Undergraduate Course

Integrated Master in Politics: International Relations

Integrated Master in Politics: International Relations

Overview

The details
International Relations
L268
October 2021
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Government

MPol International Relations is an integrated Masters course giving you the opportunity to seamlessly continue your studies from undergraduate to masters level in 4 years (5 years if choosing a placement year or year abroad). It provides a thorough grounding in all major areas of international relations and widens your awareness of the world system, while training you in the research and critical thinking skills that are prized by employers.

Why don't democratic countries go to war with each other? What is the role of the United Nations and other international organisations? What is globalisation and how does it impact our daily lives? Who should pay for climate change? These are the kinds of questions addressed in our MPol in International Relations.

You can explore a very wide range of topic areas in which the Department of Government produces world-leading research, including:

  • Conflict resolution and peacekeeping
  • International environmental policy
  • Security studies
  • Terrorist groups and tactics
  • Overseas aid and development
  • Human rights and global justice
  • Transitions to democracy

The Department of Government at Essex is one of the most prestigious departments in Europe. It has been ranked top in the UK for research in Political Science & International Studies in every single government assessment exercise since they began in 1986. It also offers a better staff-student ratio than many of the other leading departments in the UK – crucial when it comes to offering support and supervision throughout your degree.

Why we're great.
  • We have been ranked 1st in the UK for Politics & International Studies research in every government assessment to date (Research Excellence Framework, 2014)
  • 13th for politics (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021)
  • Ranked 6th in the UK for Politics in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The five-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement at home or abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the four-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university.

Placement year

Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation, where you learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics. Our staff are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism and the UN on peacekeeping, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on world events in national and international media.

Our key academic staff for this course include Professor Kristian Gleditsch, who works on inequality, conflict and violence, Dr Miranda Simon, who studies international migration, and Dr Reed Wood, who researches the role of women in war.

You join an active and prolific research team, with the opportunity to work alongside a member of staff on their research instead of completing a dissertation; many of these projects have resulted in joint staff/student publications.

Beyond their research, our staff are fantastic teachers, achieving 24/24 in the last evaluation of our department's teaching quality and reflecting the university’s Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework 2017.

Specialist facilities

  • Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN
  • An Annual Student Conference in which to present your research and develop your skills and network
  • Dedicated study skills advisors for one-to-one advice
  • The ‘First-Gen’ scheme for those who are first in their family to go to university
  • A personal tutor and peer mentor for every student
  • Hosting the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis

    You will also be invited to a full programme of seminars and social events run by the department.

Your future

All Essex graduates in Politics & International Relations have a degree recognised by employers as earned from one of Europe’s leading politics departments.

Politics students are in demand from a host of employers, in international development, politics, the civil service fast stream, management, journalism, police, armed forces, commerce, business, finance, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), teaching and graduate research.

Our notable alumni include the former Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow, and our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • The World Bank
  • Department for International Development
  • NATO
  • Houses of Parliament Research Unit
  • United Nations Development Program
  • YouGov
  • The BBC
  • UBS bank

We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A-levels: ABB

BTEC: Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on subjects studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 39 Level 3 credits at Merit or above and 6 at Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Introduction to International Relations

This module introduces students to the study of international relations, with a particular emphasis on two broad fields: international security and international political economy. Topics in international security include state and non-state actors, the nature of power, the causes of war and peace, terrorism, international institutions, and human rights. Topics in international political economy include trade, finance, European integration, the origins of underdevelopment, government responses to disasters, and foreign aid. Throughout the class, students are encouraged to apply theoretical concepts to real world events.

View Introduction to International Relations on our Module Directory

Scientific Reasoning for the Social Sciences

What constitutes a good piece of research? You consider the basics of scientific work and procedures in the social sciences in order to understand the philosophy and theory of social scientific investigations, and to improve your research throughout your degree.

