Flags from various countries on flagpoles

International Relations

Course fees (2018/19 entry)

Option / fee Value
Home/EU full-time annual tuition fee: £5,565
Home/EU part-time tuition fee: £31 per credit
International full time annual tuition fee: £14,450

Course type



Humanities and Social Science

Study mode

Full Time & Part Time

About your course

You will examine the central challenges of the world we live in today from contemporary and historical perspectives. This innovative MA will provide a grounding in international relations theory while examining in depth issues of enduring international significance.

  • Learn from experts and practitioners in the field of International Relations
  • Benefit from assistance when organising an internship
  • Erasmus funding available for internships in Europe
  • Enjoy field trips to explore the complex workings of institutions and think tanks in the UK and Europe
  • Help to organise and take part in national conferences/symposia
  • Join a highly motivated postgraduate research community

​This is the perfect programme if you want to conduct research on and further develop your understanding of international relations

​Dr Matthew Hill, programme leader, MA International Relations

Introduction to the School

The School of Humanities and Social Science is an innovative and distinct school. There are five subject areas – English and Cultural History, History, Media, Culture and Communication and Criminology and Sociology (Social Work and Social Policy).

​Current research and scholarship are defining features of each subject area. This commitment has enabled staff in the School to produce an impressive array of world-leading research. Our School's distinguished reputation is also strengthened by the relationships we have established with key stakeholders outside the University, both locally and internationally.

​In the History subject area we have expertise in the history of International Relations, international history, and contemporary history. It ensures that the MA will deliver appropriate research-driven teaching. The teaching in the School has achieved a high level of success in national surveys. In the 2016 National Student Survey, our students placed the LJMU History department 16th best in the UK.

Why study this course at LJMU?

When you come to study at LJMU you'll be joining a top UK university known for inspirational teaching, ground-breaking research and excellent career prospects.

​Our graduates are sought after by employers from around the world. The MA's internship programme is an integral part of the degree and will ultimately make you more employable in this highly specialised field.

As student within the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies, you will become part of a global community of students, meet new people from all over the world and have lots of opportunities to try new things and experiencing a different culture. This includes the MA's Erasmus European student internships, which are guaranteed for students who start in 2017.

​If you are looking for postgraduate degree at a university which takes research seriously, 77% of the research staff who teach on the programme submitted in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework is considered world-leading. Our research not only makes a real difference to society but it also greatly enhances the learning experience of students.

We have established ourselves within areas of expertise with a strong reputation for collaboration between disciplines and with institutions from around the world - this research informs our curriculum and the networks you will be exposed to as a student will benefit your learning and future career.

Programme outline and structure

The MA International Relations is designed to help you examine the central challenges of the world we live in today in both contemporary and historical perspectives.

​The programme takes an expanded definition of what is International Relations and covers a range of subjects from economics, politics, law and culture to examining the actions of international organisations, nation-states and non-state actors.

It provides you with an essential grounding in international relations theory and also provides a range of specialist modules which examine in depth issues of enduring international significance: conflict, US foreign policy, state-building in the colonial and post-colonial world, and the role of humanitarian actions by state and non-state actors.

​In addition to the cross-faculty taught aspects of the MA, this programme recognises the importance of networking by obtaining employment in a related field. This is why we will provide opportunities of an internship programme and will hold and attend regular events and workshops with experts.

What you will study on this degree

 Please see guidance below on core and option modules:

  • Understanding International Relations

Examine key international relations theories such as liberalism and realism and how they can be used to understand the world we live in today

  • Research Methods for International Relations

Develop the key skills to formulate and carry-out a research-based project or dissertation.The module includes classes on: how to conduct interviews, research ethics, developing a research question, and how to structure your dissertation

  • The War-Peace Cycle

Explore the interplay between two of the most important driving forces in humankind's recent history: the pursuit of war and the desire for peace. The module covers the period from the French Revolution to the present day

  • Research Project in International Relations

The dissertation enables you to use your knowledge and skills gained during the course to produce an independent research project of 15,000 words

Option modules you will study will typically include:  

  • The United States and the Nuclear Proliferation Conundrum

You will examine the roots, development, and contemporary aspects of US nuclear non-proliferation policy, by analysing a series of themes ranging from international controls during the Cold War on the development of nuclear weapons to non-proliferation in the post-Cold War world. Your exploration of these themes will include examining case studies from France to China to North Korea and Iran. This module is driven by the instructor’s research and by the latest developments in the wider scholarship.

  • International Theories and the Non-western World

This module acknowledges that our knowledge of international relations is implicitly Eurocentric and needs to be globalised. It elevates the importance of the non-western world by giving it more attention rather than seeing it as a passive receiver of Western ideas. In so doing, it examines a number of non-Western theories from China, Japan, the Middle East and Latin America that explain their relations with the world.

  •  International Politics and Development in Asia-Pacific

The Asian-Pacific region is one of the most important areas of development in the contemporary era. This module critically applies International Relations theories to the region, and analyses its significance in world politics. In completing this task, it analyses why this region is important and discusses the role of the US and the rise of China.

