MA International Relations
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Critically analyse contemporary issues, actors and processes in world politics with our MA International Relations programme.
Contemporary international relations are marked by significant transformations and challenges affecting the world around us in critical ways – from the rise of non-western powers and challenges to the western-led international order to climate change, global health pandemics, terrorism, and financial crises.
You will study key aspects of international relations in a theoretically informed, analytically and methodologically rigorous way. It builds on a set of important theories of international relations, including non-western perspectives – and offers the opportunity for specialisation in various aspects of:
- international politics
- strategic studies
- international law
- international organisations
- public policy
Explore key concepts and theories of international relations
Critically examine contemporary international politics through the lens of the core theories, as you study and evaluate competing theoretical arguments to reach clear conclusions abouttheir strengths and weaknesses.
Familiarise yourself with various non-western theories and concepts related to international politics. You’ll understand the relevant differences between these theories and concepts and their western counterparts, and critically evaluate non-western theories and apply them to recent events and development on the international political stage.
Develop key employability skills
By the end of the programme, you’ll have the capacity to critically engage with relevant scholarly debates within international relations.
You will be able to develop coherent arguments and assess and test these arguments through appropriate social science methods, using a variety of academic sources.
Through small group seminar discussions, presentations and essays, you will become confident and effective in oral and written communication, data collection and analysis, and other practical skills.
Build in-depth research expertise
The Quantitative Research Methods module will help you identify relevant sources of data, understand the process of collecting data, become familiar with principal types of statistical analysis, assess quantitative results in existing political science and international relations research, and use statistical techniques to test hypotheses from their research.
You will acquire a solid understanding of research design and a wide range of qualitative methods used in social science research. You will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of these methods, and use them for your own research.
As part of your master’s degree, you'll complete a research dissertation. It's an opportunity for you to carry out independent research supervised in a specific topic or issue – supervised by an expert – and contribute new insights to the current scholarly debate.
Learn more about our experts.
Department of Politics and International Relations at University of Reading
- Recognised for research quality: 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 REF 2021 – Politics and International Studies, when scoring by GPA Output)
- Wide-ranging expertise: Our areas of strength include Applied Political Theory, Comparative Politics, Public Policy Analysis, Conflict, Security, Strategy and International Relations.
- Research-led, relevant teaching: Our academics regularly feature in academic literature and the media, offering their expertise on current issues. Learn more about how we engage in real-world politics.
- Exciting optional modules: Across all of our master's degrees, you’ll have the flexibility to study the subjects you're most passionate about.
- Wide variety of teaching and assessment methods: Teaching primarily occurs through small discussion-based seminars, supplemented by lectures and other activities. Assessments range from traditional essays and oral presentations to various ‘real-world’ assignments such as policy papers.