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Politics & Government×

Durham University, Full Time MA Degrees in Politics & Government

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The School of Government and International Affairs has a vibrant research environment. All SGIA Masters students are welcome to the numerous events organised by the School's research centres. Read more
The School of Government and International Affairs has a vibrant research environment. All SGIA Masters students are welcome to the numerous events organised by the School's research centres. MA Politics & International Relations (Political Theory) students will particularly benefit from the activities of the Centre for Political Thought. The centre runs seminar series, workshops and reading group and actively involves Masters and PhD students in its work.

Student Profiles

Not only has the MA Politics and International Relations (Political Theory) programme allowed me to further pursue what I find to be the most interesting aspect of politics, but working so closely with such knowledgeable tutors on a weekly basis has truly opened my eyes and allowed me to delve into and examine the most fundamental concepts behind political theory. That along with the fascinating debates that I had with my classmates and the thought-provoking essays have contributed to what has been the most important step in my career in politics.” Tarek Abou-Jaoude, 2014/15

“Participating in the Politics and International Relations program at Durham University is the best academic decision I have ever made for two reasons. First, is the engaging learning environment created in the classroom by the professors who lead students in civic discussion and debate. The second reason is what makes Durham University so special, being an international student from the U.S going to school at Durham allowed me to learn international relations in the classroom, and its convenient location allowed me to travel to most places in Europe to gain practical application that cannot be taught by reading a book. You make lifelong friends from all over the world who share your core interests, and that is tailor made attribute of Durham University.” Nicholas Lennox, 2014/15

“Durham has been one of the best experiences of my life. This University teaches the meaning of community and friendship, in an environment that combines historic heritage with the latest trends. The MA in Politics and International Relations (Political Theory) was all I expected. A flexible programme that allowed me to interact both with our lecturers and fellow students of the School of Government and International Affairs. This open environment promoted what it felt a very complete learning experience.” Maria Lleras, 2014/15

Course Content

This programme provides students with systematic knowledge and the tools to critically review the complex relationships between government and society at a variety of levels and in different contexts. It also enables students to evaluate in a sophisticated and critical fashion, theories and paradigms within the broad field of politics and international relations, and to draw lessons from empirical studies involving both quantitative and qualitative investigations. It also aims to develop students' ability to deploy research strategies and methods in an appropriately advanced fashion to critically evaluate research at the current limits of theoretical understanding, and to equip students so that they have the ability to master complex political concepts and evaluate the significance of major developments in political thought in general as well as international relations theory.

Course Structure
Two core modules worth 30 credits, plus a Dissertation worth 75 credits, plus 5 optional modules to the value of 75 credits - 60 of which must be from the list A.

Core Modules:
-Methodology in the Social Sciences
-Research Methods and Dissertation Production

List A - In previous years these have included:
-Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupations
-International Relations Theory
-Political Ideology
-Human Rights
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain since 1850
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice

List B
-European Institutions and the Policy Process
-European Security
-German Foreign Policy
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East
-Nationalism, Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
-Political Economy and Development in Chinese Business
-The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
-The European Union as a Global Actor
-The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
-Model United Nations
-Region, Nation and Citizen in South East Asia
-A module offered by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into two core and five optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 75 credits of not more than 15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

Read less
This degree is designed for high calibre graduates who intend to undertake research for a doctoral degree in Politics or International Relations and need to acquire all-round training in research methods and methodologies in the political and social sciences. Read more
This degree is designed for high calibre graduates who intend to undertake research for a doctoral degree in Politics or International Relations and need to acquire all-round training in research methods and methodologies in the political and social sciences. The object is to equip students with comprehension of basic principles of research design and strategy.

This MA programme is specifically focused to provide research training. It is assumed that students taking this MA do so with the intention of proceeding to a PhD. It has received official recognition from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and eligible candidates can apply for (ESRC) (1+3) studentships. Anyone proposing to do this should apply as early as possible in order to meet the ESRC deadlines.

