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Course content

About the course

The global challenges of the twenty first century place important demands on students of international politics. Not only do we need to understand the ongoing changes in the nature of war and conflict, but we are also today faced with important transformations in global power relations, international flows of goods, people and diseases and, indeed, shifts in the nature of political communities on the globe. Whatever your background, whether in international politics or another discipline, this flagship MA programme provides you with the necessary tools to tackle these shifting landscapes.

MA students taking this course will be integrated into the unique world-leading research culture of the Department, contributing to research groups, and participating in events, seminars and round-tables. Whether you are interested in understanding the conceptual underpinnings of international politics or tackling practical policy implications by taking this flagship Masters degree you will be part of a department at the forefront of understanding and tackling the challenges of ‘how we might live’ in the 21st century.

Why study International Politics at Aberystwyth?

Founded in 1919 after the end of World War I, the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth is the world’s first university department of International Politics. The Department is renowned for its pioneering research and is recognised as a leading department in the UK for the study of international politics. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), the Department was placed best in Wales with 76% of publications submitted rated as world leading and internationally excellent. This research excellence is mirrored in our teaching: National Student Surveys have recorded 95% overall student satisfaction in 2016 and 2017. Our Department’s vibrant and cosmopolitan learning environment welcomes students from all over the world, and provides a lively venue for contemporary and international political debate.

This degree will suit you:

• If you want to study international relations at advanced level

• If you wish to develop a critical appreciation of past and contemporary international politics

• If you wish to nurture a career in areas such as international diplomacy, journalism or the NGO-sector or if you wish to work internationally

• If you desire formal recognition of skills highly sought-after by any postgraduate employer

Course structure

The MA in International Politics pursued through the Research Training Pathway offers the opportunity for students to pursue subject-specific study in the discipline of international politics alongside social science research training. Students following this pathway take the degree scheme core module and a selection of research training modules (compulsory). The students will additionally choose international politics modules from a basket of options. Finally students complete a 13-15,000 word dissertation.

Core modules:


International Politics

Principles Of Research Design

Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis

Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis (1120)

Quantitative Data Collection And Analysis

Research In Politics And International Studies

Optional modules (subject to change for 2019 start):

Power And Postwar Reconstruction: A Critical Approach

The State Through The Ages

Thoughts Of War: Strategic Theory & Thinkers (s)

Understanding Wales In An Age Of Global Transformation

Critical Security Studies: Contemporary Theories

Intelligence, Security And International Politics Since 1945

Islam And Modernity

Political Responsibility In A Globalized World

Postcolonial Politics

Contact time

In Semester One you will normally have eight hours per week of specific Research Training Modules and one two-hour seminar per week for the degree scheme core module. In Semester Two you will normally have one two-hour seminar per week for each of the three modules you take (one Research Training specific and two subject specific modules). You will also have contact with academic staff through participation in research groups, attendance in departmental research seminars and through staff office hours (two one hour sessions per week). There will also be additional sessions working towards developing your master’s dissertation.


Assessment will be through a combination of examinations, project work, short reports, essays and dissertation. It may, depending on the modules chosen, include seminar presentations, review essays and literature searches.


Every course at Aberystwyth University is designed to enhance your vocational and general employability. Your Masters will place you in the jobs market as a highly-trained international politics specialist with a strength in depth of knowledge on vital subjects such as conflict, power, peace, justice and injustice, security, the global distribution of wealth and resources and trust in world politics. You will also graduate with a wealth of postgraduate-level skills which are transferable into any workplace. On the research training pathway you also develop advanced skills in quantitative and qualitative research skills and data analysis. In addition, the prestige of masters from our department of International Relations wills open doors for you into workplaces in every industry.

Study skills

Alongside the wealth of world-class critical expertise, you will master highly desirable skills in academic research, analysis, argument-formation, presentation and debate. The research training pathway provides you with a specific set of study skills focused on interrogating and analysing a range of different types of data from multiple sources.

Self-Motivation and discipline

Studying at Masters level requires discipline and self-motivation from every candidate. You will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of departmental staff, but you are ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your Masters degree. This process of independent study at an extremely high level will strengthen your skills as an independent and self-sufficient worker, a trait prized by most employers.

Transferable skills

The International relations Masters programme is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of employment contexts. Upon graduation, you will have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines. You will also have advanced skills in data analysis that can be applied in a wide variety of work environments from business to the public sector and non-governmental organisations.

Visit the International Politics (Research Training) - MA page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!




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