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Gender and International Relations MSc

Course Description

This programme examines and deploys perspectives from feminism, gender studies, cultural studies and sexuality studies, along with interdisciplinary research in international political economy, civil-military relations, international development and the study of men and masculinities.

Programme structure

The MSc programme comprises six 12-week taught units and six assessed essays, followed by a dissertation.

Core units
-Feminisms and International Relations
-International Security or International Political Economy
-Theories of International Relations

Optional units
You will choose three optional units from those offered by the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS). Below is an example of topics that may be offered. Options vary each year but may include:
-Gender and Development
-Managing and Evaluating Development
-Environmental Politics
-Masculinities and IR
-Foreign Policy Analysis
-Military and Militarisation
-Discourse Analysis
-US Security Policy
-International Human Rights
-Sino-US relations in global politics
-Politics of Genocide
-Japan and East Asia
-East Asia, Europe and Global Integration
-China's International Relations
-European Security
-The Politics of Insecurity
-Theories of Violence

A list of possible units is available on the SPAIS website: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/spais/prospective/prospectivepgt/msc-unit-guides/

Third term
Independent study for dissertation.


Bristol graduates are in high demand and have an excellent record of employment following graduation. Students of our MSc programmes go on to pursue varied and interesting careers.

Many sectors - such as the civil service, NGOs and charity work - require an MSc and some volunteer/internship experience. Graduates from our programmes have gone on to work for Refugee UK, Shelter, Barnardos, Oxfam, Amnesty International, government departments and the European Parliament, among others.

Visit the Gender and International Relations MSc page on the University of Bristol website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Barbara (Switzerland)

317.jpg Doing a Masters degree in GIR in Bristol was enriching for me in many ways. Not only could I build up on my previous background in IR, enhancing my knowledge and focusing on the issues I was most interested in, but looking at IR from a gender perspective engaged me in looking at history, politics, economics and law in a way I had not done it before. The course made me think more critically about one's focus in IR and social sciences in general, and I am benefiting from this a huge amount. I also appreciated the contact we had with the professors; their openness and helpfulness was simply amazing, especially after four years of top-down relationships with professors in Geneva. The readings were most stimulating, and the papers I wrote made me want to read more and more. Our coursework was well-guided, yet we had a great deal of freedom to write our papers and to do our presentations in a way we could learn the most. Also, studying in small seminars was motivating and conducive to in-depth discussions with everyone contributing in his/her own way. Writing my dissertation helped me to sharpen my interests and realising what I wanted to do in terms of my professional career. I am now working as a UN Volunteer for UNDP in Hanoi, Vietnam, consulting the Ministry of Finance in a project on capacity building for human development. I am totally loving it, but still I think that all the studying in the world can not prepare one for such an experience!

(Student Profile)


320.jpg Thanks to the excellent supervision and encouragement I received while on the MSc course, I submitted an application for and was granted ESRC 1+3 funding to undertake a PhD research project here at Bristol. The '1' part of the 1+3 was a taught Masters in Research Methods, covering units such as Principles of Social Research, Philosophy and Methods in Social Sciences and Research Methodology. I graduated from the MRes and proceeded to the '3' - three years of research on gendered violence and international security, supervised by Jutta Weldes and Judith Squires. In addition to my doctoral research, I've written articles for presentation at major conferences and submitted some for publication in journals. I also do some undergraduate teaching, which I really enjoy, and am the Department's Study Skills advisor, meaning that I get to meet a wide range of students and feel very involved with the Department. I remember being told that the PhD process could feel isolating, but I have to say that this hasn't been my experience. I've met some amazing people, and can truly say that I'm one of the few people I know who actively looks forward to going to work. Deciding (somewhat randomly) to do the MSc here was without a doubt one of the best decisions I've ever made.

(Student Profile)

Ingrid (Germany)

325.jpg The year I spent studying in Bristol is still one of the most memorable and influential periods of my life: On the one hand I was studying a subject I truly cared about in a lively, informed and international atmosphere, on the other hand I made great friends from different countries whom I would otherwise have not met and with whom I still have regular contact. Encouraged by this positive experience I have started a PhD on gender equality and EU-enlargement back in Germany, funded by a scholarship from my university. This gave me the chance to attend and present at conferences in Germany, Poland and Spain and to spend four months doing research in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Speaking with the actors I always had been reading about was an excellent experience.

Furthermore, I also managed to get an insight into the practical reality of Gender and IR: I worked as an intern on a programme called 'Women and Economy' at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva, and I also did another internship at GTZ (German development cooperation) where I was working on gender projects in development. All in all, I can say that the year in Bristol opened up a whole new set of opportunities for me and enabled me to pursue Gender and IR both academically and practically.


Entry Requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent qualification). Degrees from all disciplines are considered.

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