Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies


Key details 


Start Year
Full Time
Degree of Master of Arts

Year 1

Compulsory Modules (80 Credits)

Code PPLI7005A - (20 Credits)

The main objective of this course is to introduce you to the academic study of International Relations theory. You'll investigate leading theoretical approaches and become familiar with important concepts and debates in International Relations theory. You'll be introduced to the nature of knowledge claims (epistemology) and fundamental assumptions about social/international reality (ontology) in International Relations.

Code PPLX7010X - (60 Credits)

For all MA students registered on programmes in Political Social and International Studies 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 in the relevant year.


Options Range A (40 Credits)

Code DEV-7023A - (20 Credits)

“Good governance” and durable democracy are key items on the international development agenda. However, despite their prominence in the development discourse, it remains contested not only how to achieve these political development goals, but also how to define them in the first place. The aim of Governance, Democracy and Development is to critically assess the possible definitions, contested causes and arguable consequences of “good governance” and democracy. Key topics to be discussed in the module include how to define and measure democracy and “good governance”, explanations for the emergence of democracy, theories on the survival of democracy and dictatorship, local forms of governance and democracy, aid and governance, trust and cooperation, the effects of democracy and dictatorship on prospects of economic development, and key challenges to democracy in the 21st century. Throughout the module, you 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 political regime trends in Turkey or the economic effects of recent elections in Kenya.

Code DEV-7028A - (20 Credits)

This module takes an inter-disciplinary approach, presenting different conceptual frameworks within which contemporary globalisation is analysed. Globalisation refers to the increasingly interconnected nature of social life on our planet. It has been described as ‘the most important change in human history’. You will critically examine a number of key debates about globalisation: about what is driving the process, and about what impacts it is having – for example, on economic development, poverty and inequality, conflict, and the environment. This module takes an inter-disciplinary approach, presenting different conceptual frameworks within which contemporary globalisation is analysed.

Code ENV-7025A - (20 Credits)

If everyone on Earth lived like a typical UK citizen we’d need three planets-worth of resources. But we only have one. Why do we consume the way we do? What drives our behaviour and how might we persuade people to live more sustainably? What do we mean by a sustainable lifestyle, anyway? These are questions academics, businesspeople, campaigners and policymakers struggle with every day and there are no easy answers. In this module you’ll get to grips with competing visions about what sustainable consumption is. You’ll gain an understanding of a range of theoretical approaches to understanding consumption behaviour and you’ll learn how to apply these theories to develop strategies for achieving sustainable consumption. You’ll begin by examining the impacts of western-style consumerism on the Earth’s social, economic and environmental systems. Using concepts such as ecological footprinting, needs and wellbeing, you’ll take a closer look at how economic and environmental systems interact. You'll contrast a ‘green growth’ approach to sustainable consumption with a more radical ‘de-growth’ model. Drawing on interdisciplinary social science theories from economics, psychology, sociology and ethnography, you’ll go on to investigate a range of strategies for achieving change, by government, business, civil society, and individual consumers. You’ll get hands-on experience testing and applying these ideas yourselves, in participative workshops, alongside award-winning innovative teaching methods. In lectures, you’ll learn about topics such as Ethical Consumption, Limits to Growth, Collaborative Consumption, Community-based initiatives, Life Cycle Analysis and Behaviour-change campaigns. Understanding the theoretical debates behind everyday actions for sustainability will make you better able to design and implement sustainability strategies in the workplace – whether in the public or private sector, or civil society. You’ll be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses in sustainable consumption campaigns and policies, and offer theoretically-informed solutions.

Code PPLI7006A - (20 Credits)

States, communities, people and others often seek 'security' from various threats and dangers but what, exactly, does it mean to be secure? Is security even possible? Who should have security, and from what should we be - or do we need to be - secured? Is security even desirable, or does the search for it sometimes have negative consequences for ourselves or for others? This module introduces you to these 'big questions' of security studies. You will examine the study of security in the international system, from its roots in political theory and Cold War strategic studies through to the development of a more broadly focused field today. We will explore different theoretical perspectives on these 'big questions', with particular emphasis on contemporary and critical approaches. And we will apply all of this to a range of contemporary security issues including conflict, war, terrorism, pandemics, migration, crime, illicit drugs, gender-based violence, and environmental degradation.

