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Engage with visiting speakers and practitioners

On our master's courses, you'll address the most urgent issues facing the world today, as practitioners working in modern-day politics bring a wealth of experience and insight to your studies.

Our relationships in government, the public sector, research institutes and universities means we often welcome guest speakers who contribute to our teaching.

Retired practitioners who have held top positions in the British civil service, diplomatic corps and military co-curate some of our modules with our academics, providing expert, policy-led teaching. 


Discover Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading

Watch our film to learn more about studying a master's degree in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Reading.

Small-group teaching

Small-group teaching is at the core of all our master's courses, giving you the chance to work closely with our academics.

In two-hour seminars you'll learn through lively, stimulating discussion and debate, developing your ideas and presenting them to your peers.

Find out more about how you'll study

Research methods training

When you undertake a master's with us, 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. 

Learn from academics involved in current affairs

Our academics regularly feature in academic literature and the media, offering their expertise on current issues. As such our teaching is research-led and relevant.

Dr Mark Shanahan is frequently interviewed on US politics, while Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou has given many interviews commenting on the European elections and the rise of the far right.

Learn more about how our staff engage in real-world politics

Tailor your studies

We offer an exciting range of modules across all of our master's degrees. When you study with us, you'll have the flexibility to create a bespoke programme of study that suits your interests and aspirations.

In particular, we have several innovative modules on our courses that give you the opportunity to gain practical skills and hands-on experience of real-world politics:

  • On our Parliamentary Studies module, you'll have the opportunity to visit government institutions at Westminster and Cardiff, and hear from political visitors from the UK Parliament.
  • On modules throughout our MA Diplomacy course, you'll undertake practical assessments, such as writing policy briefs and lobbying exercises, as well as learning from guest speakers such as diplomats.
  • On the MA Public Policy course we offer the Capstone Project module, where you can undertake a placement with an external employer, where you'll work with colleagues to solve a real-life policy problem. 


You can also choose optional modules run by other schools and departments at the University, including subjects such as law, agriculture, policy and development, and modern languages. This gives you flexibility to study a variety of topics or specialise in one area.

Read more about our optional modules in the Department of Politics and International Relations (PDF, 0.4 MB)

Preparing you for career success

We place a strong focus on employability, ensuring you gain the skills and experience you need to pursue your ambitions. Many of our graduates go on to work in fields related to their politics and international relations studies. 

Graduate career destinations have included:

  • Office for National Statistics
  • Civil Service Fast Stream
  • Department for International Trade
  • Association of Police and Crime Commissioners
  • Cabinet Office.

We equip you with the skills that are vital for your future professional career or in further academic research. As well as advancing your subject knowledge, you'll develop strong IT skills. Undertaking a master's degree with us will challenge you in a number of ways, helping you to develop your presentation techniques, and analytical, communication and leadership skills. You'll build your ability to confidently work in both a group and independently. 


Academic excellence

Learn from world experts in the field of politics and international relations. Our staff work on internationally recognised research, and many have invaluable experience working as advisers to government bodies, the military and international organisations.


Our research

97% of our research outputs are rated ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, meaning that the University of Reading is 6th highest in the UK for research outputs (Times Higher Education analysis of the latest Research Excellence Framework 2021 – Politics and International Studies, when scoring by GPA Output).


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.