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1 years


Full Time


Degree of Master of Arts

Course Organiser

Mr. Michael Bowker

Why Study International Relations?

It is ever more important to understand how the world works. Few problems today can be easily confined to the domestic arena. A better knowledge of the world and international relations can help explain why problems – from terrorism to financial crises – occur and how best to resolve them.

Why Study International Relations at UEA?

In PSI, we pride ourselves on providing top quality teaching. Independent monitors have given us top marks for our teaching and we have consistently scored highly in student surveys too. We offer research-led teaching which means that your lecturers will be able to give the most up-to-date, cutting edge information on your subject of study. We think you will find it a stimulating environment to study. Many students come from Britain, of course, but many others come from all over the world. It will only help in your studies to meet and learn from people from all sorts of different cultures.

70% of research in Politics and International Relations was rated 4* (world leading) or 3* (internationally excellent) according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), a major Government analysis of university research quality.

Courses, Content and Structure

The MA lasts twelve months for full-time students. You will have seminars and lectures during the first two semesters and then over the summer you will work on your dissertation which is handed in at the start of September.

Transferable Skills

Over the course of the MA, you will develop a variety of transferable skills. These include debating, giving oral presentations, team work, project work and essay writing. All students also take a module called Methods of Social Enquiry which is specifically designed to help you improve your research skills. This will enable you to write a better dissertation, but it will also be useful if you decide to take up a career in research.


The dissertation is a very important part of the MA. Students choose their own topic and are allocated an individual supervisor who gives advice on all aspects of writing and researching a dissertation. We also organise a Postgraduate Day when all postgraduates, including MA and PhD students, meet together and discuss their research. There is a session set aside for MA students to discuss their dissertation proposals. A guest speaker also gives a talk on the subject of his or her research and there is still time to socialise over a free buffet lunch.

Course Assessments

Assessment is based on a mix of dissertation, essays, research papers, performance in seminars, tests and a formal examination.

Brussels Trip

Most years, a trip to Brussels is organised for MA students. The trip includes two or three nights in a city centre hotel at a subsidised rate. We visit the EU and NATO and there are opportunities to ask officials and military people questions about their work. We also meet graduates from UEA who are now working in or near Brussels.

Postgraduate On-Line Journal

At their own initiative, MA students recently set up an e-journal, called Irrational, which publishes the work of students. It can be found at the PSI website:


It is difficult at the moment to find good jobs, but it is always good to have an extra qualification, and an MA is an excellent way of making yourself look a bit different from the rest. The career centre at the University is an excellent resource, and it helps us put on special days for students studying Politics when people working in the field come and discuss their jobs and how they got into them. Recent graduates from our MA programmes have taken up jobs in a wide variety of fields, including: business, teaching, research, journalism, the UN and many other international organisations.

This course is also available on a part time basis.

The MA degrees are led by a team of enthusiastic teachers. We offer a distinctive set of MA programmes that reflect UEA's long-standing tradition of research-led, interdisciplinary teaching.

Our MA students in Media and Cultural Politics were recently given the opportunity to attend a day long seminar with the leading critical theorist Stuart Hall. As part of the Issues in Media and Cultural Politics core module, we took our students to the 'Soundings' day long research seminar held at Marx House in London. Professor Stuart Hall provided the keynote address in which he described how modern capitalism has colonised public life, and provided a critical reflection upon the extent to which there was any opportunity for symbolic meaning to generate an alternative culture and politics. There was a lively discussion by many of the participants which gave our MA students the opportunity to engage with significant figures in the world of media and cultural politics at first hand.

Career Destinations for our MA and Diploma Students

The careers that our students follow after gaining one of our MAs or Diplomas vary greatly, but typical careers include: further postgraduate research in universities or other more policy-oriented domestic or international institutions, the media, diplomacy, international marketing and business. The 2005 EU Studies Guide featured the experience of two former MA students on "Why choosing the right degree could land you the perfect job".

Catch the latest debates and issues in the field of international relations at Latest essays range from refugee repatriation to rape as a weapon in war. Irrational is edited by post-graduate students at UEA in PSI and Development Studies.


