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FAQs for prospective MSc International Relations Theory applicants

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Questions

 

  1. Could you please send me information about your MSc IR Theory programme?
  2. How do I apply online?
  3. Does the School or IR Department hold an Open Day for prospective MSc IR Theory applicants?
  4. Will I be expected to attend an interview?
  5. Do I need to submit a writing sample with my application?
  6. What are the residency requirements for the course?
  7. What qualifications are required for admission to the MSc IR Theory?
  8. I don't have an educational background in IR or a related discipline but I have a first-class degree in another field and have a keen interest in international affairs. Is it worthwhile my applying?
  9. I don't have an educational background in IR but I have a first class degree in another field and have work experience in an IR-related field. Is it worthwhile my applying?
  10. I have a poor first degree in IR/related discipline, but I have an MSc in a different field. Is it worthwhile my applying?
  11. I have no academic background in International Relations or related disciplines but I do have IR-related work experience. Is it worthwhile applying?
  12. Do I have to sit the GRE or GMAT tests?
  13. Where can I find information about subjects available to study on the MSc IR Theory programme?
  14. Are all courses that are listed in the Graduate Prospectus offered each year?
  15. I want to list MSc IR Theory as my second choice. Will this damage my chances of admission?
  16. I would like to know more about how the IR Department and MSc IR Theory programme operate. Where can I find such information?
  17. I would like to know more about the content of the compulsory course 'Theories of International Relations'. Could you provide this?
  18. What are the methods of assessment?
  19. Am I required to be here after the exams finish?
  20. What is the difference between a half unit and a full unit course?
  21. How much are the tuition fees?
  22. Are there any scholarships available for those applying for the MSc IR Theory?
  23. I would like to meet the selector or another member of the academic staff to find out more about the MSc IR Theory programme. Can this be arranged?
  24. What is the deadline for MSc IR Theory applicants?
  25. Can I apply to take the MSc IR Theory part-time? If so, how long does it take and are lectures and seminars held in the evenings?
  26. What is the difference between the MSc IR Theory and the MSc International Relations?
  27. What is the difference between the MSc IR Theory and the MPhil/PhD?
  28. If I am rejected for the MSc IR Theory (e.g. because it is full) but am accepted for my second choice, will I be able to transfer to the MSc IR Theory on arrival at the School?
  29. If I am offered a place on the MSc IRT but on arrival decide that I would like to transfer to the MSc IR, would this be possible?
  30. Is it possible to defer an offer of a place on the MSc IR Theory to the following year?
  31. If I have a query about the application process, can I raise this with the Department instead of the School's Graduate Admissions Office?
  32. If my application is unsuccessful but I would like to reapply next year, how can I get feedback on why I was not accepted?
  33. Does the International Relations Department have any special arrangements with other universities?

Answers

1. Could you please send me information about your MSc IR Theory programme?

To request a hard copy of the Graduate Prospectus please visit the Graduate School Request A Prospectus page|.

To view information online please see the Graduate Admissions| or the Department of International Relations| website or read the MSc IRT programme| [Word] or watch the introductory video|.

2. How do I apply online?

To apply online visit the Graduate Admissions 'Apply'| website.

3. Does the School or IR Department hold an Open Day for prospective MSc IR Theory applicants?

The School holds an Open Evening| once a year, normally early in November, for those thinking of applying for graduate study. For further details please go to the Student Recruitment Office website|.

4. Will I be expected to attend an interview?

No. Decisions are made on the basis of the application form, transcripts and references.

5. Do I need to submit a writing sample with my application?

No.

6. What are the residency requirements for the course?

For queries regarding School regulations, please contact the Student Recruitment Office|.

7. What qualifications are required for admission to the MSc IR Theory?

We normally require an Upper Second class first degree (3.5 GPA) or equivalent in International Relations or a related discipline, e.g. History, Politics, Philosophy, Law, Sociology, etc.

8. I don't have an educational background in IR or a related discipline but I have a first-class degree in another field and have a keen interest in international affairs. Is it worthwhile my applying?

Yes. Most of our students have backgrounds in relevant social science subjects, although this varies from undergraduate experiences of IR to history, law, philosophy and sociology. Acceptance for the MSc IR Theory course depends both on the quality of the application overall and on the demand for places in any given year. If you do decide to apply, you need to explain what form your interest in theoretical questions about international relations takes.

9. I don't have an educational background in IR but I have a first class degree in another field and have work experience in an IR-related field. Is it worthwhile my applying?

Yes.  Most of our students have backgrounds in relevant social science subjects, although this varies from undergraduate experiences of IR to history, law, philosophy and sociology.  Acceptance for the MSc IR Theory course depends both on the quality of the application overall and on the demands for places in any given year.  If you do decide to apply, you need to explain what form your interest in theoretical questions about international relations takes. It would also be advisable to explain the nature and extent of your IR-related work experience.

10. I have a poor first degree in IR/related discipline, but I have an MSc in a different field. Is it worthwhile my applying?

This would depend on how well you did in your MSc and whether you have any relevant experience in IR. The fact that your first degree is poor will be a disadvantage.

11. I have no academic background in International Relations or related disciplines but I do have IR-related work experience. Is it worthwhile applying?

Although relevant work experience is taken into account, your academic background will be given greater weight. If you feel you can make a strong case, you may decide that it is worth applying.  But you should be aware that you would be starting from a disadvantageous position.

12. Do I have to sit the GRE or GMAT tests?

No.

13. Where can I find information about subjects available to study on the MSc IR Theory programme?

You will find a short description of each subject in the online Graduate Prospectus| . You could also look at the relevant IR-prefixed Graduate Course Guides| or view the introductory videos here|.

14. Are all courses that are listed in the Graduate Prospectus offered each year?

No - normally, a few are 'Not Available' due to staff absences on sabbatical leave.

Course suspensions for 2013/14 will be listed as details become available.

15. I want to list MSc IR Theory as my second choice. Will this damage my chances of admission?

No. However, it is advisable to address fully why you wish to study IR Theory (albeit as a second choice) in your application statement.

16. I would like to know more about how the IR Department and MSc IR Theory programme operates. Where can I find such information?

You may find the FAQs written for those accepted to the 2013/14 MSc IR programme| of interest, though please note that some details may be subject to change for 2014/15.

17. I would like to know more about the content of the compulsory course 'Theories of International Relations'. Could you provide this?

Please see the IR436 Course Guide| and the IR436 Theory of IR reading list  |[PDF doc] which shows topics offered during 2013-14, and watch the IR436 introductory video|. Please note that the content and sequence of the lecture programme may be subject to change .

18. What are the methods of assessment?

Apart from the 10,000 word Dissertation, the majority of subjects are assessed with an unseen examination during the Summer Term. However, some courses also require assessed essays, including IR436|, the core course for the IR Theory programme. Please see the relevant IR Graduate course guides|.

19. Am I required to be here after the exams finish?

Your 10,000-word Dissertation has to be submitted on 1 September, or, if this falls at the weekend, on the first working day after 1 September. Once your exams have finished you are not required to stay in London as you can post your Dissertation to us to arrive by the deadline.

20. What is the difference between a half unit and a full unit course?

A half unit runs for the equivalent of one term, i.e. normally 10 weeks of teaching excluding any revision. A full unit course runs throughout the session. Two half units may be taken in place of one full unit with the approval of your academic adviser and the teachers responsible for the courses.

21. How much are the tuition fees?

Please see the School's Graduate Admissions Tuition Fees webpages| for details.

22. Are there any scholarships available for those applying for the MSc IRT?

Please see the School's Financial Support Office| webpages for details.

23. I would like to meet the selector or another member of the academic staff to find out more about the MSc IR Theory programme. Can this be arranged?

Given the popularity of the IR Department's taught MSc programmes, we cannot meet prospective applicants.  However, the online Graduate Prospectus|, the Financial Support Office website| and the IR Department's online FAQs for Prospective and Incoming Students| should address most concerns and enquiries.  See also theMSc IRT introductory video|.  If you have read these sources of information and still have an enquiry, please email international.relations.mscirt.appqueries@lse.ac.uk|.

