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Course content

Study International Politics and Human Rights at City, and discover why you will never read international news in the same way again.

Who is it for?

The International Politics and Human Rights programme is for students who want to explore international politics and human rights more widely and then drill down to specialise their knowledge. The MA is designed to give you the chance to create your own questions about the way the world works – and to shape arguments where you feel it doesn’t. These are some of the questions the course poses:
-Do human rights offer universal protections, or do they provide ideological cover for neo-imperialist powers?
-Can human rights provide protection to individuals in a way that supersedes the nation-state, or do they serve the interests of powerful states?
-Should human rights be concerned with the minimalist needs of security and subsistence, or should they aspire to grander visions of global justice?


This is a course where you will challenge your own point of view. We unpick the ideas that structure the way we understand the world, so we can identify how those understandings shape global events. We then focus on how the way we view things may, in itself, be ethically problematic.

International Politics and Human Rights is an evolving subject so you explore unique specialisms backed by real-world research. The department’s academics are actively shaping policy, sitting on the advisory board for the Corbyn shadow cabinet, hosting talks on the human right to housing in London, and engaging in study groups around the Obama presidency. This keeps the content of the course effective and current, giving students a contemporary lens from which to view rapid political change.


You have the opportunity to undertake a placement, but it is not a formal requirement of the course. We encourage students to create their own, by fostering connections offered by the Careers Service. There is also the International Politics Careers Day, which explores career opportunities with international politics degrees and includes:
-Talks by speakers within the field (including alumni now working within the UK Department for International Development, the UK Ministry of Justice), UNESCO and the EU Commission.
-Talks by careers consultants and volunteering coordinators.
-Drop-in sessions with careers professionals focusing on CV writing, applications and volunteering.

Academic facilities

As part of the University of London you can also become a member of Senate House Library for free with your student ID card.

Teaching and learning

The course is taught by academics within the department with industry professionals offering insight in the form of talks for the Practitioner Series. This is a programme of talks from visiting speakers and alumni working within organisations such as The Refugee Council and Amnesty International.

Academic staff

The staff within our Department of International Politics are research active, enthusiastic and passionate about their work. Often this research and influence leads to policy change and many media appearances. Find out more about International Politics staff.
You can follow our staff’s activity through their Twitter feed: @cityintpolitics


Each taught module is assessed by an essay, either a 5,000-word essay for 30 credit modules or a 3,000-word essay for 15 credit modules. Your final MA marks are derived from a combination of your essay and dissertation grades.

You are required to submit a dissertation of 15,000 words in an area linked to the MA degree. Your dissertation topic will be agreed with your personal tutor/supervisor.

Your work will be assessed by coursework alone, there are no exams.Many students develop their key interest first when they choose their elective modules, then when they write their essays, and finally when they write their dissertation over the summer term.


The structure of this MA means you can design your own degree. The first core module Human Rights and the Transformation of World Politics l is taught in the first term and Global Ethics: Principles, Power and Politics, is taught in the second term. Throughout the year you can choose elective modules that suit your interests. You can also opt to study across departments with optional modules from the Department of Sociology and The City Law School.

You take two 30-credit core modules, one in each term, totalling 60 credits. You will then take elective modules totalling 60 credits, which include 15 and 30 credit options, and complete your 60 credit dissertation in the third term as a student on the full-time programme (with submission in September of that year). You must also attend the dissertation workshops that are offered by the department, as it is a compulsory and important part of the MA programme.

Core modules
-Human Rights and the Transformation of World Politics IPM118 (30 credits)
-Global Ethics: Principles, Power and Politics IPM117 (30 credits)
-International Politics dissertation IPM111 (60 credits)

Elective modules - choose 60 credits
Typical modules offered by the Department of International Politics:
-Understanding Security in the 21st Century (15 credits)
-International Organisations in Global Politics (15 credits)
-Theories of International Politics (30 credits)
-Development and International Politics (15 credits)
-Religion in Global Politics (15 credits)
-Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future (30 credits)
-Political Economy of Global Finance (15 credits)
-The Politics of Forced Migration (15 credits)
-Global Governance (15 credits)
-International Politics of the Middle East (15 credits)
-Global Financial Governance (15 credits)
-Strategy, Diplomacy and Decision-making (30 credits)
-US Foreign Policy (15 credits)
-Foreign Policy Analysis (15 credits)
-Economic Diplomacy (15 credits)
-Global Political Economy: Contemporary Approaches (30 credits)

Typical modules offered by the Department of Sociology:
-Developments in Communication Policy (30 credits)
-Transnational Media and Communication (30 credits)
-Criminal Minds (15 credits)
-Crime News (15 credits)

Typical modules offered by The City Law School:
-International Human Rights in Law and Practice (30 credits)
-Human Rights in the EU (30 credits)
-International Criminal Law: Crimes & Institutions (30 credits)
-Law and War (30 credits)
-Minorities and Indigenous People in International Law (30 credits)
-International Law & The Use of Force (30 credits)

*MA International Politics and Human Rights students have access to additional LLM options with The City Law School.

Career prospects

The skills you will take away from this programme – those of research, analysis and presentation – are highly valued by employers. In 2016 70% of City's International Politics graduates were in employment or further study six months after graduation. Current graduates now work within the following organisations:
-Amnesty International
-The Open Rights Group
-The Grass Roots Group
-The United Nations
-US Embassy
-International Crisis Groupp
-Ministry of Economy and Finance
-European External Action Service

From human rights organisations to NGOs and government agencies, the course gives you the perfect foundation to prepare for a career in a wide range of fields. You will graduate with the ability to undertake in-depth research, challenge received explanations of topics in social and political life and to examine and critically evaluate the complex structure of relationships between governments, transnational actors, transnational networks and intergovernmental or governmental organisations.

Visit the International Politics and Human Rights - MA page on the City, University of London website for more details!






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