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Course content

About the MSc programmes

These programmes study international relations from a theoretical perspective. They are suitable for those intending to proceed to a research degree and an academic career, as well as those seeking to gain a conceptual grasp of contemporary international relations. They explore ways in which people think about IR, how international relations are theorised and why they act the way they do when conducting international relations as a field of practice.

The compulsory course, Theories of International Relations, covers the main explanatory and normative approaches in the international relations theory: realism liberalism, the English School, constructivism, normative theory, gender and feminist writings and post colonial perspectives. It explores international relations as knowledge, as a social science and as a practical discipline.

Non-research stream

The MSc International Relations Theory programme is an advanced, academic study of the subject from a theoretical perspective. It entails the core compulsory course, but does not entail a compulsory methodology course. You will also be required to complete at 10,000 word dissertation, and you will choose courses from a range of international relations options and options from other relevant departments, such as the European and Gender Institutes.

Research stream

The MSc International Relations (Research) is an advanced, academic study of the subject from a theoretical perspective. This research programme shares the same core course, Theories of International Relations, as the non-research stream; but it also includes a compulsory course in social research methods. You will also be required to complete at 10,000 word dissertation, and you will choose courses from a range of international relations options and options from other relevant departments, such as the European and Gender Institutes, and International Development.

The programme is particularly suitable for those intending to proceed to a research degree and an academic career. 

Both programmes are offered by the Department of International Relations, which is ranked 5th in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2018 tables for Politics and International Studies. Its reputation for international excellence was recognised in the most recent National Research Assessment Exercise when the IR and Government Departments, assessed as one unit, received one of the highest rankings. In the Foreign Policy''s 2018 Best International Relations Schools in the World table, LSE was listed top UK institution for the 'Top Master's Program for Policy Career in International Relations'.

Graduate destinations

Most of our former MSc students go on to work in government, international organisations, financial institutions, journalism and corporations, but some continue on to research degrees and the academic profession.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme


Visit the MSc International Relations Theory / MSc International Relations (Research) page on the London School of Economics and Political Science website for more details!

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