economic and cultural importance of regions as a crucial aspect of the global order. Its regional spread also offers a contextualised approach to international politics and cultures which will greatly enhance your grasp of the multidimensional nature of international relations.

    Course Content
    You will take core modules in international relations, political and/or cultural theory, and will then take option modules and write a dissertation. The course examines the politics and cultures of diverse societies in East Asia, including modern and contemporary China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. This course also looks at relationships between states within the region, offering an approach to the study of these areas that engages with regional as well as Euro-American perspectives on political and social transformation.

    The course develops an interdisciplinary approach to the study of contemporary international politics and societies by taking you through the fields of international relations, political theory, and cultural studies. By focusing on East Asia, it brings important new opportunities for students of politics and international relations, and also acknowledges the global importance of China and East Asia in political, economic and cultural terms. The course emphasises contemporary issues and reflects the current research of CSD staff, thus maintaining its relevance in changing global circumstances and enabling you to develop expertise that is not readily available from other institutions in the UK.

    Specifically, the course promotes critical approaches to the study of contemporary politics and societies in regional and international contexts, based on rigorous theoretical and empirical enquiry. You will examine the relevance of different theoretical debates in the fields of political, social and cultural theory to the geopolitics of East Asian states and societies. We provide you with sound empirical knowledge of key political (including institutional), social and cultural configurations and developments in your region of study. You will gain local as well as global perspectives on regional politics and their international impact.

    Core modules:
    Chinese Cultures and Societies
    International Relations: Theoretical Perspectives
    Introduction to Contemporary Politics and History in Japan and East Asia
    Problems and Perspectives in Cultural Studies

    Asia and Globalisation
    Film, Media and Chinese Identities
    Nation, Transnationalism and Global Chinese Identities
    Politics of Contemporary Chinese Art
    The Politics of Culture in Contemporary China
    Environmental and Urban Governance: International Perspectives
    Globalisation and Post-Socialist Transition
    International Humanitarian Law
    Perspectives and Methods
    Politics, Public Life and the Media
    The Human Sciences
    The State, Politics and Violence

    You may also choose a suitable free choice module from another Masters course subject to timetabling constraints and the consent of the course leader.

    Teaching and Assessment
    The hallmark of this course is a strong, student-centred approach to teaching and learning, rooted in seminars and tutorials. Although the course includes some formal lectures, emphasis throughout is placed on learning through close, interactive group work focusing on a range of student and staff presentations in structured seminars. Each module has its own characteristic delivery features that are appropriate to the particular subject matter. Some modules make extensive use of multimedia and visual materials. During all stages of study, you will be offered close support as part of a strategy designed to facilitate you acquiring appropriate learning skills and deriving maximum academic benefit from the course. There are no formal exams. Continual assessment methods include project work, marked presentations and essays.

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