International Relations MA

Study level: Postgraduate
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Our International Relations MA is both theoretical and practical and aims to prepare you for a career dealing with complex world issues.

Year of entry


Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



1 year full-time
2 years part-time

Course code


Start date

May 2023

Course overview

Are you interested in pursuing an international career in government, public administration, diplomacy, policy formation or research? You’ll examine and interpret challenges facing our interconnected world.

We cover themes like: globalisation, international law, international trade, diplomacy, war and peace. The course is designed to build on the strengths and expertise that the School of Humanities has in the field of international politics and security.

We adopt a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on theories and practice from political science, history, sociology, economics and cultural studies, among others.

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities4 and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities, to dedicated careers advice.

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Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

This fascinating course explores the discipline of international relations, from a theoretical and practical perspective and in the context of issues and events in contemporary politics and society.

  • Using case studies and actual events, you can explore the actions of governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental agencies, private enterprise and international bodies in relation to key threats to international cohesion, such as terrorism, insecurity, poverty and human trafficking.
  • You will have opportunities to gain insights into the motivations of policy-makers, as well as assessing the impact of these threats on individuals, communities and countries. 
  • To attain the award of Master of Arts, you will be required to complete an extended dissertation examining in depth an area of the course that particularly interests you, based on research undertaken with the support of a dedicated supervisor. In the last year, students have researched Europe’s refugee crisis; celebrity diplomacy; the implications of drone technology for diplomacy; the relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia; cyber diplomacy; and piracy off the coast of Nigeria.
  • The School of Humanities maintains an outstanding network of professional contacts spanning diplomats and diplomacy specialists in a range of prestigious external organisations, both private and public.
  • Our network includes: Chatham House; the International Slavery Museum; the Royal African Society. These links are reflected in regular talks and events. Past examples include workshops facilitated by the assistant district attorney of Sicily; a senior anti-trafficking prosecutor from Nigeria; the CEO of the NHS Counter-Fraud Authority; a senior manager from the UK’s National Crime Agency and a forensic accountant from the Italian national police (talks and events are subject to availability).
  • This distinctive and original course attracts students from the UK, the EU and overseas, all linked by a common interest in the nature of the world in which we live and the problems it confronts. It offers both an academically challenging experience and one that should be of practical use in a future career. 

Accreditation and professional recognition

This course is accredited1 and recognised by the following bodies:

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The course currently includes the  Chartered Management Institute (CMI) accredited module, Leading Strategic Change through Creativity and Innovation. Upon successful completion of the module, you will gain the CMI Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice at no additional cost. Further details can be found on the Professional Development module homepage.


What's studying at Coventry really like? Andreea-Madalina, from Romania, shares her experiences living and studying in the heart of Coventry.

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What you'll study

During the first two semesters, you will study eight mandatory modules designed to establish the core agenda of the programme. This course includes the Professional Development module. Each of the participating postgraduate courses have an individually tailored version of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Global Professional Development module.


  • The aim of the module is to enhance students' critical thinking and to highlight academic good practice. Issues considered are: evidence collection, methods of analysis, research ethics, academic writing, the nature of academic argument, and presentation strategies.


  • This module seeks to introduce students to one of the central debates on the changing character of the international system which is focused on the role of diplomacy, as both process and institutional mechanism. The module examines the development and nature of diplomacy and its changing role and modes of operation.


  • In recent years, resilience has become a dominant policy paradigm in International Relations (IR). Leading Western governments and international organizations have proposed resilience as a solution to the complex problems of an interconnected and globalised world, from counter-terrorism and economic development to public security and climate change. But, what exactly distinguishes a resilience approach to governance, development and security?


  • This module develops an advanced understanding of key theories that underpin the discipline of International Relations, and explores their relevance to real world events. Each text or school of thought studied will be tested by a case study.


  • This module seeks to provide students with an informed understanding of the key threats that are posed to Global Security. Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a widening in the number of the threats affecting individual, group, state and international security. To this end, the threat of major armed conflict between states that was a dominant feature of much of the twentieth and nineteenth centuries has been replaced by a range of new threats that include crime, economic inequality, poverty, environmental pollution, diseases, natural disasters, state collapse, non-state actors, terrorism and the re-emergence of racial and religious tension.


  • Governance, economic development, private sector trading, international security and sport are all impacted by the consequences of corruption. This module addresses the causes and impacts of corruption in the international system and engages in the critical debate on counter-corruption activities with concern to the effectiveness, practicality, and ethicality of these approaches.


  • This module invites students to interact with international security practitioners, seeking reflection upon how academic knowledge and ideas translate into ‘real world’ security practice. Is what is learnt in the classroom, and from the academic literature, reflected in the views, experiences and policies of individuals and organisations working in the field international security? Students will attend a series of workshops given by visiting international security practitioners, alongside visiting UK international security institutions.


  • This module is designed to provide the foundations of the theory and the praxis of war. Students attending this module will be introduced to the key concepts of, and will be encouraged to critically assess, past, present and future issues of violent conflicts, defence policies of great powers and relate them to the global political context of the 21st century.


  • This CMI1 module aims to provide students with a framework of knowledge and understanding of how to effectively lead and develop people in a strategically diverse and inclusive way whatever the master’s degree of specialisation they elect to follow.


  • This module is designed to enable students to complete a project entailing independent study and the use of appropriate research techniques and source materials. It may consist of a critical evaluation of literature, of a reassessment of evidence, of an evaluation of particular approaches or techniques, or of a limited piece of original or applied research. Data collection may be library or survey based, or informed by a period spent researching within an institution or organisation relevant to the student’s course.


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

The course has been devised primarily as a one-year full-time programme. It may also be taken over two years on a part-time basis with the part-time students participating in the same classes as the full-time students.

During the first two semesters, you will study eight mandatory modules designed to establish the core agenda of the programme. In Semester Three, you will be required to complete a 15,000-word dissertation and take the Global Professional Development module.

Teaching contact hours

In a typical week you will have up to 15 ‘contact’ hours of teaching. This generally breaks down as follows:

  • Large group teaching: 6 hours of plenary workshops each week.
  • Small/medium group teaching: 9 hours of group workshops each week.
  • The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2022/2023 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods include essays, a dissertation, reviews, reports, reflective writing, practical coursework, presentations and a management consultancy project. Assessment may also include exams, individual assignments or group work elements.

International experience opportunities

In addition to the international opportunities described above, the School of Humanities currently has a partnership with Lazarski University in Warsaw, Poland. There is the possibility of individual students exchanging with Lazarski under the Erasmus programme. Students from both institutions have also previously participated in Model European Parliaments, supported by EU funding, in Coventry and in Lecce, Italy2. We have also held Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) activities, including webinars and exchange visits, with the University of Costa Rica, the University of Buenos Aires and with the South-South International Cooperation organisation in Sicily2.

Entry requirements

Successful applicants should normally hold a second-class honours degree in a relevant discipline.

Applicants who can demonstrate considerable experience at an appropriate professional level but who do not have the formal academic entry qualifications may also be admitted, subject to an application and assessment.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Successful applicants should normally hold a second- class honours degree in a relevant discipline.

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall (with at least 5.5 in each component area)

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2022/23 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK £10,600 per year Not available
International £16,950 per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is joining two of our school’s completely refurbished Art and Design buildings and adding a range of new facilities, which is planned to fully open in 2023. These will include a hyper studio designed for cross-disciplinary projects; immersive studios with cutting-edge virtual reality and mixed-reality technologies4. Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities in a unique environment.

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The Library

The library offers a team of dedicated academic liaison librarians who provide specialist help and support. You’ll also have access to subject specific databases of journal articles related to international relations.

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Arts and Humanities Building

We are currently in the process of a major redevelopment of our Faculty of Arts and Humanities buildings. The building will be open to the public, as well as students, and will feature an expansive gallery space.

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Confucius Institute

The School of Humanities is home to the Confucius Institute. This is a collaboration created through a partnership with Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, which aims to promote an understanding of the Chinese language and culture.

Careers and opportunities

On successful completion, you should have knowledge of:

  • The nature of the international system and its development over time.
  • How international relations adapt to different political environments.
  • The conduct of international relations, as practised by key institutions and actors.
  • Differing approaches to, and prominent issues of debate within, the study of international relations.
  • How the boundaries of the subject matter are advanced through research by being at the forefront of the discipline.

You should be able to:

  • Critically review information sources, to gather and marshal relevant evidence successfully.
  • Apply knowledge of the dynamics of international relations in a wide range of situations and organisations.
  • Show awareness of, and sensitivity to, differing international environments and the impact these have on political, economic and social actors.
  • Apply advanced research skills, identify appropriate sources and methods, take personal responsibility and demonstrate initiative in dealing with complex and unpredictable environments.

Employers are looking for individuals with the ability to work across different cultures, to manage teams and possess problem-solving and critical analysis skills.

As well as giving you the opportunity to achieve two additional awards, the CMI accredited1 module will help set you apart in a competitive job market. It'll provide practical leadership skills to critically evaluate and develop solutions for complex issues that you will experience in your future organisations.

We encourage you to gain first-hand experience through volunteering and placement opportunities. Previously students have undertaken internships in embassies and high commissions, such as the Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, think-tanks, including the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin and the South-South International Cooperation organisation in Palermo, and undertaken research in universities abroad such as the Arab-American University in Jenin2.

Where our graduates work

The course prepares you for roles such as public administration within a Foreign Service or other government department, international civil service (such as the United Nations or European Union), international agencies and non-governmental organisations, as well as multinational corporations, the international media, teaching and research.

Our previous graduates have been successful in securing employment in the foreign services of a range of countries from Ethiopia to the UK, as well as working in government departments in Barbados, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the United Kingdom. Several have gone on to enter the diplomatic service in their home country; others have sought careers in international organisations, nongovernmental organisations, or international commerce and business.

How to apply

  • 1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2022/23 contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

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