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MA International Relations with Placement Year

Why choose Herts?

  • Industry-focused content: You will explore contemporary debates within international relations, to study energy scarcity, ecological changes, and ideas on global justice.
  • Work-placement opportunities: We offer advanced research and sandwich year pathway options with placements available in the media, at political organisations, and research institutes.
  • Employment prospects: Graduates work as policy advisers, communications managers, and researchers for NGOs, government institutions, and large multinational organisations.

About the course

Study our MA in International Relations to gain an understanding of the forces that shape global politics in the 21st Century. A postgraduate degree in international relations provides a pathway to a range of careers from policy-related roles in NGOs and government to vocational positions in the media and the private sector.

Whether your background is in politics and international relations, or another discipline, our MA equips you with the knowledge, skills and tools to critically analyse and tackle global society’s most pressing issues. Our innovative teaching methods, including simulations and panel-style debates, help establish a thorough grasp of the theoretical approaches and empirical methods used to study international relations. Specialist modules allow you to study and analyse a range of topics, from traditional issues like war, peace and security to more contemporary debates on the international economy, global ethics, energy scarcity, and ecological changes. Our lecturers are active researchers who will give insight into current debates, developments and perspectives within the discipline of international relations. You will undertake a dissertation, on a topic of your choice, and will be supervised through this task by one, or more, of the department’s dedicated research staff.

The MA is delivered with flexibility in mind, combining in-class activities with online learning provisions to ensure that studies can be balanced with other commitments, including work and family life. There are a number of different pathways on offer to fit with your individual needs and professional aims. The standard route MA is offered full-time (one year) or part-time (two years). Alternatively, you may wish to take a Sandwich option (two years full-time), which combines a year of university study with a year-long work placement, or the with Advanced Research route (two years full-time), where you will complete an extended, year-long research project in addition to one year of university study.

Sandwich pathway (Work-Placement)

Choosing the Sandwich route enhances your employability as it gives you an additional year to work in a policy-related field, the media or private sector. The Sandwich option offers you the opportunity to put your knowledge and skills into practice, as well as enrich your personal network of contacts.

Please contact Dr Benjamin Nutt for more information on the MA International Relations.

Why choose this course?

  1. Personal learning experience: You will be part of a closely connected community of students. Small class sizes and a large range of modules means you will benefit from extensive, personalised support that fits your individual study needs and development goals. 
  2. Research-led teaching: You’ll be taught by a team of researchers working at the forefront of the discipline of international relations. Build your experience and put your knowledge into action by getting involved in our research group events, such as workshops with experts in political research and practice. 
  3. Topical focus: You will study modules on topics that sit at the forefront of contemporary debates within international relations, including energy scarcity, ecological changes, and ideas pertaining to global justice. Expert staff will encourage you to explore how the traditional aspects of international relations are being challenged by current events and changes.
  4. Flexibility: You will have the opportunity to engage with course material in a manner that blends in class and online learning and suits your individual needs. Learning materials will be provided in a way that makes them accessible whatever your personal circumstances. 
  5. Join us in exploring how the world you live in operates and learn skills for life: Alongside your subject-based knowledge, we will help you develop a set of professional and interchangeable soft skills that will improve your overall employability. A postgraduate degree in international relations will hone and improve your communication, organisational, and critical analysis skills, providing you with tools that are appealing to future employers.
  6. Postgraduate survey: 3rd for hisotry and archaeology in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES, Advance HE, 2023).

Is this course for me?

This course would appeal to:

  • graduates who have just finished their BA degree in politics and/or international relations and would like to extend and deepen their knowledge of the subject
  • graduates from related disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, such as history, philosophy or sociology, who would like to focus their second degree on international politics
  • graduates who are looking for an MA degree which is taught in a flexible way and can be balanced with work and family commitments
  • UK and international graduates who seek to combine MA studies with advanced professional and research training
  • graduates who are looking for MA studies in a closely-knit, supportive research community, for example because they are returning to education as mature students
  • working, or retired, professionals who would like to expand their theoretical and empirical knowledge of the global political system.  

What will I study?

Our award winning lecturers are active researchers who will introduce and explain topics that are at the forefront of the discipline of international relations. The programme will be delivered using a number of different methods:

  • interactive lectures and seminars where you will be encouraged to participate in, and take ownership of, your own learning within a supportive and managed environment
  • simulation activities, which replicate the environment and experiences within which international relations take place
  • regular, detailed and personal supervision sessions for independent student research
  • opportunities to present your research at a student conference, where you will gain experience in presenting and providing answers to unprepared questions
  • external speakers and visits allow you to gain a wider understanding of where your degree fits into the broader framework of international politics
  • our study and research skills sessions are applied to the discipline, which means you will attain insights into how theories, methods and methodologies operate in a real research environment.
  • Level 7
    Debates and Dilemmas in International Relations30 CreditsCompulsory
    Energy and Environmental Politics15 CreditsOptional
    International Political Economy: Contemporary Dynamics and Approaches15 CreditsOptional
    Justice in International Relations15 CreditsOptional
    Governing the International, the Global, and the Planetary15 CreditsCompulsory
    Designing Research in Global Politics15 CreditsCompulsory
    Geopolitics: Development and Diplomacy15 CreditsOptional
    Work Placement - IR60 CreditsCompulsory
    Conflict, Peace and Security15 CreditsCompulsory
    Conspiracy and Truth in International Politics15 CreditsOptional
  • Key staff

    Dr Benjamin Nutt

    Find out more about Dr Benjamin Nutt

    Further course information

    Course fact sheets
    MA (SW) International Relations Download
    MA (SW) International Relations Download
    Programme specifications
    MA International Relations Download
    MA International Relations Download
    Additional information

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year


    Applications open to international and EU students


    Student experience

    At the University of Hertfordshire, we want to make sure your time studying with us is as stress-free and rewarding as possible. We offer a range of support services including; student wellbeing, academic support, accommodation and childcare to ensure that you make the most of your time at Herts and can focus on studying and having fun.

    Find out about how we support our students

    You can also read our student blogs to find out about life at Herts.