Compulsory Study (120 credits)

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


The main objectives of this course are to introduce students to the academic study of International Relations theory. This is done by investigating leading theoretical approaches and becoming familiar with important concepts and debates in International Relations theory. Students are introduced to the nature of knowledge claims (epistemology) and fundamental assumptions about social/international reality (ontology) in International Relations.




The module offers a basic training in social research methods, provided flexibly to meet different needs and interests. There are opportunities to learn skills in use of SPSS for statistical analysis of large datasets, interviewing, transcription, document analysis, research uses of electronic media, devising a research proposal, writing a research report and oral presentations. Students will learn to evaluate research methods from the perspectives of ethics, methodology and practicality.




For all MA students registered in PSI except those undertaking a Dissertation by Practice . Students are required to write a dissertation of 10,000 words on a topic approved by the Course Director or other authorised person. The dissertation is to be submitted the first working day of September 2016.



Option A Study (60 credits)

Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


This module will use case studies of Southeast Asia, Central America and the Middle East to explore the reasons for American interventions and to assess their success or failure. It will offer an historical understanding of the assumptions and practices which lie behind contemporary US foreign policy-making. The module will introduce students to the institutions and processes involved in the making of American foreign policy.




Would an ideal society have no more crime? Who would be wealthy or powerful? Would politics be outlawed? Do utopians try to impose their views on the rest of humankind? Do the flaws in human nature justify the pessimism of dystopian writers? This unit compares selected utopian and dystopian texts produced during the last six centuries. Themes will include property, social control, gender, morality and politics. Another dimension of the course is to consider the purpose of utopian thinking and the historical role of utopian ideas in social theory and social reform.




The number of violent intrastate conflicts has outweighed the number of violent interstate conflicts for more than five decades. Yet it was only with the end of the Cold War that academics and policy-makers started paying more attention to the possible causes and consequences of large-scale intrastate violence. Today, questions of effective conflict management, especially of large-scale civil wars, are among the top priorities of international development agencies. The aim of CCP is to critically assess the possible causes and consequences of violent intrastate conflicts as well as their implications for the wider development agenda. Key topics to be discussed in the module include distinctions of different types of conflict (week 1), core theories in the current civil wars literature (week 2), strategies and causes of terrorism (week 3), the role of gender during and after violent intrastate conflicts (week 4), the (contested) relationship(s) between natural resource wealth and civil wars (week 5), institutional approaches to conflict management, including power-sharing and territorial self-governance arrangements (weeks 7 and 8), the rationale and possible effects of third-party intervention in civil wars (week 9), and post-conflict reconstruction efforts, including state- and peace-building as well as transitional justice (weeks 10 and 11). Throughout the module, students will be expected to assess the strengths and limitations of central concepts and theories from the academic debate by applying them to relevant empirical evidence, such as e.g. the role of gender during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, the performance of Bosnia and Herzegovina's post-civil war power-sharing arrangement and the likely effects of federalism in Iraq.




This module examines the position of Europe in International Relations. Weekly lectures and seminars centre upon contemporary debates on Globalisation and Regionalism, Trade Relations with US, China, and the European neighbourhood, security strategies and responses to topical International Conflicts like Palestine, Syria, and African civil wars, Inter-regional co-operation among trading blocs in politics and commerce, relations with emerging powers and the Developing World, and Environmental/Energy Issues.




This module looks at the history of the region, including the involvement of the superpowers in the politics of the cold war in Asia. Conflict in the region as well as the rise and fall of the regional powers are reviewed. The development of multipolarity and the importance of the Asia-Pacific region in the post-cold war world is also covered. The aftermath of the Second World War, the onset of the Cold War, conflict in Korea and Vietnam, the changing relationship between the US, USSR and China are covered, as is the development of Southeast Asia in the modern world. We also assess the major issues contemporary to the region.




