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Course content

Who is it for?

The International Politics MA programme is for students who want to explore international politics more widely. It is designed to help you drill down and follow your specific interests and specialise your knowledge. The course has been designed to give you the chance to pursue your own questions about the way the world works – and to shape arguments where you feel it doesn’t.

The knowledge and skills you develop during the course will enable you to explore a number of rewarding career options – from supporting NGOs to working with the civil service or media.


Is the USA a benevolent global leader or a neo-imperial power? How does the shift in power from the West to the Rest reshape international politics in the 21st century? Can states act effectively in a world increasingly shaped by international institutions and global economic actors?

The International Politics MA will challenge your point of view and help you:

  • Explore an expansive and ever-changing subject and gain an advanced specialist education in international politics
  • Learn about the broad contours of the field while developing specialisms backed by real-world research
  • Probe the ideas that structure the way we think about the world and examine the institutions that determine events
  • Focus on how you can use this new understanding to judge global affairs for yourself
  • Examine and critically evaluate the complex structure of relationships between governments, transnational actors and networks, and intergovernmental organizations
  • Gain an advanced conceptualization of global political issues in the 21st century
  • Understand contemporary theoretical debates and the rapid political change in the contemporary world
  • Develop your analytical capacities through a variety of learning techniques
  • Prepare for a diverse range of careers, as well as provide contextual knowledge
  • that will be applicable for life-long learning in a rapidly changing political and social world.


You may have the opportunity to undertake a placement, but it is not a formal requirement of the course. We encourage you to create your own placement, by fostering connections offered by the Careers Service.

There is also the International Politics Careers Day, which helps you to explore career opportunities with international politics degrees. The day 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.

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.


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 gives you the flexibility to design your own degree.

The taught modules are completed in Terms 1 and 2, normally over a single academic year for full-time students and over two academic years for part-time students. You are required to take a total of 120 credits in taught modules.

There is one core module – 'Theories of International Politics' (30 credits) taught in the first term (30 credits).

The remaining credits will be made up of elective modules that you must choose from the list of electives opened to students in the MA International Politics. Throughout the year you can choose elective modules that suit your interests. You can also opt to pursue your interests by studying across departments with optional modules from the Department of Sociology and The City Law School.

The number of elective modules you take will vary depending on the number of 15- and 30-credit modules you choose. All modules run for a minimum of eleven weeks (or one term).

Core modules

  • Theories of International Politics (30 credits)
  • International Politics Research Workshop
  • International Politics Dissertation (60 credits)

Elective modules

Choose 60 credits from:

Typical modules offered by the Department of International Politics:

  • Understanding security in the 21st century (15 credits)
  • International organisations in global politics (15 credits)
  • Development and world politics (15 credits)
  • Religion in global politics (15 credits)
  • Global capitalism: past, present and future (30 credits)
  • Global political economy (30 credits)
  • Political economy of global finance (15 credits)
  • The politics of forced displacement and resettlement (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)
  • Russian Foreign Policy from Stalin to Putin (15 credits)
  • Visions of World Order: Ideas and Concepts in the History of International Thought (15 credits).

Typical modules offered by the Sociology Department:

  • 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)

Visit the International Politics (MA) page on the City, University of London website for more details!





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