Code PPLI7012A - (20 Credits)

Why are wars fought, and why are they are won (or lost)? War Games introduces you to key issues around diplomacy and strategy within global politics. Topics you will cover include the causes and costs of war, military strategy, nuclear warfare, and statecraft. But you won't only be reading about these issues. War Games is taught through a combination of seminars and simulation exercises in which you will help resolve an international crisis. These simulations will allow you to engage with the theoretical and practical challenges of inter-state relations, developing a more nuanced understanding of war and peace in global politics. This, in turn, will provide you with an excellent insight into the ways in which decisions are made in the international system.

Code PPLI7014A - (20 Credits)

Who runs the world? The United Nations and Bretton Woods institutions –the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organisation – form the bedrock of the 20th Century Liberal world order. But there is much more to global governance than these liberal institutions dominated by Western powers. The last century was shaped by postcolonial independence movements, by South-South commitments to make global governance more inclusive, such as the Non-Allied Movement during the Cold War, and by powerful cartels such as OPEC. Rising powers in the global South are now reshaping global governance structures through new groups and projects such as the BRICS, the AIIB and the Belt and Road Initiative. And, as the world seems to be moving away from American hegemony, the question of how rising powers will affect global order and the governance structures that sustain it is fast becoming one of the most pressing of the twenty-first century. This module offers students the opportunity to study different components of global governance in the 21st Century, from the North Atlantic power axis of the USA and Western Europe, to changes arising from Asia, while also considering Russia, the Middle East and African powers.

Code PPLM7000A - (20 Credits)

Digital technologies are often hyped as revolutionising society. You will be introduced to the ways in which the internet and other digital technologies are (and are not) affecting society from theoretical and empirical perspectives. The module is divided into three blocks: the first introduces the theoretical debates surrounding digital media; the second discusses how our everyday interpersonal relations are affected by digital media; the third addresses the impact of digital technology on media and politics. Topics covered include: the network society; social networking and virtual communities, surveillance, digital journalism and online activism.

Code PPLX7002A - (20 Credits)

How and why is public policy made the way it is? Our aim is to enable students to develop a rich and wide appreciation of the many ways that policy is made and the factors that influence these. You will gain advanced critical understanding some of the main theories, models and concepts used in the study of public policy and how they are applied. You will also develop substantive knowledge of specific policies and policy areas, which may include environment, health, immigration and welfare policy. In addition, students successfully completing the module will be able to demonstrate an empirical understanding of the public policy process in the UK, ability to make comparisons with other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) democracies, and an understanding of the changing role of nation-states in policy development.

Code PPLI7009A - (20 Credits)
Despite international relations’ secular bias, the need to understand and acknowledge the importance of the role of religion in contemporary global politics has never been greater. Religion has the capacity to be both a force for good and for ill in the world, whether in peacekeeping initiatives, international development, interfaith dialogue, promoting religious freedom and human rights or in its capacity for violence and intolerance of other faiths. In this module students will be introduced to theoretical approaches to religion and international security, sacred violence and clashing civilisations, just war and jihad, peace making, faith-based initiates, religious freedom, and religious persecution. Specific conflicts and rivalries including the war on terror, Israel-Palestine, Iran-Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, the persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya and China’s Uighur populations will be considered alongside the role of religion in peace and reconciliation in South Africa and Northern Ireland. The module is research-led, using Marsden’s monograph on Religion and International Security (Polity 2019), and will equip students to have a greater understanding of the role religion plays in world politics.


