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Politics and International Relations (Political Theory) (MA)

Course Description

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.

Core Modules:

-Methodology in the Social Sciences
-Research Methods and Dissertation Production

Optional Modules:

Optional modules in previous years have included:
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupations
-International Relations Theory
-Political Ideology
-Human Rights
-Region, Nation and Citizen in South East Asia
-Approaches to the Study of Modern Muslim Societies
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain since 1850
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice
-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
-Politics, Government and Civil Society in 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
-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.

Visit the Politics and International Relations (Political Theory) (MA) page on the Durham University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

2.1 or First at BA level or the international equivalent.

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