International Relations MA

Develop a comprehensive knowledge and an advanced understanding of key concepts and theoretical approaches relating to international relations 


Our International Relations course recognises the international and the global as spaces of ‘contentious’ politics, that are often structured by inequalities – including, for example, racialised, gendered, and classed inequalities – within, between, and across different societies.

Our course will help you develop a comprehensive knowledge and an advanced understanding of key concepts and theoretical approaches relating to international relations and to critically apply these to a range of contemporary global issues, such as global political economy, development, global governance, security, foreign policy, inequality and livelihoods, in innovative and creative ways.

You will engage with a range of traditional and cutting-edge theoretical and analytical approaches to the study of international relations as global politics, moving beyond a traditional focus on the role of states to examine and evaluate a wide range of non-state actors such as international organisations, transnational social movements, transnational corporations, global civil society as well as local social organisations and political actors. 

Key features

  • You can exit the course with a Postgraduate Diploma or a Postgraduate Certificate depending on the credits you have successfully achieved.
  • Modules are research-led and move beyond a traditional focus of international relations to address key global challenges such as poverty and inequality, development, gender inequality, democracy, work and precarity.
  • Through the study of everyday lives and experiences, you will assess the ways in which the global is embedded in the local and develop a sense of global civic responsibility and political possibility.
  • Develop and apply values, skills, knowledge and behaviours that will enable you to contribute to the development of a just, peaceful and sustainable world.
  • Benefit from research-led teaching delivered by subject experts as well as further opportunities such as study trips, guest speakers and events organised by our research centres. 

Apart from the knowledge I obtained at DMU on international relations and global problems, I broadened my perspective on how I think about these challenges and their solutions, helping me to better deal with the multicultural and transnational challenges in my daily work.

Mildred Hauck, student

Talk to our course team

If you would like to find out more about how this course can help you achieve your career ambitions, send a message to our course team [Zoe Pflaeger Yung] who would be happy to chat to you. Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate event or call our course enquirers team on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70 / WhatsApp: 0797 0655 800.


DMU offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships and bursaries to help you realise your academic ambitions.

International student scholarships

Find out about available international scholarships or visit our fees and funding page for more information.


DMU has been shortlisted for the Postgraduate Award in the 2024 Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs), as voted for by students.

  • UK
  • EU/International

Start date: September 2024

Duration: One year full-time. Two years part-time.

Fees and funding:

2024/25 tuition fees for UK students: £9,435.

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Find out more about additional costs and optional extras associated with this course.

Start date: September 2024

Duration: One year full-time

Fees and funding:

2024/25 tuition fees for EU and international students: £15,800

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Find out more about additional costs and optional extras associated with this course.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements

You should have the equivalent or above of a 2:2 UK bachelor’s honours degree in politics, international relations or a related subject. We encourage and welcome applications from applicants with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.


Non-standard applicants will be invited to attend an interview.

International students

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each band, or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessment

Teaching contact hours


Course modules

Block 1: Culture, Negotiation and Policy Formation

You will engage with the politics of policy making with consideration of political culture and including aspects of diplomacy, legislation, leadership, doctrines, governance, staffing and the role of the media. You will gain an understanding of how government policy formation occurs and the context in which it takes place.

You will have the opportunity to engage directly with policy making practitioners at the local, national and international levels. The module also draws on research expertise and direct experience of the academic team to underscore the links between policy making theory and practice, via specific examples such as anti-racism. Through simulation exercises, you will gain practical experience of political negotiation and policy formation, utilising intercultural skills and global awareness.

Assessment: Throughout the module you will work on a position paper and reflective account relating to a simulation exercise (65%) and a policy briefing paper (35%).

Block 2: Theory and Practice of International Relations

You will critically engage with the key approaches and perspectives informing the theorising of international relations  - you will apply theoretically informed thinking in real-life cases in contemporary world politics covering a broad breadth of issue areas: state-/nation-/ region-building processes, inter-state relations and foreign policy, power, order, security, populism and democracy, politics beyond the nation-state, state-society and state-economy relations, social movements, gendered, racialised, and classed processes in global politics.

You will also examine the contemporary theoretical innovations and alternative paradigms emerging within/beyond international relations such as global historical sociology, international political sociology, and international political economy. In the module, special attention will be paid to improve your independent research and academic writing skills through engaging with conducting a literature review, constructing a theoretically-informed argument, and applying theory to practice.

Assessment: Throughout the module you work on a literature review essay (35%) and reflective pieces applying theory to the key issues and challenges examined in the module (65%).

Block 3: Global Political Economy and Development

In this module, students will examine the political, sociological and cultural underpinnings of the contemporary global economy, in order to understand how it has come about and why it has taken the particular form it has. Drawing on global histories and interrogating eurocentric approaches, global capitalist development will be placed in a historical context, which is marked by unevenness and inequalities. Students will engage with the key theories and concepts from approaches to global political economy, such as power, ideas and institutions, as well as race, class and gender. The module also examines the key features of the contemporary global economy and their evolution under neoliberal globalisation, such as finance, trade, production, social reproduction and development. We will ask how these can help us in addressing the key global challenges faced today such as poverty and inequality, gender and development, food security, climate change and development, and work and precarity. In the module, we will pay particular attention to experiences of development in the Global South, examining the role of development institutions as well as alternative approaches to development and possibilities for resistance and transformation.

