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FAQs for prospective MSc International Relations applicants

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Questions

  1. Could you please send me information about your MSc IR/MSc IR Research programme?
  2. How do I apply online?
  3. Does the School or IR Department hold an Open Day for prospective MSc IR/MSc IR Research 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 is the difference between the MSc IR and MSc IR Research?
  8. What is the difference between the MSc IR/MSc IR Research and the MSc Global Politics?
  9. What is the difference between the MSc in International Relations and the MSc in International Relations Theory?
  10. I am invited to give two MSc degree programme choices on the application form. Is it advisable to list the MSc IR and the MSc IR Research programmes separately, as choices 1 and 2, as I am really keen to be considered for the International Relations discipline?
  11. What qualifications are required for admission to the MSc IR/MSc IR Research?
  12. 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?
  13. 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?
  14. I have a poor first degree in IR/related discipline, but I have an MSc in a different field. Is it worthwhile my applying?
  15. I have no academic background in International Relations or related disciplines but I do have IR-related work experience. Is it worthwhile applying?
  16. Do I have to sit the GRE or GMAT tests?
  17. Where can I find information about subjects available to study on the MSc IR/MSc IR Research programme?
  18. Are all courses that are listed in the Graduate Prospectus offered each year?
  19. I want to list MSc IR/MSc IR Research as my second choice. Will this damage my chances of admission?
  20. I applied last year and was rejected. What is the likelihood of succeeding with a second application?
  21. I would like to know more about how the IR Department and MSc IR/MSc IR Research programme operate. Where can I find such information?
  22. I am thinking of applying for the MSc IR and I would like to know more about the content of the compulsory course IR410 International Politics. Could you provide this?
  23. I am thinking of applying for the MSc IR Research and I would like to know more about the content of the compulsory course IR436 Theories of International Relations. Could you provide this?
  24. What are the methods of assessment?
  25. Am I required to be here after the exams finish?
  26. What is the difference between a half unit and a full unit course?
  27. How much are the tuition fees?
  28. Are there any scholarships available for those applying for the MSc IR?
  29. I would like to meet the selector or another member of the academic staff to find out more about the MSc IR/MSc IR Research programme. Can this be arranged?
  30. What is the deadline for MSc IR/MSc IR Research applicants?
  31. Can I apply to take the MSc IR/MSc IR Research part-time? If so, how long does it take and are lectures and seminars held in the evenings?
  32. What is the difference between the MSc IR/MSc IR Research and the MPhil/PhD?
  33. How do I apply for the MSc IR/PhD programmes so as to be considered for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding, i.e. the 1+3 Research Fellowship award?
  34. If I am accepted for the MSc IR and then decide I would like to switch to the MSc IR Research or vice versa, will this be possible?
  35. If I am rejected for the MSc IR/MSc IR Research (e.g. because it is full) but am accepted for my second choice, will I be able to transfer to the MSc IR/MSc IR Research on arrival at the School?
  36. Is it possible to defer an offer of a place on the MSc IR/MSc IR Research to the following year?
  37. If I have a query about the application process, can I raise this with the Department instead of the School's Graduate Admissions Office?
  38. If my application is unsuccessful but I would like to reapply next year, how can I get feedback on why I was not accepted?
  39. Does the International Relations Department have any special arrangements with other universities?

 


 

Answers

1. Could you please send me information about your MSc IR/MSc IR Research 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.

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/MSc IR Research 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 is the difference between the MSc IR and MSc IR Research?

The MSc International Relations is an advanced, academic study of the subject.  It is suitable if you plan to progress to a career that might have an international focus.  The MSc International Relations (Research) is designed as a preparation for research work and includes methodology courses.

8. What is the difference between the MSc in International Relations and the MSc in International Relations Theory?

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. International Relations 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.

9. What is the difference between the MSc IR / MSc IR Research and the MSc Global Politics?

Although the two programmes 'MSc in International Relations' and 'MSc in Global Politics' share certain options and are both concerned with world politics, they are distinctive in their approaches and concerns. The MSc in International Relations is primarily concerned with the theories and paradigms that are central to International Relations as a distinctive discipline, and these are the focus of its core course. The MSc in Global Politics has 'globalization' as its central unifying theme. Its core course is focused on arguments about how world politics are shifting from an 'inter-state' to a 'global' framework and it encompasses contributions from Political Science, Development Studies and International Relations.

10. I am invited to give two MSc degree programme choices on the application form. Is it advisable to list the MSc IR and the MSc IR Research programmes separately, as choices 1 and 2, as I am really keen to be considered for the International Relations discipline?

As the compulsory papers for the MSc IR and MSc IR Research differ, and transfer between the two programmes on arrival will not normally be possible, it is advisable to list the two programmes separately as first and second choices.

11. What qualifications are required for admission to the MSc IR/MSc IR Research?

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

12. 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?

