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Discover how international relations theory affects real-world events, and develop crucial skills like decision making and debating. With prestigious guest lecturers and visits to think tanks such as Chatham House, you’ll gain all the experience you need for a role in global politics.
- Join a course that scored 100% for overall satisfaction in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019
- Attend prestigious guest lecturers and visits to think tanks such as Chatham House
- Focus on your own areas of interest with optional modules including global risk society, war reporting, and terrorism
- Develop your decision making, planning and debating with interactive sessions, specific scenarios and briefs
This course will give you an understanding of how international relations theory is applied to real-world policy and strategy, and the practical problems involved in this.
You’ll examine the theory and definition of the ‘state’ and relations between different states, and the roles of other institutions and organisations, like multinational companies and transnational crime organisations. All your studies will contain a strong vocational element, with a focus on how theory affects, and is affected, by real events on the ground.
As well as this foundation in general international relations theory and practice, you’ll also have the chance to focus on your own areas of interest. Our optional modules will let you choose from subjects like the global risk society, policing and security, corruption and cross-border crime, war reporting, and terrorism.
To develop your decision-making, planning and debating skills, you’ll take part in interactive sessions, respond to specific scenarios and briefs, and undertake critical analysis. You’ll also receive advanced instruction in research methods, a vital skill both for your studies and your future career.
With a supporting team of lecturers who have academic and professional backgrounds in international relations, you can be sure you’re receiving the latest theory and careers advice.
Our course will prepare you for a career in many roles relating to international relations, such as diplomacy and the diplomatic services, strategy and strategic planning, public services, the Foreign Office, the UN and other international bodies, local government, NGOs, charities, education, journalism and press agencies
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
International Relations Theory in ContextYou will examine the theory and key concepts of international relations and the development of the state, ground them in their historical context, and explore their policy implications. You will begin by examining where the boundaries of the discipline might lie, before looking at debates over the role of theory in explaining International Relations. You will receive detailed explanations of the key competing theories within the discipline, and their development and evolution. Key themes you will explore include the development of Classical Realism from its roots in doctrines of war, Liberalism and the dream of global order, through the tussles between Neorealism and neoliberalism throughout the decades of the Cold War. You will also look at Constructivism and the English School, radical Marxist and Neo-Marxist perspectives, through to Feminism, Post-Colonialism, Postmodernism and cosmopolitanism. You will learn to place the theory firmly in the context of 20th century events, exploring the way in which political and academic ideas are shaped by and in turn influence international affairs. You will also explore other directions in which the study of International Relations might travel in the future. Your assessment will comprise a report of 1,000 words, a presentation, a literature search equivalent to 1,000 words and a longer essay of 3,500 words.
International Institutions and PolicyOn this module, you will critically analyse the origins, evolution and role of international institutions in the global order over the course of the 20th and 21st century, in order to understand why these institutions have developed, and why states choose, or do not choose, to use these institutions as a means to achieve their objectives. You will examine the still-evolving structures of global governance, and the role of these organisations and institutions in contemporary politics and diplomacy, looking at the work of specific organisations including the UN, the EU, the IMF and World Bank etc. You will pay particular attention to the challenges inherent in attempting to foster international co-operation and consensus between sovereign nation states, including the limitations of international law, as well as examining possible future developments. Your assessment will comprise an initial report of 1,000 words, a 10-minute presentation, a brief data analysis and a longer essay of 3,500 words.
Major ProjectThis module will support you in the preparation and submission of a Masters dissertation, allowing you to explore in-depth a particular topic that reflects your academic interest.
War, Peacekeeping and Military InterventionYou will examine state-dominated war in the modern world, including the democratic peace theory and the changing strategic problems and limits of Western force. You will look at the history of peacekeeping since 1945 including during the Cold War. You will also examine the contemporary status of peacekeeping, military humanitarian intervention, and the responsibility to protect. You will examine the role of international institutions in multilateral intervention, the challenges involved in post-conflict security, and the politics of aid. Your aim will be to underline the significance of unilateral and multilateral military intervention in contemporary international relations and global politics, as well as its limitations. Teaching is based around case studies, and assessment is portfolio-based. You are expected to submit a variety of different forms of work, including press releases, presentations to a group, briefings and longer research reports.
Policing Transnational CrimeThe globalisation of contemporary societies means that criminal activity that was once a primarily national concern is increasingly becoming transnational in nature. As a result, policing bodies now have to manage risk and security on a much wider and larger scale. On this module, you will critically examine the nature of risk and security in contemporary society, beginning with an exploration of the concept of the risk society. You will evaluate contemporary forms of policing and security in societies that are built on the notion of risk, its avoidance and quantification. You will also consider risk from the perspective of corruption within organisations tasked with managing cross border crime. In the second part of the module, you will focus on responses to transnational crime, exploring the nature of intelligence-led policing and the role of police as data patrollers and information gatherers. You will examine specific examples of cross border agency responses, such as INTERPOL and EUROPOL, as well as charting the growth of the power of transnational policing through mutual assistance and multinational agreements such as Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and Memoranda of Understanding. You will be assessed through a portfolio, a presentation and a reflective commentary.
Communication and ConflictYou will explore historical and thematic approaches to reporting on conflict and also how communication functions in a crisis. You will examine the reciprocal relationships between the military, governments and the media, including how the media can be used to legitimise conflict, and the changing role of social media in building consensus and protest. You will also examine censorship and propaganda, whether the state is ever able to retain control of the narrative, and the role of the war reporter. Your areas of exploration will include consent, public interest, ethics and the representation of suffering. You will also look at how war and conflict is portrayed in fictional accounts and the underlying assumptions of such portrayals, examine conflicting discourses about war in post-conflict environments and consider the way the media can contribute to or hamper the process of post-conflict reconstruction. Your study will examine who owns, defines and propagates the truth, and the implications of this in the context of conflict and war. You will be assessed by a 2,000 word report and an individual presentation. You will also submit weekly analyses of contemporary media reporting on global conflict scenarios.
Terror as CrimeWords such as terror, terrorism, terrorist and the ‚war on terror’ are now a part of our everyday language, but what do these terms really mean? In this module, you will identify and critically examine terror-related issues through criminological and criminal justice perspectives. You will evaluate the effect of changing crime level and the contribution towards moral panics in contrast to the impact of more serious crime waves in societies. You will also evaluate the notion of mobilising a nation through terror-information in relation to the recent adoption of regular risk assessment and analysis measures, as well as propaganda. In addition, you will investigate the shift from ‚old’ terrorism to ‚new’ terrorism, as well as the role of domestic criminal justice systems in preventing, investigating and responding to acts of terror. The theme of peacemaking and peacekeeping will run throughout the module – you will explore and critically evaluate successful initiatives throughout the world. You will be assessed through a presentation, summary case study and an essay.
Independent Learning ModuleThis module will support you in the preparation and submission of an independent learning project. It will allow you to study topics not provided within existing modules but within clearly defined parameters, and where appropriate supervision is available.
We offer a range of core and optional modules, with optional modules sometimes changing depending on staff availability.
You’ll demonstrate your progress through a combination of role-play scenarios, briefs, written reports, poster presentations, group projects, dissertation, longer essays, case studies, research proposal, short analyses of global events, short review papers, practical data gathering exercises, and short abstracts of core course readings.