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European Union and International Relations (MA)

Course Description

Gain a high-level understanding of political and economic power in a globalised world.

Why choose this course?

- Study at a leading centre for research on contemporary Europe and international relations

- Active membership of the Aston Centre for Europe (http://www.aston.ac.uk/lss/research/research-centres/aston-centre-europe/), a thriving research hub which organises debates, study visits (http://www.aston.ac.uk/lss/research/research-centres/aston-centre-europe/news/ace-events/study-visits-seminars/), and conferences and seminars (http://www.aston.ac.uk/lss/research/research-centres/aston-centre-europe/news/ace-events/) on current international issues throughout the academic year

- Develop wide-ranging skills of critical analysis and approaches to the study of European integration and international relations.

Visit the website http://www.aston.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught-programmes/languages-social-sciences/eu-internationalrelations/

Course Outline

Through this programme, graduates gain a high-level understanding of political and economic power in a globalised world. Studying modules on topics such as Religion and Global Politics, Security and Defence in Europe and International Political Communication and Leaders, students develop wide-ranging insights into political behaviour and skills in the critical analysis of contemporary political issues.

This programme is ideally suited to internationally oriented careers in the public or private sector.

Learning, teaching and assessment

You will take part in interactive seminars, discussion and simulation exercises, as well as undertaking group project work. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study. MA students are a fundamental part of the intellectual life of the Politics and International Relations study group. All students on MA programmes take part in the regular series of guest lectures and research seminars on issues of contemporary political relevance as well as taking part in the conferences and events organised and hosted by the Aston Centre for Europe and by the study group.

All students have the opportunity to take part in a week long study trip to visit the EU institutions and related organisation in Brussels.
All students are allocated a personal tutor at the start of their studies; this member of academic staff can offer individual study advice and guidance and is there to help support your studies.

Assessments on the MA programme take a wide variety of forms, ranging from essays and examinations through to policy reports, briefings and campaign portfolios.

Career prospects

All of our MA Programmes equip students with the knowledge and analytical and transferable skills to pursue further postgraduate research or a successful career in the public and private sector. The careers pursued by our students vary greatly, but typical careers include:

- employment in international organisations (EU, WTO, UN etc.),
- research in policy-oriented domestic or international think tanks,
- careers in government administration,
- further postgraduate research at PhD level,
- journalism,
- international marketing or business.

Facilities & equipment

You will have access to:
- Our Virtual Learning Environment – Blackboard – to support your studies, including Blackboard discussion groups

- The University Library, including over 25,000 books and a wide range of electronic journals. The library has special provision in place to help part time and distance learning students access their resources: http://www.aston.ac.uk/lis/studentinfo/parttime

- University wide facilities such as the Careers Service, Students’ Advice Centre, Students’ Jobshop, Counselling Service, Sports Facilities, and Chaplaincy.

About LSS

The School of Languages and Social Sciences at Aston University is one of only a handful of academic units in the UK to span both the Humanities and Social Sciences. In doing so, it draws on a particularly rich and distinguished tradition of teaching, scholarship and research. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Department of Modern Languages (French, German, Linguistics), as it was then known, was one of the UK’s pioneers of the study of language in contemporary society. In 1995, reflecting the growing interest in and awareness of Europe, it became the School of Languages and European Studies. In 2004, we adopted our current title.

Since then, the School has grown rapidly in student numbers and in its academic coverage and now comprises four academic subject groups: English Language, Languages and Translation Studies, Politics and International Relations as well as Sociology and Policy. The School also hosts the Centre for English Language and Communication at Aston (CELCA).

This combination of subjects is almost unique in British Higher Education and leaves the School ideally-placed to investigate how language and society function, both in their own context and in relation to each other. The School is led by its Executive Dean, Professor Simon Green, along with a team of Associate Deans and the Heads of Subject Groups. The School is supported in its work by an Advisory Board comprising key stakeholders in the city of Birmingham and beyond.

Today, therefore, the School of Languages and Social Sciences is a closely integrated, innovative, multilingual and multidisciplinary School with an international outlook. Our degree programmes combine a rigorous disciplinary grounding with a cross-disciplinary, practical and issue-focused perspective. Our main research centres, Aston Centre for Europe (ACE), The Centre for Forensic Linguistics (CFL), The Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC), The Centre for Language Education Research at Aston (CLERA) are leaders in their respective fields. We work closely with schools and local partners, both through our research centres and through Routes into Languages and Network for Languages. We play a major role in the University’s Forward 2020 strategy, through providing the Languages for All programme, our research, our placements and our high levels of student satisfaction. In short, the School is at the forefront of delivering ‘employable graduates, exploitable research’.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.aston.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the European Union and International Relations (MA) page on the Aston University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Ben Harrison

What I really love about my MA course is the variety of modules that are on offer. For example, this year I will be studying topics varying from religion and politics to leadership in Europe. Studying such a variety of modules means that at the end of my MA I will have a wide understanding of the EU and European politics. Furthermore, what’s great about studying PIR at Aston is that many of my lecturers are involved with the EU through consulting work and so they are helping to make an impact in the EU. That said, despite being so involved with Brussels, they are always ready to help me and I always feel that help is still at hand when I need it. Aston is a great place to study, there’s always such a great atmosphere here to helps you excel academically. This is one of the reasons I have done both my BSc and my MA here.

