MA International Relations

Why choose Herts?

  • Research opportunities: Benefit from advanced research and Placement Year pathway options (with placements available in the media, at political organisations, and research institutes).
  • Industry-focused content: Explore contemporary debates within international relations whilst studying energy scarcity, ecological changes, and ideas on global justice.
  • Employment prospects: Our graduates work as policy advisers, communications managers, and researchers for NGOs, government institutions, and large multinational organisations.

Alumni Stories

Jacob Dyer

Meet Jacob. After completing his A-levels, Jacob saw an opportunity to try something new and has since completed an undergraduate and postgraduate course at Herts.

Current job roleCommissioning Specialist for an open-access academic publisher
Year of graduation2020, 2021
Course of studyBA (Hons) Politics and International Relations, MA International Relations
Jacob Dyer at graduation

Trying something new 

After completing his A-levels, Jacob saw an opportunity to try something new and applied to study politics at Herts. He says, ‘They took a chance and offered me a place on their undergraduate programme. I enjoyed every moment of the course and I got to know my lecturers well – they were second to none.’

The quality of teaching and the postgraduate alumni discount convinced Jacob to stay at Herts after his undergraduate degree and complete his masters here too. He says, ‘When I heard that they were introducing an MA programme in International Relations, I relished the opportunity to continue receiving their tutelage. It was an easy decision for me.’

Making friends for life 

Since graduating, Jacob continues to meet up with friends he met on the course and those he lived with. He says, ‘We had the best time at Herts and supported each other throughout. The support network we created was great, and it was fantastic to be able to work with people from different backgrounds.’

Falling in love with academia 

Jacob is now a Commissioning Specialist at an open-access academic publisher, where he works with academics to create collections of research in a variety of different fields, increasing the number of open-access research available to the public. He is hoping to begin his PhD soon and has ambitions to become a lecturer. He says, ‘My time studying at Herts has made me want to remain in academia for the rest of my life. I want to continue learning and teach a new generation of students.’

Jacob believes that building a network at university is one of the most important things you can do. His advice to others is to, ‘Find your niche and explore what you can do with your degree. But most importantly, enjoy your time here!’

Alumni Stories

Harry Barnes

Meet Harry. He turned a keen interest in politics and history into a career and is now working for a Member of Parliament.

Current job roleWorking in an MP’s constituency office
Year of graduation2020, 2021
Course of studyBA (Hons) Politics and International Relations, MA International Relations
A picture of Harry Barnes

From undergrad to postgrad

Harry had a keen interest in politics and history and wanted to build on what he had learnt during his A-levels. He felt that the undergraduate politics and international relations programme at Herts offered him that and says, ‘I saw the course as an opportunity to turn a passion into a valuable qualification. I lived in Hertfordshire too, so the location of the University allowed me to continue working part-time time whilst I studied.’

Harry was impressed by the quality of teaching during his undergraduate course and said that it was an easy choice to complete his postgraduate degree, MA International Relations, at Herts too. He says, ‘Both courses had a broad mix of modules, and your knowledge was assessed by a combination of written tasks and engaging practical exercises, which I enjoyed.’

Like many students, Harry fitted in visits to the EleHouse and midweek events at The Forum between his studies. But when he needed to work hard, he spent most of his time at the de Havilland Learning Resources Centre (LRC). He says, ‘The LRC was quiet, had plenty of space and was a short walk from everything else on campus.’

After Herts

Since graduating from Herts, Harry has worked in a public relations role before moving to a position in an MP’s constituency office. There, he works with government departments and external stakeholders to help constituents. He says, ‘I spend a lot of time sorting issues with passport and visa applications, social housing, and assisting with benefits claims. Another big part of the role is communicating the MP’s position on a variety of topics and making people aware of the work they do locally and in Parliament.’

Harry’s advice

Harry’s best advice for current and future students is to ‘make use of your tutors and use the library’. He adds, ‘I know this seems obvious, but once I took advantage of all the support available, I saw a huge improvement in my work. And never be afraid to ask your lecturers if you’re unsure about a concept or theory.’