Assessment: The presentation is based on a group project focusing on a key issue/challenge and apply to a specific case study. It can take the form of a pre-recorded presentation, blog or podcast. (100%).

Block 4: Global Transformations: Space, Society and Livelihoods

This module takes a bottom-up approach to examine the complexity of global challenges as they are experienced at the local level in everyday lives. Increasing neoliberalisation, austerity, and precarity, both in the Global South and Global North, have been creating ‘other’ everyday lives for the majority of people living in villages, towns, cities or megacities (city-regions). The belief that modernisation and economic growth will improve people’s life-chances in the capitalist market by ensuring a successful integration into the public life of civil society has been challenged by inequities and precarities encountered in everyday living that increasingly connects the local with the global through the circulation of ideas, policies, money, goods and services.  This module aims to provide conceptual tools and case studies to help you untangle and assess the complexity that global challenges pose to local and everyday living and policymaking (and vice versa).

Using an interdisciplinary approach that borrows from urban politics, governance, sociology and gender and decoloniality, the module will underline the different parallel lives and alternative strategies to capitalist economies, which have been unable to include -through the universality of its infrastructure, housing or waged labour- the prosperity originally envisaged. In analysing these strategies, other challenges and insecurities will be considered, in thinking how to build alternative governance arrangements and structures to help achieve more just places to live.

Assessment: Portfolio to include an essay (50%) and a case study report (50%).

Block 5 and 6: Dissertation

You will 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. It will build on the foundation provided by the taught modules on the MA programmes for which it is the dissertation module and may involve either the fuller development of subject matter and techniques encountered in the taught programme or the exploration of new areas and techniques appropriate to the overall programme of study.

You will be encouraged to identify and use appropriate research methods and skills. A major aim of the dissertation is to encourage you to relate concepts and frameworks to empirical evidence and to encourage the critical appreciation of both techniques and evidence. 

The module will contain a taught element in which students investigate how to formulate a research problem, define research aims and objectives, design a research project and formulate and utilise appropriate research methodologies and ethical approaches. This forms the basis of the research proposal to be shared and discussed with the dissertation supervisors. The rest of the module consists of self-directed study as students under the supervision of an allocated supervisor undertake an individual research project.

Assessment: Dissertation (100%)

Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.


Teaching and assessment

You will be taught through a combination of interactive lectures and workshops, seminars, student-based enquiry and problem-based learning to ensure you develop a specialist subject knowledge and apply this to the contemporary practices and problems of global politics. You will also benefit from research-led teaching delivered by subject experts as well as further opportunities such as study trips, guest speakers and events organised by our research centres. Students are encouraged to bring themselves and their own experiences to bear in respectful discussion, debate and collaborative activities and projects.

Assessments are varied and are designed to ensure you develop advanced research skills, such as literature review, data analysis, case study analysis and critical evaluation skills, necessary for the completion of the extended research project, as well as practical skills, such as policy formation and negotiation, oral, written and visual communication and problem-solving skills, valuable for future careers in policy and civil service, NGOs and think tanks, international organisations, and the private sector, as well as further postgraduate study in the social sciences. You will be given feedback throughout the programme to develop and improve their skills and understanding and students are encouraged to reflect on their own practice as well as constructive feedback from your peers and tutors to improve your performance and reflexivity.

Teaching contact hours

Each of the first four Blocks has six weeks of classes with eight hours per week of contact time. You will be expected to undertake self-directed study. The final week of each Block is freed up to enable you to complete aspects of your coursework.

The Dissertation will see three weeks of classes, each with six weeks of contact time in Block 5. The remainder of the Block, and all of Block 6, is for self-directed study to complete your dissertation. You can organise regular 1:1 sessions, with a bespoke dissertation supervisor.

Facilities and features

Library and learning zones

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including the Virtual Learning Environment, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.

More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it's replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.

Campus centre

The home of  De Montfort Students' Union, (DSU) our Campus Centre offers a welcoming and lively hub for student life. Conveniently located at the heart of campus, it includes a convenience store, a Subway and a Starbucks. Here you can find the DSU-owned charitable accommodation service Sulets and DSU’s shop, SUpplies, selling art supplies, stationery and clothing, and printing and binding services. The building is also home to the DSU officer team. 

Opportunities and careers

Find the people who will open doors for you

DMU's award-winning careers service provides guaranteed work experience opportunities DMU Careers Team

DMU Global

This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.


Graduate careers

The course prepares you for senior roles in public and private organisations where you can influence major decisions that affect us all.

There is real demand for suitably qualified managers who are interested in making a difference and who understand the implications of the global financial crisis, climate change, diplomacy, and sustainable development, health care and other issues affecting contemporary society.

Take your next steps