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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 2014 REF
  • a strong focus on theory together with a wide range 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.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc International Relations Theory in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up-to-date and correct, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. You should visit the School's Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the Updated graduate course and programme information page.

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: 22 September 2016

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

Intake/applications in 2014: 20/140

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: £20,736

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

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions