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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 Sarah Von Billerbeck

Dr Sarah von Billerbeck’s experience of working for the UN, and her research, directly feed into her postgraduate teaching.

Sarah uses real examples from the field, and challenges her students to compare these to theory and scholarly literature, bringing research and real-world experiences together.

Read Sarah'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.

Political Voices Lecture - A thorn in the government's side

Reading University Politics and International Relations Society (RUPIRS) and the Department of Politics & International Relations recently welcomed Emily Thornberry for the latest in our series of 'Political Voices' events. Emily Thornberry is the Member of Parliament for Islington South and Finsbury.


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

Find out how we create an inclusive and supportive environment within the Department

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 Bronze Award

The School of Philosophy, Politics and Economics 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. 

Please visit our Wellbeing, Inclusion, Diversity and Equality pages for more details on our current efforts and plans, including the implementation of our five-year Athena SWAN Action Plan and a School Race Equality Review.


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.
Photograph of Westminster across the river against a blue sky

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.