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International Relations MA

Learn about the course below
January 2024
September 2024
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
January 2024: £9,600 (UK)*
£16,800 (INT)*

September 2024: £11,000 (UK)*
£17,600 (INT)*
Course leader
Tunc Aybak
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This course has January and September 2024 start dates. Apply for January 2024.

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.

Middlesex university undergraduate alumni can benefit from a 20% discount to start their International Relations MA in January.

Course Highlights

  • Enjoy academic-led field trips to some of London's most important global organisations, such as the UN's International Maritime Organization. Field trips will be offered in line with current Covid 19 social distancing guidelines.
  • 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.
    • Due to the evolving Covid 19 situation work placements in the UK or abroad may not be available or advisable. Please contact your Programme Leader for advice if considering any Work Placement before taking the matter further.

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

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 and Work Integrated Learning modules which are worth 60 credits each. The Work Integrated Learning module may be chosen to replace the Dissertation with prior agreement.*

*Due to the evolving Covid 19 situation work placements in the UK or abroad may not be available or advisable. Please contact your Programme Leader for advice if considering any Work Placement before taking the matter further.

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 (20 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 one of the below modules

    • Dissertation (60 Credits)- Optional

      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.

    • Work Integrated Learning (60 Credits)- Optional

      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.*

      *Due to the evolving Covid 19 situation work placements in the UK or abroad may not be available or advisable. Please contact your Programme Leader for advice if considering any Work Placement before taking the matter further.

  • Optional modules- (20 Credits worth)

    • 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.

    • Migration: Theories & Approaches

      In this module you will look at the relationship between migration, politics and policies from a comparative and European perspective. This relationship is both ‘top down’, with migration becoming an object of contention amongst political parties and migration policies being largely shaped by political divisions, and ‘bottom up’, with the growing presence of NGOs campaigning for migrant rights and migrant activism. First, you will be asked to comparatively examine migration policies, their regulatory role in the attempt to manage and control migratory flows, and how they have been affected by political debates over migration.

      Secondly, you will look at the growth of anti-immigration politics and how anti-migrant mobilisations have become a constant feature at European level, not only for marginal groups but also for mainstream government parties. During this part of the module you will also investigate the growing conflicts between migrants and natives over the uses of space and the distribution of welfare resources. Thirdly, you will look at different forms of migrant participation in the public sphere, from self-organized migrant protest around issues such as freedom of circulation, citizenship rights and labour rights to more institutionalized forms of participation through unions and NGOs.

    • Integrated work Learning

      The module aims to enable students 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 negotiated by the student or in their current workplace or an existing voluntary role. It also aims to foster sustainable long term learning by requiring students to take responsibility for their own learning, design and negotiate learning goals and make informed judgements about their performance across the programme of study. The module asks students to engage as active subjects in the assessment process, thus enhancing the capacity for transformative learning. By selecting a topic of interest grounded in the workplace experience the student will demonstrate reflexivity, self-regulation and self-assessment in their journey towards personal and professional development.

    • Political Violence & Terrorism

      This core module on the MA Criminology will introduce you to key debates about political violence and contemporary terrorism. You’ll be required to consider a range of perspectives emerging from the study of the different forms of political violence, including terrorism and war. It also adopts a critical approach to theoretical and contextual debates on the use of the term terrorism as shorthand for a range of issues relating to political violence. Both institutional and anti-institutional violence will be discussed, along with critical analysis of the controversies surrounding the definitions of violence and terrorism in the different epochs. In the module you’ll examine in detail the contributions of the major schools of thought, along with the most recent sociological-criminological analysis of authorised and unauthorised political violence. The module requires you to critically examine theoretical concepts and practical considerations in contemporary political violence and terrorism discourse drawing on a range of case studies.

    • Law & Policy of the World Trade Organisation

      This module will examine the international legal framework for international trade provided by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The importance of the WTO has dramatically increased in the last two decades, shaping the global trade regimes and regulatory governance. This module is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding and knowledge of global trade regimes: an overview of globalisation and contemporary international economic relations; the regulation of international trade through the WTO; and the relationship among international trade, harmonisation of the law and trade-related issues. This course aims to deepen students understanding of the origins, structure, rationale and scope of the global trading system. Its objective is to enable students to demonstrate their legal and multidisciplinary knowledge, analytical skills and understanding through extended writing in a cogent and appropriate writing style.