Student Profiles

“I choose the Research Methods Masters because it offered me the most diverse skillset. The programme has a strong interdisciplinary character and I chose modules offered by Psychology and Sociology schools as well as the School of Government. This diversity has given me a broader skillset than a more focused master’s degree. Moreover this master’s has given me the confidence and ability to consider a wider variety of career options than that offered by my single-honours history undergraduate degree. I fully recommend this course for anyone looking to enlarge their knowledge in research methods and especially when applied to the fields of politics and international relations.” Jack Ekinsmyth, 2015/16

“The MA Research Methods, by spanning across two departments, allowed me to experience more of Durham University. The course was challenging, but prepared me for transitioning to a PhD. It also helped me secure ESRC funding, as the course offers ESRC-recognised research training modules. Durham University, with its reputation and beautiful city setting, was an easy choice and I enjoyed my busy year there.” Alex, 2014/15

Course Content

This degree is offered in collaboration with other departments in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health and is designed to provide a strong all-round training in research methods allied to further specialisation within the field of politics and international relations/studies. It is assumed that in taking this MA, you do so with the intention of proceeding to a PhD in Politics or International Relations. It has received official recognition from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and eligible candidates can apply for (ESRC) (1+3) studentships. The programme includes compulsory elements in a wide variety of techniques including statistics and quantitative methods, but contains less subject-specific content than the other MA courses.

Core Modules:
-Perspectives on Social Research
-International Relations Theory

Optional Modules - Optional modules in previous years have included:
-Statistical Exploration and Reasoning
-Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science
-Applied Statistics
-Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science
-Fieldwork and Interpretation

Additional Optional Modules - Optional modules in previous years have included:
-European Institutions and the Policy Process
-The European Union as a Global Actor
-German Foreign Policy
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain Since 1850
-Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
-European Security
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupation
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice
-The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
-The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
-America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
-Region, Nation and Citizen in SE Asia
-Political Economy and Development in Chinese Business
-Nationalism, Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
-Human Rights
-Political Ideology
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
-Categorical Data Analysis with SPSS and R
-A module offered by the School of Modern Languages

Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into one core and seven/eight optional modules. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 45 credits of not more than 12,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

Read less
This programme combines a sound basis of advanced knowledge and understanding in the broader and more disparate field of International Studies with the opportunity to choose optional specialist areas of study from among those offered in the School, and other schools such as Modern Languages and Cultures. Read more
This programme combines a sound basis of advanced knowledge and understanding in the broader and more disparate field of International Studies with the opportunity to choose optional specialist areas of study from among those offered in the School, and other schools such as Modern Languages and Cultures. The particular interests reflected in the choice of options may then be developed through the researching and writing of a dissertation.

Through the programme, you will gain advanced knowledge and understanding of:
-The extent to which an international community has developed and the driving forces shaping its development
-Factors determining humanitarian interventions
-The processes of globalisation in the political, economic, cultural and scientific fields
-The governance role of international organisations
-How the degree of integration of countries into the international political and economic system varies and the determinants of those variations
-Historical and/or contemporary issues and debates in the politics and political economy of specific states and/or areas and/or international institutions and organisations
-Regime analysis and the concept of soft power governance
-An appropriate topic in international politics of their choice

Student Profiles

The time I spent as an International Relations student at SGIA was one of the most precious moment in my life. In this course, there is a large number of modules that I can choose to study based on my interest. Furthermore, these modules are interdisciplinary, which help to develop the knowledge and enhance knowledge adaptability skill of the students. Besides, class discussion with foreign classmates, along with the contribution of skillful teaching staff, not only help me to create friendships across the border and engage in international community, but also, help to develop my analytical skills, and provide me the different perspective to view the world that help me to get the better understanding of human beings and the society. I feel really honoured that I had a chance to study in this course and become the member of this school and this university.” Poramet "Jay" Tangsathaporn, 2015/16

“As I have been extensively involved in development projects implemented by different international organisations such as the Asian Development Bank, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Voluntary Services Overseas, and the UNDP for 7 years, I have had acquired the practical skills of working in different fields with international experts with diverse backgrounds. While doing my master’s programme in International Studies at the School of Government and International Affairs of Durham University, I have captured very good academic skills that should help me successfully pursue my career at regional and worldwide development organisations. I chose the MA International Studies programme for its focus on international political economy and development as well as regional studies. I have been grateful that my goal of studying the topics where I have had very limited knowledge matched the areas where Durham is recognised as number one in the UK. Therefore, I went deeper into economic, political, and security issues of particular regions such as Asia and the Middle East within my optional modules, which enabled me to fully understand and assess the whole world issues based on evidence. Learning to always ask ‘why’ to understand the root of the problem, and to ask ‘how’ to offer solutions has been one of the delicious fruits that I have harvested during my journey of original, creative, and critical thinking in Durham. Finally, I feel grateful to Durham University and the Chevening Secretariat for providing me with the greatest opportunity of studying at one of the top universities of the world with full scholarship.” Onon Sukhbaatar, 2015/16

