International Relations (Specialist)

You are viewing this course for September start 2024

An experience like no other.

Situated between mountains and sea, our Department of International Politics is ideally located to nurture ambitious thinking. For over 100 years, this unique position has encouraged International Relations scholars to open their minds and expand their intellectual horizons. As a student on the MA International Relations, you will join our tight-knit community of scholars who have all come to Aberystwyth University to grapple with the big ideas that shape our nations, our world and our planet.

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

On our MA International Relations course, you’ll be exposed to the cutting edge of IR thought, including post-Western thinking, planetary politics, gender approaches and the politics of knowledge in international practice. We take foundational concepts like anarchy, sovereignty and power and unpack them through decolonial ideas, feminist approaches, or Anthropocene thinking. We investigate the agendas and power relations served by conventional IR thinking, and debate whether it is fit for purpose in our increasingly uncertain world.

At this moment, international politics stands on the edge of multiple and intersecting crises. Your MA studies at Aberystwyth will provide the theoretical and empirical tools to help you understand this precarious global situation. You will apply your own independent thoughts and ideas to issues like conflict and security, climate change, international negotiations, and the global refugee crisis. Benefiting from our expert guidance, your MA studies will culminate in an independently researched dissertation, an opportunity for you to combine your critical skills and conceptual knowledge to explore the most urgent questions facing our world today.

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.

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.


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.