MA International Relations

University of Sheffield    Department of Politics

Full time & Part time September MA 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time Award winner
Economics (10) Politics & Government (30)

FindAMasters summary

The MA International Relations programme offers an exciting opportunity to expand your knowledge and critical perspectives on urgent global challenges. Taught by world-leading academics, you will explore theoretical perspectives and normative arguments in international relations. The course covers key topics like global security, terrorism, and postcolonial and feminist perspectives. You can choose from a range of optional modules, such as global politics of climate change and human rights. With a minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a relevant subject, you can embark on this one-year full-time or two-year part-time programme. Join our vibrant and supportive department to gain valuable insights and enhance your career prospects.

About the course

How should we make sense of the many global challenges that are increasingly destabilising international politics? On this course you'll learn how to practically address some of humanity’s most pressing challenges, from global heating and ecological destruction, to geopolitical conflict, public health crises and rapid technological change.

On this course you'll expand your understanding of contemporary international relations. You will investigate how the global order is constituted, the ways in which it functions, and whether it might be under strain.

Throughout your studies you will about key concepts and theories that will help you address the following questions:

Read more about this course

Entry Requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a relevant social science, arts and humanities subject or other related subject.

 Course Content

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Student Profiles

Sophie Zinn

Graduated in 2020

What made you choose to study at Sheffield and your course?
I chose Sheffield’s MA in International Relations programme because of the University’s internationally driven community, I knew that the location and the University’s initiatives would expose me to other international students, British culture, and a multicultural population. This course would educate me on theoretical perspectives and current debates in global politics and allow me to investigate my own interests regarding the role of Brexit in current international policies. I am also very interested in the Global Leadership Initiative, which would enable me to attend major international summits and meet critical international policy makers.

How did you feel when you heard that you were successful in being awarded the scholarship?
It was such an exciting moment. I felt validated in my investment in the University, and truly believed that the University wanted to invest in me. Just knowing that the University of Sheffield wanted me to attend as much as I wanted to be a student here gave me a sense of responsibility and dedication to the institution. I knew that with this scholarship supporting my postgraduate education, I should give back and show my appreciation and not just in my research and educational interests. I acknowledged that this investment would allow me to dive into the culture and society of the University.

How did you research the University to find out about studying in Sheffield?
I knew that I wanted to attend a university in the UK for multiple reasons: I wanted to study international relations in an international environment, both the US and UK were facing new political realities after 2016 and the UK has had (and continues to have) a significant impact on the world, much like the US. By looking through the Research Excellence Framework (REF), I saw that the University of Sheffield was in the top three rankings for research in international relations. I then looked at the specific research projects of the Department of Politics and International Relations faculty and emailed a professor who had similar research interests.

Bethany Fox

Graduated in 2020

I really enjoyed the international relations side of my undergraduate course, BA International Relations and Politics, here at Sheffield and formed some great working relationships with several of my tutors, so continuing on here at the university seemed like the natural next-step. Studying for my masters degree has been something that I’d intended since I started at university; I am deeply passionate about international relations and so continuing to expand my knowledge at masters level with a view to potentially continuing onto PhD study was something that I never really questioned. When all of my friends were getting ready to jump into the world of work I just knew there was more for me to do still at university, and I’m so glad I stayed.

This course gives a depth of knowledge and understanding about contemporary global issues that will be invaluable to me going forward in my career, as well as a breadth of transferable skills - quantitative and qualitative data collection, statistical analysis, presentation skills, research skills, and more. Invariably, I will leave far more prepared for my future than if I had simply left at the end of my undergraduate course.

The department is amazing, filled with a range of academics working at the top of their field who are always happy to help students, especially as our interests become more targeted in the later years of our studies. I’ve formed some great working relationships with tutors working in my area of interest, including Dr Simon Rushton, Dr Helen Turton and Dr Anastasia Shesterinina and I know that they will be happy to support me not just with my current course but in any other way that they can going forward, not least because they already have with job applications, dissertation help and more.

