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Course content

We live in an increasingly interconnected and globalised world where events that unfold on other continents can affect our lives very quickly. Sometimes politicians are able to work together in a search for solutions but disagreement, and even the possibility of conflict, never seems far away.

Our most popular course, MSc International Relations, attracts students from all over the world. You focus on general theoretical perspectives of the discipline, providing the tools for you to understand historical and contemporary events. The emphasis is on explaining and understanding international events, rather than simply the intellectual history of international relations as a field.

You also take optional modules from a large selection offered by our department, including:
-Global environmental issues
-Democracies in Europe
-Forecasting global trends
-International security
-Conflict resolution

Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and have consistently been the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began. Ranked top 10 in the world for political science and international relations according to the Centre for World University Rankings (2017)

Our expert staff

Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics. Our staff are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on political events in national and international media.

Our key academic staff for this course are Professor Kristian Gleditsch, who works on inequality, conflict and violence, and Anna Getmansky, who works on the electoral impact of terrorism.

You join an active and prolific research team, with the opportunity to work alongside a member of staff on their research instead of completing a dissertation; some of these projects have even resulted in joint staff/student publications.

Specialist facilities

-Laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political analysis
-The ESSEXLab provides opportunities for experimental lab research
-Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN
-We organise the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis
-A programme of seminars and events run by the department

Your future

All Essex politics graduates have the distinction of a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments.

Our MA International Relations will help you develop key employability skills which will make you attractive to both the public and private sector, including analytical reasoning, research design, communication and report writing.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for the following high-profile organisations:
-The Civil Service
-Local government
-The World Bank
-The United Nations
-NATO
-YouGov and YouGov America

We also offer supervision for PhD and MPhil in the following fields: government; ideology and discourse analysis; international relations; political behaviour; and politics.

Our academic reputation is illustrated by the fact that many of our graduates now teach or research at universities, colleges of higher education and schools. For example, recent graduates are now research fellows and academic staff at: Mannheim, Germany; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Duke University, USA; NATO/SHAPE, Belgium; and University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

-MA Dissertation
-Advanced Research Methods
-Theories of International Relations
-Theory and Explanation in Political Science
-Conflict Resolution (optional)
-Contemporary Theories of Justice (optional)
-Ideology and Political Discourse (optional)
-Environmental Politics (optional)
-International Security Studies (optional)
-Political Economy (optional)
-Political Theory (optional)
-Public Opinion and Political Behaviour (optional)
-Research Design (optional)
-Survey Measurement and Question Design
-Comparative European Politics (optional)
-Political Parties in Britain and Europe (optional)
-Political Explanation (optional)

Visit the International Relations - MSc page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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