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Course content

This programme is designed to analyse various aspects of International Relations in a scholarly, critical and methodologically sophisticated manner.

Having introduced the theoretical and methodological components which facilitate our study of the field, the aim is to use these tools to examine, explain and understand the issues, topics and processes that make up our world, from security and terrorism, migration and mobility, to global financial crises.

The programme offers a balance between providing core content in the field of International Relations while allowing students to actively choose their area of specialism.

Course Details

The programme has three different components: Core modules, Elective modules, and an MA dissertations.

Core Modules: to acquire foundational knowledge and understanding in International Relations, students will take four core modules covering the evolution of International Relations as a discipline, issues of order, conflict and governance, and the trends toward globalisation, regionalisation and devolution.

Core Modules students currently must take:

  • Approaches to Research Design
  • International Political Economy
  • International Security, Theories and Issues in International Relations

Elective Modules: the programme provides students with a number of elective modules that will enable them to specialise in areas of interest, build on foundational knowledge, and develop focused expertise.

Elective Modules students must take one of:

  • Conflict Intervention
  • Global Terrorism

Students must take one additional module from a list including*:

  • Conflict Intervention (if not already taken)
  • Global Terrorism (if not already taken)
  • Carbon Literacy for a Low Carbon Society and Economy
  • Ethnic Conflict and Consensus: The Power of Institutions
  • Gender, Politics and Democracy
  • Institutions and Politics of the EU Philosophy of Conflict and War

*This list of elective modules may vary from year to year.

Dissertation: to enable students to develop their particular area of specialism, facilitate independent learning and instil a variety of skills students must also write a 15,000 word dissertation.

Assessment and Feedback

The programme is assessed by a mixture of examination and continuous assessment (eg essays, projects) and presentations.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching is normally in afternoons and evenings.

Career Prospects

All of the MA programmes offered in the School provide our graduates with the skills to pursue a wide range of careers in the private, public and voluntary sectors. In addition they provide an appropriate basis for those who wish to proceed to Doctoral-level study.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.


Visit the MA International Relations page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!

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