International Relations MA

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a social science, humanities, or related discipline.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£12,750 (Total)
International fees
£24,500 (Total)

Course overview

Students outside on campus

This course will shape your understanding of international relations by examining a wide range of advanced theories, approaches, and stimulating debates in the complex field of international politics and relations.

You'll analyse topics central to the functioning of the international system and explore contemporary and historical approaches, focusing on country-specific, regional and international processes. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach and reflects the broadening nature of international relations beyond the confines of inter-state relationships.

You'll have the opportunity to develop expertise in a specialist area of interest to you by tailoring your studies with a choice of optional modules, while working with leaders in the field of international relations. As well as enhancing your knowledge in international relations – and the complex and contradictory forces that shape the global agenda – you’ll be equipped with excellent research skills, and develop your knowledge of relevant methodologies and approaches.

Course highlights

This course features research-led teaching in the dynamic, ever-changing field of international relations, and is directly informed by the innovative research that occurs in the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, recognised internationally for its work on atrocity prevention, and other versatile clusters including the Centre for Global Security Challenges and Centre for Global Development.

Studying in the School of Politics and International Studies

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Course details

You’ll get the opportunity to explore today’s global challenges and examine international relations at an advanced level.

The modules studied will enable you to:

  • gain a better understanding of the international system and how it interacts with states and societies worldwide

  • link theoretical ideas to events in the international system, both historical and contemporary

  • demonstrate that international politics is a struggle for ideas as well as power.

You’ll examine the relationship between the struggle for power and the struggle for ideas. You’ll investigate some of the ideological and philosophical movements that have shaped – and continue to shape – the international system, and you will consider a variety of competing positions with reference to events in the real world.

You’ll also be able to hone your research and writing skills in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.

The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read International Relations MA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
International Relations I: International Thought in Historical Context 30
International Relations II: Contemporary International Theory 30
Dissertation 60

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

You will study 60 credits from the modules below:

Module Name Credits
European Defence and Security Analysis 30
The Rise of China 30
Contemporary Politics of the Middle East 30
Popular Culture: World politics, Society and Culture 30
The Responsibility to Protect 30
Terrorism 30
Climate Security 30
Global Justice 30
Global Governance 30
Global Security: Concepts and Debates 30
Africa in the Contemporary World 30
Global Security Challenges 30

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods to help you make the most of your studies. These will include lectures, lively seminar discussions, online learning and guided weekly readings. We expect you to participate fully in taught sessions and to study independently, developing your skills and preparing for lectures and seminars. You will also be able to benefit from an impressive range of research talks and seminars led by outside speakers or colleagues from within the department and University.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Within modules, assessment currently consists exclusively of assessed essays. At the end of your studies, a 12,000-word dissertation will allow you to pursue your own research interest under close supervision by one of our expert colleagues.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or a non-UK equivalent in a social science, humanities, or other related discipline. Relevant experience will also be taken into account.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Politics and Society (6 weeks) and Language for Social Sciences and Arts: Politics and Society (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadlines

International – Friday 28 June 2024

UK – Friday 16 August 2024

If you intend to apply for funding, you should submit an application for a place on your chosen course at least one month before any specific scholarship deadline.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you will need include:

  • original or certified copies of your transcripts

  • original or certified copies of your degree certificate

  • original or certified copy of your IELTS/TOEFL results (if English is not your first language).

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Politics and International Studies

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School of Politics and International Studies



UK: £12,750 (Total)

International: £24,500 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

The School usually offers a number of scholarships each year. Find out more about our scholarship opportunities.

Career opportunities

This course provides you with an ideal preparation for a career in the international political arena. It equips you with critical thinking, research and communication skills and in-depth knowledge sought after by employers.

Recent graduates have gone on to work in the UK and overseas for charities, not-for-profit organisations, government, media organisations and beyond.

Organisations graduates have gone on to include the Ministry of Defence; Save the Children; House of Commons; Open Society Foundations, and ACTED amongst others. Many also pursue further study by commencing PhD research.

Careers support

The School of Politics and International Studies has a dedicated Careers Consultant who is on-hand throughout the year to support and advise you in regards to your career. The School also arranges a number of guest speaker events where you are able to engage with prospective employers, and hear from leading figures in the field.

Find out more about how we support your career development

In addition to the School-specific careers support, you will also have access to the University’s award-winning Careers Service. The Careers Service offers one-to-one appointments, advice on starting your own business, careers events, mentoring schemes and support with your CV, applications and interviews.

Find out more about the Careers Service