MA International Politics (Specialist)

Why study this Masters degree?

The Masters in International Relations provides a complementary and innovative package of modules that encompasses cutting edge theoretical and empirical perspectives. Our degree engages with the emerging issues of international politics that are being directly thrust into our everyday lives, creating the need for a more systematic and informed engagement. This degree aims to investigate such emerging issues, in particular the changing nature of violence, war, security and development and its effects on international society, the transformation of political communities and the contemporary international system. The scheme will introduce you to the core theories and concepts that shape the practices of international politics through an in-depth engagement with key debates in the discipline of International Relations in light of various case studies. In so doing, it provides you with an introduction to the advanced study of international relations from a distinctly normative and critical angle, for which Aberystwyth has an international reputation. It will include topics such as anarchy, sovereignty, power, peace, war, harm, justice, ethics, realism, the global distribution of wealth and resources and trust in world 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:

During the first two semesters you will normally take one two-hour seminar per module per week. 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 Department is renowned for its pioneering research and is recognised as number one in the UK for the study of international politics. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), the Department of International Politics was placed best in Wales with 76% of publications submitted rated as world leading and internationally excellent.

The Masters in International Relations pursued through the specialist pathway is the traditional Masters degree which offers the opportunity to specialise on a particular area of the discipline. The Specialist pathway provides the opportunity for students to pursue advanced, subject-specific study in a particular area of the discipline. Students following this pathway take the departmental core module (compulsory), two modules from a bespoke basket of degree scheme related options and one further module from any offered by the Department, followed by a dissertation.

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 Options Students must take the following degree scheme core module.

Semester 1

International Politics 1: Theories And Concepts (s) IPM0520

Year 1 Options In addition to the Degree Scheme core module and 40 credits from the 'basket' list, students on the Specialist pathway must take an additional 60 credits (3 modules) of modules which may include 1 x 20 credit module outside the department if desired.

Semester 1

Polisi A Chyunllunio Iaith Yng Nghymru Heddiw GWM9520

Intelligence, Security And International Politics 1900-45 IPM0320

Thoughts Of War: Strategic Theory & Thinkers (s) IPM0920

Critical Security Studies: Emerging Issues IPM1220

Postcolonial Politics IPM1320

Fear, Cooperation And Trust In World Politics IPM2220

The International Politics Of Conflict Knowledge IPM3720

Islam And Modernity IPM8420

Language Policy And Planning In Wales Today IPM9520

Semester 2

Power And Postwar Reconstruction: A Critical Approach IPM3820

International Communications In Asia-pacific: Power, Peoples And Propaganda IPM4020

The State Through The Ages IPM4220

Dissident Perspectives On World Politics IPM4820

Cyber Security IPM9820

Year 1 Electives Specialist pathway students must choose 40 credits (2 modules) from the 'basket' list below (semester 1 and/or 2).

Semester 1

Post-western International Relations IPM4120

Violence And Civilization In World Politics IPM5820

Semester 2

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: Masters in International Relations

This degree will suit you:

  • If you want to study international relations in a global context at Masters level
  • If you wish to develop a critical appreciation of international relations
  • If you wish to nurture a career in international diplomacy and work internationally
  • If you desire formal recognition of skills highly sought-after by any postgraduate employer


Every course at Aberystwyth University is designed to enhance your vocational and general employability. Your Masters will place you in the jobs market as a highly-trained international relations specialist with a strength in depth of knowledge on vital subjects such as anarchy, sovereignty, power, peace, war, justice, ethics, realism, the global distribution of wealth and resources and trust in world politics. You will also graduate with a wealth of postgraduate-level skills which are transferable into any workplace. In addition, the prestige of masters from the Department of International Politics will open doors for you into workplaces in every industry.

Study Skills

Alongside the wealth of world-class critical expertise, you will master highly desirable skills in academic research, analysis, argument-formation, presentation and debate. You will also prove your abilities in reflection and self-improvement; you will be able to identify your academic weaknesses and remove them whilst building on your strengths.

Self-Motivation and discipline

Studying at Masters level requires discipline and self-motivation from every candidate. You will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of departmental staff, but you are ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your Masters degree. This process of independent study at an extremely high level will strengthen your skills as an independent and self-sufficient worker, a trait prized by most employers.

Transferable Skills

The International Relations Masters programme is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of employment contexts.  Upon graduation, you will have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines.

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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