International Relations (Specialist)

You are viewing this course for September start 2024

The MA International Relations degree 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 course 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.

Back to the top

Course Overview

Aberystwyth has played a key role in pushing new critical agendas in IR, including post-positivism, feminist IR and decolonial thinking. Building on this tradition of innovation, the IR programme interrogates core ideas and underlying assumptions of international relations as a discipline and a real-world practice. We study concepts like anarchy, sovereignty and power and unpack their meaning in light of postcolonial ideas, feminist approaches or anthropocene thinking. We ask what agendas does conventional IR thinking serve and is it fit for purpose in our increasingly uncertain world? Can it help us to address climate change, accelerating global inequalities or the refugee crisis?

Our aim is to shake the founding assumptions of your thinking and help you develop fresh perspectives and answers to these pressing global problems. Your MA studies will help you to ask better and more complex questions of the established world order by providing the critical theoretical and empirical tools to navigate this complex world. The process of planning, researching and writing your dissertation, with our guidance, allows you to explore your own passion project, discovering fresh ideas along the way.

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.


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 from our Department 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.

Transferable skills 

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.