Taught course

International Relations

Birkbeck, University of London · School of Social Sciences

Entry requirements

Our standard postgraduate entry requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification.

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry

January, October

Course content

International relations (IR) refers to a dynamic and popular discipline that examines how various actors, including nation-states, multinational corporations and inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, interact and pursue often conflicting agendas beyond national borders.

Our MSc International Relations introduces you to the latest, most influential scholarship in the field of IR by combining a focus on fundamental theoretical perspectives with comprehensive coverage of contemporary topics relating to both the Global North and Global South. Our teaching draws on the diverse expertise of our research-active academics who are keen to share their insights and experience.

You will study modules that address the question of an evolving world order alongside the latest global power shifts in security and political economy. Following this, a rich curriculum of option modules gives you the opportunity to follow your interests and expand your understanding of distinct themes and disparate regional dynamics.


  • Birkbeck is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research in politics. We organise a lively programme of seminars and conferences and are home to affiliated research centres, such as the Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life, which run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
  • Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, publishing and delivering stimulating teaching in a wide range of political topics including civil society and the state, public policy, development, gender, international security and terrorism, and social and political theory, among others.
  • Our location in central London puts us at the heart of the UK’s political life and at the centre of academic London. You can walk down to Parliament and Whitehall, while Bloomsbury contains some of the world’s most famous libraries and centres of research. Our departmental building was once a key location for members of the Bloomsbury Group, so you could be studying in rooms that have hosted distinguished visitors, including T.S. Eliot, George Bernard Shaw and Maynard Keynes.
  • You can take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, which is right next door to Birkbeck, the British Library, which is five minutes’ walk away, and the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, which is also walkable from Birkbeck. Birkbeck Library has a large politics collection, including the major specialist journals, and provides you with access to an extensive range of online materials.

Careers and employability

You will find international relations graduates following various different career paths including:

  • specialist jobs in public bureaucracies including national foreign ministries and diplomatic missions as well as international organisations
  • jobs in local government, trades unions, political parties and NGOs
  • research positions in universities and other public and private research bodies
  • teaching in higher, further and secondary education
  • (political) journalism
  • political or civic activism
  • political consultancy.

We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44 (0)20 3907 0700