International Relations (Research Training)

You are viewing this course for September start 2024

The MA International Relations course at Aberystwyth University enables you to grasp the complexity of this turbulent moment in world politics and to think through its meanings, both theoretical and practical. Whether your background is in International Relations or a different discipline, the range of modules and academic expertise that our MA programme provides will encourage you to stretch your horizons and explore the many different possibilities for envisioning international politics today.

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements Normally a 2:1 Bachelors (Honours) or equivalent. Non-graduates will be considered individually based on relevant work experience.

English Language Requirements IELTS 7.0 with minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants are encouraged to submit an up-to-date CV as part of their application.

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Course Overview

Students of international relations in the 21st century are confronted by a world in flux. Established structures of power and authority are being profoundly reshaped, or even torn down altogether, as new patterns of global relations and new forms of political identity come to prominence. Through this process, the landscape of contemporary global politics is changing rapidly, in pronounced and often unpredictable ways. At the same time, dramatic advances in science and technology, as well as far-reaching developments in economic and social organisation, require new conceptions of what politics is and where it is happening. As the climate emergency most strikingly demonstrates, the challenges that face international relations now are unprecedented. However, profound change also invites a bold reimagining of the nature of our politics, of our relations with one another and of our existence in the world.

Why study MA International Relations at Aberystwyth University?

  • Opportunity to study at the world’s first university department of International Politics
  • Top 5 in the UK for Student Experience and Teaching Quality for the subject of Politics (GUG 2022)
  • Top 10 in the UK for Research Rating for the subject of Politics (GUG 2022)
  • Opportunity to specialise in many different pathways such as security studies, postcolonial politics, theory/critical theory, and intelligence and strategic studies.
  • Opportunity to integrate into the research culture of a department at the forefront of understanding and tackling the challenges of ‘how we might live’ in the 21st century.
  • Opportunity to study in a challenging and highly stimulating intellectual environment and to engage with the most pressing and thought-provoking issues and topics in international politics.
  • 76% of the Department’s publications were deemed either world leading or internationally excellent, making the Department the best in Wales and 7th in the UK - REF 2014
  • The Department has over 30 academic and research staff, all of whom are research-active.
  • The Department hosts a wide variety of academic events which postgraduate students are encouraged to attend, including guest lectures by leading experts and academics, round table discussions about past, present, and future international issues, and the weekly Departmental research seminars.

About this course


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 essays, project work, short reports, book reviews and dissertation. It may, depending on the modules chosen, include seminar presentations, review essays and literature searches.

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.

Modules September start - 2024

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.

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh



Our graduates have numerous career opportunities. Previous graduates have gone on to work:

  • in the development sector 
  • in local and national politics
  • for the Diplomatic Service 
  • for the Civil Service 
  • for NGOs 
  • with international organisations
  • as journalists 
  • within academia 
  • as governmental and social researchers 
  • for Foreign Offices 
  • for the military 
  • in leadership roles in business/industry (CEOs/Chairmans) 
  • as political assistants 
  • as teachers, lawyers and accountants.


This Masters degree emphasises the development of strong research, writing and analytical skills as well as the capacity to work independently - qualities highly valued by employers. A Masters is also ideal for students who want to pursue PhD research. This MA will empower you to: 

  • develop your abilities in structuring and communicating complex ideas efficiently 
  • write for and speak to a range of audiences 
  • evaluate and organise information 
  • work effectively with others 
  • work within time frames and to specific deadlines.

Teaching & Learning


The MA International Relations is available as a Specialist or Research Training pathway degree. Students studying the Specialist pathway pursue advanced, subject-specific study, through a core module and a number of option modules along with a dissertation. Those on the Research Training pathway take a suite of research training modules in place of some option modules.

How will I be taught? 

During the first two semesters (September to May), 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 at 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 dissertation. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned dissertation supervisor. 

What will I learn?

International Politics: Theories and Concepts: Examines ‘classical’ concepts within International Relations, such as anarchy, sovereignty, power and security, as well as the roles of colonialism, environment and gender. Attention is paid to contestation and differences of meaning ascribed to core concepts, the political, ethical, practical and methodological consequences involved in the choice of concepts used, and the role of conceptual innovation in the study of a dynamic and diverse subject matter.

You will also choose from a range of optional modules, which currently include:

  • Global Challenges and the Future of International Relations Theory
  • Post-Western International Relations
  • Indigenous Politics: Challenging the Global Order?
  • Middle Powers and the Liberal Order
  • Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics
  • The International Politics of Conflict Knowledge
  • The EU in Crisis? Integration and Fragmentation.