International Relations MA

Navigate global issues with confidence


What you’ll study:

  • Leading theories in reference to important historical and contemporary themes of world politics
  • The evolving challenges in international relations in conjunction with emerging areas of interest in the developing world
  • Discussions on the historical significance of globalisation and how it relates to issues in international relations.

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Course Details

Format: part-time and online (distance learning)

Tuition fees: £13,295 (MA); £8,850 (PGDip); £4,450 (PGCert). Payment by instalment and funding options available.

Course duration: two years (MA); 15 months (PGDip); one year (PGCert)

Annual start dates: May, September

Next start date: 18 September 2023

Application deadline: 15 September 2023 (we recommend applying as early as possible to secure your place)

Time commitment: approximately 20 hours per week

Why this course?

Establishing yourself in the field of international relations demands the ability to think, speak, and write critically about international issues, including topics such as:

  • How has globalisation changed international relations?
  • To what extent is the international order based on conflict or cooperation?
  • How is the global financial crisis affecting international politics?
  • Do foreign military interventions in civil wars help or hinder peace-making?
  • Why are economic resources so unevenly spread across the world, and what are the prospects for global justice?

With this online, part-time Master’s programme, you can look forward to developing the theoretical understanding and analytical skills needed to navigate these with confidence and consideration.

The course offers challenging and thought-provoking modules to help you formulate your answers, and a lively, intelligent group of students and academics with which to debate and exchange ideas.


This postgraduate programme has been designed to highlight the necessity of theory to understanding world politics. As such, it is built around the core module – Contemporary World Politics: Theories, Concepts, Themes – which then leads to other areas of learning. The modules that follow will challenge you to develop your analytical skills and subject knowledge further. You can look forward to gaining expertise within areas such as international security, international political economy, and the impact of the changes associated with globalisation on the study of international relations and US foreign policy.
Module 1 - Contemporary World Politics: Theories, Concepts, Themes (30 Credits)

This module is designed to provide you with a command of key concepts and theoretical traditions in international relations and an understanding of their relevance to contemporary themes in world politics.

We will evaluate political developments and statements and analyse critical themes in world politics. Through a close reading of advanced theoretical texts, you will expand your conceptual and theoretical knowledge and begin to think critically about competing interpretations of events, and longer term developments in international relations.

Online discussions will encourage you to compare and critically evaluate theoretical knowledge and to express your arguments effectively.

Module 2 - War and International Security (30 Credits)

Violent conflict and the use of force remain salient issues in contemporary international relations. While some have theorised that the advent of globalisation and spread of liberal democracy would make the use of force and violent conflict less relevant to the world, war and conflict have remained an integral part of the international system, forming an obstacle to providing stability and security for many states.

In this module, we will examine how force is used by states and other actors, and how it is managed in world politics. Together, we will survey a variety of perspectives on the causes of war and peace in order to better examine the roots of violent conflicts and security problems in the present day.

A major theme of the module looks at war in a global context, not only in terms of integrating contemporary concerns with globalisation, but also by looking at interconnections between north and south, and war and society. We will also explore the responses of the international community to violent conflict, looking broadly at the contested notion of ‘Just War’, international law, and the role of the United Nations.

Overall, the module will provide you with a broad perspective on the place of armed force in contemporary international relations.

Module 3 - Themes and Cases in US Foreign Policy (30 Credits)

In this module, we will consider the principal forms in which US foreign policy has been practised and interpreted since the foundation of the Republic. Amongst these are American Exceptionalism and Anti-Americanism, ‘spheres of influence’, liberal interventionism and protectionist isolationism, Cold War containment, the ‘War on Terror’ following 9/11, and the strains on uni-polarity in the early 21st century.

Case studies linked to these themes will allow us to consider the role of Native Americans and immigration, the war of 1898, gunboat diplomacy in the Caribbean, the ideas of Woodrow Wilson, the Vietnam War, the consequences of the 9/11 attacks, and the challenges posed by China.

Module 4 - Globalisation and the International Political Economy of Development (30 Credits)

This module provides you with a detailed examination and critique of theories of globalisation, an assessment of contemporary globalising processes, and how these particularly influence the developing world.

We will examine the analysis of contemporary manifestations of ‘globalisation’, including neo-liberalism, US hegemony and contemporary imperialism, capital flows, global commodity chains, state-market relations, patterns of global inequality, international institutions, and questions of cultural homogenisation/imperialism.

The module also looks at the ways in which ‘globalisation’ is resisted, focusing on the rise of transnational social movements and NGOs, and the politics of ‘anti-globalisation’, and how this relates to an ostensibly ‘post-development’ era.

In addressing these issues, the module concludes by asking the most important question: how do we think of ‘development’ in an era of ‘globalisation’, US hegemony, neo-liberalism and imperialism?

