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The study of international relations will give you the tools to understand the interactions between states, societies, institutions and individuals. The course combines a rigorous study of key topics in global politics with cutting-edge approaches and encourages you to think critically and pragmatically about the most pressing political issues of our time.

Course description

On this exciting course, you will engage with a range of theoretical perspectives to make sense of emergent and rapidly evolving international political challenges, and will explore normative arguments about the way that international relations ought to work. The course covers key topics in international relations such as:

  • Global security and terrorism
  • Postcolonial and feminist perspectives on international relations.

You will also explore the real world in all its complexities and will be able to choose from innovative models that examine the most urgent issues in world politics.

Core modules

  • Debating International Relations
  • Understanding Politics
  • Research and Dissertation Participation
  • Dissertation in International Relations

Optional modules

We offer a range of modules drawing on our academics' world-leading research. As well as choosing from a list of modules directly related to your degree programme, you will have the opportunity to select from a range of other postgraduate modules offered by the department. Examples include:

  • Global Health and Global Politics
  • Contemporary Global Security
  • International Political Sociology of Civil Wars
  • Feminist and Decolonising Approaches to International Relations

To find out more about modules please click here.

Please see our University website for the most up-to-date course information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/courses

Learning environment

Our academic staff are passionate about their subject and are equally passionate about bringing this to life through their teaching. Our research and teaching are closely linked and as a student here you will enjoy being taught by staff who are at the cutting-edge of the discipline and who are developing new important insights in their field.

  • Seminars

Smaller classes led by an academic tutor where you'll have the chance to explore the topic in-depth and in a critical way. The seminar experience is the very foundation of postgraduate level study and offers an important place for you to develop knowledge and transferable skills.

  • Lectures

In contrast to seminars, lectures are larger classes where you receive a presentation on a topic by an academic and have the opportunity to ask questions. Lectures provide an excellent means for introducing you to new concepts, ideas and theories, and for helping to structure your own independent study.

  • Independent study

Alongside the taught part of your course, you'll be expected to engage in independent study, Your timetable will allow you to fully prepare for all seminars and you will be given access to extensive online resources including digitised texts and electronic journals.

  • Dissertation supervision

All our degrees include a dissertation, which is a substantive project in which you'll be expected to undertake a research-led inquiry on a topic that is relevant to your degree. To support you with this, you will be given a dedicated dissertation supervisor, who will offer you one-to-one guidance at all stages of the process.

  • Feedback and contact hours

Together with your formal learning opportunities, we will provide you with the additional support that you need to enhance your career prospects. Every member of staff holds weekly feedback and contact hours, which gives you the chance to talk through your ideas, ask questions and get advice.

What do our graduates do?

A postgraduate degree from the Department of Politics and International Relations will give you a flexible career path. There are many possible careers available after studying politics and our graduates go on to work all over the world in both public sector roles, such as government and private sector roles, such as research, media and communications and charity organisations.

A postgraduate degree is an ideal foundation if you wanted to continue into research and many of our graduates have chosen to do a PhD as their next step.


Visit the MA International Relations page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!

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