“Participating in the MA International Relations programme has been a really positive experience. Students can choose from a wide range of modules, allowing for specialisation in a particular region or a more eclectic approach. The style of teaching in the department encourages independent thought and research, critical analysis and active contribution meaning students develop important skills relevant to further study as well as the workplace. The number of extra-curricular talks organised by the faculty enriches the learning experience while the diverse nature of the student body facilitates the sharing of different perspectives and ideas. Finally, learning is supported by several well-resourced libraries, IT facilities, and knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff.” Sarah Clowry, 2015/16

Course Content

Students will take four core modules to the value of 135 credits and optional modules to the value of 45 credits.

Core Modules:
-Research Methods and Dissertation Production
-Model United Nations
-International Relations Theory

Optional Modules - Optional modules in previous years have included:
-European Institutions and the Policy Process
-The European Union as a Global Actor
-German Foreign Policy
-Collective Memory and Identity in Post-War Europe
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain Since 1850
-Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
-European Security
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupation
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice
-The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
-The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
-America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
-Region, Nation and Citizen in SE Asia
-Political Economy and Development in Chinese Business
-Nationalism, Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
-Human Rights
-Political Ideology
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
-Theories of Capitalism
-A module offered by the School of Modern Languages

Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into three core and three optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 75 credits of not more than 15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

Read less
This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. Read more
This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. It enables you to evaluate in a sophisticated and critical fashion concepts, theories and paradigms within the broad field of international relations, drawing lessons from empirical studies involving both quantitative and qualitative investigations.

Students are able to develop their ability to deploy research strategies and methods in an appropriately advanced fashion to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship. Each study route aims to provide advanced knowledge and understanding of the dynamics, including cultural and local political and ideological factors, which shape the contemporary international relations of the area.

The course also provides an opportunity for studying international relations and in comparative and historical perspective taking account of regional specific political and economic factors.

Student Profiles

“Students in the International Relations (East Asia) programme are exposed to an internationally diverse atmosphere in the class which leads us to be open-minded and objective. The wide range of modules allows students to not only discover a specialized area (East Asia) but to also explore other areas and foster global viewpoints. Therefore, students can further pursue interdisciplinary research at Durham University. Most importantly, lectures and seminars which are provided by professionally specialized professors enable students to nurture the ability to logically organize their thoughts and to propose solutions to difficult problems which may have no right answer. I am confident that graduates from this course will take an active role in interdisciplinary work across the globe because they learned how to be innovative and effective collaborators throughout this well-structured programme. I would highly recommend this programme to anyone interested in international relations and engaging in critical dialogue.” Kyoko Kato, 2015/16

“When making the step up from undergraduate studies to a Masters degree, you want to move up both in terms of university quality and in terms of the academic rigour. The MA International Relations program at SGIA provided me with that. The department boasts some of the top academics in the country and immediately you realise that you must step your game up to thrive on a postgraduate program at one of the top few universities in the country. The course offers an excellent balance of compulsory modules; which improve study and research techniques, and selective modules; which allow you to specialise in areas of interest. I made two really fascinating observations about the department: one was how much of a diverse international presence SGIA contains, and the second was that the seminars are a complete open forum, which allow for a wide spectrum of ideas. If you can justify your intellectual position; then all viewpoints are accepted. I’m delighted I chose this course and I feel this degree puts me on a path to progress in my future career. Simply put: Durham and SGIA are the place to be!” Edward Spann, 2015/16

“My favourite aspect of the Master course is the unique learning experience at the university. Over here in Durham, students are encouraged to actively participate and even lead discussions and debates regarding the module content. Independent research outside the classrooms therefore becomes essential and inevitable in students' learning experience. Additionally, the School of Government and International Affairs has also been regularly inviting prominent and influential speakers in the field of politics and international affairs to give a seminar so as to enhance the students' learning curve.” Chanatip Padungdetpasuton

Course Content

Students will take five core modules to the value of 150 credits and optional modules to the value of 30 credits, 15 of which must be from the regional module list.

Core Modules:
-International Relations Theory
-Model United Nations
-Research Methods and Dissertation Production
-Dissertation

East Asia Route Core Module:
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
-Regional Modules:
-Region, Nation and Citizen in SE Asia
-Political Economy and Development in Chinese Business
-Nationalism, Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China.

