Students studying for the MA/PG Dip in International Security are required to complete the following two compulsory modules during Semester 1 (20 credits unless otherwise stated):
Security: Beyond Bullets and Bombs provides a rich introduction to the major theoretical debates in the field of International Relations, looking beyond ‘bullets and bombs’ to the range of practices that contribute to different forms, practices and understandings of security and insecurity (40 credits).
Advanced Research in International Relations examines the main approaches to the study of International Relations. It considers a variety of relevant research methods so that students can understand how evidence is produced and critically appraise the research they use.
In Semester 2 you can choose any three of the optional modules below (20 credits each)*:
International Development examines both the theory and practice of the international politics of development. The first half looks at key theoretical debates and how these have related to practice. Various contemporary issues are then explored to illustrate the theoretical debates.
Global Politics and the Environment offers a critical, interdisciplinary investigation into the way in which the tensions brought about by the ecological crisis have been addressed globally, looking at institutional, conceptual, ideological, socio-cultural and political economic facets.
Production, Finance and Global Governance looks at the changing nature of the global political economy. It explores the nature of state power, changing labour relations, the role of finance and the evolution of the global trading system.
Global Civil Society investigates what kind of a role civil society can play in global politics. Furthermore, as many changes have brought into question the nature of citizenship, the possibility of the emergence of post-national forms of citizenship is raised.
International Energy Security examines the complex and inter-linked relationship between energy, security and international politics. Students will have the opportunity to critically evaluate the relationships between energy and authoritarianism, conflict, foreign policy and global governance.
Violence and Peacebuilding investigates how continued physical insecurity often dominates the transitions from civil war to peace. The first part achieves a conceptualisation of violence, peace and peacebuilding, while the second part examines the sources and manifestations of violence after civil war.
Dilemmas of International Ethics surveys the main traditions of international ethics and applies them to important ethical dilemmas in contemporary world politics, which include humanitarian intervention, global economic inequality, global environmental justice, nuclear proliferation and disarmament.
Critical Approaches to Terrorism will critically consider debates about how terrorism has assumed the significance it seems to possess, how we define and understand terrorism, as well as thinking about the nature of the threat that terrorism poses.
Postcolonial Perspectives: Security, Violence and Resistance sheds light on questions of security, violence and resistance. It explores how phenomena such as terrorism, migration, violent conflict and racism, as well as political responses to these phenomena, can only be understood in relation to past colonial contexts.
The Refugee Experience considers how migration is both a central part of the human experience in the twenty-first century and a key challenge to humanitarian practitioners.
Independent Study allows you to undertake a programme of study of your own choosing that is agreed with a member of staff.
Dissertation (60 credits) - MA students are required to complete a 12,000-word dissertation on a topic related to any aspect of international relations. The dissertation also involves a presentation at the Annual Postgraduate Day which is held every summer.
Students taking the Postgraduate Certificate are required to complete 'International Relations in Theory and Practice', 'Global Political Economy' and one optional module from the list above.
* As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module lists you choose from may vary from the ones shown here.
Teaching and learning
Research is fundamental to the International Relations programme and you will be taught by a team of research-active scholars who are all specialists and publish in their areas of expertise. We include aspects of our research in all our courses, teach optional modules in our areas of expertise and supervise dissertations in our specialist subjects.
Diverse teaching methods are employed including lectures, tutor/group-led seminars, analysis of case studies, group work presentations, individual presentations, and individual and small group tutorials.
Approach to assessment
Assessment is conducted through a variety of assignments linked to the expected learning outcomes. Assignments will include essays, presentations, projects, reports and the dissertation. These will be spread over the year to provide constant feedback and assessment.
You are able to go on an optional four-day study trip to Brussels and The Hague.
The trip takes place just before the start of Semester 2 (in late January) and starts with visits to key institutions of the European Union. You will then move on to The Hague and visit a range of international organisations, such as the International Criminal Court and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. This study trip provides you with first-hand experience of how these important international institutions work. The cost of travel and accommodation for the trip is included in the course fees.
For further details of previous study trips click here.
Annual Postgraduate Day
The programme holds an annual Postgraduate Day in early summer. This
event always provides lively academic exchange throughout. MA students
are joined by some of our research students and academic staff.
Over the years we have welcomed a number of high-profile speakers to
this event to give the guest lecture. They have included Dr. Juanita
Elias (University of Warwick) on ‘Gender, IPE and Labour Migration:
Perspectives from South-East Asia’, Prof. Cynthia Weber (University of
Sussex) on ‘The normal and/or perverse homosexual in international
relations: Conchita Wurst and the question of European integration’,
Prof. Peter Newell (University of Sussex) on 'Globalization and the
Environment', and Prof. Shaun Breslin (University of Warwick) who
discussed 'China and the South: Implications for the Global Order'.
After lunch various postgraduate panels take place beginning with
presentations by our doctoral students. This is followed by a number of
panels at which MA students give short presentations on their summer
Read a detailed report
of our most recent Postgraduate Day.
Most modules require two hours classroom contact time per week during the teaching semesters. Dissertation supervision during the summer period is arranged in consultation with your supervisor.
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published
on the website. For more information, please visit our
Changes to programmes