View Scientific Reasoning for the Social Sciences on our Module Directory

Comparative Political Analysis

Are countries with high levels of trade less likely to go to war? Do election observers actually reduce election fraud? Learn how political scientists tackle these questions through understanding the basic strategies of comparative empirical analysis.

View Comparative Political Analysis on our Module Directory

Co-Operation and Conflict

Why do states sometimes go to war? What conditions can promote peace and international stability? When are states able to form cooperative agreements to promote trade, combat terrorism, or address climate change? Explore issues in international relations which help address complicated questions concerning cooperation and conflict between countries.

View Co-Operation and Conflict on our Module Directory

Career Portfolio

Develop the employability, citizenship, and life skills to successfully compete in the graduate job market after graduation. You complete a portfolio of employability skills and develop a critical understanding of the world of work.

View Career Portfolio on our Module Directory

Politics and Economic Policies (optional)

Voters, in theory, should shape economic policy. But in practice, this is often determined by the preferences of politicians and private market forces, both legal and illegal. You develop an understanding of the beliefs, incentives and behaviour of political actors which explain the link between political processes and economic policy.

View Politics and Economic Policies (optional) on our Module Directory

Institutions of Democracy (optional)

What rules affect political action? You explore how institutions and the rules they enforce, for example voting under a specific electoral system, affect political and economic outcomes, and whether these are ultimately only second-best solutions to collective action.

View Institutions of Democracy (optional) on our Module Directory

Politics and Power (optional)

Study some fundamental texts in the “Western” philosophical tradition. We examine the assumptions underlying these texts, as well as the implications they have for us today. We explore profound themes of justice, equality, freedom, democracy, liberalism, republicanism, the meanings of gender and labour, and mass society and the individual.

View Politics and Power (optional) on our Module Directory

Truth, Justice, and The Nature of Politics (optional)

Study some fundamental texts in the “Western” philosophical tradition. We examine the assumptions underlying these texts, as well as the implications they have for us today. We explore profound themes of truth, justice, equality, freedom, democracy, liberalism, republicanism, and morality.

View Truth, Justice, and The Nature of Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Violent Non State Actors: Violence, Crime and Conflict

Given the rise of groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, the focus on violent non-state actors has become more and more important. You discover why non-state actors resort to violence and crime, what tactics and strategies they use, how they fund their existence, how they undermine the state and what can be done to counter the instability they cause.

View Violent Non State Actors: Violence, Crime and Conflict on our Module Directory

International Relations: Theories and Approaches

How should we approach relationships between different countries? Explore different theoretical lenses through which the world can be viewed, including bargaining theory, liberal institutional approaches, and emotion-based, psychological models of the behavior of international political actions.

View International Relations: Theories and Approaches on our Module Directory

Conflict Analysis

Understand the evolving field of conflict resolution through exploring the causes and effects of armed conflict across the world, and scrutinising the theory and practice of how this can be managed peacefully.

View Conflict Analysis on our Module Directory

Career Portfolio

Develop the employability, citizenship, and life skills to successfully compete in the graduate job market after graduation. You complete a portfolio of employability skills and develop a critical understanding of the world of work.

View Career Portfolio on our Module Directory

Parties and Elections (optional)

Does everyone in a political party subscribe to the same core ideology? How do you pick which party to vote for? How do you persuade more people to vote? You examine party systems, party competition, electoral behaviour and party organisation in advanced liberal democracies.

View Parties and Elections (optional) on our Module Directory

Measuring Public Opinion (optional)

Public opinion is an important part of the democratic process, both in theory and in practice. But how do we know what the public think? In this module, you'll think more deeply about what public opinion means, become a more discerning consumer of opinion poll results, and you'll conduct and analyse your own public opinion survey about an issue that matters to you.

View Measuring Public Opinion (optional) on our Module Directory

The New British Politics (optional)

How has the UK political system changed over the last 20 years? Centring on the decline of the traditional Westminster Model of democracy and its replacement by a political system in which power is more dispersed, you explore topics including devolution, Britain’s relationship with the EU, coalition government, the Human Rights Act, and the changing party system.

