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Designed for students who would like to advance their understanding of the changing nature of international politics, and involving discussion of the impact of globalisation, the rise of global governance, the politics of human rights, and other significant topics in international politics. The increasingly global nature of political relations is typically underscored by equally global economic relations in trade, finance, migration, concern over which is reflected in questions about shifting loci of global authority from 'west' (e.g. Europe and the USA) to 'east' (e.g. China and India) and on-going relationships between the global rich and the global poor.

A Research Masters in International Politics research allows students to start a fulfilling and high flying career working in international security, government departments, as a political consultant, and MPs Researcher, a Public Affairs Consultant or a Global affairs journalist.

Introducing your course

Enhance your understanding of global and international politics while also developing highly valued skills across a range of research methods. The MSc International politics (research) degree at the University of Southampton enables you to develop your international politics interests as well as cultivating your abilities in quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, research design, and independent thinking skills.

This rigorous programme of study, and the specific research skills it seeks to develop, means that graduates are well placed for careers not just across a broad range of national and international political organizations, but also in areas where independent research skills are at a premium. It is also ideal for those aiming for PhD research in this field.


The programme is designed both to equip students to undertake independent research in global politics and to develop skills that are of relevance to a broad range of careers in the public or private sector. Particular stress is placed on the development of key social science research skills and, as such, the programme is accredited by the ESRC.

The aims of the programme are to provide you with:

  • knowledge and understanding the main approaches to the study of global politics
  • knowledge and understanding of the main issues and events that challenge contemporary understandings of global politics
  • knowledge and understanding of philosophical and methodological debates in the study of politics and international relations
  • knowledge and understanding and experience in the application of the principal methods of data collection and data analysis in social science research
  • knowledge and understanding and experience in the practice of qualitative methods in social science research
  • the skills necessary to design and complete a dissertation on a specialist topic in the field of global politics.

All of our MSc programmes endeavour to develop your subject-specific knowledge and understanding, and provide opportunities for you to shape your own degree trajectory through optional module selection. In addition, all our MSc programmes aim to help you gain:

  • Awareness of the changing nature of the contemporary political world, and the complex challenges presented by phenomena such as globalisation
  • Awareness of the basic theoretical concepts common to advanced study in politics and international relations
  • Key research skills, such as the ability to search for and reference sources, and to manage complex empirical or theoretical information
  • The capacity for critical thinking and independent study
  • The ability to work in groups
  • Presentation skills

In addition to the credit-bearing modules you will take as part of your chosen programme, all MSc students participate in our bespoke training workshops, led by the MSc Coordinator, and specifically designed to help you get the best grades you can on during your masters study with us:

MSc Coursework Workshop (Semester 1)

This workshop explains the expectations and demands of coursework in our masters programmes, delineates the critical thinking, research and writing skills required, outlines the processes associated with literature reviews and coursework planning, and the rules about academic integrity. The workshop is designed to give practical support to students as they approach their coursework tasks, help UK/EU students understand the specific expectations we have at masters level, and help overseas students unfamiliar with higher education in this country get a better sense of what is expected.

MSc Dissertation Workshop (Semester 2)

This workshop helps students begin the process of thinking about and planning for their MSc dissertation. It provides guidance on topic selection, generation of research questions, aims of the literature review, the role of primary research, dissertation structure, writing advice, and the role of the supervisor. The workshop also offers practical advice from academics about how to produce an original piece of work, the role of depth over breadth, and how to craft convincing arguments.

View the programme specification document for this course

Visit the International Politics (Research) - MSc page on the University of Southampton website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Southampton

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