24. What is the deadline for MSc IR Theory applicants?

As the programme is extremely popular, it is advisable to apply by April or May to gain admission in the following September/October.

25. Can I apply to take the MSc IR Theory part-time? If so, how long does it take and are lectures and seminars held in the evenings?

We have a small number of part-time places in any given year. The part-time course takes two years. Part-time MSc IRT students normally take the compulsory paper, Theories of International Relations, and one option in year 1 and the second option and the 10,000-word Dissertation in year two. Lectures and seminars are normally held during office hours. However, as a part-time student, we would certainly be sensitive to your timetabling needs and, where a choice of seminar groups exists, we would allocate you to one that was most convenient to you.

26. What is the difference between the MSc IR Theory and the MSc International Relations?

Both of these programmes explore the relationship between the real world of international relations and the theoretical frameworks employed to understand it. The MSc in International Relations Theory, however, is a more specialist programme in which the focus on the theoretical dimension of the subject is more concentrated. Students on the MSc International Relations Theory programme take a specialist core course ('Theories of International Relations') which has three main components: the examination of IR as a distinct academic discourse; the exploration of the relationship between IR and other social sciences; and the examination of the connections between the theory and practice of international relations. IR theory students also choose from a menu of theoretically focussed courses for their second paper before taking a third course from either the IR Department, or certain other departments around the School.

27. What is the difference between the MSc IR Theory and the MPhil/PhD?

The MPhil/PhD is a research degree programme leading either to the MPhil or PhD. All our research students register initially for the MPhil but the vast majority are upgraded to the PhD. Occasionally, a student applies for the MPhil with no intention of going on to the PhD. Applicants to our MPhil/PhD research programme are normally expected to have an MSc qualification in IR or a related discipline. Please see our FAQ for prospective MPhil/PhD International Relations applicants| for further information about applying for the MPhil/PhD.

The MSc IR Theory, by contrast, is a 12-month taught postgraduate degree course, albeit one that students often use as a gateway to an MPhil/PhD.

28. If I am rejected for the MSc IR Theory (e.g. because it is full) but am accepted for my second choice, will I be able to transfer to the MSc IR Theory on arrival at the School?

You would be most unwise to accept a second choice offer in the expectation of switching. This would only be possible if: (a) the MSc IR Theory intake target was not met; (b) the selector was willing to accept you; and (c) your second choice department was prepared to release you.

29. If I am offered a place on the MSc IRT but on arrival decide that I would like to transfer to the MSc IR, would this be possible?

No - it is extremely unlikely that this would be possible.

30. Is it possible to defer an offer of a place on the MSc IR Theory to the following year?

We expect applicants to apply in good faith to begin the course in the academic year indicated. However, if you are made an offer for 2013 entry and circumstances arise which result in your wishing to defer to 2014, you should write to Graduate Admissions at the point when you realise that you will not be able to take up the offer in 2013. Deferral is not automatic and will require the approval of the selector.

31. If I have a query about the application process, can I raise this with the Department instead of the School's Graduate Admissions Office?

No.

32. If my application is unsuccessful but I would like to reapply next year, how can I get feedback on why I was not accepted?

If your academic background or first degree grades/predicted grades do not reach the standard noted in FAQs 7-11 above, we would discourage you from seeking feedback as this will undoubtedly form part if not all of the explanation for your rejection. Unfortunately, competition is fierce for IR Department courses and detailed feedback is not possible.

33. Does the International Relations Department have any special arrangements with other universities?

Yes, LSE and the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, DC have entered into an arrangement whereby LSE graduate students and recent alumni are eligible to apply to take the Elliot School's Master of International Studies (MIS) degree program in one rather than the usual two years. The MIS is a multidisciplinary, academic dual degree program that is designed to complement your studies at LSE with an intensive year in Washington DC. Please see Master of International Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs| at the George Washington University for further details.

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