International relations student holds books
UCAS Code
Non-UCAS
Mode of Study
Full-time, Part-time, Full-time by distance learning, Part-time by distance learning
Duration
13 months full time (campus-based), 1 year full-time (distance learning), 2 years part-time (campus-based and distance learning)
Start Date
September 2019

Overview

Almost all aspects of life – economic, social, cultural and political – are influenced by players beyond the borders of national states.

If you want the skills to understand this dynamic international order and you're interested in the relations between countries, this MA International Relations Master's degree course gives you the platform to address some of the most contentious subjects in international affairs.

You'll study key topics across the spectrum of international relations and examine theories and historical inquiry. This will equip you with the tools to challenge conventional explanations and develop arguments of your own. You'll develop advanced analytic skills and critical assessment abilities, and learn to write engaging reports, policy briefs and essays.

When you graduate, you'll be in a strong position to generate creative solutions that benefit the global economy and international society.

You'll be suited for roles in security, development, social policy, governance, advocacy and communications. Previous graduates have gone on to work in parliaments, political parties, third sector and civil society organisations.

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Study pressing topics, such as: why war and conflict are a permanent feature of global affairs; why powerful states interfere with weak or fragile countries; the role of the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and EU in promoting cooperation; and whether global civil society and the third sector can promote security, development and rights
  • Complete an independent research project in a subject relevant to your future career
  • Get to study with members of CEISR (Centre for European and International Studies Research), the UK's largest centre for European Studies
  • Develop expertise in issues relating to Europe – ideal if you want to pursue a career in European institutions or with political lobbyists and think tanks
  • Be taught by internationally recognised experts, including members of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for the Study of Transnational Europe
  • Develop transferable skills in qualitative and quantitative research, critical reading, communication, and executing major projects
  • Have the opportunity to undertake a supervised work-based project if you work in a relevant field or do an internship during the course
  • Tap in to our Library’s electronic resources, which you can access from anywhere with a Web connection

You can study the course full-time or part-time, either on campus or through distance learning.

Careers and opportunities

With a rounded skill set, and knowledge of international issues, you'll be an informed global citizen, with a sense of responsibility and commitment to ethical practice and issues of global social justice.

What can I do with a Master's degree in international relations?

This MA International Relations Master's degree will put you in a strong position to pursue job roles in areas and organisations such as:

  • national, European and international state institutions
  • political parties
  • political lobbyists
  • think tanks
  • security and risk analysis
  • foreign affairs analysis
  • political communication and journalism

You could also continue your studies in postgraduate research, leading to a qualification such as a PhD.

You can get help and support from our Careers and Employability service in finding a role and for 5 years after you you leave the University.

What you'll study on this MA International Relations degree course

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

You need to study units worth a total of 180 credits. For example, 4 units worth 30 credits and 1 unit worth 60 credits.

Units currently being studied

Core units include:

  • Global Governance
  • Research Management
  • Dissertation/Major Project
  • Research management for International Relations (distance learning only) 

Optional units include:

  • Contemporary Security in International Relations: Providers and Challenges
  • NGOs and Social Movements
  • Nation and Identity
  • From Security to Risk: European International Relations in the 21st Century
  • Challenges to European Politics
  • Negotiation and Lobbying in the EU: A Simulation Game
  • Europe: Integration and Democratisation
  • Independent Project
  • Work-Based Learning
  • Population and Reproductive Health 
  • Challenges to Transnational Justice 

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Work experience and career planning

If you're not already in employment, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

In addition to support from the Academic Skills Unit (ASK), you'll have access to the following learning support:

  • Moodle, a distance learning hub and interactive forum for tutors and students
  • participation in Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP) activities to develop skills and knowledge beyond the assessed curriculum
  • access to the Faculty Research Skills Hub to develop research skills
  • access to the School Student Representatives Hub, to promote participation in the Quality Assurance processes
  • support by the Faculty Librarian for accessing campus-based and distance learning materials
  • a personal tutor, and scheduled personal tutorial meetings

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures and seminars (delivered virtually if you study through distance learning)
  • independent learning activities
  • set readings
  • discussion in forums

If you do take this course by distance learning, most of it is delivered via our interactive virtual learning environment. With access to all the study material you’ll need, discussion forums and the chance to connect with peers and lecturers via chat sessions, you’ll have plenty of academic support and heaps of resources.

Teaching expertise

Our teaching staff are internationally recognised and actively researching in the areas they teach.

They're members of international professional associations for Politics and International Relations, such as the Political Studies Association, British International Studies Association, International Studies Association, European Consortium for Political Research and European Union Studies Association.

How you'll spend your time

You'll typically spend around 36 hours a week studying if you're a full-time student, or 18 hours a week if you study part-time. You'll spend around 6 hours a week in scheduled teaching activities if you study full-time, or 3 hours a week if you study part-time.

The full-time course runs from September to September, lasting 13 months if you study on campus or 12 months of if you study by distance learning.

The part-time campus-based and distance-learning course starts and ends in September and runs for 2 years.

How you're assessed 

You’ll be assessed through:

  • academic essays
  • briefing papers and reports
  • blog posts
  • narrated presentations
  • a major independent project or dissertation

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark. This includes group discussions, peer review activities, and virtual seminars.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Entry requirements​

Entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • A good honours degree in a Social Science, Humanities or related subject. 
English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Qualifications or experience
  • A second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. 
English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.5.

All our courses go through a rigorous approval process to make sure they’re of the highest quality. This includes a review by a panel of experts, made up of academic staff and an external academic or professional with specialist knowledge.

The distance learning version of this course is currently in the final stages of this process and is open for applications. If any details of the course or its approval status change after you apply, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and will be here to discuss your options with you.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

Campus-based 

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
  • Full-time: £7,000
  • Part-time: £3,500 (may be subject to annual increase)
International students
  • Full-time: £13,900
  • Part-time: £6,950 (may be subject to annual increase)

Distance learning 

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
  • Full-time: £7,000
  • Part-time: £3,500
International students
  • Full-time: £7,000
  • Part-time: £3,500

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. 

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You'll need to cover the travel costs of any placements you attend. These will normally be between £50–£1,000.

Apply

Apply for this course using our online application form

International students

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study with us, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.