The engaging, open and intellectually stimulating teaching constantly pushes you to better your understanding of the world, and you are allowed a degree of independence through all aspects of learning.


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1 year




Our MSc International Relations will help you tackle the ‘big issues’ in international politics with confidence and curiosity, equipping you for career paths in local, national, and international arenas thanks to innovative modules and a ‘calling card’ thesis.

On the course you will be introduced to the fundamental principles of global interaction, and refine your knowledge within specialist classes. You will learn in a systematic and engaging way about the origins, evolution and multifaceted character of the international political system. The Security Studies specialism provides specialist insights on power, influence and governance within key national, regional and international structures.

Our graduates are well placed to specialise in careers connected to key areas of international relations, enhanced with expertise in security.

Entry requirements

Our standard offer is a 2:2 or above, preferably in directly relatable subjects within the social and political sciences. This can include previous study in the area of international relations, although cognate subjects including history, law, comparative studies, or the broader range of sociology and psychology will also be considered providing undergraduate marks obtained are robust enough. This is in addition to two letters of recommendation, and a brief personal statement outlining interest and areas of specialism being considered, as well as a complete CV.

The University has a well-established Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) and Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) structure in operation. Students without previous qualifications may be accepted as part of this process. If you are unsure whether your qualifications are appropriate please contact us directly:

If English is not your first language you require an IELTS overall score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5 for most standard undergraduate and postgraduate courses. There are some exceptions and if the IELTS requirement differs it will be specified on the course page.

Honours degree in related subject

All about the course

Through a combination of core and specialist modules, the MSc in International Relations is constructed around a series of modules that will help you analyse the multifaceted origins, evolution and conflictual development of the international political system. 

You will explore the analytical application of a range of the core theories and contemporary concepts that make up the canon of International Relations. You will also interrogate the relative merits and shortcomings of ideologies, political, economic and socio-cultural philosophies, structures of power, and systems of governance across in order to better understand the global political system. 

Modules on International Relations (as well as the Security Studies specialism) are comprised of formal lectures on key themes of IR, security and globalisation, and interactive seminars that explore global actors, structures, and policies, making use of a robust range of teaching and learning styles to deconstruct this complex and fast changing subject area. 

Based on nationally recognized, award winning teaching styles, graduate classes are engaging and interactive, ranging from simulation games that reflect the actual workings of an international institution or a given security actor, to negotiation-based group work, as well as the analysis of key international policy texts, treaties or conventions, Students are encouraged to produce work in the form of briefing notes, blogs and pieces of advocacy, all focusing on contemporary challenges to the international structure, ensuring that students completing the MSc in International Relation graduate with an advanced knowledge of their chosen area through the most contemporary pedagogic styles. 

Module information

You will follow five core modules, which provide a comprehensive foundation for the pathway as a whole. The modules are taught to all graduate students within the Politics/International Relations programme, introducing them to basic concepts, working approaches, research methodologies and current political dilemmas that help link the scholarly subject matter of International Relations, Politics and European Politics to real-world issues.

Core/optional modules

*Modules subject to validation

How you’ll learn

The MSc in International Relations programme utilises a wide range of innovative teaching and learning methods, including: 

  • Interactive lectures 
  • Practical classes 
  • Workshops 
  • Virtual learning environments 
  • Seminars 
  • Simulation games 
  • Problem based learning group work 
  • Tutorials with supervisors, where graduate students will study in an informative, engaging, stimulating and participative environment. 

The MSc in International Relations will assist you in developing a range of communication skills, helping you to then tackle the disciplinary content of your pathway, develop your confidence regarding the advanced management of a wide range of information (i.e. comprehension, analysis, description, critical thinking) and improve your overall range of understanding and knowledge. 

Modules themselves, both core and specialism, comprise formal presentations by core and guest lecturers, with a wide range of interactive Q&A, individual presentations, group work, simulation games and workshop methods designed to allow students to get the very most out of each weekly session. 

In course contact hours are supplemented by a wide range of module based support on the Blackboard VLE used by CCCU, which will allow you to engage in blended learning beyond the classroom, whilst still receiving support and direction by your module conveners. Weekly office hours are offered by all course moderators, while  

individuated support from module conveners, thesis supervisors and university support staff ensures students receive support at all phases of their graduate development. 

Graduate modules are generally four hours in duration per week, with three modules offered each semester (e.g. Research Methods 1, Advanced Politics and International Relations, and Contemporary Security in 

Semester, which ensures a manageable balance in terms of working hours, and a reliable method of acclimatising students to the rigours of preparing a complete thesis during the Spring and Summer Semesters. 

