• University of Edinburgh Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Leeds Featured Masters Courses
  • FindA University Ltd Featured Masters Courses
  • Ulster University Featured Masters Courses
  • Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured Masters Courses
  • Leeds Beckett University Featured Masters Courses
  • Regent’s University London Featured Masters Courses
  • Jacobs University Featured Masters Courses
University of Leeds Featured Masters Courses
Anglia Ruskin University Featured Masters Courses
University of Exeter Featured Masters Courses
University of St Andrews Featured Masters Courses
Aberdeen University Featured Masters Courses

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!

(Student Profile)

Zach Ziegler (Pilot in the US Air Force)

3793.jpg The MSt is an excellent environment for studying international relations. The diverse and creative methods of study are only matched by the even more intriguing students and faculty. Nearly every student has several years of successful professional experience and expertise ranges from the corporate sector, academics, journalism, economics, security, foreign service and humanitarian aid. The diversity of perspectives was an education in itself. Likewise, the faculty provided a challenging environment that questioned established norms and were consistent about improving the program. After studying with the MSt I can approach my profession in security with a wider perspective and greatly enhanced critical thinking skills. Other programs aim for similar outcomes but few provide a student-faculty environment like the University of Cambridge's MSt in International Relations.

(Student Profile)

John Culley (HM Diplomatic Service)

3794.jpg I am working for the UK Foreign Office. I am currently based in Skopje, Macedonia, working to develop UK policy towards justice and home affairs across the Western Balkans.

The MSt has helped me professionally. The improvement in writing and strategic thinking I acquired from the course gave me a significant mid-career boost, contributing to promotion.

But for me the MSt was not just about personal development. I made many good friends over the two years and am very grateful to Cambridge for giving me a chance I would never have had otherwise to explore international subjects of interest to me in real depth. To anyone considering taking the course, my advice is simple. Do it!

(Student Profile)

Victoria Stewart-Jolley (Legal services professional)

3795.jpg When we started the MSt we were warned that it should by no means be viewed as ‘Cambridge lite’. It was in fact anything but: in all senses of the word it was a rigorous, challenging, and hugely rewarding education. Studying at Cambridge, once you get passed the ‘best university in the world’ hype, is extraordinary. The resources, the diversity and quality of lecturers, the sheer access to information, were breathtaking. So are the demands on the student: you are at the best to be the best – none of us found it ‘easy’ and all of us worked harder than we ever have. Completing the course brought a huge sense of achievement. I think most people in my year would agree the experience was transformative.

The MSt student body was mainly comprised of mid-career professionals with highly diverse levels of experience both professionally and academically, so as much as tutors and lecturers informed us, we also cross-pollinated and supported each other. Many great friendships resulted in the ensuing esprit de corps. I came to the course having spent ten years working with the United Nations. I am now returning to that life as Head of the Elections Team in the Solomon Islands. I went into the MSt thinking I would never be able to manage it, I leave sorry it is over.

(Student Profile)

Jane Stockdale (Documentary photographer)

3796.jpg I'm a documentary photographer from a small town in Scotland and have been fortunate to work and collaborate on a diverse mix of projects in various countries. I applied for the course as I really wanted to challenge myself and learn more about the complexity of international affairs. This course was perfect as electives cover a broad spectrum of contemporary issues including the Middle East, China, Afghanistan, international law, energy politics and economics.

I think this is one of the best Masters courses at Cambridge University. The beauty of this course is its diversity. Classmates travel from all over the world to Cambridge every 10 weeks from countries as diverse as China, Sudan, USA, Australia, Kosovo, Kashmir and Iraq. Our 50 classmates fused a brilliant mix of professions combining the worlds of government, military, finance, law, business, development, economics and media.

Our class included professionals from the UN, NATO, US State Dept, NGO's, Foreign Office and Cabinet Office including diplomats, barristers, a special forces platoon commander, hedge fund manager, a librarian, Oxford economics professor, Lieutenant Colonel and MP. Our completely different backgrounds, educations, experiences and professions made us all see the world in totally different ways, which made for interesting and lively conversation and debate which spilled from the classroom to Cambridge pubs and dining halls.

That's what makes this course so uniquely rich and endlessly fascinating. The lecturers are excellent and incredibly generous, and the teaching is intense and inspiring. It's an extremely intellectually rigorous and demanding course, and difficult to do while also working full-time, but totally worth it.

This Masters is simply one of the best things I've ever done. It's been an intense, challenging and humbling experience and made me think about and see the world in new ways. It's also been loads of fun and I've made friends for life. I love this course and highly recommend it to everyone.


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.

Email Enquiry

Recipient: University of Cambridge

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.
Email Sent

Share this page:

Cookie Policy    X