Non-regional Modules - In previous years these have included:
-European Institutions and the Policy Process
-The European Union as a Global Actor
-German Foreign Policy
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain
-Collective Memory and Identity in Post-War Europe
-Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
-European Security
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East
-The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
-The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
-America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
-Human Rights
-Political Ideology
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupation
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice
-Political Ideology
-A module offered by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into four core and two optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 75 credits of not more than 15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

Read less
This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. Read more
This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. It enables you to evaluate in a sophisticated and critical fashion concepts, theories and paradigms within the broad field of international relations, drawing lessons from empirical studies involving both quantitative and qualitative investigations.

Students are able to develop their ability to deploy research strategies and methods in an appropriately advanced fashion to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship. Each study route aims to provide advanced knowledge and understanding of the dynamics, including cultural and local political and ideological factors, which shape the contemporary international relations of the area.

The course also provides an opportunity for studying international relations and in comparative and historical perspective taking account of regional specific political and economic factors.

Student Profiles

“From the moment I applied for the MA International Relations (Middle East) programme at Durham University, I knew it was going to be a perfect fit. The combination of theoretical and technical modules, coupled with the option to specialise in the regional area of my choice, immediately made this programme stand out. I was equally drawn to the academic reputation and international background of the SGIA department. Whilst seminars and lectures were intellectually stimulating, the academic staff was very approachable and keen to guide our independent research. Although many of us applied for the International Relations programme with a background in a different subject, the transition – although challenging – proved to be rewarding. Overall, my time at Durham has been an incredibly enriching and unforgettable experience.” Nina Schroeter, 2015/16

“My year at SGIA studying International Relations of the Middle East has allowed me to engage critically with the subjects I have studied. The department offered a rich variety of modules, including language courses delivered through the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. SGIA’s international and multicultural environment is ideal to study a transnational subject like international politics. The assessments have been stimulating occasions to apply the knowledge acquired and feedback has been provided throughout the year by helpful and available lecturers. All activities were properly organised and resources abounded, from the well-stocked library to the modern classrooms and an efficient staff. All this contributed to make my stay in Durham a pleasant and a rewarding one.” Simone Clericuzio, 2015/16

“Pursuing the International Relations (Middle East) MA at Durham has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The School of Government & International Affairs offers all students a chance to really engage in the issues they are interested in. The department provides the opportunity of specialising the course based on the world's regions you are most passionate about, while simultaneously opening your eyes to other issues in the wider world of International Relations. Coupled with a very approachable department with exceptional teaching standards, this course is both as comprehensive as it is detailed, attracting students and views from all over the world. These factors combine to offer an extremely positive and enriching experience, providing an exceptional foundation for future academic or professional goals.” Scott Chipolina, 2014/15

Course Content

Students will take five core modules to the value of 150 credits and optional modules to the value of 30 credits, 15 of which must be from the regional module list.

Core Modules:
-International Relations Theory
-Model United Nations
-Research Methods and Dissertation Production
-Dissertation

Middle East Route Core Module:
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East
-Regional Modules:
-Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
-The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
-The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East

Non-regional Modules - In previous years these have included:
-German Foreign Policy
-European Security
-Collective Memory and Identity in Post-War Europe
-European Institutions and the Policy Process
-The European Union as a Global Actor
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain
-America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
-Human Rights
-Political Ideology
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupation
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice
-Nationalism Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
-Political Economy and Development of Chinese Business
-Political Ideology
-Region, Nation and Citizen in Southeast Asia
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
-A module offered by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into four core and two optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 75 credits of not more than 15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

Read less
This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. Read more
This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. It enables you to evaluate in a sophisticated and critical fashion concepts, theories and paradigms within the broad field of international relations, drawing lessons from empirical studies involving both quantitative and qualitative investigations.

Students are able to develop their ability to deploy research strategies and methods in an appropriately advanced fashion to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship. Each study route aims to provide advanced knowledge and understanding of the dynamics, including cultural and local political and ideological factors, which shape the contemporary international relations of the area.

The course also provides an opportunity for studying international relations and in comparative and historical perspective taking account of regional specific political and economic factors.

