This programme combines a sound basis of advanced knowledge and understanding in the broader and more disparate field of International Studies with the opportunity to choose optional specialist areas of study from among those offered in the School, and other schools such as Modern Languages and Cultures. The particular interests reflected in the choice of options may then be developed through the researching and writing of a dissertation.
Through the programme, you will gain advanced knowledge and understanding of:
-The extent to which an international community has developed and the driving forces shaping its development
-Factors determining humanitarian interventions
-The processes of globalisation in the political, economic, cultural and scientific fields
-The governance role of international organisations
-How the degree of integration of countries into the international political and economic system varies and the determinants of those variations
-Historical and/or contemporary issues and debates in the politics and political economy of specific states and/or areas and/or international institutions and organisations
-Regime analysis and the concept of soft power governance
-An appropriate topic in international politics of their choice
The time I spent as an International Relations student at SGIA was one of the most precious moment in my life. In this course, there is a large number of modules that I can choose to study based on my interest. Furthermore, these modules are interdisciplinary, which help to develop the knowledge and enhance knowledge adaptability skill of the students. Besides, class discussion with foreign classmates, along with the contribution of skillful teaching staff, not only help me to create friendships across the border and engage in international community, but also, help to develop my analytical skills, and provide me the different perspective to view the world that help me to get the better understanding of human beings and the society. I feel really honoured that I had a chance to study in this course and become the member of this school and this university.” Poramet "Jay" Tangsathaporn, 2015/16
“As I have been extensively involved in development projects implemented by different international organisations such as the Asian Development Bank, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Voluntary Services Overseas, and the UNDP for 7 years, I have had acquired the practical skills of working in different fields with international experts with diverse backgrounds. While doing my master’s programme in International Studies at the School of Government and International Affairs of Durham University, I have captured very good academic skills that should help me successfully pursue my career at regional and worldwide development organisations. I chose the MA International Studies programme for its focus on international political economy and development as well as regional studies. I have been grateful that my goal of studying the topics where I have had very limited knowledge matched the areas where Durham is recognised as number one in the UK. Therefore, I went deeper into economic, political, and security issues of particular regions such as Asia and the Middle East within my optional modules, which enabled me to fully understand and assess the whole world issues based on evidence. Learning to always ask ‘why’ to understand the root of the problem, and to ask ‘how’ to offer solutions has been one of the delicious fruits that I have harvested during my journey of original, creative, and critical thinking in Durham. Finally, I feel grateful to Durham University and the Chevening Secretariat for providing me with the greatest opportunity of studying at one of the top universities of the world with full scholarship.” Onon Sukhbaatar, 2015/16
“Participating in the MA International Relations programme has been a really positive experience. Students can choose from a wide range of modules, allowing for specialisation in a particular region or a more eclectic approach. The style of teaching in the department encourages independent thought and research, critical analysis and active contribution meaning students develop important skills relevant to further study as well as the workplace. The number of extra-curricular talks organised by the faculty enriches the learning experience while the diverse nature of the student body facilitates the sharing of different perspectives and ideas. Finally, learning is supported by several well-resourced libraries, IT facilities, and knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff.” Sarah Clowry, 2015/16
Students will take four core modules to the value of 135 credits and optional modules to the value of 45 credits.
-Research Methods and Dissertation Production
-Model United Nations
-International Relations Theory
Optional Modules - Optional modules in previous years have included:
-European Institutions and the Policy Process
-The European Union as a Global Actor
-German Foreign Policy
-Collective Memory and Identity in Post-War Europe
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain Since 1850
-Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupation
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice
-The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
-The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
-America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
-Region, Nation and Citizen in SE Asia
-Political Economy and Development in Chinese Business
-Nationalism, Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
-Theories of Capitalism
-A module offered by the School of Modern Languages
Learning and Teaching
At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.
The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into three core and three optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 75 credits of not more than 15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.
Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.
All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.
SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.
SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.
Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.