As a discipline, International Relations is undergoing many transformations. From a discipline which focused closely on a certain set of interactions between sovereign states, it has expanded greatly to encompass a much wider set of questions about the nature of international or global political structures and processes.
Correspondingly, a whole set of theoretical tools have also emerged to try to explain or interpret this newly expanded field
The course aims to provide you with an innovative grounding in the central theoretical and practical aspects of both the traditional and the expanded conceptions of International Relations. It also aims to equip you with the conceptual and analytical skills to think critically about the nature of global structures and processes. These skills are fundamental to postgraduate study and invaluable for vocational and personal development and for future professional life.
The course is taught over a 12 month period (September-September; January-January). It is available as a full-time and/or part-time mode of study. Students completing the course have gone on to a variety of careers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
Taught masters programmes require satisfactory completion of at least 180 credits, made up of 6 taught module (120 credits) plus a 15,000 word dissertation (60 credits). The MA and MRes programmes differ in that the MA programme contains more subject-specific modules and less research training, while the MRes programme contains more research training, in preparation for a research career or for undertaking a research degree such as a PhD.
MA • Power, Knowledge and the World (30 credits) • Perspectives in Politics and International Relations (30 credits) • Research in Action (15 credits) • Three (15 credits) optional modules chosen from the list below • 15,000 word dissertation on an approved topic in International Relations (60 credits)
MRes • Research Design and Process (20 credits) • Two 15 credits optional modules chosen from the list below • Perspectives in Politics and International Relations (30 credits) • Quantitative Data Analysis I (20 credits) • Qualitative Data Analysis (20 credits) • 15,000 word dissertation on an approved topic in International Relations (60 credits)
Options Optional modules can be drawn from modules such as those listed below, although the precise list of available modules may vary from year to year.
• Approaches to European Integration: History and Practice (recommended) • Comparative Public Management reform • Comparative European Politics • Diplomatic Law • Diplomatic Practice • Dimensions of Environmental Politics • Environmental Diplomacy • Environmental Movements: North and South • Environmental Politics and Policy in India and China • Parties and Democracy • Right-Wing Radical Parties • The Changing International Agenda (recommended) • The Politics of Global Security • The Theory of Global Security • US Environmental Politics and Policy • US Foreign Policy
Teaching & Assessment
Postgraduate teaching and learning generally takes place in a combination of large seminars and smaller discussion groups. Our academics typically lead the sessions, encouraging discussion between all students. Sometimes students will give presentations, either individually or in groups.
There is a strong emphasis on independent learning and students are expected to work on their own to produce their essays and dissertation. Most modules are assessed by a diverse range of coursework (e.g., essays, critiques, reports, presentations), though some modules may also be assessed by seminar contributions and/or written exams. Students take three modules in each semester. The taught modules are completed by May, leaving the summer months for students to write their dissertation.
Apart from purchasing textbooks and other sundry materials, no significant additional costs are compulsory for this course.
SPIRE is a thoroughly international school, and is particularly welcoming to international students, as well as providing plenty of opportunities for home students to broaden their horizons.
We have staff with educational backgrounds in a wide variety of countries, such as Canada, Bulgaria, Italy, Austria, Romania, and Turkey, who present their research all around the world. Students have the opportunity to hear visiting lecturers from various different countries, arranged through our ERASMUS partnerships.
International students will join established international communities at Keele, and will find plenty of support mechanisms in place to help them make the transition to study in the UK.