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International Relations (Middle East) - MA


Course Description

This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. It enables you to evaluate in a sophisticated and critical fashion concepts, theories and paradigms within the broad field of international relations, drawing lessons from empirical studies involving both quantitative and qualitative investigations.

Students are able to develop their ability to deploy research strategies and methods in an appropriately advanced fashion to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship. Each study route aims to provide advanced knowledge and understanding of the dynamics, including cultural and local political and ideological factors, which shape the contemporary international relations of the area.

The course also provides an opportunity for studying international relations and in comparative and historical perspective taking account of regional specific political and economic factors.

Student Profiles

“From the moment I applied for the MA International Relations (Middle East) programme at Durham University, I knew it was going to be a perfect fit. The combination of theoretical and technical modules, coupled with the option to specialise in the regional area of my choice, immediately made this programme stand out. I was equally drawn to the academic reputation and international background of the SGIA department. Whilst seminars and lectures were intellectually stimulating, the academic staff was very approachable and keen to guide our independent research. Although many of us applied for the International Relations programme with a background in a different subject, the transition – although challenging – proved to be rewarding. Overall, my time at Durham has been an incredibly enriching and unforgettable experience.” Nina Schroeter, 2015/16

“My year at SGIA studying International Relations of the Middle East has allowed me to engage critically with the subjects I have studied. The department offered a rich variety of modules, including language courses delivered through the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. SGIA’s international and multicultural environment is ideal to study a transnational subject like international politics. The assessments have been stimulating occasions to apply the knowledge acquired and feedback has been provided throughout the year by helpful and available lecturers. All activities were properly organised and resources abounded, from the well-stocked library to the modern classrooms and an efficient staff. All this contributed to make my stay in Durham a pleasant and a rewarding one.” Simone Clericuzio, 2015/16

“Pursuing the International Relations (Middle East) MA at Durham has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The School of Government & International Affairs offers all students a chance to really engage in the issues they are interested in. The department provides the opportunity of specialising the course based on the world's regions you are most passionate about, while simultaneously opening your eyes to other issues in the wider world of International Relations. Coupled with a very approachable department with exceptional teaching standards, this course is both as comprehensive as it is detailed, attracting students and views from all over the world. These factors combine to offer an extremely positive and enriching experience, providing an exceptional foundation for future academic or professional goals.” Scott Chipolina, 2014/15

Course Content

Students will take five core modules to the value of 150 credits and optional modules to the value of 30 credits, 15 of which must be from the regional module list.

Core Modules:
-International Relations Theory
-Model United Nations
-Research Methods and Dissertation Production
-Dissertation

Middle East Route Core Module:
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East
-Regional Modules:
-Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
-The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
-The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East

Non-regional Modules - In previous years these have included:
-German Foreign Policy
-European Security
-Collective Memory and Identity in Post-War Europe
-European Institutions and the Policy Process
-The European Union as a Global Actor
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain
-America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
-Human Rights
-Political Ideology
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupation
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice
-Nationalism Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
-Political Economy and Development of Chinese Business
-Political Ideology
-Region, Nation and Citizen in Southeast Asia
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
-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 four core and two 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 International Relations (Middle East) - 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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