About the course

The MA International Relations course provides students with a contemporary, critical, and exciting insight into the vagaries of global politics. Students will study a range of modules, taught by research-active staff who are experts in their fields. The modules are assessed through a variety of both traditional, such as essays, presentations, critical reviews, and non-traditional, such as podcasts, blogs, simulations, assignments, which aim to assess and develop not only discipline-related knowledge but also transferable, soft skills necessary for future employment. Students will also complete a 12,000-word research dissertation on a topic of their choice. Whether it’s the recent Covid-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, the energy crisis, or the war in Ukraine, International Relations has never been more relevant. 

This degree is aimed at applicants who wish to find employment in careers that require advanced research and communication skills, such as government departments, non-governmental organisations, businesses, marketing, journalism, or those wishing to proceed to postgraduate research. 

Pathway Options  

Why choose this course?

  • Innovative curriculum: Modules are varied with contemporary relevance to current developments in international relations. These modules provide students with a critical insight into the realities and workings of the international political system. 
  • Geographic location: The University of Hertfordshire campus is situated within a 20-minute train ride to and from London. London is a global hub for political activity, our excellent location allows students to benefit from opportunities provided in the capital. 
  • Flexibility and skills: The range of study routes and entry points available allow students to develop core transferable skills and to tailor studies to meet individual needs and career aspirations. 
  • Research-led teaching: Students benefit from extensive in-class contact with expert research-active staff.  
  • Diverse cohort: Learn alongside an internationally diverse group of students in a department with extensive experience teaching both home and international students. 

Is this course for me? 

This course would appeal to: 

  • graduates who have completed their BA degree in politics and/or international relations and would like to extend and deepen their subject knowledge 
  • graduates from related disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, such as history, philosophy or sociology, keen to focus or specialise in international politics
  • graduates seeking a flexible MA degree to balance with work and family commitments
  • UK and international graduates looking to combine MA studies with advanced professional and research training
  • graduates seeking MA studies in a closely-knit, supportive research community and those to education as mature students
  • working or retired professionals looking to expand theoretical and empirical knowledge of the global political system.   

What will I study?

Our award-winning lecturers are delivered by research-active staff who will introduce and explain topical matters across the discipline of international relations. You will: 

  • participate in interactive stimulating lectures and seminars and take ownership of your own learning within a supportive and managed environment
  • engage in simulation activities which replicate the international relations environment and experiences
  • benefit from regular detailed and personal supervision sessions to support your independent research
  • gain experience in presenting your research at a student conference where you will provide answers to unprepared questions
  • have external speakers and industry visits allowing you to gain a wider understanding of where your degree fits into the broader framework of international politics
  • attain insights through research study sessions looking into how theories, methods and methodologies operate in a real research environment. 
  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Debates and Dilemmas in International Relations 30 Credits Compulsory
    International Relations Dissertation 60 Credits Compulsory
    Governing the International, the Global, and the Planetary 15 Credits Compulsory
    Designing Research in Global Politics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Conflict, Peace and Security 30 Credits Optional
    Energy and Environmental Politics 15 Credits Optional
    International Political Economy: Contemporary Dynamics and Approaches 15 Credits Optional
    Justice in International Relations 15 Credits Optional
    Geopolitics: Development and Diplomacy 15 Credits Optional
  • Key staff

    Dr Benjamin Nutt

    Find out more about Dr Benjamin Nutt

    Further course information

    Course fact sheets
    MA International Relations Download
    Programme specifications
    MA International Relations Download
    Additional information

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year

    n/a

    Applications open to international and EU students

    Yes

    The expertise, support, and familiarity that the lecturers have brought to this MA in International Relations has been second-to-none. They are always willing to discuss and debate concepts and ideas beyond what is analysed during a lecture; encouraging emails and video calls to stay in touch and to develop yourself and your understandings endlessly

    Jacob Dyer

    MA International Relations (Full Time)

    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.