Taught course

Politics and International Relations

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

Entry requirements

Please note that entry requirements for 2024/25 have not yet been confirmed. The entry requirements for 2023/24 were:

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

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 a degree in politics, economics, international relations or a related field is preferred. Relevant work experience may also be taken into account.

Pre-sessional English language programme

If you need to improve your English language score, you can take a pre-sessional English course prior to entry onto your degree.

Months of entry


Course content

The purpose of this programme is to prepare you for doctoral study, at Reading or elsewhere, in any area of Politics and International Relations. It is suitable for both graduates in Politics and/or International Relations and students with a background in other academic subjects.

You can select any modules that are offered by the Department of Politics and International Relations. You are, however, required to undertake thorough research training, delivered via three modules:

  • Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
  • Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods
  • Philosophical Issues in the Social Sciences.

This training forms the basis of your 13,000-15,000-word dissertation, supported by an expert adviser with knowledge of your area. The programme has Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recognition; at its conclusion, graduates are therefore qualified to apply for three-year (as opposed to 1+3) ESRC studentships.

Learn more about our experts

A strong foundation for future doctoral study

You will be fully prepared for doctoral research in any sub-discipline of Politics and International Relations, such as:

  • Diplomacy
  • Strategic Studies
  • Public Administration
  • Political Theory.

Besides the research training modules, you’ll be encouraged to tailor your studies to your future PhD research area. This approach aims to facilitate the completion of your doctoral dissertation within the three years allotted by most funding bodies.

The high degree of focus distinguishes our MRes programme from a more generalist MA. If you are unsure about the implications, we encourage you to consult our programme director.

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.

Fees and funding

New UK/Republic of Ireland students: £10,800

New international students: £22,350

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.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MRes
    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

Global Recruitment Team