View The New British Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Games, Strategy and Politics (optional)

Does policy or luck better explain political outcomes? Game theory provides a tool for understanding a wide variety of political phenomena, from campaigns and elections, to ethnic conflicts, to wars and deterrents.

View Games, Strategy and Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Quantitative Political Analysis (optional)

How can we answer political questions using statistical data? Learn how to find relevant research designs and questions in order to use quantitative methods in political research, assisting you in your other modules and improving your job prospects.

View Quantitative Political Analysis (optional) on our Module Directory

Career Portfolio

Develop the employability, citizenship, and life skills to successfully compete in the graduate job market after graduation. You complete a portfolio of employability skills and develop a critical understanding of the world of work.

View Career Portfolio on our Module Directory

Electoral Behaviour (optional)

Examine how people reason about voting and politics, and why people vote the way that they do. You consider the effects of institutions such as the electoral system or the number of political parties on voting behaviour, using case studies from elections in Britain and other advanced democracies.

View Electoral Behaviour (optional) on our Module Directory

Domestic Politics and International Relations (optional)

How do interest groups influence the trajectory of a country's foreign policy? Who benefits and gains from globalisation and how does this affect their political beliefs? In this module you explore how domestic politics and interests influence government's decisions in the international arena, and how international politics affects domestic politics.

View Domestic Politics and International Relations (optional) on our Module Directory

Corruption (optional)

In this module you will examine corruption, a global problem that is present in dictatorships as well as democracies, in developing and more developed societies alike. In particular, you'll focus on the impact of corruption on democratic regimes. At the extreme, corruption hampers economic development, reinforces social inequality, and undermines democratic development generally. You will start by defining corruption and discuss alternative tools to evaluate the extent of corruption within a given polity. You'll then examine the causes and consequence of corruption (both political and bureaucratic). Last, but not least, you'll evaluate existing strategies to contain and control this problem.

View Corruption (optional) on our Module Directory

Democracy, Dictatorship and Regime Change (optional)

While the number of democratic regimes across the globe grew between the mid-1970s and mid-2000s, it stagnated in the last decade and, now, democracy seems to be under attack even in some of its oldest bastions in North America and Western Europe. This raises a number of fundamental questions. What difference does it make to live in a democracy over a dictatorship? How does democracy emerge and what makes it endure? When do democratic revolutions occur? What do the authoritarians do to prevent them? Can democracy be exported? When and how do democracies break down? These are just some of the questions that will be tackled.

View Democracy, Dictatorship and Regime Change (optional) on our Module Directory

The Analysis of Conflict and Peace (optional)

Explore the relationship of power, preferences, economic relations, domestic politics and international organisations in relation to conflict and peace. You investigate the underlying theoretical arguments about war and peace, consider the implications entailed by these different theories, and evaluate these using empirical data.

View The Analysis of Conflict and Peace (optional) on our Module Directory

Gender and Armed Conflict (optional)

War narratives and studies of political violence have traditionally focused on the roles and actions of men. Women have typically been framed as innocent bystanders and victims. Yet, women often actively participate in civil wars and in terrorist campaigns, either as civilian supporters of these groups or as armed fighters. In addition to acknowledging the profound impact that civil conflicts have on women, this course explores the many important roles that women often play in terrorist and rebel organizations and examines women's potential contributions to post-war peace building and conflict resolution. The objective of the course is that you will gain a better understanding of the roles women play in the production and resolution of political violence and the manner in which gender and gender attitudes influence war and armed conflict.

View Gender and Armed Conflict (optional) on our Module Directory

From Cradle to Grave: Social Justice in Childhood, Adulthood, and Death (optional)

Theories of justice are still being worked on and developed today. You question contemporary theories of justice through applying them to some of the most controversial issues dominating contemporary politics.

