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MSc International Relations Theory

About the MSc programme

The MSc in International Relations Theory is based in the Department of International Relations and offers the following benefits:

  • study in a leading world centre for the subject, situated in the only UK institution devoted to the social sciences, and in a thriving research community which (together with the Government Department) received one of the highest rankings in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise
  • a strong focus on theory together with a wide choice of optional subjects
  • the opportunity to participate in the editing and production of Millennium, one of the leading international relations journals

The programme is designed for students who want to look deeply at the theoretical aspects of international relations. Materials to be studied include classical and contemporary forms of realism and liberalism, the 'English School', constructivism, critical approaches to the subject, normative theory, and feminist scholarship. The programme is particularly suitable for those students intending to proceed to a research degree and an academic career, but will also be of interest to anyone who wishes to deepen their conceptual grasp of contemporary IR.

Programme details

Most of the teaching takes place in the Michaelmas and Lent terms. A 10,000 word dissertation must be submitted by 1 September.

Compulsory courses

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of two units from a range of options. 

Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

Graduate destinations

Most of our former MSc students go on to work in government, international organisations, financial institutions, journalism and corporations, but a good number continue on to research degrees and the academic profession.


Application code: L2UG (check availability)

Start date: 24 September 2015

Duration: 11 months full-time; 23 months part-time

Intake/applications in 2013: 21/151

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 in international relations, politics, history, sociology, philosophy or related disciplines (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: £19,944

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions