You will study a number of 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 programmes, introducing you 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.
Research Methods 1 Introduction to Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches
This module is designed to equip students with theoretical, conceptual and practical research skills at an advanced level of study. The module will examine typical sociological, political science and psychological research questions in relation to the methodologies used to answer them. Students will explore the epistemological issues surrounding quantitative and qualitative approaches and the ways in which these considerations produce different types of knowledges which will be examined in the context of their theoretical traditions. The module will cover introductory methods training in tools such as ethnography, narrative, statistical and discourse analytical methods. Students will use SPSS and NVivo in the physical application of these analysis approaches. This model enhanced autonomous skill development and fosters the ability of students to make professional academic judgments about the application of research methods to their specific research question.
Research Methods 2 Advanced Research Methodology
Research Methods 2: Advanced Research Methodology aims to provide detailed and in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of: advanced quantitative and qualitative theoretical approaches to social research. Advanced research design, data collection, and data analysis tools within the social, psychological and political sciences will be the main focus. The module is designed to allow students to develop their MSc dissertation proposal by focusing on hypothesis and research question development, methodological issues, literature review, structural and content concerns, and the overall management of a larger piece of research in social sciences.
Advanced Principles of International Relations
This module will introduce students to key schools of thought, overarching concepts and definitions from within Politics and International Relations, and their practical application in international affairs. We will utilise theories and analytical frameworks which best aid our understanding of the concepts which are central to our discipline. Bringing together different topics such as climate change, populism and racism, and discussing these in light of leading theories within Politics and International Relations, the module will demonstrate how theories help to understand complex phenomena and therefore provide an analytical frame within the study of Politics and International Relations.
Critical Issues in Politics and International Relations: Shifting Perspectives
The aim of this module is to engage with contemporary political topics and discuss and analyse these through the lenses of different methodological approaches used in Politics and International Relations. Looking at a variety of contemporary debates in Politics and International Relations (for example, migration, minority rights, war and conflict, peace-building, morality and politics, political leadership), students will engage in discussions on the relevance of these themes for contemporary debates in the media and daily politics. The module engages in a multi-disciplinary approach, and brings together different perspectives and scholarship in Politics and IR.
Advanced Marxism (Specialised Module 1)
The module aims to provide students with a knowledge of key advanced debates in the study of Marxism, drawing on philosophy, political theory and the history of political thought. Starting with a discussion on the works of Karl Marx and his link to Marxism as a theory, the module discusses Marxist writing in light of wider (contemporary) debates, such as Marxism and Justice, and Marxism and Ecological concerns.
Radical Political Thought (Specialised Module 2)
The module aims to address a range of crucial political and philosophical themes and issues at the heart of contemporary radical political thought, including Marxism/post-Marxism and Anarchism/post-Anarchism. As such, the module draws on the discipline areas of political philosophy, and positive political theory as established in the study of Political Theory and International Relations. Attention will be given to the problem of economic determinism, the issues of ideology, revolutionary morality, strategy, democracy and ‘emancipatory knowledge’. Key thinkers to be explored include Althusser, Laclau and Mouffe, Geras, Badiou, and Žižek.
Students are required to complete a 18,000 word dissertation. The subject of the dissertation is chosen by the students, and they will be supported by a member of staff who will act as their supervisor throughout the writing process. The aim of the dissertation is for the student to apply their knowledge gained in the specialised modules to a specific topic, and demonstrate that they can apply the methodological debates from Research Methods 1 and 2 to a larger piece of individual research in social science.
All of these graduate modules have been carefully and methodically laid out in a clear and comprehensive fashion, to prepare you in the most thorough and engaging way possible both to manage your accompanying specialism modules, and to then undertake the graduate dissertation that completes the totality of the degree pathway.
Attention is paid to developing transferrable skills in all five of these core modules, generating a variety of viable research skills and techniques, a range of written outputs, and increasing confidence in giving oral presentations. From this foundation of 80 credits, you then take another 40 credits of taught modules, deepening your political theory specialism, and further preparing you for your selected dissertation topic.