International Relations MA | Middlesex University London
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International Relations MA

Learn about the course below
October 2018
January 2019
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
See the fees and funding tab below
Course leader
Peter Hough

In our ever-shrinking world, the need for different nations and peoples to co-exist presents both challenges and opportunities. By understanding these, you give yourself a greater chance of thriving in the international arena. For future-thinking students with an eye on a career in diplomacy, international public service, international affairs or international commerce, an MA International Relations degree from Middlesex University is an important stepping-stone.

Why study MA International Relations at Middlesex University?

This degree is ideal for those looking to broaden their skill set. Our London location attracts students from all across the world, which provides a natural environment for sharing national perspectives and cultural beliefs.

Our knowledgeable teaching staff, including Dr Tunc Aybak (geopolitics)and Dr Peter Hough (security) are all prominent specialists in their field of research and bring this expert knowledge to their teaching.

Course Highlights

  • Enjoy academic-led field trips to some of London's most important global organisations, such as the UN's International Maritime Organization
  • Work among a diverse student body that provides a natural environment for varied insight and discussion
  • Eligible students can gain experience on an internship abroad with major international non-governmental organisations.

What will you study on the MA International Relations?

This course will help you understand modern international events and developments through the application of theory to contemporary case studies.

Four core plus two optional modules are completed over terms one and two, with a Dissertation period in term three. Each module is worth 20 credits, except the Dissertation, Work Integrated Learning and Practicum in International Organisations modules which are worth 60 credits each. The Work Integrated Learning and Practicum in International Organisations may be chosen to replace the Dissertation with prior agreement.

Additional optional modules available in Law

As well as the optional modules listed below, students can choose to study from a range of Law modules in terms one and two.

Not all of the optional modules listed will be available in any one year. Module availability is dependent on staffing and the number of students wishing to take each module.

  • Modules

    • Foreign Policy Analysis: Geopolitical Perspectives (20 Credits)- Compulsory

      The aim of this module is to provide you with the skills to enable you to analyse foreign policy practices as crucial sites of political agency and choice in the contemporary geopolitics of international relations. You will draw on the advanced classical and critical theories of international relations and geopolitical perspectives applied to the study of foreign policy traditions, strategies and practices of the key actors and cases in global politics.

      The module is designed to encourage and qualify an international group of postgraduate students who may wish to further their specialized study of foreign policy analysis and/or employment in fields related to governance, business, politics, and diplomacy. The overall aim of this module is to create a multidisciplinary, multicultural learning environment that is reflected in the teaching practice and research of the module leader and receptive to the diverse needs and views of students.

    • Global Security (20 Credits) - Compulsory

      In this module you have the opportunity to analyse changes in the global security agenda since the end of the Cold War, both empirically and theoretically. You will explore the meaning of security and compare competing theoretical perspectives in the discipline. The transformation of military security threats is then analysed with particular emphasis on the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the significance of global terrorism. The module then encourages you to explore the rise of nonmilitary issues of state and human security including human rights abuses, environmental change, crime, disease, poverty, and disasters.

    • Politics of Globalisation (60 Credits)- Compulsory

      In this module your studies will focus on the implications of the forces of globalisation in International Relations. You’ll look in particular at international political processes and institutions at the level of politics, economics and culture. You’ll analyse the relevance of international organisations, and look at transnational politics and issues of global importance. You will explore theoretical debates surrounding these issues and in this way, critically evaluate the effectiveness of international policy. The module aims to provide a platform for students to work constructively in groups, gain leadership skills and formulate arguments and coherent debates in a diverse international environment.

    • Research and Practice Skills (20 Credits)- Compulsory

      This module prepares you to complete either a dissertation or an assessed work placement or a work based learning project. You will attend a series of lectures and workshops and online exercises address research methodologies, skills and employability. You will undertake a series of formative and summative assessments developing your critical and practical skills and leading to either; i) the production of a research proposal or ii) a critical review of the work of the organization you are to be placed with or work with. The satisfactory completion of the module will then allow you to proceed to writing a dissertation of 10-12,000 words or to embark on a work placement assessed by production of a project report / paper and exercises reflecting on your experience.

  • Plus modules

    • Dissertation (60 Credits)- Compulsory

      The module aims to enable you to undertake a substantial academic research project focussed on a key issue within your programme. It requires you to apply methodology, research design and method to the practical processes of undertaking a chosen research topic and presenting the findings. The dissertation requires you to draw upon the prerequisite module Research and Practice Skills but encourages you to demonstrate independence and self-discipline in researching a topic of interest and relevance to you and manage an extended project from conception to completion.

    • Practicum in International Organisations (60 Credits)- Compulsory

      The module aims to provide you with an opportunity to undertake work experience commensurate with your postgraduate level of study and, by so doing, to advance your knowledge, critical thinking and understanding to an appropriate level. You will be provided with an opportunity to work alongside key decision makers in organisations where global governance occurs. Providing an alternative to the dissertation credit for your degree, the Practicum will enable you to develop advanced insight into core issues in global governance, developing your capacity for problem solving, interpretation and critical construction of knowledge.

    • Work Integrated Learning (60 Credits)- Compulsory

      The module enables you to apply theoretical knowledge and research to anticipate and respond to challenges in a selected workplace experience. The workplace experience may be undertaken as an internship that you negotiate yourself or in your current workplace or an existing voluntary role. It also aims to foster sustainable long term learning by requiring you to take responsibility for your own learning, design and negotiate learning goals and make informed judgments about your performance across the programme of study. The module asks you to engage as an active subject in the assessment process, thus enhancing your capacity for transformative learning. By selecting a topic of interest grounded in your own workplace experience you’ll be called upon to demonstrate reflexivity, self-regulation and self-assessment in your journey towards personal and professional development.

