MA Critical International Politics (Research)

Why study this Masters degree?

The Aberystwyth Masters in Critical International Politics is your opportunity to examine the origins of prevailing global power relations, how they work and how they are reproduced. You will interrogate practices such as development, security, conflict, and environmental regulation in your analysis of the possibilities for the transformation of global politics. Rather than accepting existing social and power relations as natural and unmoving, this MA programme will help you explore the socio-historical context in which they emerged and expose their ideological functions. You will examine the conditions that give rise to contemporary political activism such as the Arab Spring and the Occupy movements and their potential for resistance or emancipation.

Based in the Department of International Politics, which has a longstanding international reputation for outstanding research in critical approaches to international politics, this fascinating course brings together critical social and political theory, postcolonial politics, international relations, environmental politics and security studies in a highly stimulating study programme. Your skills in critical thought and reflection will be honed as you engage in cutting-edge debates on the nature of politics, justice, political violence, global regulation, development and the relationship between man and nature.

You will graduate from the Masters in Critical International Politics with the dual strengths of an expertise in your field and an academic and professional rigour. These traits, and the skills that accompany them, will make you a highly desirable candidate for any employer in a range of related fields where critical analysis, incisive argument and an in-depth understanding of your subject are prized. You will be taught by academics who are major names in the field and graduate with a degree from a department acclaimed as world-leading in critical international politics.

Key Facts


One year full-time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September.

Contact Time:

In Semester One you will normally have eight hours per week of specific Research Training Modules and one two-hour seminar per week for your degree scheme core module. In Semester Two you will normally have one two-hour seminar per week for each of the three modules you take (one Research Training specific and two subject specific modules). You will also have contact with academic staff through participation in research groups, attendance in departmental research seminars and masters workshops and through staff office hours (two one hour sessions per week). There will also be additional sessions working towards developing your master’s dissertation. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.


Assessment will be through a combination of examinations, project work, short reports, essays and dissertation.  It may, depending on the modules chosen, include seminar presentations, review essays and literature searches.

Entry Requirements:

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.


Funding opportunities may be available, please check our funding calculator for details.


The Aberystwyth MA in Critical International Politics examines the nature of power and the power of incentives in a global political context.  By engaging with this course, you will undertake the critical study of international politics and its bearing on issues including gender, race, class, power, sovereignty, community, memory, culture, identity, difference, modernity, harm, violence, resistance, security and many more.  You will be challenged to critically evaluate current research and – ultimately – advance the boundary of scholarship through your exploration of current problems and your identification of newly arising issues.

On this course, you will explore the conditions that give rise to contemporary forms of political activism and their potential for bringing about resistance or emancipation.  In doing so, you will study critical social and political theory, postcolonial politics, international relations, environmental politics and security studies.  You will understand the interconnectivity of human activity – how shifts in the political sphere create powerful changes across business, culture, religion and wider society.

Based primarily in the Department of International Politics, you will have access to leading researchers and lecturers who will teach you to open up relevant areas of study including postcolonial politics, power, identity, protest and resistance. You will become well-versed in how these areas of human activity are controlled and directed from the political power structures on a global stage.

You will also gain invaluable opportunities through the department's vibrant graduate culture, which includes a programme of visiting speakers, staff-graduate seminars, specialised research group meetings and student societies.  You will enjoy access to an excellent and diverse faculty to begin building a valuable network of contacts to support any career path you choose.

The course is a full-time programme, taught over one year, and is divided into two parts over three semesters.  The Research Training (RT) pathway is particularly useful for students who have a first degree in Politics/International Relations and who are either planning to undertake a PhD or envisage a career in social science research. In part one, students following the RT pathway take the Departmental core module, a suite of research training modules, one module from a bespoke basket of degree scheme related options and one free choice module, either from within the Department or University-wide. In part two, the RT pathway also culminates in a dissertation in the third (summer) semester.

Upon graduation from the Masters in Critical International Politics, you will have demonstrated rigorous research practices, sharp analytical skills, thorough debating and arguing abilities and expertise in your field.   These qualities, ratified by the award of the prestigious MA in Critical International Politics, will prove your worth to recruiting corporate bodies, government agencies and research institutes alike.  In a competitive jobs market, your particular skill set will make you highly desirable to employers from a range of industries.

Our Staff

Lecturers in the Department of International Politics are all research active and qualified to PhD level, and most also have a PGCHE.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (20 Credits) Students following the Research Training pathway on any degree scheme within the Department of International Politics must take and pass the following RT 'bridge' module:

Semester 2

Political, Social And Historical Research: Philosophy, Methods And Application IPM2120

Year 1 Core (40 Credits) Students following the Research Training pathway on any degree scheme within the Department of International Politics must take and pass the following Univeristy-taught Generic Research Training Modules:

Semester 1

Principles Of Research Design PGM0210

Quantitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1010

Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1100

Semester 2

Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1120

Year 1 Options Students must take the following degree scheme core module:

Semester 2

Dissident Perspectives On World Politics IPM4820

Year 1 Electives Students must take three modules from the basket below:

Semester 1

Postcolonial Politics IPM1320

The International Politics Of Conflict Knowledge IPM3720

Post-western International Relations IPM4120

Islam And Modernity IPM8420

Semester 2

Power And Postwar Reconstruction: A Critical Approach IPM3820

Political Responsibility In A Globalized World IPM4520

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) Students must submit a dissertation on a topic relevant to their degree scheme. Students may submit their dissertation in either Welsh or English. Students wishing to submit their Dissertation in Welsh should register for GWM0060.

Semester 3

Dissertation IPM0060


Qualification:             MA in Critical International Politics

This degree will suit you:

  • If you wish to understand the nature of what motivates and enables power structures within global politics;
  • If you wish to gain the knowledge and skills for professional work within politics;
  • If you wish to understand the nature of power and the impact of international political incentives on national governments;
  • If you wish to continue your studies to a more advanced level through undertaking further postgraduate level research.


Employability is an essential feature of your study of Critical International Politics at Aberystwyth.  From the beginning of the course, you will be invited to undertake personal development planning to crystallise your career or study plans after graduation.  By the time you graduate, you will possess an impressive understanding of how important decisions are taken in the widest practicable realm of human interaction.  Your understanding of decision-making – the weighing of factors, incentives and consequences on a global stage – will develop your mind and abilities and stand you in excellent stead for any employment opportunity. 

Thanks to the wide choice of study modules, you will be able to tailor exactly your learning into areas of specialism which relate to your career aspirations so that you can achieve your goals more efficiently.  Having fully interrogated your chosen specialisms, you will be an expert in your field and you will be highly experienced in tackling any arising subject or challenge with clarity, knowledge and authority.  These qualities will set you apart in the jobs market or the employed environment, whether it is a specialist or more general post.

The Masters course is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of research interests and employment contexts. The research training pathway provides you with a specific set of study skills focused on interrogating and analysing a range of different types of data from multiple sources. A significant proportion of postgraduate jobs demand a high level of personal organisation and clarity in communication and presentation.  You will possess these skills, thanks to this course’s regular assessment through examination, essay, presentation, dissertation and debate in public fora.

How to Apply

Postgraduate applicants can submit their application either on-line or off-line. Please see our How to Apply page for further information.

Departmental contact details 

Tel: (01970) 622708

Fax: (01970) 622709


Department of International Politics

Aberystwyth University

Penglais Campus

Aberystwyth University

SY23 3FE

If you'd like to see how we assess your application please click and watch our Application videos.

Further Information

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