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Course Profile

Pictures of political events.

On the MA in IR students will encounter an up-to-date understanding of world politics in the 21st century by sensitising them to cutting edge empirical, theoretical and sociological issues, sometimes advanced in socio-historical context.


On the MA International Relations, you will learn from world-leading academics who are pushing the boundaries of the discipline to develop fresh perspectives and ideas. The MA in International Relations consolidates International Relations and Security Studies in masters programme. The core themes covered in this programme are:

  • International Relations
  • Global politics
  • Security studies
  • Sociological IR
  • Critical non-western and feminist perspectives

As well as deepening your understanding of mainstream approaches, you will be exposed to important new analytical insights such as sociological understandings of international relations, critical security studies, non-Western international relations, and intersectionality.

You will critically engage with the discipline to consider both the formal and informal power relationships within world politics, an awareness of the importance of cultural and social practices, and an ability to question some of the assumptions that have traditionally defined the discipline to the exclusion of important issues such as gender, race and class. As well as focusing on critical theoretical debates, students on the MA in International Relations will also explore the real world in all its complexity, and you will be able to choose from innovative modules that examine the most urgent issues in world politics.

Other course information 

  • Standard duration is one year full-time
  • Find the tuition fee for this course here
  • Can be studied part-time over two years
  • Comprises a mixture of course-specific modules and optional modules
  • Culminates with a Dissertation in International Relations

We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.


On the MA International Relations, you will study three core modules:

You will have a choice of any of our two option modules, which includes:

Your studies will culminate with your postgraduate dissertation:

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.

In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Global and Career Experience

The Faculty of Social Sciences (of which the Department of Politics is a member) has many exciting opportunities specifically for postgraduate students to develop their careers and gain valuable global experience.

Postgraduate Advantage Scheme

This provides internship bursaries for postgraduate students to gain graduate-level work experience whilst studying. Through this scheme, our students have engaged with over one hundred community organisations, charities and small-medium enterprises, with internships taking place around the world, from Sheffield to South Africa.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Advantage Scheme

Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences (GLOSS)

This exciting programme provides you with unique opportunities to understand your course in an international context, to actively engage with international policymakers, stakeholders and partners, and to become involved in the international research undertaken within the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Find out more about GLOSS

Global Leadership Initiative

This gives you the chance to attend major international summits taking place during the academic year. You will have the opportunity for you to gain first-hand experience of international policy debates at the highest level, to attend press conferences and produce outputs visible to an international audience, thereby enhancing your research skills and employability.

Find out more about the Global Leadership Initiative

Entry Requirements

We are looking for excellent students who have a strong academic track record and will enthusiastically take part in our research community.

Academic Qualifications
  • We require a good degree (first-class or strong 2:1 honours degree) in a relevant social science, arts and humanities or related subject.
  • We require equivalent attainment in an overseas qualification.
English Language
  • We require a good standard of English so you can fully take part in our course.
  • If you speak English as a second language, the requirements for IELTS are 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in all components.
  • You can find out more here.
Application Requirements
  • You will submit a good personal statement (at least 300 words) and receive two good academic references.

More information about applying