Taught course

International Relations

University of Reading · School of Politics, Economics and International Relations

Entry requirements

Entry requirements: Normally a good undergraduate honours degree (high 2.2 level or above), or equivalent from a university outside the UK. All of our programmes are appropriate for students from any disciplinary background, although an arts, business, humanities or social science subject is preferred. Relevant work experience may also be taken into account.

Months of entry


Course content

Critically analyse contemporary issues, actors and processes in world politics with our MA International Relations programme.

Contemporary international relations are marked by significant transformations and challenges affecting the world around us in critical ways – from the rise of non-western powers and challenges to the western-led international order to climate change, global health pandemics, terrorism, and financial crises.

You will study key aspects of international relations in a theoretically informed, analytically and methodologically rigorous way. It builds on a set of important theories of international relations, including non-western perspectives – and offers the opportunity for specialisation in various aspects of:

  • international politics
  • strategic studies
  • international law
  • international organisations
  • diplomacy
  • public policy

Explore key concepts and theories of international relations

Critically examine contemporary international politics through the lens of the core theories, as you study and evaluate competing theoretical arguments to reach clear conclusions abouttheir strengths and weaknesses.

Familiarise yourself with various non-western theories and concepts related to international politics. You’ll understand the relevant differences between these theories and concepts and their western counterparts, and critically evaluate non-western theories and apply them to recent events and development on the international political stage.

Develop key employability skills

By the end of the programme, you’ll have the capacity to critically engage with relevant scholarly debates within international relations.
You will be able to develop coherent arguments and assess and test these arguments through appropriate social science methods, using a variety of academic sources.
Through small group seminar discussions, presentations and essays, you will become confident and effective in oral and written communication, data collection and analysis, and other practical skills.

Build in-depth research expertise

The Quantitative Research Methods module will help you identify relevant sources of data, understand the process of collecting data, become familiar with principal types of statistical analysis, assess quantitative results in existing political science and international relations research, and use statistical techniques to test hypotheses from their research.

You will acquire a solid understanding of research design and a wide range of qualitative methods used in social science research. You will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of these methods, and use them for your own research.

As part of your master’s degree, you'll complete a research dissertation. It's an opportunity for you to carry out independent research supervised in a specific topic or issue – supervised by an expert – and contribute new insights to the current scholarly debate.

Learn more about our experts.

Department of Politics and International Relations at University of Reading

  • Recognised for research quality: 97% of our research outputs are rated ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, meaning that the University of Reading is 6th highest in the UK for research outputs (Times Higher Education analysis of the latest REF 2021 – Politics and International Studies, when scoring by GPA Output)
  • Wide-ranging expertise: Our areas of strength include Applied Political Theory, Comparative Politics, Public Policy Analysis, Conflict, Security, Strategy and International Relations.
  • Research-led, relevant teaching: Our academics regularly feature in academic literature and the media, offering their expertise on current issues. Learn more about how we engage in real-world politics.
  • Exciting optional modules: Across all of our master's degrees, you’ll have the flexibility to study the subjects you're most passionate about.
  • Wide variety of teaching and assessment methods: Teaching primarily occurs through small discussion-based seminars, supplemented by lectures and other activities. Assessments range from traditional essays and oral presentations to various ‘real-world’ assignments such as policy papers.

Information for international students

IELTS: 6.5 overall with no element less than 5.5 (or equivalent)

Fees and funding

UK students
International students
Tuition fee information

The fees listed are for full-time study, unless otherwise stated. Fee information will be confirmed in offer letters sent out to successful applicants. You can find further information, including information for part-time study, through our dedicated fees and funding page.

EU student fees

With effect from 1 August 2021, new EU students will pay international tuition fees. For exceptions, please read the UK government’s guidance for EU students.

Additional costs

Some courses will require additional payments for field trips and extra resources. You will also need to budget for your accommodation and living costs. See our information on living costs for more details.

Financial support for your studies

You may be eligible for a scholarship or bursary to help pay for your study. Students from the UK may also be eligible for a student loan to help cover these costs. See our fees and funding information for more information on what's available.

International students applying to study this degree may also be eligible to apply for a Chevening Scholarship.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details

Global Recruitment Team