  • Colonial and Post-Colonial State Building in the 19th to 21st centuries

Examine Western statebuilding in non-western societies during the imperial, decolonisation and post-colonial neo-liberal eras. The module focuses on India, the Middle East and Africa in telling the story of Western statebuilding, and the way local societies and elites have persistently shaped and transformed supposedly universalist agendas in highly specific cultural contexts

  • Interpreting Conflict in Post-Colonial Africa

Examine the historical, political and economic basis for episodes of mass violence and warfare in Africa from the 1950s onwards

  • Latin America and the Cold War

    The Cold War in Latin America was far from being cold. This module weaves local, regional, and global factors in shaping the experience of Latin America during the Cold War and traces its impact on the region between the 1940s and 1990s. It pays particular attention to the intersection and interaction between domestic and international dynamics. In applying a country case study approach this module highlights the complexity of Cold War tensions.
  • Conflict and Warfare in International Law

Explore the legal rules which govern states' recourse to the use of force against one another, as well as the body of humanitarian law which regulates the manner by which armed conflict is conducted

  • The United Nations International Security and Global Justice

Understand the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security. You will explore the UN's experiences in areas such as peacekeeping, military enforcement and the imposition of sanctions

  • EU Foreign Security and Justice Policy

Consider and explore the role of the European Union as an international actor, and understand how it has performed an increased security function on the global stage

  • Gender Perspectives and International Law

Consider various aspects of international law from perspectives that are informed by gender, using examples such as sexual violence during armed conflict to explore more theoretical debates about the role of gender in the operation of international law

  • Statehood, Peoples and Statelessness

Explore the concept of the state and the phenomena of statelessness. You will study how states relate to their populations, and under which circumstances they dissolve

  • Democracy, Rights and Rule of Law

Understand the theoretical aspects of human rights, and their relationship with democracy in the modern world

​Further guidance on modules
The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Please email courses@ljmu.ac.uk  if you require further guidance or clarification.

How will I be assessed?

Teaching and assessments are designed to aid the development of your knowledge of international relations.

​Teaching will be delivered as a combination of class discussions, lectures and workshops with core academic staff and invited practitioners, experts and guest lecturers. The aim is to give you as much insight into the world of international relations as possible and this is best achieved through a mix of academic discussion and real world experiences.

​The aim in all the assessments is to test your understanding of international relations. We all learn in different ways, which is why assessments are a mixture of essays, presentations, exams and portfolios.

Staff research interests

Members of staff teaching on this programme conduct research in a range of international relations related fields.

You will be taught by staff who conduct research in the following areas:

  • US foreign policy
  • Post-conflict reconstruction
  • Democracy promotion
  • Decolonisation
  • Regional integration in Africa
  • Colonialism and postcolonial Africa
  • Grand strategy and the American presidency
  • International law
  • Human rights
  • Terrorism
  • EU law

Entry requirements (Home)

All applicants must be able to demonstrate the ability to benefit from and contribute to the programme.

Generally applicants should have a 2:1 or above from a Honours degree in a related subject. Although most applicants will be graduates, the fact that candidates may not have a degree is not necessarily a bar to entry. Applications from non-standard applicants are welcomed.

A pre-written personal statement (minimum 500 words) can be copied and pasted into your application in the appropriate section of the online form. Your personal statement should include information on why you are interested in the subject of international relations, why you are interested in the International Relations programme at Liverpool John Moores University, and how your previous knowledge and experiences contribute to you being successful on the programme.

Where English is not a first language, an IELTS score of 6.5 must be achieved, with a minimum of 7.0 in academic writing.

Entry requirements (International)

​LJMU welcomes applications from international students. In addition to normal entry requirements, you will be expected to demonstrate a very good level of English language competence, for example an IELTS score of 6.0-6.5 or equivalent. Please note: specific courses may require higher levels of English language competence.

If you have applied to study a full-time taught Masters, MRes, MPhil or PhD at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate. It can take four to six weeks to receive an ATAS certificate, so please make sure you apply as early as possible. You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for guidance.

Please note: international students entering on a Tier 4 visa cannot study part time. Students entering the UK on alternate types of visa may be in a position to study part time. Please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for further details before making your application. 

In order to obtain a visa you will also need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application. So please make sure that your finances are in place before applying. For more details, go to our international website

For advice on any aspect of the application process, please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team.

Application and selection

​You will not be interviewed.

Will I be interviewed?

​Applicants who have not been awarded or expect to obtain a 2:1 or above from a Honours degree in a related subject may be invited to attend interview.


6.5 (Min. 5.5 (7 in writing) in each component)

Is RPL accepted on this programme?


Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

Financial support

Tuition fees

All students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or in instalments. If you need advice about how to pay your tuition fees, please email LJMU’s Student Funding Team.

Funding sources

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From Postgraduate Masters Loans and Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Graduate employment

Typically students who study the MA will be progressing from their first degree in history, politics or a related-subject.

​This programme has been designed to enhance your career prospects in international relations related fields such as the government and non-government sectors. It is why we operate an internship programme for those interested in this career path as it gives you experience and contacts.

​For students wishing to pursue an academic career or for further study in the field of international relations, this MA will provide a solid basis when applying for a MPhil/PhD.

International Study

International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.

Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.

Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.

Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting www.ljmu.ac.uk/international for more information and advice.


LJMU has launched a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University.

These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.

You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here: www.ljmu.ac.uk/international

Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:

  • new international applicants
  • current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
  • LJMU international alumni

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.

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