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Course Content

Course content

The International Relations MA degree investigates themes as varied as the evolution of the discipline, globalisation, international law, diplomacy, war and peace.

The course has been designed to enable newcomers to engage readily with the subject, whilst offering those who already have a background in international relations an opportunity to deepen their exploration of its scope and complexities.


The University is international in its outlook and the diversity of the student population enriches the learning environment. The course equally benefits from world-class researchers in the School of Humanities, whilst also borrowing expertise from sister schools and research centres. Of particular value are reciprocal links with distinguished scholars at universities around the world, as well as relationships with IR practitioners in government, non-governmental organisations, international organisations and prominent think-tanks.

The application of theory to practice is fundamental to the course. It is with this practicality in mind that the MA is further divided into three specialisms: Diplomacy; African Governance and Security and International Law. The course also allows you to personally experience applied IR, offering credit-bearing field trips, for example to participate in the Model United Nations in New York, that expose you to the realities of formulating foreign and security policies and translating ideas into practice.

Likewise, there’s the opportunity to gain first-hand experience through participating in volunteering and placement opportunities and longer, subsidised, post-award internships. Students can also take part in online international learning: meeting, working and collaborating with peers from diverse backgrounds, cultures and nationalities without leaving the UK by, for example, taking part in live debates with students in Italy, presenting with peers in Mexico, or developing case studies with colleagues in Russia.


The MA International Relations is divided into specialisms with each grounded in an exploration of the theoretical bases of IR. Your choice of optional subjects and the topic you research for your final dissertation will determine the path you take through the course. You will also receive an induction into the study skills required for academic study at postgraduate level and explore global professional practice, learning how to critically evaluate and develop solutions to complex, inter-related, multi faceted issues, working with students across disciplines to facilitate an appreciation of how different sectors solve internal issues and how different sectors can learn and adopt solutions from other fields.

Students take three mandatory subjects designed to establish the core agenda of the programme:
-Trafficking in Human Beings
-Diplomacy and the International System
-Applied International Relations Theory

You also choose two options from:
-International Law in the Contemporary World Arena
-International Political Economy
-Governance for Security in the Developing World
-Post-colonial African Politics
-Threats to Global Security
-International Security Praxis

Finally, to attain the award of Master of Arts, you must complete an extended dissertation examining in depth an area of the course that particularly interests you based on research undertaken with the support of a dedicated supervisor.


As an internationally recognised discipline whose graduates are increasingly sought after by employers, International Relations can open career prospects in the international and domestic spheres – in public administration within government or between governments. Moreover, by choosing a specialism, you can opt to focus on one of three prominent areas within International Relations. The Diplomacy specialism aims to equip you with the skills needed for employment in your national diplomatic service and international governmental and nongovernmental organisations. The International Law specialism can open career opportunities in, among other areas, criminal justice, aid and development, environmental protection, gender issues and human rights. If choosing the African Governance and Security specialism, you’ll develop an understanding of one of the world’s fastest growing regions with potential career opportunities in the domestic and international public and private sectors.

The course also encourages a critical approach to problem-solving and provides the key transferable skills valued by employers in management and administration across the employment spectrum.


To prepare students for the challenges of the global employment market and to strengthen and develop their broader personal and professional skills Coventry University has developed a unique Global Leaders Programme.

The objectives of the programme, in which postgraduate and eligible undergraduate students can participate, is to provide practical career workshops and enable participants to experience different business cultures.

Visit the International Relations - MA page on the Coventry University website for more details!




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