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We are big enough to make a difference, but small enough to know our students as individuals.  Our close-knit community is made up of staff and students from all over the world who all bring their own rich perspective to our Department. 

Life as a master's student

In our research-led Department, you will collaborate with expert academics to analyse evidence and interrogate political problems.

In two-hour seminars you will engage in stimulating discussion and present your ideas to your peers as you consider the world's most pressing issues. As our optional modules are available for students studying different master’s degrees, you will meet others from the wider postgraduate community at Reading.

You will balance your time in seminars with your work on a 13-15,000 word dissertation, where you have the opportunity to undertake in-depth research in a topic of your choice, and advance your understanding in the field.

Learn from academics who are engaged in current affairs

Our staff regularly share their expertise in the media. We have academics who have informed and influenced policymakers, advising NATO and the UK government. Their involvement in modern-day politics means our teaching and research is always up to date and relevant. You'll get to engage in discussion on today's big issues.

Dr Mark Shanahan

Dr Mark Shanahan is frequently interviewed about US politics. He has discussed various aspects and events of Donald Trump's presidency in a number of broadcasts, as well as the UK's passage towards Brexit. He has recently written about the legacy of Donald Trump's use of social media in US politics for The Conversation.

Read Mark's story

Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou

Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou has carried out over 50 interviews in the past two years, commenting on European elections and the rise of the far right. She spoke on a panel on the BBC Radio 4 show The Briefing Room: Europe's Illiberal Democracies, to discuss the rise of far right politics in Europe.

Read Daphne's story

Dr Jonathan Golub

Dr Jonathan Golub has given a number of interviews concerning Brexit. He was interviewed by Voice of Islam Radio to discuss the UK's withdrawal and the dynamics of British-EU negotiations. He was also interviewed by CTN News TV (Canada) to discuss Brexit and Theresa May's announcement about invoking Article 50.

Take part in departmental events

Throughout the academic year, we host an exciting programme of events. We hold weekly research seminars and regular Policy in Practice seminars with leading figures from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, the military, the media, and think tanks.

These events often provide you with the opportunity to interact with these visitors and network.

In 2019, we hosted an edition of BBC Radio 4's flagship politics discussion programme Any Questions?. Our Department arranged the broadcast, which saw a panel that included host Chris Mason, Green Party co-leader Sian Berry, the Daily Telegraph's Madeline Grant and Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy.

I firmly believe studying Politics and International Relations must be rigorous and engaging – but it also must be fun. What inspires me is when our graduates describe their time with us as stretching; built around serious study; but with the opportunity to work with passionate people who make the whole experience enjoyable.

Dr Mark Shanahan

Head of Department

How we support you

We do everything we can to support our students during their studies, so that they can achieve their full potential and go on to pursue rewarding careers.

When you join our Department, you’ll benefit from a strong academic support network where you will build relationships with students and staff. You'll have an individual academic supervisor who will support you with your dissertation.

Learn more about the University's support services

Learning environment

Thanks to our mostly small-group seminar teaching, we've created a friendly, inclusive learning environment where you can grow in confidence and build relevant transferable skills such as communication and analytical skills.

You'll have access to the University's recently refurbished Library, which is full of resources and study space that's ideal for independent study.

Athena Swan logo

Athena Swan Bronze Award

The School of Politics, Economics and International Relations is thrilled to announce that it has received an Athena SWAN Bronze Award! The award recognizes the School’s work to advance gender equality and commits us to continuing our efforts through a 5 year action plan. Look for updates and news as we continue to strive for equality, diversity, and inclusion in our academic community!

Life on campus

Our main campus is set on 130 hectares of beautiful parkland, so you'll find plenty of places to relax. Our campus is home to a thriving community and features the Students' Union, Library and places to eat.

Our stories

Learn about the important work our academics are doing, and meet some of our graduates to find out how they've succeeded since studying with us.

Life in Reading

Reading's bustling town centre has strong transport links to London and the south east. London and Oxford are both just 25 minutes away by train, where you have access to great research resources and a wide variety of speaker meetings and other events.