MA International Relations and Politics students in seminar
Mode of Study
Full-time block delivery, Part-time block delivery
Duration
1 year full-time block delivery, 2 years part-time block delivery
Start Date
January 2023, September 2023, January 2024

Overview

If you're passionate about studying global conflict and co-operation at postgraduate level, but you can't commit to attending university every week, this MA International Relations and Politics offers a convenient way to study a Master's.

Through intensive blocks of study, you'll graduate with the skills and knowledge for creative roles in security, development, social policy, governance, advocacy and communications, in local to global institutions. 

The University of Portsmouth is ranked the number 1 modern university for research quality in Area Studies

Course highlights:

  • Fit each module into a week's intensive study, with a few weeks' rest between to focus on your life and career commitments
  • Explore the contours of contemporary insecurity, examine the key drivers of political and public policy decision making across the globe, and apply key analytical concepts to local and international political developments
  • Devise, research and deliver a major academic project
  • Challenge conventional explanations and participate in key debates about international conflict, global politics and public policy. 
  • Develop advanced analytic skills, and how to communicate your analysis in engaging reports, policy briefs and essays.
  • Study with internationally-recognised academics, including members of the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR) and the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for the Study of a Transnational Europe

Entry requirements​

MA International Relations and Politics Master's degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience

  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree in Politics, International Relations, Sociology or History, or an upper second-class honours degree in another relevant humanities or social sciences subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Qualifications or experience

  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree in Politics, International Relations, Sociology or History, or a 2:1 honours degree in another relevant humanities or social sciences subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Why study a Master's in International Relations?

Meet current students and lecturers from the MA International Relations courses at the University of Portsmouth.

Ed Stoddard: The International Relations course is focussed on a number of the really big issues that affect us as societies. Whether that's equality, whether that's poverty or whether that's security issues like terrorism and political violence. You know, we're looking at a series of really important contemporary issues that we read about every day in the newspaper. The reasons that students would want to study these courses is the flexibility. 

Amanda: The schedule that I was able to work around with the teaching classes and the lectures, I really was able to fit all of those things into my daily life. I have a lot of children and a busy schedule and going back to school almost 20 years later, I just needed a programme that really fit into my schedule. 

Samia: I had a great experience doing this distance learning. The lectures were all very available, very responsive. They helped in all aspects of learning, not just their specific modules. So I had a great experience. 

Max: I think Portsmouth is such a unique city. Being by the sea is lovely, but you've also got all of the amenities that you'd expect from a big city. 

Ed Stoddard: The university is literally at the heart of the city. I think also the university has a really strong focus on student support and a really strong focus on teaching quality. 

Amanda: I absolutely felt well supported, both by students and colleagues and by the professors. 

Amy: I did feel really supported. There's always a chance to kind of talk to your lecturers outside of class about what you were struggling with, talk about what you might not understand. There's a real space for students helping students. We have forums, we share WhatsApp numbers, there's always space to kind of help each other and see different perspectives. 

Samia: My favourite part of the course was the online seminars, which we did with fellow colleagues. We got together, heard from different people with different backgrounds. It was just very interesting and exciting. 

Amanda: I ended up learning so much through writing my dissertation and it was a scary assignment in the beginning, but working with the professors and the supervisors for the dissertation just made it a wonderful experience. 

Amy: I love how all the lecturers and all of the professors do their own research as well as teach, and that's what I really wanted to get involved in, and that's why I chose Portsmouth. 

Ed Stoddard: There are a lot of different career opportunities, opportunities in international organisations, international businesses, the Foreign Office, the Foreign Service and there's also a lot of opportunities and things like research and risk analysis. A lot of trajectories that lead towards really exciting careers. 

Amanda: The Master's of International Relations at Portsmouth definitely gave me what I needed for the next step in my career. Throughout the course, learning everything that I did and speaking with the professors, even the other students, it really did prepare me for what I wanted to do next. 

Max: I felt this course is really good, especially where I'm looking to go to, which was teaching afterwards, and it was a really good way of developing the skillset to be able to really understand and to attack a topic. So I felt there was always a good opportunity to develop. 