  • Optional modules

    • Environmental Crime and Green Criminology

      The aim of this module is to enable students to evaluate different perspectives on green crime, and crimes against the environment (including animals). Contemporary perspectives on green offending, the regulation of environmental problems, global perspectives on green crimes, green criminality and the effectiveness of justice systems in resolving environmental problems are a major focus.

    • Environmental Law and Governance

      This module will provide students with an in-depth understanding of environmental governance and the central theoretical approaches on which its principles are based. The module introduces the idea of the governance spectrum ranging from a coercive mode and legal instruments to approaches that rely on the agency and knowledge of environmental resource users themselves.

    • Global Criminology and Policing

      This module aims to engage students in exploring criminological issues from a global perspective, particularly in respect of contemporary debates on the policing of transnational problems and the development of global policing. The module considers policing in a wide rather than narrow context identifying that the changing nature of crime and crime control in a 'globalised' world and the emergence of crimes which transcend national borders requires a globalised approach to crime and justice.

    • Environmental Policy and Ethics

      Through this module the student will develop skills and knowledge to understand and evaluate contemporary environmental policy and the ethical challenges that such policy needs to address. The module also enables an understanding of environmental responsibility and social constructs on 'care' for the environment and the various contexts on being accountable for harm or environmental wrongdoing. The module critically examines ethical traditions and how these traditions inform particular forms of environmental policy and action; in particular the conflicts between continued exploitation of the environment and the contemporary environmental protection 'movement'.

    • Global Governance for Sustainable Development

      This module provides you with skills and knowledge to understand and critique the notion of sustainable development and the many manifestations it takes in policy and governance starting with the global blueprint of Agenda 21. An increasingly popular term, global governance refers to the collaborations of state and non-state actors in advocating, making laws and policies for and undertaking practical actions to address issues that have global scope in terms of impact and/or causality.

    • Sustainable Development and Human Rights

      This module aims to provide a critical exploration of the key institutions and frameworks that govern human rights at the international level and of the international policy context that promotes sustainable development, to examine how the two do, or do not, interact. It problematises the notion of rights as competing, contested and co-opted and questions their ability to function in crisis situations.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.

How is the MA International Relations taught?

You will explore key issues in lectures, workshops, seminars and individual and group tutorials, as well as discussion, question and answer sessions with guest lecturers. Through case studies, you will identify effective practices, and you will analyse international situations and develop recommendations for resolving the problems. You will take part in class discussions, role-play exercises and group work, as well as doing your own research and reading.


Students' knowledge, understanding and skills are assessed by a variety of assessment methods including essay writing, reports, reviews and a research or project proposal.

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International

How can an MA International Relations degree support your career?

This master's course is for those who would like to develop their skills, to acquire a body of knowledge and to be exposed to the latest thinking. Graduates of the programme can advance within many areas of practice. Career opportunities exist in diplomatic services and the voluntary sector, where international NGOs often seek those with campaigning, policy and influencing skills. Furthermore, businesses throughout the world seek to employ people with knowledge of the global market place.

During the course, you will have the opportunity to develop skills in data research, critical analysis, oral, written and visual communication, reasoned debate, understanding theoretical concepts, and policy analysis. All of these are highly transferable and valued by employers across all sectors.

Students have access to the University's Employability Service and are offered guidance by the Programme Leader and other contributors to the programme, including on how to enter and pass recruitment processes for national and international organisations.

Staff members teaching on the programme include world-renowned scholars who combine instruction in core topics with the fruits of their current research. Students will benefit from their networks of contacts, notably as regards internship opportunities in national and international organisations such as the United Nations.

Dr Peter Hough
Associate Professor in International Politics

Dr Hough’s research focuses on global security politics, international environmental politics, sports and politics, and the politics of the Arctic. He is currently a reviewer for the Review of International Studies. Dr Hough is also listed on the Commonwealth Secretariat Register of Experts and is a member of the British International Studies Association committees on Environmental Change and Human Security.

  • MA International Relations Practicum

    Shelley Griffin

    MA International Relations Graduate (2016)

    My advice would be to do it! Middlesex not only gives you the resources, opportunities and support academically but they also go above and beyond to make sure that as an individual you reach your full potential.

    Read more about Shelley's experience

  • Raphael Ejime

    Raphael Ejime

    MA International Relations Graduate (2014)

    During this course, you will have the opportunity to participate on the Practicum in International Organisations. Raphael spent six months working with the Building Woodworkers International (BWI). Here is what he has to say about his experience and how it impacted on his studies at Middlesex University:

    I would recommend the Practicum to other students as it was a wonderful experience and I am glad I got the opportunity through the University. In addition to helping me obtain the research internships at Royal United Service Institute (RUSI), I used my acquired knowledge to teach Politics and Government in a secondary School. I am now undertaking a PhD in International Relations which covers issues of international security.

    Read more about Raphael's experience.

  • Ranjana Gujadhur

    MA International Relations Graduate (2008)

    If you choose the Work Integrated Modules, you will have the opportunity to enhance your knowledge and expertise within real world situations. Ranjana undertook a three month internship at Cicero Consulting in London where she researched various projects, including a European PR campaign for a major membership organisation of pharmaceutical professionals. Her work involved PR strategy and press briefings.

    My International Relations coursework, lectures and debates were extremely challenging, it was exactly what I was looking for. I learnt a tremendous amount about a new country and its work culture and it certainly enhanced my understanding of British politics and the diverse and challenging issues it faces today, which otherwise I would have been completely unaware of.

Other courses

LLM/PGDip/PGCert International Law

Start: October 2018, September 2018 (EU/INT induction)

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGM195

Global Governance and Sustainable Development MA

Start: October 2018, January 2019

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGL421

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