MPol Politics and International Relations is an integrated Masters course giving you the opportunity to seamlessly continue your studies from undergraduate to masters level in 4 years (5 years if choosing a placement year or year abroad). It provides a thorough grounding in all major areas of political science and international relations and widens your awareness of the world system, while training you in the research and critical thinking skills that are prized by employers.
Why don’t democratic countries go to war with each other? Why don’t young people vote? Who should pay for climate change? Why do oil-rich states have worse human rights records? These are the kinds of questions addressed in our MPol in Politics & International Relations.
You can explore a very wide range of topic areas in which the Department of Government produces world-leading research, including:
- Conflict resolution and peacekeeping
- Social media, campaigning and democracy
- International environmental policy
- Ideology and discourse analysis
- Terrorist groups and tactics
- Political parties and party strategy
- Overseas aid and development
- Human rights and global justice
- Transitions to democracy
- The psychology of public opinion
The Department of Government at Essex is one of the most prestigious departments in Europe. It has been ranked top in the UK for research in Political Science & International Studies in every single government assessment exercise since they began in 1986. It also offers a better staff-student ratio than many of the other leading departments in the UK – crucial when it comes to offering support and supervision throughout your degree.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The five-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement at home or abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the four-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university.
Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation, where you learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics. Our staff are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism and the UN on peacekeeping, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on political events in national and international media.
Our key academic staff for this course include Professor Kristian Gleditsch, who works on inequality, conflict and violence, Dr Laura Sudulich, who looks at campaigning in the digital age, and Professor Paul Whiteley, who researches voting and party activism.
You join an active and prolific research team, with the opportunity to work alongside a member of staff on their research instead of completing a dissertation; many of these projects have resulted in joint staff/student publications.
- Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN
- An Annual Student Conference in which to present your research and develop your skills and network
- Dedicated study skills advisors for one-to-one advice
- The ‘First-Gen’ scheme for those who are first in their family to go to university
- A personal tutor and peer mentor for every student
- Hosting the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis
You will also be invited to a full programme of seminars and social events run by the department.
All Essex graduates in Politics & International Relations have a degree recognised by employers as earned from one of Europe’s leading politics departments.
Politics students are in demand from a host of employers, in international development, politics, the civil service fast stream, management, journalism, police, armed forces, commerce, business, finance, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), teaching and graduate research.
Our notable alumni include the former Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow, and our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:
- The World Bank
- Houses of Parliament Research Unit
- United Nations Development Program
- The BBC
- UBS bank
- The British Beer & Pub Association!
We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- We have been ranked 1st in the UK for Politics & International Studies research in every government assessment to date (Research Excellence Framework, 2014)
- We’re top 25 in the UK for politics (Guardian University Guide 2021)
- Ranked 7th in the UK for Politics and International Studies in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.