Samia: I feel very well equipped for the future right now because not only did I gain a lot of information and knowledge, but also I know how to go about getting information and knowledge. So I feel very prepared. I'm ready to go.

Careers and opportunities

You'll build your opportunities for promotion and career development with this degree, shaping yourself into an active and informed global citizen. You'll develop the skills and knowledge to help you progress in – or enter – a career that values your awareness of ethical and effective action on the world stage.

Previous graduates from our International Relations and Politics courses have gone on to work in parliaments, political parties, third sector and civil society organisations.

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.

We'll also be available to help, advise and support you for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

​What you'll study

Core modules in this year include:

  • Exploring International Relations (delivered on campus in October 2021) – 30 credits
  • Contemporary Security in International Relations (delivered on campus) – 30 credits
  • Defence and Deterrence (delivered on campus) – 30 credits
  • Researching International Relations (studied online) – 15 credits
  • Comparative Public Policy and Administration (delivered on campus) – 30 credits
  • Dissertation (supervised online) – 45 credits 

Changes to course content

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, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.

International Relations and Politics research at the University of Portsmouth

Ed Stoddard, Reader in International Security, explains how cutting-edge research like his (into the changing character of warfare) informs our courses and talks about some of the career opportunities this course can lead to.

Ed Stoddard: So the research I do here at the University is focused on the changing character of warfare.

Over the last few years I've been particularly focusing on questions to do with terrorism and violent extremism in the West African region, especially around the Lake Chad area.

And we use that research and distribute it at conferences and events with policymakers, both here in the UK, but also in West Africa as well. Armed conflicts are so destructive and, you know, I think it's incumbent on us as researchers who work in this area to try and think of ways they can be avoided, of course, in the first instance.

But if, when those armed conflicts do happen, try and think of measures that we can put in place to reduce their impact.

So the research connects with students here in a number of different ways. It supports the work they do in terms of their dissertations, but also directly into the modules that they study.

You know, our research, once we've done it and we've written the papers and we've publish the outputs, that gets then translated into the lectures that we deliver. So they will be directly learning and benefiting from that research that we've done out in the field in their studies and contributing to their degree.

There's a really broad range of different career opportunities that are available to students. The Foreign Office, the Civil Service and more broadly, the Ministry of Defence.

But also we have students who go to international organisations, NGOs, charities that work internationally in conflict zones, and we also have quite a lot of students who go into various research roles and risk analysis roles.

Portsmouth is a really exciting and vibrant city and the university is literally at the heart of the city. I think also the university has a really strong focus on student support and a really strong focus on teaching quality.

And I know that my colleagues spend very considerable amount of that time working to make sure that the experience for Portsmouth students is a really brilliant one. And I think those are some of the key reasons why students who are here really enjoy their degrees.

Teaching​

The Block Taught MA International Relations and Politics is taught differently from our standard campus based courses.

Rather than staying in Portsmouth and studying several modules simultaneously for months, you'll travel to the University for a single week to study a single module, and hand in your coursework at the end of your module. You'll then rest for a few weeks, before you return for the next one-week module. This intensive form of study can often be easier to fit around your work and other life commitments. 

You'll be studying in a teaching environment in each module week, and take four taught modules over the year (or two each year for two years, if you're studying part time).  

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're assessed

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge through informal assessments, seminars and peer review sessions before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

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

You'll be assessed through:

  • academic essays
  • briefing papers and reports
  • dissertation

There are no exams on this course.

Supporting your learning

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 learning materials
  • a personal tutor, and scheduled personal tutorial meetings

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2022 and January 2023 start)

UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students

  • Full-time: £9,400
  • Part-time: £4,700

EU (including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £9,400
  • Part-time: £4,700

International students

  • Full-time:  £16,200
  • Part-time: £8,100

Fees subject to annual increase.

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 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

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.

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Apply

Start your application by following the link below:

January 2023 start

September 2023 start

January 2024 start

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.