View From Cradle to Grave: Social Justice in Childhood, Adulthood, and Death (optional) on our Module Directory

Human Rights and Global Justice (optional)

This module explores the nature and foundations of international obligations. It asks what we owe to people in other countries, and what they can demand of us as a matter of right. Questions to be addressed include the following: Who owes what to the very poor? Are citizens of affluent countries complicit in the creation and maintenance of world poverty? Does justice demand the elimination of global inequality? Is the promotion of human rights a form of western cultural imperialism? When is international trade unfair? Do states have a right to close their borders to outsiders? Under what conditions (if any) is it permissible to wage war? We will address these questions by considering the answers that they have received in important recent works of normative political theory.

View Human Rights and Global Justice (optional) on our Module Directory

Theories of International Relations

This module provides you with a graduate-level introduction to both foundational and contemporary international relations research. The emphasis will be on evaluating arguments, understanding the development of the field, and identifying unresolved questions.

View Theories of International Relations on our Module Directory

The Analysis of Conflict and Peace (optional)

Explore the relationship of power, preferences, economic relations, domestic politics and international organisations in relation to conflict and peace. You investigate the underlying theoretical arguments about war and peace, consider the implications entailed by these different theories, and evaluate these using empirical data.

View The Analysis of Conflict and Peace (optional) on our Module Directory

International Negotiation (optional)

Master the explanatory and practical value of negotiation style, strategies and tactics in the context of theories of international relations.

View International Negotiation (optional) on our Module Directory

Multiparty Systems and Coalitions (optional)

European multiparty systems differ in a variety of ways, including how their parties compete and how they form governments. This module compares a range of party systems in Western Europe, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean, looking at the decline of social-democratic and Christian-democratic parties, and the rise of green parties and the radical right.

View Multiparty Systems and Coalitions (optional) on our Module Directory

Gender and Armed Conflict (optional)

War narratives and studies of political violence have traditionally focused on the roles and actions of men. Women have typically been framed as innocent bystanders and victims. Yet, women often actively participate in civil wars and in terrorist campaigns, either as civilian supporters of these groups or as armed fighters. In addition to acknowledging the profound impact that civil conflicts have on women, this course explores the many important roles that women often play in terrorist and rebel organizations and examines women's potential contributions to post-war peace building and conflict resolution. The objective of the course is that you will gain a better understanding of the roles women play in the production and resolution of political violence and the manner in which gender and gender attitudes influence war and armed conflict.

View Gender and Armed Conflict (optional) on our Module Directory

Gender and Leadership (optional)

This module focuses on the role of women in diverse global leadership positions, including how gender roles and norms have affected the integration and advancement of women in business and governmental organizations. Following an introduction to theories and literature of gender and leadership roles, you will address the empirical record of gender issues in the business, government and international security realms. You will conclude with an evaluation of whether and how gendered leadership leads to distinct policy outcomes and political deliberative processes.

View Gender and Leadership (optional) on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience
  • Lab sessions allow you to improve your technical research skills
  • Opportunities to gain work experience on placements and internships

Assessment

  • Assessed through a combination of written coursework, presentations, class participation, and end-of-year examinations
  • If you undertake a placement, you will prepare an assessed report on this experience

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

You may have the opportunity to get an insight into the working of European Parliament during our annual trip to Brussels. This trip is optional and students who attend will need to pay a £50 contribution towards the trip cost.

International fee

£17,700

You may have the opportunity to get an insight into the working of European Parliament during our annual trip to Brussels. This trip is optional and students who attend will need to pay a £50 contribution towards the trip cost. EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Applicant Days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you're invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don't panic, they're nothing to worry about and it's a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we'll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you're outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email applicantdays@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Related courses

Ask us a question
Ask us a question

Want to quiz us about your course? Got a question that just needs answering? Get in touch and we’ll do our best to email you back shortly.