The fact that your undergraduate degree is not in IR or a related discipline is a distinct disadvantage. Although we sometimes take on a few 'cross over' students in any given year, most of our students have backgrounds in relevant social science subjects. Acceptance for the MSc IR or MSc IR Research course depends both on the quality of the application overall and on the demand for places in any given year. If you decide to apply, it would be advisable to explain what form your interest in international affairs takes.

13. 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?

The fact that your undergraduate degree is not in IR or a related discipline is a distinct disadvantage. Although we sometimes take on a few 'cross over' students in any given year, most of our students have backgrounds in relevant social science subjects. Acceptance for the MSc IR or MSc IR Research course depends both on the quality of the application overall and on the demand for places in any given year. If you decide to apply, it would be advisable to explain the nature and extent of your IR-related work experience.

14. 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 very much 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, however, undoubtedly, be a disadvantage.

15. 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 considered of most relevance. However, if you feel you can make out a strong case, you may decide that it is worth applying, but you should be aware that you will be starting from a disadvantageous position.

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

No.

17. Where can I find information about subjects available to study on the MSc IR/MSc IR Research 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 the relevant introductory videos here|.

18. 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.

19. I want to list MSc IR/MSc IR Research 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 (albeit as a second choice) in your application statement.

20. I applied last year and was rejected. What is the likelihood of succeeding with a second application?

If you applied last year when the MSc IR/MSc IR Research programme was already full but you have the requisite qualifications, it may be worthwhile re-applying. As to the likelihood of your being accepted, this will depend on the quality and number of other applications. If you applied last year when the MSc IR/MSc IR Research programme was not full, it is unlikely that you would be successful second time around.

21. I would like to know more about how the IR Department and MSc IR/MSc IR Research programmes operate. Where can I find such information?

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

22. I am thinking of applying for the MSc IR and I would like to know more about the content of the compulsory course IR410 International Politics. Could you provide this?

Please see the IR410 course guide| and the IR410 International Politics lecture programme| [Word doc] which shows a breakdown of lecture topics offered during 2012/13. Please note that the content and sequence of the lecture programme may be subject to change.

23. I am thinking of applying for the MSc IR Research and I would like to know more about the content of the compulsory course IR436 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. There is also a short video about the course|.  Please note that the content and sequence of the lecture programme may be subject to change.

24. 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, which account for a proportion of the final mark. Please see the relevant IR graduate course guides|.

25. 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.

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

A half unit runs for the equivalent of one term, ie 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.

27. How much are the tuition fees?

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

28. Are there any scholarships available for those applying for the MSc IR?

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

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

Given the popularity of the IR Department's taught MSc programmes, we do not unfortunately have the resources to 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.  Plus we also have a selection of videos available here|.  If you have read these sources of information and still have an enquiry, please email international.relations.mscir.appqueries@lse.ac.uk|.

30. What is the deadline for MSc IR/MSc IR Research applicants?

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

31. Can I apply to take the MSc IR/MSc IR Research 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 IR students normally take the compulsory paper, International Politics, and one option in year 1 and the second option and the 10,000-word Dissertation in year two. Part-time MSc IR Research students normally take the compulsory papers, Theory of International Relations, and Foundations of Social Research, in year 1 and the optional paper 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. Unfortunately the Sessional Timetable is not normally finalised until a few weeks before the start of the session, so we are unable to answer questions about the likely spread of teaching over the academic year before you make an application.

32. What is the difference between the MSc IR/MSc IR Research 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/MSc IR Research, by contrast, is a 12-month taught postgraduate degree course. Those wishing to go on to take a research degree after the MSc may find it useful to take the MSc IR Research programme rather than the MSc IR programme as the former includes a component of research training.

33. How do I apply for the MSc IR/PhD programmes so as to be considered for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding?

Please see the ESRC website| and the LSE's Financial Support Office Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding| webpage.  If you wish to be considered for ESRC 1+3 funding, please apply by 10 January 2014.

34. If I am accepted for the MSc IR and then decide I would like to switch to the MSc IR Research, or vice versa, will this be possible?

This will NOT normally be possible. You must also not accept an offer for the MSc IR or MSc IR Research in the expectation of switching to another programme within the School (e.g. your first choice for which you have been turned down) once you arrive.

35. If I am rejected for the MSc IR/MSc IR Research (e.g. because it is full) but am accepted for my second choice, will I be able to transfer to the MSc IR/MSc IR Research 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/MSc IR Research intake target was not met, which is not usual; (b) the selector was willing to accept you; and (c) your second choice department was prepared to release you.

36. Is it possible to defer an offer of a place on the MSc IR/MSc IR Research 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 2014 entry and circumstances arise which result in your wishing to defer to 2015, you should write to Graduate Admissions at the point when you realise that you will not be able to take up the offer in 2014.  Deferral is not automatic and will require the approval of the selector.

37. 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.

38. 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 10-14 above, we would discourage you from seeking feedback as this will undoubtedly form part if not all of the explanation for your rejection. We also have to turn away good candidates due to the popularity of the MSc IR course, so you may fall into this category. Unfortunately, competition is fierce and detailed feedback is not possible.

39. 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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