The involvement of my lecturers with the EU also means that Aston has a lot of great contacts within the EU. This is always helpful for students when looking for jobs once we have finished our Masters. Personally, once I finish my MA I am hoping to continue studying at PhD level, my MA in particular contains a compulsory research methods module which has equipped me with a good understanding of research and so I feel very capable to go on to the next step in my academic career.

(Student Profile)

Tomas Novy

I was attracted to the School of Languages and Social Sciences at Aston for its attractive MA programmes in international politics and more specifically, the possibility to engage in the European studies. For me, another benefit of choosing Aston is that I have been granted a partial merit scholarship from the Aston Centre for Europe.

I'd recommend this high-quality course because it is run by skilful, experienced and friendly teachers who have all the up-to-date information on current political issues. There is a very relaxed, family atmosphere within the School and you are given lots of opportunities to express your opinions.

I am confident that the MA in the European Union and International Relations will open many doors for me at diverse European institutions and agencies, both public and private. Also it will enable me to develop my profile as a specialist in the European political issues, both external and internal.

(Student Profile)

Khalid Miah

It’s not everyday that one attends an invitation only event, and gets to rub shoulders with policy makers, ambassadors, and some of the finest minds from across Europe. I believe that networking matters, certainly in the business of politics and diplomacy. I owe it to the School of Languages & Social Sciences at Aston for helping me create those networks and for the opportunities that have since followed and continue to follow.

After four years as an undergraduate with the School of Languages & Social Sciences and a spectacular placement year that took me to Asia and West Africa, I decided to join the renowned Aston Centre for Europe (ACE) to study for an MA on the EU and International Relations. Having developed a keen interest in Religion and Politics, and after many an exchange and disagreement with my tutors on their thoughts and arguments (which is certainly encouraged), I decided to return to develop my interest further and of course to benefit from the expertise of my tutors.

What’s more, the lectures and seminars are supplemented by visits from civil servants and diplomats as well as conferences that address the leading issues of the day concerning Europe and the World. Such events allow for the opportunity to network and to seek guidance for applications to coveted positions and internships in the UK and abroad. I’ve benefited from this myself having recently attended the 52nd Jung Königswinter Conference in Berlin, and as a director of an international NGO that works closely with the European Commission. I also frequently represent the UK in EU sponsored training courses overseas. I cannot help but feel the connection between the course of studies that I’ve pursued at Aston, and the course that my career seems to be taking. I am thus hopeful that my studies will take me even further as I aspire to a career in international diplomacy.


Scholarships for all MSc/MA students - 3 Awards

The School of Languages and Social Sciences offers 3 x £5,000 scholarships towards tuition fees in the 2015/16 academic year.If you wish to be considered for the scholarship you must submit an essay of approximately 1000 words on the following: "How will the LSS MA/MSc Scholarship enhance your career prospects and help you achieve your academic and professional goals? How would you benefit from a scholarship and what difference would it make to you?"

Value of Scholarship(s)



The scholarships are available to all students (full-time, part-time, on campus and distance learning) enrolling on LSS MA/ MSc programmes in 2015/16.

Application Procedure

Email your completed essay to [email protected] NOTE: Applicants must hold a conditional or unconditional offer for an MA/MSc programme at LSS commencing at Aston University in October 2015.

Further Information



CELCA Scholarship: For MA students with native speaker competence in English - 3 Awards

The exact nature of this work will be decided at the beginning of the programme but may include providing support to international Postgraduate and International Year Abroad students, the IELTS team, deliver speaking classes for our IYA (International Year Abroad) and KYA (Kansai Year Abroad) students, help conference and workshop organisers, academic visitors or students with special needs. The work will often take place at different times every week - depending on the projects you support.

Value of Scholarship(s)



The School of Languages and Social Sciences offers 3 x £3000 bursaries towards the cost of the MA tuition fees for students with native speaker competence in English. In return, the students will complete up to six hours a week pastoral work for the School.

Application Procedure

If you wish to be considered for the bursary, you must submit an essay of approximately 1000 words on the following:What do you consider to be your major strengths and weaknesses? How would you be able to support international students on programmes in the School of Languages and Social Sciences?Email your completed essay to [email protected] NOTE: Applicants must hold a conditional or unconditional offer for an MA programme (taught on-campus) at LSS commencing at Aston University October 2015.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

2.1 Degree in any discipline (or equivalent). Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

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