    • International Organisations and Dispute Resolution

      This module aims to provide students with a systematic understanding of the rules and principles of International Law and International Relations to the extent that these are relevant towards explaining the legal personality and activities of International Organisations. Special emphasis will be placed on defining the role of International Organisations in the settlement of international disputes including in relation to their involvement in armed conflicts. The course will provide advanced conceptual insights into the legal, political and structural issues that underpin dispute resolution at international level within International Organisation through a thematic focus on issues such as labour, trade, title to territory, and international peace and security. The module will enable students to think strategically about different means of settlement of disputes and their applicability to existing or potential conflicts.

    • International Human Rights Law

      Provides an in-depth understanding of the international human rights law framework under the United Nation organisations.  You will assess the UN’s efficacy in engaging the complementary American, African and Asian regional systems of promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.

    • Business and Human Rights

      The Bhopal disaster, the tragedy of the Niger Delta and the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory are all examples of what appears to be systematic corporate human rights abuses which are not being adequately prevented or remedied. This module enables students to understand how the sub-discipline business and human rights challenges State-centred architecture of international human rights law and delves into the responsibility of non-state actors such as multinational corporations in the area of human rights. It also challenges the idea that only individuals can commit international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes looking into corporate criminal and civil liability for human rights violations

    • Citizenship, the Right to Nationality and Statelessness

      The module will analyse how international law addresses the nexus of statelessness and human rights, and the importance of citizenship and the right to a nationality for the enjoyment of human rights. It will span the standards, recommendations and jurisprudence of UN and regional human rights systems as they pertain to statelessness, focusing on its causes and consequences and the measures that can be taken to prevent and remedy it.

      The module will promote an interdisciplinary approach focused on practical solutions to statelessness.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

We aim to model a wide range of teaching strategies and approaches on the course which you can adapt to your own setting.

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.

Teaching and learning from 2022

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

We are currently reviewing our approach to teaching and learning for 2023 entry and beyond. We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education - we aim to combine the best of our pre-pandemic teaching and learning with access to online learning and digital resources which put you more in charge of when and how you study. We will keep you updated on this throughout the application process.

Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.

This information is likely to change slightly for 2023 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown in 2021/22

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:

7 hours

Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:


This information is likely to change slightly for 2024/25 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We'll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online.
  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.


You have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. International
  3. Additional costs
  4. Scholarships and bursaries

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.

  • Raphael Ejime

    Raphael Ejime

    MA International Relations

    I am currently undertaking a PhD in International Relations at Middlesex University investigating the ‘contagiousness’ of terrorism from one country to another. It involves a careful comparison of the transcripts of terrorist groups showing how they share similar ideology including the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate.

    I also studied for a Master’s at Middlesex. During my course I was able to undertake a work placement with Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI), a global union federation situated in Geneva, Switzerland. I benefited from a bursary from the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (Erasmus). During my work placement with BWI, I was part of a team that researched and developed studies on migration trends from North Africa to Southern Europe.

    I also served at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), London, in the National Security and Resilience (NSR) Department where I worked on the Cocaine Route Monitoring and Support Programme (CORMS).

    In general, I enjoyed my placements during my Master’s as they helped develop the skills required for the real world and international sphere.

    Throughout my Master’s I also had several real life projects such as in the security module  where we had the opportunity to visit the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London. We learnt a great deal about maritime security and intern opportunities with the IMO. Similarly, in the globalisation module, I worked for Building and Woodworkers’ International to campaign for fair workers’ rights during the Brazil 2014 World Cup and for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

    There are several times the facilities at Middlesex helped during the course of my Master’s such as getting my essay more academically structured by the Learning and Development Team (LET) as well as the mentoring I received. The University also offers free printing which helped me to print the required texts I needed, take them home to revise and answer my research and essay questions. More so, the University provides a 24/7 library service during term-time which was useful when I had to stay late in the University.

    My lecturers have assisted immensely in several ways such as Dr Peter Hough, my security module leader, as he provided beneficial feedback which helped my grades improve positively. Also, there was Dr Phoebe Moore who helped to get me the internship/work placement with BWI in Geneva. Besides other members of staff have helped in different ways.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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

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Global Governance and Sustainable Development MA

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

Code: PGL421

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