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Your learning experience

We use a variety of different teaching and assessment methods to give you an engaging and varied learning experience.

Our approach to teaching is built on close contact between students and teaching staff.

You will develop subject-specific expertise as well as strong transferable skills that you can take into your future professional career.

Our teaching methods

Small-group seminars

Most of our modules are taught in small-group, two-hour seminars. This setup encourages classroom discussions and enables you to directly interact with our expert academics.

You will learn how to best present your arguments based on independent research and analysis in formal and informal oral presentations and in writing. 

Independent research

As part of your degree you'll work on a dissertation. It's an opportunity for you to develop in-depth research expertise in a specific topic or issue, and to contribute new insights to the current scholarly debate. 

We give you the freedom to define the focus of your dissertation, and you will receive guidance on the feasibility of your proposed project from your director of studies. 

Visiting speakers

We regularly welcome guest speakers from the world of politics and international relations, who are the experts putting theory into practice every day.  

Examples of speakers we've hosted include Matthew Barzun, United States Ambassador to the UK, and Alastair Campbell, former political aide.

Students on the Master’s in Public Policy programme have told us that they value the use practical examples to illustrate theory in their modules and really benefit from having external speakers from the policy sphere talk about their experience of putting theory into practice.

Group work

You will get to know your fellow students and enhance your interpersonal skills through group projects. These could involve written analysis or oral presentations.

Practical work

Put your academic knowledge to practice and build your network with a work placement in an external organisation focused on international relations or international security.

You will also have opportunities to work on assignments that reflect how you'd work in a professional political setting. For example, you could be writing a policy brief, or taking part in a simulation of a real-world crisis situation. 

Research methods training

You can choose to undertake modules in research methods training.

These modules train you in qualitative and quantitative research methods, and are incredibly useful if you wish to eventually pursue a PhD or a career with a core focus on research.


We offer an exciting range of interactive modules, giving you the flexibility to choose to study the subjects you're most passionate about. You can study a range of topics, or specialise in one area.

Examples of our modules include:

  • Parliamentary Studies: you will have the opportunity to visit government institutions at Westminster and Cardiff, and hear from political visitors from the UK Parliament.
  • Terrorism in a Globalising World: this module aims to convey a sense of how terrorism relates to world politics, the individual, and everything in between.
  • Worlding International Relations: this module focuses on how central concepts of international relations are understood in different parts of the world. It investigates how scholars from around the world think about central concepts such as sovereignty, the state, war, peace, religion and "the international". 

Our optional modules are reviewed on an annual basis and are subject to change.

Read more about our optional modules (PDF, 0.4 MB)


Work Placement

Gain invaluable first-hand experience and independent problem solving, working within a professional environment on our Work Placement module. You will put your academic knowledge to practice and build your network, working in an external organisation focused on international relations or international security. 

Capstone Project

On our MSc Public Policy course, which we run in partnership with the Department of Economics, you have the opportunity to undertake a Capstone project. This is a group research project with placement, where you'll apply academic knowledge to a real-world policy problem for an external organisation.

It's a great opportunity to work with other students to deliver a project, while enhancing your team-working, organisational and analytical skills.

Find out more about our Capstone projects

Applied Research Project and Placement

As an MSc Public Policy student, you can also choose to apply your academic knowledge in a practical way with an external organisation specifically related to the general sphere of public policy on our Applied Research Project and Placement module. Based on this work experience, you’ll complete a research report which will help develop your capacity for independent, critical research in a specialised domain. You will receive formal credit towards your degree for placement learning.


Our staff

Our academics have personal experience of public policy, government departments and international organisations. and regularly share their expertise in the media. 

Life in the Department

Join our supportive community of staff and students from all over the world. You will balance your time between seminars and independent research, and have opportunities to attend exciting departmental events.


Eliška's story

I asked for help and got it when I needed it. For example, there's lots of help with CV preparation and both academic tutors and students services work hard to support you where needed.
Eliška Herinkova
MA International Security Studies graduate