Taught modules (both core and specialist) are offered during Autumn and Spring terms, for a duration of 12 weeks, comprising an average of 50 teaching hours, and 200 hours of independent. student learning (e.g. 4 hours of independent preparation for each hour in the classroom). 

Students can also expect to have assessment returned, with thorough, relevant and personalized feedback within a maximum of three weeks of submission, via the Blackboard VLE. Subsequent discussions are then encouraged in order to ensure a positive trajectory in terms of student performance, within and across the core and specialist modules. 

Core and specialist lectures and seminars are delivered by Politics/IR staff; guest lecturers are drawn in from other departments and faculties across the university; doctoral students are occasionally invited to share their perspective on their research. 

The vast majority of teaching on all three of our graduate pathways is provided by our fully accredited and full time Politics/IR staff, not by graduate students.

You will be taught by a team of experts, who have engaged in practical consultancy on a variety of issues linked to security studies, including advising in peace processes and working with the European Space Agency.

Soeren KeilProgramme Director

How you’ll be assessed

Students of the MSc in International Relations will be assessed through a range of methods, including essays, briefing notes, book reviews, portfolios, individual and group oral presentations, action research, political role play, simulations, standard examinations, as well as a sustained piece of academic work in the form of a thesis, all of which take account of two key interdependent aspects: 

  • The acquisition of relevant knowledge and understanding in the area of International Relations; and 
  • The development of academic style and practical skills in the area of International Relations and the Security Studies Specialism. 

Accordingly, assessment procedures are designed to test the acquisition and needs of graduate students in terms of their newly attainment and management of broad areas of knowledge and understanding in their chosen subject area, as well as the various transferrable skills by which that knowledge is acquired. 

Your future career

An MSc in International Relations will provide you with an exceptionally wide knowledge base, allowing you to command both the organising principles and nuanced specifics of the contemporary regional, international and global structure. 

This innovative, relevant and marketable degree will ensure you with a refined understanding of international relations as a whole, as well as the role and application of your Security Studies specialism. 

In order to complete this demanding degree, you will be able to thoroughly and expertly use a wide range of sources and forms of information to critically assess the contemporary international structure, its various distributions of power and influence, and ensuing forms of authority and governance within national, regional and international modes. You will also be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the numerous forms of security, from the canon of securitisation studies to myriad practical examples of political, economic, social and even cultural security implicit in the concept of a world that is increasingly interdependent and yet predisposed to enduring state structures. As such, you will emerge with an enduring understanding of both the contemporary international structure, in terms of its various distributions of power, wealth and interactive mechanisms of governance, from traditional sovereign units to international level structures. 

Throughout the year, you will be provided with curriculum based expertise informed by the IRoriented research activities and policy specialisms of the staff. This promotes a depth of intellectual inquiry and a practical quality to the debate amongst other students within and beyond the classroom, which you will subsequently convert into concise and clearheaded thinking in future roles. You will also emerge with the tools to operate in a culturally and socially sensitive learning and working environment. 

Further transversal graduate skills obtained include comparative, analytical, research and writing based tools facilitated by the curriculum requirements, as well as the opportunities to fine tune skills in oral presentation, group work and sustained individual research. 

Students graduating from our MSc degrees in Politics and International Relations have gone on to work in the diplomatic service, for non-governmental organisations, in the civil service, and in the private sector. 

After completion of bachelor's degree in English and French language, I pursued further studies in the Master's degree programme 'European Politics with Diplomacy Specialism' at the CCCU (year of graduation, 2017). It was an opportunity to develop myself beyond my engineering skills as well as to study, interact and share knowledge with world renowned experts in politics. One of the many benefits of studying in the UK was the language itself. Currently, I am developing a career in the field of diplomacy as an officer at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.

Lucia BačováMSc in European Politics, 2016/17, Officer, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic


Government loans of up to £11,570 are available for some postgraduate Master’s courses for students starting their course from 1 August 2021. Loans are subject to both personal and course eligibility criteria.

The rules around course eligibility mean that in some cases it may depend on how you are studying (full-time or part-time) as to whether you can apply for a postgraduate loan. To check whether your course is eligible, you can email the Student Fees Team or call 01227 923 948.

2022/23 tuition fees for this course

  UK Overseas
Full-time £8,250 £14,500
Part-time £4,125 N/A

20% Alumni Discount

We offer alumni discounts on CCCU Postgraduate Taught, PGCE Primary and Secondary, and Masters by Research courses for eligible students.

Find out if you're eligible for the discount.


Important Information on Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for all courses which last more than one academic year are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

There will be an annual inflationary increase in tuition fees for this course where the course lasts more than one academic year. For further information read the 2022/23 Tuition fee statements and continuing fee information.

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1 year