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Durham University Featured Masters Courses

Research Methods (International Relations) (MA)

Course Description

This degree is offered in collaboration with other departments in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health and is designed to provide a strong all-round training in research methods allied to further specialisation within the field of politics and international relations/studies. It is assumed that in taking this MA, you do so with the intention of proceeding to a PhD in Politics or International Relations. It has received official recognition from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and eligible candidates can apply for (ESRC) (1+3) studentships. The programme includes compulsory elements in a wide variety of techniques including statistics and quantitative methods, but contains less subject-specific content than the other MA courses.

Core Modules

-Perspectives on Social Research
-International Relations Theory

Optional Modules

Optional modules in previous years have included:
-Statistical Exploration and Reasoning
-Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science
-Applied Statistics
-Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science
-Fieldwork and Interpretation.
-Additional Optional Modules:
-European Institutions and the Policy Process
-The European Union as a Global Actor
-German Foreign Policy
-Collective Memory and Identity in Post-War Europe
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain Since 1850
-Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
-European Security
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupation
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice
-Politics, Government and Civil Society in the Middle East
-The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
-America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
-Region, Nation and Citizen in SE Asia
-Political Economy and Development in Chinese Business
-Nationalism, Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
-Human Rights
-Political Ideology
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
-Theories of Captialism
-Categorical Data Analysis with SPSS and R
-A module offered by the School of Modern Languages

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 one core and seven/eight optional modules. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 45 credits of not more than 12,000 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 Research Methods (International Relations) (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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