International Relations MA

University of Exeter
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Master's programs


  • You will investigate and contextualise major events, current crises and global trends with a particular focus on security, international relations theory and foreign policy
  • Our teaching is informed by the international challenges we face in the 21st Century, the latest think tank reports, policy texts and the core texts that have shaped the discipline
  • Teaching may include input from external speakers, debates, conferences, field trips and simulations
  • Tailor your degree to your interests and career ambitions with our wide range of optional modules including Global Security, East Asian Regional Order, and The Politics of Global Capitalism
  • We will equip you with skills that are highly sought after by employers or for further study around the world

Research Excellent Framework 2014 based on the percentage of research categorised as 3* and 4*

11th for Politics in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020Top 100 worldwide for the subject in the QS World University Rankings 2020 Flexibility to follow your interests with a world-leading cluster of researchers

Entry requirements

We are looking for graduates with a 2:1 or above in their first degree. While we normally only accept applicants who meet this criteria, if you have a 2:2 or equivalent, are coming from a different academic background which is equivalent to degree level, or have relevant work experience, we would welcome your application.

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements

  • Pearson

Please visit our entry requirements section for equivalencies from your country and further information on English language requirements.

Course content

We will equip you with the theoretical and empirical research tools needed to understand the forces that shape global politics.

Our teaching is research-led and working with a group of world-leading researchers will ensure your degree is cutting edge and highly sought after. We will encourage you to debate the ideas and policies that are shaping the world around us with your peers and experts in the field. You will also get involved in role-plays and simulations, field trip and graduate-level conferences.

Extra-curricular events, like stand-alone talks given by policy makers, activists and scholars, are hugely beneficial to giving added perspective of contemporary world politics. Recent contributors have included:

  • Aid workers from conflict and post conflict zones
  • Ex-special forces soldier who served in Afghanistan
  • David Miliband
  • The Head of MI6
  • BBC journalist now turned documentary-maker

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Global Excellence Scholarship

We are delighted to offer Global Excellence Scholarships for students of outstanding academic quality applying to postgraduate Taught programmes starting in autumn 2020.Please note that this scholarship isn't offered for all our masters programmes


Teaching staff

Members of staff teaching on the MA International Relations have a wide range of research interests including humanitarianism, peace building, security, democracy, activism, and indigenous movements. They include visiting scholars at Harvard and Brown Universities, and the Australian National University, and provide consultancy to organisations such as the Department for International Development.

Learning and Teaching

  • Seminar presentations
  • Graduate-level conferences

Seminar tutors direct and facilitate class debate and discussions. You will fine-tune your critical reading skills, learn to present in front of an audience, to ask and field incisive questions, and work with your peers to develop consensus views and challenge those of others. A range of media will be used in teaching, from video and audio, newspaper articles and academic journal articles. Fictional works and documentaries also provide insight on how societies interpret and portray international politics.


Assessment varies between modules but will involve essays, workshop contributions, presentations and exams. You will also be expected to write a 15,000-word dissertation on a subject that has captured your imagination, or is of particular political importance to you. We will provide dedicated research training to help you structure both the research and writing of your dissertation. Developing the ability to express complex ideas succinctly and in depth, is a core skill that will stand you in good stead no matter what your chosen career may be.

Library services

Our main library is open 24/7 throughout the academic year. With a book stock in excess of 1.2 million, we have one of the highest UK academic library ratios of books to students. The main library offers self-service machines, state-of-the-art multimedia facilities, and an extended wifi network. The library provides world-class study facilities to all students. It has extensive holdings of works on political science, international relations and the various sub-disciplines.

Professor Duncan Russel

Dr Gregorio Bettiza

Professor Duncan Russel

Head of Department of Politics

Duncan Russel is a Professor in Environmental Policy. His research and teaching interests include UK and European climate, climate and public policy, policy appraisal and coordination, evidence and policy interactions and budgetary politics.

Dr Gregorio Bettiza

Programme Director

Gregorio's research interests are in IR theory and in the role of ideas, norms and identities in international relations. He focuses in particular on the complex interactions between liberal and non-liberal ideas, actors and practices in world politics.

Associate Professor, Director of Education

Alex teaches on the core module International Relations: Power and Institutions. His research sits at the intersection of IR theory, political theory and anarchist political thought, and he is currently working on four book projects in these areas.

I decided to come to Exeter after meeting the faculty here who genuinely care about their students and how we use our time here to prepare for what comes after we graduate. 

Exeter also has a great employability program that focusses on preparing students for the job market. Whatever stage you are at in the process, the career consultants in the Career Zone are always sure to be able to help point you to the resources you need or provide career counseling if you are stuck.

Career paths

Many of our students are working professionals in governments around in the world, NGOs and aid agencies and choose to take the MA International Relations to provide them with a broader perspective and develop their careers.

Our students go on to work in aid agencies; the media; NGOs in the UK and overseas; government bodies such as the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office; the Diplomatic Service; international organisations including EU institutions and the United Nations; and think tanks. Many of our students also stay on to study for MPhil/PhD and Masters by Research and follow academic careers.

Employer-valued skills

Apart from specialist knowledge and skills relating to a range of careers in government, diplomacy, journalism and the third sector, you will also develop transferrable skills that are highly desirable in a range of careers. These include:

  • High-level research and writing skills
  • Analysis, evaluation and presentation skills
  • Excellent communication skills and experience, both written and oral
  • Good IT skills which may include the handling of statistical data
  • Independent work skills of time-planning and motivation

Careers support

Our careers advisory service provides expert guidance to all students to enable them to plan their futures through psychometric testing, employer presentations, skills events, practice job interviews and CV preparation.

Related courses

More Information

Posted on:

Start Date:

Application Deadline:



Master's programs


Exeter , United Kingdom