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MSc International Relations / MSc International Relations (Research)

Course Description

About the MSc programmes

The MSc International Relations (Research) is designed as a preparation for research work and includes methodology courses. The MSc International Relations is an advanced, academic study of the subject. It is suitable if you plan to progress to a career that might have an international focus. Those intending to apply for ESRC funding should note that only the Research programme is eligible. It will not normally be possible to transfer from one programme to the other on arrival.

Programme details

Most of the teaching takes place in the Michaelmas and Lent terms. A 10,000 word dissertation must be submitted by 1 September.

For those interested in taking the LSE-Sciences Po Double Degree in Affaires Internationales, comprising a one year MSc programme at Sciences Po Paris followed by MSc International Relations or International Political Economy see LSE-Sciences Po Double Degree.

Compulsory courses

Non-research track:

International Politics provides an historical and theoretical analysis of core concepts in international relations, of the normative and analytic issues involved, and of their relationship to the social sciences in general.

Research track:

Theories of International Relations covers the main explanatory and normative paradigms in international relations theory.
Foundations of Social Research 1 – this course comprises three main components: Quantitative Analysis, Fundamentals of Research Design and Qualitative Research
Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of two units for the non-research track and one unit for the research track from a range of options.

For full details of available courses see the Programme Regulations.

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.

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

(Student Profile)

Claire Waghorn

1610.jpg LSE's reputation as one of, if not the top institution to study international relations is what attracted me. My previous professors had told me to aim high and recommended LSE not only as the top academic institution, but also the most highly sought after when it comes to applying for jobs. The incredible diversity of my classmates and the intense discourse that results from such different backgrounds and standpoints is a definite highlight. Furthermore, being taught by leading world specialists who live and breathe their subjects is really inspiring. Because of this it is easy to get caught up in the subject and feel like you're involved in a place where world changes are being influenced. LSE is an institution that genuinely influences world politics. You can see this through past alumni, through the respected speakers that visit, the top academics and even the Students' Union meetings. LSE has opened my eyes to many more cultures than I had ever previously experienced and that has really affected me in a positive way. I had thought I had a reasonably good world awareness but it turns out I was really quite sheltered! Some of my classmates have shared with me their extraordinary and moving backgrounds, worlds apart from my own, and I consider that really invaluable. After I graduate, my plan is to work for an international organisation in an environment not unlike that I have been afforded at LSE. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NZ, is an option I am looking into as well as the United Nations.

(Student Profile)

Darren Duffy

1826.jpg There was little doubt in my mind that LSE was the best place to study IR. The School has a unique position as one of the first seats of International Relations in the world, with a heritage of delivering excellent and pioneering research. Having studied from textbooks written by many of the current staff at the School I knew that LSE was where I needed to be if I was to gain a true understanding. It questions your preconceptions and everything you may have learned before, with tutors and peers alike always bringing fresh perspectives on timeless material.

Studying at LSE has been a challenging/demanding?/arduous?/exacting? experience, but challenging in the most positive of ways. The teaching style at the School encourages independent thought, calling for you to go beyond the confines of your comfort zone. By challenging you in this way the programme teaches you to grow as a person and an academic.

The international mix of students within the IR Department has added a further dimension to the programme, enabling the class to break through the traditional Euro-centricity associated with contemporary International Relations.

The library is one of the greatest assets of the School, with a collection of Social Science materials greater than any in Europe and 24 hour access for students, you are guaranteed to always be able to find at least one relevant text on even the most obscure topic.

There is a large number of societies on campus for you to join, including the Grimshaw Club – the International Relations society. This Club has given me the opportunity to meet like-minded people, and to get involved in activities and trips overseas. This year the Club arranged trips to North Korea, Libya and Egypt among other places.

After graduation I plan to take a few years out to work in Higher Education and then I’d like to return to pursue a PhD in International Relations.


Graduate Support Scheme - 20+ Awards

LSE's major financial support scheme for study at taught masters level is the Graduate Support Scheme (GSS). Around £2 million is available annually in the form of awards from the Graduate Support Scheme. The Scheme is designed to help students who do not have sufficient funds to meet all their costs of study. GSS awards range in value from £3,000 to a maximum of £10,000, and have an average value of £6,000.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£3,000 - £10,000


The Graduate Support Scheme is open to all applicants.

Application Procedure

Application to the Graduate Support Scheme is via the LSE Graduate Financial Support Application form. This form will be made available to you once you have submitted an application for admission to the School. The form will then be available until 26 April 2012.

Further Information



LSE Country-based Awards - 20+ Awards

The School has a wide range of scholarships available for taught master's students coming to LSE from certain countries and regions of the world. Scholarships are available for LSE students from Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australasia.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Award values vary


Country of domicile. consult LSE Financial Support Office for specific criteria.

Application Procedure

Students must have completed the 2012/13 LSE Graduate Financial Support Application form and received an offer of admission (conditional or unconditional) by 26 April 2012.

When you submit an application for admission to a taught masters programme, the Graduate Admissions Office will acknowledge your application and provide information about how to set up an LSE For You online account. This account will allow you to track the progress of your application for admission, and will provide you with access to the LSE Graduate Financial Support Application Form. The LSE Graduate Financial Support Application form will be available until 26 April 2012.

Entry Requirements

2:1 or overseas equivalent in politics, history, international relations or similar; English standard level.

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