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Course content

The 21st century is witnessing novel global challenges related to terrorism, food supply, climate change, migratory pressures and emerging resource geo-politics. These challenges are complex and multi-level in nature, rendering policy solutions problematic. Political authority is also more scattered than ever, resting with actors as different as international agencies, global policy networks, public-private partnerships or transnational NGOs, in addition to the traditional nation state.

Royal Holloway’s MSc in International Public Policy provides students with a detailed and systematic understanding of how political institutions, processes and public policies operate in world affairs. The course brings together the academic study of International Relations with a practice-based analysis of public policy formulation and governance beyond the nation-state.

Drawing from International Relations, public policy and comparative politics, the MSc in International Public Policy will equip you with the theoretical tools and practical skills necessary for an in-depth understanding of policy-making to address contemporary transnational phenomena.

You will study a mixture of core units and elective options, including a generous choice of free options, and write a supervised dissertation over the summer. Optional modules for the programme cover key policy areas such as US foreign policy, migration and refugees, terrorism, energy and resources or food security, in addition to south Asian politics, EU foreign and security policy, media and war, and international law. Teaching is conducted primarily in small group seminars, supplemented by individual tuition for the dissertation. The course puts a premium on bridging theory and practice, by featuring practice elements and focusing on real world challenges.

The Department of Politics and International Relations has a strong commitment to high quality, cutting-edge research which informs our teaching. We are a research community that draws on various methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of domestic, transnational, regional and global politics. This includes research into areas such as security, international diplomacy, international law, the use of military force, the European Union and the impact of new communication technology on politics, nationalism and migration.

Course structure

Core modules

  • Analysing International Politics
  • International Public Policy
  • Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in Politics and International Relations.
  • Theories and Qualitative Approaches in Politics and International Relations
  • Dissertation

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

  • Human Rights - From Theory to Practice
  • Transnational Security and the Law of Targeting
  • Understanding Defence
  • European Union Politics
  • Non-State Violence as a Challenge to Security
  • Elections and Campaigning
  • Revolutions and Rebellion in International Politics
  • Politics of Democracy
  • United States Foreign Policy
  • Transnational Security Studies

Teaching & assessment

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework and a dissertation.

Your future career

Graduates of political degrees have much to offer potential employers having developed a range of transferable skills, both practical and theoretical, whilst studying with us. With up to 90% of our most recent graduates now working or in further study, according to the Complete University Guide 2015, it’s true to say our graduates are highly employable. 

The methodological nature of a politics degree provides graduates with valuable analytical and research skills in preparation for careers in government, political consultancy, NGOs and research organisations.

In recent years, departmental graduates have secured jobs in a wide range of professions, such as the law, the civil service, accountancy, management, journalism, broadcasting, teaching, international development and diplomacy. In fact, six-months after graduation, 90% of our most recent graduates are enhancing their skills with further study or forging careers in companies and institutions such as:

  • Amnesty International
  • Bloomberg
  • The Church of England
  • Citigroup
  • The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  • The Conservative Party
  • Ernst & Young
  • The European Commission Global Capital
  • HM Treasury
  • The Henry Jackson Society
  • House of Commons
  • Ipsos MORI
  • The Labour Party
  • KAYAK
  • NATO Headquarters
  • Oxford Business Group
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Quadrangle
  • Save the Children

Visit the International Public Policy - MSc page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!

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