Why this course?
What role do powerful states, international organisations and social movements play in international and regional politics? How should we respond to global crises and conflicts? How does power operate in, across and between states? In what ways do international political and economic processes shape the everyday lives of people across the globe? And how can we explain and evaluate such processes?
This MSc in International Relations will help you answer these questions. It will equip you with a systematic grounding in the analysis of international politics, in terms both of the issues, actors and processes that shape the world today and the theoretical frameworks and methodological techniques by which we make sense of them.
The course is distinctive in combining American and British, positivist and critical, approaches to this field of study, as well as in its range of specialist classes on topics as diverse as international law, the EU, security and gender.
In addition, the MSc in International Relations offers rigorous methodological training, drawing on long-established expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods. You'll be encouraged to evaluate these methods and to apply them to international political actors and processes. The course will significantly enhance your employability skills in terms of research management, data analysis and critical thinking.
The course is organised into core and optional classes. The core classes provide an introduction to:
There will also be a range of optional classes open to you, on specialised topics in international relations and on research methods. These will vary year to year.
- theoretical frameworks in the field
- key issues of interstate cooperation and conflict
- the role of international organisations
- principles of research design
You'll take two core classes and one optional class per semester. Classes average 20 contact hours with additional computer laboratory sessions for some methods classes. You'll also complete a dissertation over the summer, under the supervision of one of our International Relations scholars.
Contemporary International Relations
Debating International Relations Theory
This class introduces students to the literature and research agendas related to conflict and cooperation in international relations studies.
We will cover a wide array of approaches that relate to interstate and intrastate (civil) conflict, cooperation and other contemporary security topics such as post-conflict peace, peacekeeping operations, terrorism, and human rights violations.
International Institutions & Regimes
This class surveys contemporary theories of international relations, showcasing both positivist, rationalist approaches and post-positivist, critical alternatives. Intended to explore the points of convergence as well as disagreement between these different views, the class will also encourage students to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the rival frameworks and on their application and purpose.
Principles of Research Design
The purpose of this class is to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the concepts and theoretical approaches central to understanding and analysing the role of international institutions and regimes in the contemporary world.
This class will survey a variety of international institutions and regimes, exploring how they shape global interactions in a number of cross-cutting issue areas such as security, trade, human rights and the environment. The overall analysis will contribute to the understanding of the theories, practices and processes through which global politics are organised and to an assessment of the future of international institutions and regimes in global governance.
This class covers key research design issues and enables you to evaluate alternative research designs and create appropriate research proposals. The class is designed to help you decide a research topic and a design that you will use for your dissertation. Topics covered include formulating research questions, developing concepts, and how to select cases to study.
You'll choose one optional class per semester. These options are subject to change year on year, but are likely to include most of the following:
Feminism & International Relations
This class will begin by learning about context, in terms of the expansion and institutionalisation of the feminist movement on a global scale and the emergence of a feminist voice in the International Relations discipline.
We'll then discuss conceptual, theoretical and methodological convergences and differences in feminist International Relations. A final seminar will reflect on the impact of feminism on both world politics and International Relations, and focus particularly on engagements and critique from the mainstream of the discipline.
European Political Economy
The evolution and the future of EU integration is of particular contemporary relevance. This class examines processes of decision making and policies at the European Union level. It also evaluates the quality of governance through the lenses of democratic principles such as representation, legitimacy and efficiency.
Contemporary Security Challenges & Responses
Europe is currently at crossroads, economically, politically and socially. This class uses a political economy approach (ie the interaction between economics and politics) to engage core European debates, including the dilemmas of EU integration, the tension between economic efficiency and social cohesion, the future of the Euro, and the implications of Brexit. It also examines the challenges faced by European nations in an increasingly complex global environment.
Law of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
The concept of national security has expanded to incorporate not only ‘traditional’ threats from hostile actors, but also a host of issues ranging from the impact of climate change, natural disasters and resource security to recession.
Security has become increasingly globalised and interconnected in threat and response while also increasingly recruiting the populace to be ‘secure citizens’. This class will examine the relevant theories underpinning these developing trends, alongside the key institutions and actors.
International Environmental Law
The spectre of globalisation brings sustainable development and international trade together and this class explores the legal and policy elements of such linkage. In particular, students will critically analyse the interaction between WTO law and policy and non-trade concerns, such as environmental protection (climate change and water in particular), human rights, labour standards and development.
Global Health, Rights & Development
Students taking this class will discuss the international legal frameworks applicable to transboundary and international environmental problems. They will also look at the effectiveness of international litigation in dealing with global environmental challenges. Climate change will be used a key case study throughout the class.
Quantitative Methods I
This class introduces students to the 'real world' shifts which have led to a growing interest in global health. Particular attention will be paid to the recognition of health as a development issue. The class will also address current issues of global concern with respect to health, such as the threat posed by avian flu (H5N1) and the recent recurrence of Ebola in West Africa.
Quantitative Methods II
This class introduces participants to the use of quantitative methods in social research; in particular, the logic and language of empirical analysis, the principal types of quantitative data (official statistics and surveys), and the use of software packages for statistical analysis.
This class trains participants in the design, application, presentation, and critical evaluation of quantitative political research using relevant software packages for statistical analysis.
This class provides an overview of the ever-expanding field of qualitative methods in Political Science, International Relations and Policy Studies. A variety of data collection/generation and analytical methods will be examined, and situated within different traditions/paradigms of social research.
Throughout this class, we'll examine how these methods can be applied in students’ own research projects.
Learning & teaching
All classes are taught in seminars, which combine theoretical discussion with a strong empirical focus and which consist of a variety of teaching techniques, from small-group work to structured debates.
Classes average 20 contact hours with additional computer laboratory sessions for some methods classes.
You’ll be assessed by a variety of methods including:
- options papers
- group projects
These account for two thirds of the total assessment. Your dissertation, produced over the summer, accounts for one third of the total assessment.
First or upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in social science.
English language requirements
You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.
For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 5.5) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.
Pre-sessional courses in English are available.
If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.
If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Vis and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.
Pre-Masters preparation course
The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.
To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future.
You can also complete the online application form.
To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.
Fees & funding
How much will my course cost?
All fees quoted are per academic year unless stated otherwise.
- 2017/18 - £4,800 full-time
- 2017/18 - £2,400 part-time
Rest of UK
- 2017/18 - £4,800 full-time
- 2017/18 - £2,400 part-time
- 2017/18 - £13,500 full-time
- 2017/18 - £6,750 part-time
How can I fund my course?
To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of up to £3,000 for entry onto a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.
Check our Scholarship Search for more help with fees and funding.
Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students
For a number of eligible courses, Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students can apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students a living cost loan. Find out more about the scheme and what courses are eligible.
Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.
The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
Where are they now?
Examples of organisations our graduates work for:
- Audit Scotland
- Centre for African Family Studies
- Centre for Scottish Public Policy
- Confederation of Passenger Transport
- German Red Cross
- Hall Aitken Associates
- Health and Social Care Alliance
- Invicta Public Affairs
- Ministry of Finance Iceland
- Morgan Stanley
- National Centre for Social Research
- Santander Bank UK
- Scottish Council for Development and Industry
- Scottish Refugee Council
- Serco Group
- The Improvement Service
- The Scottish Parliament
- United Nations Development Programme
- West and Central Voluntary Network