The module aims to enable students to develop an understanding of the role of international organisations and their impact on public policy and public management at the domestic and international levels. Students will discuss critically the theories, models and concepts used in the analysis of international cooperation, competing perspectives in international politics and demonstrate the role they play in public policy and public management. The UN, NATO, IMF, WTO, World Bank and EU will be examined and why sovereign states decide to establish these and other international organisations. Their role in security, trade, finance, gender and environmental policy will be considered and the factors which determine their design and evolution. The extent to which their operation reflects underlying power and interest will be evaluated and the extent to which they have democratic legitimacy.




This module introduces to students the basic concepts of integration/disintegration, globalisation, regionalism and the purpose of the existence of and inter-relationship between international regional Organisations. It then goes on to examine the structure and functions of several major international organisations such as the United Nations, NATO, the EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, MERCOSUR, the AU, etc, and their role in international conflict and economic development with specific case studies. A brief coverage of International Financial Institutions such as IMF, World Bank, the WTO and the G8 will complement the main areas of study above. The style of the module consists of a series of lectures/seminars, class presentations, video showings and workshops. Although this is a mostly empirically based module, students will be expected to apply International Relations and Development theories which they will be studying alongside, in their other modules, as appropriate.




This module examines the study of security in the international system, through its roots in Cold War strategic studies to the development of the more broadly focused field of security studies today. The module critically analyses contemporary security issues and provides a sound theoretical base for considering practical issues of security, including new wars, intervention and terrorism. Themes are explored from theoretical perspectives and include security and the nation state, war and peace, new wars, alliances, democratic peace, securitisation, human security, the arms industry, religion and security and terrorism.




The module is designed to provide a broad overview of the debates on globalisation and its implications for developing countries. It is taught from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives and considers a range of views and critiques. It addresses key issues such as the impact of globalisation on poverty and inequality, the role of the state, and conflict and security, as well as addressing the resistance to globalisation and the rise of global social movements.




The module looks at the history of China and Japan from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. The attempts at modernisation, conflict between the two nations, their relationships with the Asian region and the United States are covered. Their contrasting attempts to develop in the postwar period are investigated. We also assess their current policies and the issues of importance to China and Japan in the twenty first century, and assess whether they can move beyond the legacy of this difficult history.




This module is an introduction to some of the fundamental concepts associated with theories of intercultural communication. Since norms of behaviour are culturally defined and varied, the beliefs and values which underlie a culture's worldview will be examined from a variety of perspectives. Indicative topics are expected to include how culture is defined; models of explanation of cultural difference (such as the theories of Hofstede and Tropenaars); notions of identity (personal, group, national) and "otherisation"; stereotypes and prejudice; verbal and non-verbal communication; miscommunication and intercultural conflict; acculturation and culture shock, etc. The module is relevant to students from a variety of backgrounds and with varied interests and will provide useful background for the module "Intercultural Communication in Practice".




'War games' introduces students to some of the major issues and ideas concerning diplomacy and military strategy in International Relations. The module comprises fortnightly lectures, two screening sessions, and weekly seminars involving lengthy scenario exercises. Students will learn about the theoretical and practical challenges concerning military relations between states, including concepts such as 'the security dilemma', 'future uncertainty', 'self help', 'balancing', 'deterrence', 'imperial overstretch', and 'humanitarian intervention'. The successful completion of this module will lead to a more nuanced understanding of war and peace in international politics.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject: Humanities or Social Sciences
  • Degree Classification: UK BA (Hons) 2.1 or equivalent

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO University of East Anglia

If you do not meet the academic requirements for this course, you may be able to study one of the International Graduate Diploma programmes offered by our partner INTO UEA. These programmes guarantee progression to selected masters degrees if students achieve the appropriate grade. For more details please click here:

International Graduate Diploma in Political, Social and International Studies

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


This course's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact university directly for further information.


All applications for postgraduate study are processed through the Faculty Admissions Office and then forwarded to the relevant School of Study for consideration. If you are currently completing your first degree or have not yet taken a required English language test, any offer of a place will be conditional upon you achieving this before you arrive.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2016/17 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,150
  • International Students: £14,500

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £820 per month.

Scholarships and Awards:

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a number of Scholarships and Awards on offer. For further information relevant to Political, Social and International Studies, please click here.

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.