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

September 2023
January 2024
May 2024

Course overview

If you are interested in pursuing an international career in government, public administration, diplomacy, policy formation or research - on this programme, you’ll examine and interpret the 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.
  • You'll benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed.
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Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2023

Why you should study this course

This 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.

  • You can expect to 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 assess the impact of these threats on individuals, communities and countries. 
  • The School of Humanities works to maintain a network of professional contacts spanning diplomats and diplomacy specialists in a range of prestigious external organisations, both private and public such as Chatham House, the International Slavery Museum and the Royal African Society. These links are reflected in hosted talks and events (subject to availability).
  • This 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. 

Collaborations with other organisations

Confucius Institute

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

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 module1.


  • The aim of the module is to enhance your 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 you to one of the central debates on the changing character of the international system which is focused on the role of diplomacy, as both a process and an 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 organisations 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 you with a critical understanding of the international human rights framework. You will engage with the history and theory of human rights, as well as its practical applications and challenges.
    In the first half of the module, you will explore the history of human rights and familiarise yourself with the fundamental rights as established in the European Convention of Human Rights. You will then critically engage with broader challenges of the human rights framework, such as the existence of non-enforceable rights like shelter, water, and education, as well as the need to strike a balance between rights and security.


  • 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 for the effectiveness, practicality, and ethicality of these approaches.


  • This module invites you 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? You may have the chance to attend a series of workshops given by visiting international security practitioners, alongside visiting UK international security institutions2.


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


  • This module explores the changing world of work which Arts and Humanities students enter after study. New technology and the changing global economy mean that jobs and skills are changing and evolving quickly and will continue to do so. This is an exciting and new world, and this module is designed to empower students to realise their potential in it. This module provides tools for students to develop into changemakers, thrive in a changing world of work and participate in creating a better future for society. Students will be guided through a process of reflection that explores four possible futures for the world of work and how to situate their own professional identity as the future of work changes through their careers. This module is designed in collaboration with The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and upon successful completion students will receive RSA digital badging.


  • This module is designed to enable you 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, a reassessment of evidence, 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 your course2.


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

The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester. However, on average, it is likely to be around 12 contact hours per week in the first year. The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 35 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.

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 2023/2024 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 on the module. Assessment methods could include:

  • Essays
  • A dissertation
  • Reviews
  • Reports
  • Reflective writing
  • Practical coursework
  • Presentations
  • Management consultancy project.

Assessment may also include exams, individual assignments or group work elements.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

International experience opportunities

In addition to the international opportunities2 already described, the School of Humanities currently has a collaboration with Lazarski University in Warsaw, Poland. Students from both institutions have also previously participated in Model European Parliaments in Coventry and in Lecce, Italy. We have also held Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) activities, including webinars and exchange visits2, with the University of Costa Rica, the University of Buenos Aires and with the South-South International Cooperation organisation in Sicily.2.

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

2023/24 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200   Request fee information
EU £11,200 per year with EU support bursary**
£18,600 per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £18,600   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.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU support bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in-line with that of UK students. Students studying a Degree with a Foundation Year with us are not eligible for the bursary.

  • 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 facilities4, which is planned to fully open in 2023. These will include a hyper studio designed for cross-disciplinary projects and immersive studios with cutting-edge virtual reality and mixed-reality technologies. Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities in a dedicated 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.

Faculty arts humanities new building illustration

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.

Four sat in a pod looking at a laptop and talking

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

Upon 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, manage teams and possess problem-solving and critical analysis skills.

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 could experience in your future organisations.

We encourage you to gain first-hand experience through volunteering and placement opportunities2. 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 departments, 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, non-governmental organisations or international commerce and business.

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 


    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 UK (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.


    Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), 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 2023/24 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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