Student Profiles

“Attending the Master in International Relations (European) at Durham University has been so far the best experience of my life. Indeed engaging in conversation with colleagues from different nationalities and professors willing to listen to your opinion has helped me analyse the world dynamics from different perspectives. Honestly I have learned more in the last year than throughout any of my academic experience. In sum living and studying at Durham has had a great impact on my life to the extent that it made me realize my real potential and what my future career could be like. Therefore I would certainly recommend studying this course at Durham University as it has positively changed my life and it might have the same effect on you.” Luca Marro, 2015/16

“Undertaking postgraduate study is a huge commitment. Not only is it a period of intensive academic study, it is a financial and time consuming one too. Therefore, I was naturally very thorough when deciding upon which university I wanted to attend. Ultimately, my decision to study at SGIA was based on two factors. Firstly, the reputation of Durham University ensures that I receive a degree which is highly valued and respected by employers. Secondly, by undertaking the MA in International Relations (Europe) I have been able to develop an area specialisation and study a topic which is of immense interest to me. These two points proved fruitful results, when, during my first term at Durham, I was able to secure graduate level employment for when I leave. A high point of this perhaps, was attending the assessment centre for the position only to find three other people from SGIA at the event - you can thus be confident that deciding to undertake an MA puts you in a very good position!” Thomas Knight, 2015/16

As a Master’s student in International Relations (Europe), I have benefitted from the vast knowledge of the academics who are specialised in the European Union. I learnt both technical and theoretical details about the EU. Therefore, as a EU-funded Jean Monnet Scholarship holder, MA in International Relations (Europe) met the aim of my scholarship to develop Turkey’s human resources with trained EU experts for the accession. Not only the vigour of academic staff of the SGIA but also the good research facilities as well as the extremely helpful team of the School Office have made this experience unforgettable and fruitful for me." Asli Kandemir, 2014/15

Course Content

Students will take five core modules to the value of 150 credits and optional modules to the value of 30 credits, 15 of which must be from the regional module list.

Core Modules:
-International Relations Theory
-Model United Nations
-Research Methods and Dissertation Production
-Dissertation

European Route Core Module:
-European Security

Regional Modules:
-European Institutions and the Policy Process
-The European Union as a Global Actor
-Collective Memory & Identity in Post War Europe

Non-regional Modules - In previous years these have included:
-German Foreign Policy
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain
-Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East
-The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
-America and the World: The Making of the US Foreign Policy
-Human Rights
-Political Ideology
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupations
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice
-Nationalism Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
-Political Economy and Development of Chinese Business
-Political Ideology
-Region, Nation and Citizen in Southeast Asia
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
-The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
-A module offered by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into four core and two optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 75 credits of not more than 15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

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This MA degree programme is designed for students who wish to explore the social dimensions of risk and resilience. Read more
This MA degree programme is designed for students who wish to explore the social dimensions of risk and resilience. The Department of Geography is especially well-suited to examine these in relation to security- and health-related risk, but students are encouraged to develop their thinking in relation to any aspect of risk, including, for example, climate risk and disaster risk reduction. For students interested in security-related risk, the MA programme offers in-depth and advanced understanding on geo-political security challenges and politics, including the ways in which they are governed increasingly through the prism of risk. The course responds to the growing realisation that many risks are being created through social processes bound to questions of security, including the ways that risk techniques are emerging and being employed as a means of securing uncertain futures. Since the 9/11 attacks in New York City and the 7/7 bombings in London, governments have become more concerned with terrorist threats to security. Surveillance has become more commonplace, preventing some risks while also creating new ones never before seen in society.

For students interested in health-related risk, the MA programme offers advanced training in research methods on the determinants of health and well-being, and their implications for health policy and service provision. Led in part by experts in population health from a social science and public health perspective, the MA programme responds to the observation that we often overlook the critical role played by communities in creating and managing risks, and that we need to develop new approaches to building community resilience. Students learn about the 'social determinants' associated with public health risks including unemployment and poverty. The socioeconomic impacts of financial crises, for example, have large implications for public health risk creating new challenges for research and governance. Students will be trained in both quantitative and qualitative methods to learn how to produce evidence relating to the wider determinants of health that is likely to benefit population health. Graduates from this programme will be well-suited to the needs of social and community work, to health professionals, and the pursuit of research degrees.