There’s a great range of modules available on the MA International Relations course in areas both new and familiar, and it constantly pushes you to challenge your own preconceptions and knowledge. I’ve really thoroughly enjoyed my module on the Political Sociology of Civil War so far this semester in particular, and the range of different viewpoints offered by my peers has constantly kept me on my toes.

Lewis Atkinson

Politics has always been an area of high interest to me. During my college years I participated in the Model UN at the University and it gave me the opportunity to experience the high quality engagement the academic staff has with its students. Seminars are a two-way process where everyone’s opinions are respected and the tutor does not just lecture for two hours, it is active learning.

I studied history and politics at undergraduate, and studying the foreign policy of the United States during the Cold War sparked my interest in International Relations. International Relations introduces more of a theoretical framework to give a causal explanation and answer questions such as why do states go to war? History and Politics are intertwined, but International Relations applies theoretical lenses which can open up new perspectives of not just contemporary events, but those of the past.

I’ve taken a range of modules, but my favourite area has been security studies which was introduced to me through the Contemporary Global Security module. The module looks at how our definitions of security have changed over time, especially since the Cold War period. We no longer are solely focussed on war and conflict. What about pandemics? Climate change? Gender based violence? Security has become broader overtime in an attempt to address the complex question asked within an increasingly globalised and interconnected world. For my dissertation, I'll most likely study an issue that has sparked my interest from the post-Cold War era.

The course focuses on independent study, and to manage the time so there is an effective balance between seminars, lectures, assignments and reading. Information has to be presented clearly, so good written communication is important. Information has to be relevant and, once evidence is gathered, critical thinking is required to analyse and produce answers to important questions within international politics. So the degree utilises and develops a wide range of key skills employers may be searching for.

My advice for people with anxieties over studying politics at postgraduate level is not to worry. The department is well aware that many students may never have studied politics before. Students I have met come from all sorts of different academic backgrounds: accountants, history, journalism, just to name a few. Every course the department offers will include a core module that will introduce and explain the main ideas a


All applications will be reviewed by senior members of academic staff and/or Student Support Services staff.

When reviewing your application we'll look at personal circumstances, widening participation criteria and take into account academic achievements. All applications are anonymised and the decision is discretionary and final.

When assessing your application, we will give regard to whether you:

have provided a clear rationale for applying for a postgraduate course at the University of Sheffield.
have identified clearly how the scholarship will be beneficial to their student experience.
have clearly articulated future ambitions; these goals relate to the postgraduate degree he/she has applied for, and they involve appropriate and credible contribution from which others will benefit.

Value of Scholarship(s)



You'll be studying a taught postgraduate course full-time or part-time for a maximum of four years.
You're paying the 'home' rate of fees.
You're not already qualified at masters level or higher.
You're self funded. Courses funded by the NHS or the Initial Teacher Training bursary, or courses that are eligible for undergraduate funding such as integrated masters are not eligible.

Application Procedure

For more information about this scholarship and how to apply, please visit:

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The Aziz Foundation was established in 2015 by the Aziz family, and is inspired by the values and teaching of Islam to support the most disadvantaged communities in Britain. Since 2019, the foundation has focused on supporting Muslim individuals by offering masters scholarships that allow recipients to progress in their careers and make meaningful contributions to their industry, community and society as a whole.

Successful applicants will receive a full scholarship for their tuition fees and access to a programme of training days and career mentors via Aziz Scholarships Plus and the Aziz Scholars Association.

Scholarships are awarded to UK individuals with career aspirations in media and journalism, technology, sustainability and the environment, law, policy (excluding health policy) and creative content.

The University of Sheffield awards are therefore restricted to those applying to one of the postgraduate taught courses listed below.

Applicants should meet all of the following requirements:

Eligible for Home fees status at the University
Be active within a Muslim community and demonstrate intimate knowledge of issues affecting British Muslim communities
Able to demonstrate long-term commitment to community/societal development within Britain
Demonstrate that they require financial assistance in order to undertake a masters degree

Value of Scholarship(s)

Full tuition fee scholarship

Application Procedure

Applications are submitted online, via a portal on the Aziz Foundation website. Applicants will need to demonstrate active engagement in British Muslim communities, a long-term commitment to community/societal development, and a need for financial assistance in order to undertake a masters degree.

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