Module 5 - Dissertation (MA only) (60 Credits)

Learning Outcomes :

  • Understand and analyse international politics
  • Critical understanding of international issues
  • Apply learning in context
  • Strong analytical and communication skills
  • Time management
  • Project management.
  • Ability to communicate ideas

How you will learn

Benefits of learning online with us

How you will learn
Your time is valuable. Our 100% online courses are designed to fit around your existing lifestyle. Part-time and flexible enough to continue working, you can further your education and enhance your prospects without sacrificing your current commitments.
Your virtual learning environment
Lectures are delivered in Canvas, our virtual learning environment, using a combination of video, podcasts and online presentations, with clear links to further resources and downloadable materials, available on-demand.
Your interactive learning experience
Discussion forums will encourage you to interact with your peers, sharing opinions and debating current topics and issues in your field. You will also have the chance to engage with members of the academic team during regular webinars. All of the programme material will be made available for you to access whenever you need. Our rigorous online courses are designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to move forward in your career. All our online modules are developed by Queen Mary academics and our approach ensures a learning experience equal in quality to our campus programmes. Find out more on our student support page.
Face-to-face events
Your course will be delivered completely online, however, you will get the chance to meet your coursemates, academic team, and guest speakers in real life at our optional face-to-face conferences and workshops.
Resources and Services
Our online students enjoy the same status as those who attend the Queen Mary campus. You will have access to our extensive online resources and if you are able, are welcome to attend any of the extra-cirricular events run by various research centres to complement your studies. In addition, you will benefit from dedicated tutor support, enhanced online material, and a range of interactive features. There will be lively online discussions with your peers and webinars led by members of the academic staff, all accessible at the times that suit you. You'll also be able to turn to our helpful Student Adviser team once you enrol. They will help you with any non-academic questions.
Teaching Team
As a member of the Russell Group, Queen Mary is committed to the highest quality teaching and research. Our research-active staff ensure the content of our programme is dynamic, responding to the latest global events in their respective modules. Our staff have regional expertise in South America, South East Asia, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Together, they hold internationally recognised research strengths in the politics of the developing world, globalisation and development, conflict and war, migration and transnational mobility, security and critical and post-colonial theory.

How students study with us

• No visas or moving costs
• Access course from anywhere in the world
• Spend approx. 20-25 hours studying each week
• All course materials are available on demand
• Revise on the days and times that suit you best
• Course modules broken down into weekly
• Fit studies around work, family and social life
• Support with non-academic queries from a
student adviser team

Additional Support

As one of our students, you’ll have access to a range of services designed to support your studies and make your time with us as enjoyable as possible. -Our comprehensive online library of books, journals, and resources -A Student Advisor team to answer non-academic queries -Online software tutorials via LinkedIn Learning -The Students’ Union community -Career advice, CV creation, practice interviews, and more via our careers platform

Career prospects and opportunities

How could Queen Mary’s International Relations MA (Online) benefit my career?

“You will gain substantive knowledge about the history of the international system and how it is developing so that you have a view on the broader context in which companies, non-governmental organisations, charities, and so on operate in the world.”

-Jef Huysmans, International Relations MA Programme Director.

Queen Mary University of London is a member of the Russell Group of leading universities. Studying online with us gives you access to the highest quality of teaching and research, empowering you to achieve lifelong career success and make a global impact.

This course doesn’t train you for a specific job, but it gives you knowledge and transferrable skills that you can apply to a variety of roles in international relations.

You will get a broad understanding of international relations and how people in the international community analyse the world. For instance, how do changes in the international global economy impact on government policies? This knowledge will help you operate in various international settings.

You will gain the ability to listen to or read complicated material and pick out the core arguments quickly. You will also learn how to communicate your ideas and arguments effectively, both verbally and in writing. These are skills many employers value.

What additional career support is available from Queen Mary?

As an online student, you’ll have access to QM Careers and Enterprise throughout your studies and for up to two years after you graduate. The service offers information and guidance on a wide range of topics, from choosing a career to finding work experience and starting your own business.

Graduates from our programmes progress to diverse positions of responsibility in government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations and the not-for-profit sector as well as broader roles in the media and finance sector. They also go on to careers in academia and our programmes help students develop the required research skills.

Examples of roles graduates of our online MA have gone on to work in include:

  • Deputy Private Secretary, UK Ministry of Justice
  • Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Assistant, Embassy of Canada
  • Global Affairs Researcher, b’huth (Dubai Public Policy Research Centre)
  • Senior Analyst, Bank of England
  • Senior Consultant, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Senior Policy Planner, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

How to apply

Benefits of learning online with us

The usual entry requirement for the International Relations MA (Online) is for a 2.1 honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant subject, such as politics, international relations, history or economics.

However, if you have a 2nd class degree and at least three years’ relevant work experience, we may also consider your application.

If your first language is not English, you should also have one of the following:

  • IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall including 6.5 in Writing, and 5.5 in Reading, Listening and Speaking
  • TOEFL: 100 overall including 24 in Writing, 18 in Reading, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking
  • PTE Academic: 68 overall including 68 in Writing, and 51 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to apply, please get in touch with our course adviser team for advice.


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Share your details in order to receive information about this high quality online masters course.

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