Course Structure

Students take the following core modules, and a selection of elective modules, which, when combined, add up to 180 credits:
Core Modules:
-Understanding Risk (30 credits)
-Risk Frontiers (15 credits)
-Fundamentals of Risk Research (15 credits)
-Dissertation by Research (or) Vocational Dissertation (60 credits)

Elective Modules available in previous years include:
-Hydrological Hazards (30 credits)
-Spatial and Temporal Dimensions of Hazard (30 credits)
-Social Dimensions of Risk and Resilience (30 credits)
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East (15 credits)
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis (15 credits)
-European Security (15 credits)
-Social Policy and Society (30 credits)

Learning and Teaching

Understanding and managing risk is ultimately about choice. All elements of society, from individuals to governments, must make decisions – conscious or not – about the ways in which they perceive, interpret, balance, and mitigate risk. Risk permeates our day-to-day lives in ways that are now recognised to be much more complex than the hazard-vulnerability paradigm, which dominated risk research until the 1990s, recognised. A deeper understanding of the nature of risk, its emergence, and its interface and position within societies, has emphasised the need to take a much more complex view in which a general understanding of the ways in which risk is generated, experienced and managed needs to be combined with a specific understanding of particular science or policy areas.

The primary aim of this Masters programme is to equip students with a general understanding of risk; whilst simultaneously providing specific training in elements of risk-related research. This will be achieved through an interdisciplinary framework for understanding risk from a variety of perspectives. Students will learn theoretical and practical approaches to identifying and framing risk, as well as the underlying physical and social mechanisms that generate it. They will also examine the relationship of risk to knowledge and policy, and will be made aware of the array of advanced tools and techniques to assess the physical and social dimensions of risk under conditions of uncertainty. They will also be trained in the substance and methods associated with a range of science and policy areas, and be expected to demonstrate that they can combine their general training in risk with their specific understanding of the substance and method associated with the chosen area, through either a research-based or a vocational dissertation.

All students will undertake a suite of core modules (120 credits) which provide students with a range of skills and knowledge which result in a unique focus in risk combined with training in interdisciplinary research methods. These modules are: Understanding Risk, Fundamentals of Risk Research, Risk Frontiers and the Dissertation.

Students then also select a suite of elective modules (another 60 credits). Students can choose to receive specialised scientific training in:
-The social dimensions of risk and resilience
-Determinants of health and well-being, and their implications for health policy and service provision, and/or:
-A combination of approaches to risk.

Electives can be selected from:
-Social Dimensions of Risk and Resilience
-Strategic Asia
-European Security
-International Relations in the Middle East
-Social Policy and Society

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The field of Social Policy examines the definition, pattern and range of social problems in contemporary society and the various policy responses to them. Read more
The field of Social Policy examines the definition, pattern and range of social problems in contemporary society and the various policy responses to them. It explores the role of the state in relation to the welfare and management of its citizens and the role of state intervention in determining the conditions under which people live. This programme is designed to provide students with grounding in social research as applied in social policy investigations.

Course Structure

Students take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Starting in the first term, students undertake a module on research design which enables students to develop a research proposal for their dissertation.

Core Modules

Typical modules outlined below are those that were available to students studying this programme in previous years.

-Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)
-Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)
-Research Design and Process (15 credits)
-Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Social Policy and Society (30 credits)
-Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)
-Dissertation (60 credits)

Academic learning is assessed through a range of summative essays, statistical/computer-based projects, research proposals, and a dissertation.

Learning and Teaching

These MA Research Methods programmes are full time, starting in early October and continuing over 12 months following university terms.

The main teaching methods include lectures, seminars, and computer practical sessions. Lectures introduce the key concepts, theories, current debates and other issues critical for understanding the topics. Seminars are opportunities for students to discuss any questions arising from the readings, to share experience of conducting research, to present their own work for comments. Modules that teach the use of computer software packages have practical sessions in computer rooms so that students can carry out hands-on exercises under supervision and further assistance

Modules are usually assessed through essays. Statistics modules may require students to complete specific analyses with more structured instructions. Some module conveners may allow students to submit formative assignments in order for students to obtain a sense of how well they understand the subject. Some modules’ assessment may contain a proportion of presentations and group projects.

Further academic supports are available. Students have the opportunities to learn from their dissertation supervisors at individual tutoring meetings, dissertation workshops, and forums. Every member of teaching staff has two hours of office hours each week, when students can come without having to make an appointment beforehand. Both the University and the School organize seminars by external speakers that are open to all students.

Students will have access to a variety of learning resources, including learning spaces in libraries and teaching rooms, readings and textbooks, computers, databases, etc

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