MA Postcolonial Politics (Research Training)

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Why study this Masters degree?

Postcolonial Politics is one of the most exciting areas in the study of global relationships. It challenges conventional thinking about international politics by questioning the fundamental assumptions about the world that underpin the contemporary global order. Indeed, it invites us to imagine the world from another perspective entirely. Drawing on the disciplines of history, cultural studies, sociology, area studies and anthropology, postcolonial politics brings an interdisciplinary approach to understanding power and inequality in the social world and on a global scale. It also stretches beyond the intellectual compartments of ‘the west’ and ‘the rest’, to look for continuities and global interactions especially those steeped in the experience of colonialism – in the past and in the present. It starts from the assumption that although formal colonialism may be a thing of the past, its legacies continue, both in the form of practices such as aid, development, state-building, immigration policies and intervention and in more subtle ways.

Aberystwyth is at the forefront of research and teaching in the field, with a number of internationally renowned faculty in this area. Our degree scheme, the first Masters programme in Postcolonial Politics established here in 1999 and developed continuously since, remains unique. Indeed, it is now increasingly relevant in the context of current moves in international relations to examine the potential of non-Western and decolonial approaches and the possibilities of provincialising Europe. These perspectives are no longer marginal to the study of world politics, but situated at the heart of cutting-edge critical approaches. They provide key tools for those who wish to go on to make their contribution in both academic study and practical engagement in international politics in a postcolonial world.

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 masters 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.


This degree is designed to facilitate a critical awareness of the theory and practice of Postcolonial Studies in the contemporary world. Key concepts considered include hybridity, power and resistance. In this context students explore the assumptions, theories and practices that have defined traditional studies of relations between developed and underdeveloped states, and the alternative conceptualisation provided by a postcolonial perspective on international relations.

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. 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. The RT pathway also culminates in 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 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 1

Postcolonial Politics IPM1320

Year 1 Electives Student must take two modules from the basket below:

Semester 1

The International Politics Of Conflict Knowledge IPM3720

Post-western International Relations IPM4120

Islam And Modernity IPM8420

Semester 2

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

Dissident Perspectives On World Politics IPM4820

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 Postcolonial Politics

This degree will suit you:

  • If you want to study Postcolonial Politics at Masters level
  • If you wish to develop a critical appreciation postcolonial politics
  • If you wish to nurture a career in politics
  • 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 political specialist with a strength in depth of knowledge on vital subjects such as the assumptions, theories and practices that have defined traditional studies of relations between developed and underdeveloped states, and the alternative conceptualisation provided by a postcolonial perspective on international relations. You will also graduate with a wealth of postgraduate-level skills which are transferable into any workplace. On the research training pathway you also develop advanced skills in quantitative and qualitative research skills and data analysis. In addition, the prestige of masters from our department of International Politics wills open doors for you into workplaces in every industry.

Graduates from the programme regularly go on to hold key posts in institutions throughout the world for example, working for NGOs in development and other areas, or careers as diplomats in foreign offices. Many others have gone on to doctoral study and academic work. Many alumni are now well established figures in their own right, as their own web sites testify. See for example: Megan Daigle, recently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Carl Death, Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy, The University of Manchester; Madeleine Fagan, Institute of Advanced Studies Global Research Fellow at Warwick University, UK; Owain Llyr ap Gareth, Campaigns and Research Officer with the Electoral Reform Society; Sara Ababneh, Assistant Professor, Center for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan; Aoileann Ni Mhurchu, Lecturer in International Politics, The University of Manchester; Elizabeth Wheatley, Lecturer in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University.

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. 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. 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. You will also have advanced skills in data analysis that can be applied in a wide variety of work environments from business to the public sector and non-governmental organisations.

How to Apply

Postgraduate applicants should submit an application online through UKPass.

Departmental contact details 

Tel: (01970) 622708
Fax: (01970) 622709

Department of International Politics
Aberystwyth University
Penglais Campus
Aberystwyth University
SY23 3FE

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Further Information

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