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MSt in International Relations

Course Description

The Master of Studies (MSt) in International Relations is a part-time course designed for mature students from, for example, industry, teaching, the civil service or the armed forces, but we also welcome recent graduates wishing to undertake postgraduate study.

Please note that as a part-time course, students are not eligible for a student visa and therefore those who are not eligible to remain in the UK, will require a student visitor visa which only entitles residency during the stipulated residential sessions of the course. Students wishing to study full-time are encouraged to consider the M.Phil in International Relations, details of which can be found on the website at http://www.polis.cam.ac.uk/study-at-polis/graduates/MPhilIRPOL

The course is distinctive in its multidisciplinary approach and breadth. Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminars in theory, politics, history, economics, law, security and various regional and area studies, as well as individual thesis supervision. The taught part of the course aims to familiarise you with the range and variety of disciplines required for a thorough critical understanding of the field in all its complexity and of the means and methods that have been devised to understand it better.

Who is the course designed for?

The programme is suitable both for students who have just completed their first degree, and for mature students from (for example) industry, teaching, the civil service, NGOs or the armed forces. A background in international relations, law, economics, history or politics is a definite asset, but we welcome applications from all disciplines.

Aims of the programme

By the end of the course students should have:

• Developed the ability to apply critically the main theories, models, and concepts used in the study of international politics
• Developed an understanding and substantive knowledge of international politics, history, economics, and security
• Extended and developed their analytical, evaluative and critical capacities
• Developed transferable skills, including the ability to take responsibility for their own learning, making oral and written presentations, planning and producing written assignments, working independently, and, where they have chosen to do so, using information technology
• Developed the ability to undertake independent research and writing

As well as progressing to success in PhD studies, former MSt students have used the skills and knowledge acquired on the course to develop their careers within NGOs, IGOs, major companies and organisations.

Read about the experiences of former MSt students - http://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/mst-ir-profiles

Teaching and learning

During the first year, all students will be required to undertake a core course in International Relations and also chose six modules from the following 12 options:

• International Political Economy
• International Relations of the Modern Middle East
• International Relations of Africa
• The Cold War
• China in the International System
• Gender, War and Security
• International Migration and Development
• Democratisation
• Introduction to International Law
• American Presidents and Foreign Policy
• The Geopolitics of Energy Security
• The Politics of the World Trade Organisation

Students completing the first year successfully will then spend their second year researching and writing a 25,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice, subject to the approval of the Graduate Education Committee (GEC) of the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS). Dissertation work will be individually supervised by an academic specialist.

Contact time -

• Lectures: each module has a minimum of 12 hours teaching, including on average 8 hours of lectures
• Seminars: provided for most modules, 6-8 hours per module
• Supervision: 10-15 hours (second year)


Thesis -
• Dissertation: 25,000 words maximum (including tables, footnotes, and appendices, but excluding bibliography).

Essays -

Students must attend all sessions of their six option modules, but will assessed on three modules by either:

• Two essays not exceeding 2,000 words each; or
• One essay not exceeding 4,000 words; or

Written examination -

• Compulsory core course examination paper written under examination conditions of three hours' duration.

Feedback -

Some assignments and the dissertation require literature reviews.

Students give presentations on their research during the two residential sessions in year 2.

Students are given formal feedback on their assignment and informal feedback throughout their course, including during supervisions. Supervisions also result in an annual progress report at the end of year 1 and termly reports during year 2.

How to apply

Read the MSt Application Guide (http://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/courses/msts/application-guide) to find out more about the application process and what you need to do and consider as a potential applicant. See below for details of the supporting documents you will need to provide when applying for this course.

Apply online when you are ready to start the application process - http://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/courses/msts/apply-for-an-mst

If you have any questions about the application process, contact our Admissions team: or +44 (0)1223 746262.

For all other enquiries, contact the Programme Manager, Linda Fisher: or +44 (0)1223 746218.

Visit the MSt in International Relations page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course will normally have achieved a UK 2.i honours degree, GPA of 3.7 or above or overseas equivalent. There is provision to accept non-standard applicants who do not satisfy the standard academic criterion. Such applicants must produce evidence of relevant and equivalent experience and their suitability for the course.

Last Updated

23 January 2017

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