Options Range B (60 Credits)

Code DEV-7000B - (20 Credits)

The objective of Contemporary World Development is to examine key debates around development objectives, processes and agencies. While issues discussed here are of contemporary significance, references will be made to the historical contexts in which these debates have arisen. Concerns central to development policy making will be reviewed through theoretically grounded critical perspectives. Topics covered include the Millennium Development Goals, donors and aid politics, state and NGOs, and poverty.

Code DEV-7015B - (20 Credits)

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 the Conflict, Civil Wars and Peace module 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 causes, dynamics and consequences of different types of violent conflict, strategies and causes of terrorism, the role of gender during and after violent intrastate conflicts, the (contested) relationship(s) between natural resource wealth and civil wars, institutional approaches to conflict management, the rationale and possible effects of third-party intervention in civil wars, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts, including state- and peace-building as well as transitional justice. Throughout the module, you 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 the role of gender during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 or the performance of Bosnia and Herzegovina's post-civil war power-sharing arrangement.

Code PPLI7008B - (20 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.

Code PPLI7013B - (20 Credits)

You will examine the origins, development and recent history of the European Union, the dynamics of EU decision making, and the working of EU policies in key areas, such as the single market, economic and monetary union, trade, and security and defence. You will explore the role and internal operation of the EU institutions, as well as the interaction between the EU and the member states, including what the obligations of membership imply for member countries. You will critically assess the key theories, models and concepts used in the study of the EU.

Code PPLM7015B - (20 Credits)

Providing a conceptual overview of feminist research approaches, you will examine contemporary gender and power relations. You will examine both the formal and informal power structures that shape the experience of gender. Bringing together the fields of media, sociology, politics and cultural studies, the module explores the extent to which feminist theory informs gender-based activism.

Code PPLX7005B - (20 Credits)

This module enables students to develop an advanced understanding of the theory and practice of public affairs, interest intermediation, and the strategies used by interest, advocacy groups and others to influence the political process. As well as covering the main debates in the academic literature, it draws directly on the experience of practitioners and offers unique insights into this under-studied area of politics.


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Entry Requirements

Degree classification

Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2.1 or equivalent

Degree subject

Humanities or Social Sciences

Additional entry requirements

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

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

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: 6.0 (minimum 5.5 in two components only, with 6.0 in the other two)

  • PTE (Pearson): 64 (minimum 59 in two components only with 64 in the other two)

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 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 intopre-sessional@uea.ac.uk.


This course is open to UK, EU and International applicants. The annual intake for this course is in September each year.

Course Reference Number: 1544077

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees for the Academic Year 2021/22 are:

  • UK Students: £8,450 (full time)

  • International Students: £17,600 (full time)

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 Home students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,023 per month.

Further Information on tuition fees can be found here.


Scholarships and Bursaries

The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.

Course related costs

Ritsumeikan University waives tuition fees for UEA students. UEA students will pay fees to UEA for their period of enrollment (2 years).

UEA students will be responsible for the following fees at Ritsumeikan University: the Academic Society Fee (Gakkai-hi), the Graduate Students Association Fee (Insei-kyogikai-hi), and the Alumni Association Fee (Koyokai-hi) of Ritsumeikan University.

UEA students will need to cover any additional non-tuition costs incurred at Ritsumeikan University themselves, including travel, accommodation and living costs.

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.

Course Reference Number: 1544077

How to Apply

Complete applications should be submitted by Friday 11 June 2021 to be considered.

A School panel will select up to 3 students to participate. Decisions will be based on academic excellence, demonstrated interest in Japan, Japanese culture, politics or language, and an interest in the politics of East Asia, as demonstrated in their personal statement. All other candidates who meet the minimum entry criteria but are not selected for the programme, will be offered a place on the single, one-year MA in International Relations.

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

To apply please use our online application form

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
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

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

Course Reference Number: 1544077
Key details
Full Time
Degree of Master of Arts
This degree offers students a unique opportunity to gain a double MA degree from UEA and Ritsumeikan University in Japan. Students will spend their first year at UEA then spend their second year at Ritsumeikan University, subject to government health advice at the time.
Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
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