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MA Postcolonial Politics (Research Training)

Course Description

Postcolonial Politics is one of the most exciting areas in the study of global relationships. It challenges conventional thinking about international politics by questioning the fundamental assumptions about the world that underpin the contemporary global order. Indeed, it invites us to imagine the world from another perspective entirely. Drawing on the disciplines of history, cultural studies, sociology, area studies and anthropology, postcolonial politics brings an interdisciplinary approach to understanding power and inequality in the social world and on a global scale. It also stretches beyond the intellectual compartments of ‘the west’ and ‘the rest’, to look for continuities and global interactions especially those steeped in the experience of colonialism – in the past and in the present. It starts from the assumption that although formal colonialism may be a thing of the past, its legacies continue, both in the form of practices such as aid, development, state-building, immigration policies and intervention and in more subtle ways.

Aberystwyth is at the forefront of research and teaching in the field, with a number of internationally renowned faculty in this area. Our degree scheme, the first Masters programme in Postcolonial Politics established here in 1999 and developed continuously since, remains unique. Indeed, it is now increasingly relevant in the context of current moves in international relations to examine the potential of non-Western and decolonial approaches and the possibilities of provincialising Europe. These perspectives are no longer marginal to the study of world politics, but situated at the heart of cutting-edge critical approaches. They provide key tools for those who wish to go on to make their contribution in both academic study and practical engagement in international politics in a postcolonial world.

Visit then website: https://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/postcolonial-politics-research-training-masters/

Suitable for

This degree will suit you:

- If you want to study Postcolonial Politics at Masters level
- If you wish to develop a critical appreciation postcolonial politics
- If you wish to nurture a career in politics
- If you desire formal recognition of skills highly sought-after by any postgraduate employer

Course detail

This degree is designed to facilitate a critical awareness of the theory and practice of Postcolonial Studies in the contemporary world. Key concepts considered include hybridity, power and resistance. In this context students explore the assumptions, theories and practices that have defined traditional studies of relations between developed and underdeveloped states, and the alternative conceptualisation provided by a postcolonial perspective on international relations.

The Research Training (RT) pathway is particularly useful for students who have a first degree in Politics/International Relations and who are either planning to undertake a PhD or envisage a career in social science research. Students following the RT pathway take the Departmental core module, a suite of research training modules, one module from a bespoke basket of degree scheme related options and one free choice module, either from within the Department or University-wide. The RT pathway also culminates in a dissertation.


In Semester One you will normally have eight hours per week of specific Research Training Modules and one two-hour seminar per week for your degree scheme core module. In Semester Two you will normally have one two-hour seminar per week for each of the three modules you take (one Research Training specific and two subject specific modules). You will also have contact with academic staff through participation in research groups, attendance in departmental research seminars and masters workshops and through staff office hours (two one hour sessions per week). There will also be additional sessions working towards developing your master’s dissertation. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.


Assessment will be through a combination of examinations, project work, short reports, essays and dissertation. It may, depending on the modules chosen, include seminar presentations, review essays and literature searches.


Every course at Aberystwyth University is designed to enhance your vocational and general employability. Your Masters will place you in the jobs market as a highly-trained political specialist with a strength in depth of knowledge on vital subjects such as the assumptions, theories and practices that have defined traditional studies of relations between developed and underdeveloped states, and the alternative conceptualisation provided by a postcolonial perspective on international relations. You will also graduate with a wealth of postgraduate-level skills which are transferable into any workplace. On the research training pathway you also develop advanced skills in quantitative and qualitative research skills and data analysis. In addition, the prestige of masters from our department of International Politics wills open doors for you into workplaces in every industry.

Key Skills and Competencies

- Study Skills -

Alongside the wealth of world-class critical expertise, you will master highly desirable skills in academic research, analysis, argument-formation, presentation and debate. The research training pathway provides you with a specific set of study skills focused on interrogating and analysing a range of different types of data from multiple sources. You will also prove your abilities in reflection and self-improvement; you will be able to identify your academic weaknesses and remove them whilst building on your strengths.

- Self-Motivation and discipline -

Studying at Masters level requires discipline and self-motivation from every candidate. You will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of departmental staff, but you are ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your Master’s degree. This process of independent study at an extremely high level will strengthen your skills as an independent and self-sufficient worker, a trait prized by most employers.

- Transferable Skills -

The International relations Masters programme is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of employment contexts. Upon graduation, you will have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines. You will also have advanced skills in data analysis that can be applied in a wide variety of work environments from business to the public sector and non-governmental organisations.

Find out how to apply here https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/

Visit the MA Postcolonial Politics (Research Training) page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

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