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If you are interested in pursuing an international career in government, public administration, diplomacy, policy formation or research, this master’s degree aims to help you understand and interpret issues and challenges facing our increasingly interconnected world.

Covering themes as varied as globalisation, international law, international trade, diplomacy, war and peace, it builds on the strength and expertise that the School of Humanities has in the field of international politics and security. We adopt a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on theories and practice from political science, history, sociology, economics and cultural studies, among others.

Course information

This fascinating course explores the emerging discipline of international relations, from a theoretical and historical perspective and in the context of issues and events in contemporary politics and society.

You will study three mandatory subject-specific modules covering international relations, diplomacy and human trafficking.

Using case studies and actual events, you can explore the actions of government and non-governmental agencies, private enterprise and international bodies in relation to key challenges, such as terrorism, security, poverty and human trafficking. You’ll have opportunities to gain an insight into the perspective and motivations of policy and decision makers, as well as the impact on individuals, communities or countries they affect. As well as the core modules, you are able to tailor your studies by choosing two optional modules around three themes. The Diplomacy specialism addresses some of the specific skills needed for employment in your national diplomatic service or international governmental and non-governmental organisations. While a focus on international law potentially opens career opportunities in criminal justice, aid and development, environmental protection and human rights. If choosing the African Governance and Security specialism, you have the chance to 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.

To attain the award of Master of Arts, you will be required to complete an extended dissertation examining in depth an area of the course that particularly interests you, possibly aligned with your chosen specialism, and based on research undertaken with the support of a dedicated supervisor. In the last year, students have researched Europe’s refugee crisis; celebrity diplomacy; the implications of drone technology for diplomacy; the relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia; cyber diplomacy; and piracy off the coast of Nigeria.

The relevance of course content is reinforced by staff involvement in professional organisations, such as the British International Studies Association (BISA), the Political Studies Association (PSA), the University Association for Contemporary European Studies, the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) and the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR).

The School of Humanities and Coventry Law School has an outstanding network of professional contacts, which spans diplomats and diplomacy specialists in a range of prestigious external organisations, both private and public, such as Chatham House, the Centre for the Study of Slavery, the Royal African Society and the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy. These links are reflected in talks and events delivered by experts in the field, such as an assistant district attorney from Sicily, assistant chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, deputy high commissioner of Tanzania to the UK; a senior manager from the UK’s National Crime Agency and a forensic accountant from the Italian national police.

Why choose this course?

Our highly-experienced faculty includes active researchers who also work or consult for governments, international organisations and prominent think tanks. In the most recent national research assessment, the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 69% of research in Politics and International Studies was recognised internationally, of which 32% was considered ‘internationally excellent’.

Research-informed teaching will be delivered by our many experts on peacekeeping, foreign policy, criminal mafias, security and policing, which includes a current Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

There is also a practical focus to learning – allowing students to personally experience applied international relations, for example, by participating in the Model United Nations in New York, with the aim of exposing you to the realities of formulating foreign and security policies, then translating ideas into practice.

The course is structured to enable you to choose one of three prominent specialisms within the field of international relations: diplomacy; international law; or African governance and security. It also includes the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) accredited module, Global Professional Development. Students who successfully complete the CMI module will also gain a Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Leadership and Management and a Level 7 Award in Professional Consulting.

Career prospects

Employers are looking for individuals with the ability to work across different cultures, to manage teams and possess problem-solving and critical analysis skills.

As well as giving you the opportunity to achieve two additional awards, the CMI accredited Global Professional Development module will help set you apart in a competitive job market. It'll aim to provide practical leadership skills to critically evaluate and develop solutions for complex, inter-related, multi-faceted issues that you will experience in your future organisations.

The course will provide both an academically demanding experience and one which will be of practical use in your career. We encourage you to gain first-hand experience through volunteering and placement opportunities. Previously students have, undertaken internships in embassies and high commissions, such as the Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, think-tanks, including the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin and the South-South International Cooperation organisation in Palermo, and undertaken research in universities abroad such as the Arab-American University in Jenin.

The course aims to prepare you for roles such as public administration within a Foreign Service or other government department, international civil service (such as the United Nations or European Union), international agencies and non-governmental organisations, as well as multinational corporations, the international media, teaching and research.


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

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