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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

More about course fees »

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:  

  • 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

  • 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 full and part-time 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 pay by instalments. If you need advice about how you will pay your tuition fees, please email LJMU’s Student Funding Team as soon as possible.Sources of funding
Postgraduate loans   Postgraduate Masters loans are available for the 2017/18 academic year. The new loans, of up to £10,000, will be available for students attending eligible full and part-time Masters courses, in line with the existing qualification framework for England. Administered by the Student Loan Company, the loans will be available to those under 60 at the start of their course.For details of loan terms, conditions and eligibility, go to: ljmu.ac.uk/postgraduate-funding.LJMU Alumni Award   Final year undergraduates and alumni of the University are eligible to apply for a 20% reduction in their postgraduate tuition fees if they choose to progress onto a higher degree programme at LJMU. Both Home and international LJMU students and alumni can apply for this award (subject to eligibility criteria*). Postgraduate International Scholarships.LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants accepted onto taught masters programmes (excluding distance learning programmes) and research degrees. Current LJMU international students and alumni interested in pursuing postgraduate study and research at the University are eligible to apply for these scholarships along with new applicants. English for Postgraduate Studies Bursary   A Bursary is also available for international students who need to improve their IELTS score prior to enrolling on their postgraduate course or research programme at the University. This course is run by LJMU’s International Study Centre.Earn While You Learn

Working while you study means you may be able to pay for your course without taking out any further loans or at least reducing the amount you need to borrow. Working while you study also gives you the skills valued by employers, such as managing your workload and prioritising your time. LJMU’s Vacancy website can help you find graduate vacancies, sandwich/industrial placements, internships / summer work, part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work-based learning placements. Over 1,000 local and regional employers regularly list opportunities on the website.

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL)

Many students fund their postgraduate studies via Professional and Career Development Loans. This is a bank loan which you will have to pay back once you've completed the course. However, while you are studying any interest on the loan will be paid for you by the Skills Funding Agency. PCDLs worth between £300 and £10,000 are available for eligible postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs. 

Employer sponsorship

Some organisations and companies fund the cost of postgraduate studies for their employees as they recognise the value of having well qualified staff. Check out our courses and see if there are any on offer that could enhance your current career. Remember, employer support doesn't always have to be financial; it can take other forms too, such as flexible working arrangements, day release and time in lieu of study.

Support for disabled students

Disabled Students' Allowances or DSAs are designed to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs don't have to be paid back and the type of support you receive will be determined by your specific needs not your household income. Please contact LJMU's Disability team for further advice: 0151 231 3164/3165.

Council tax exemption

All full-time postgraduate students studying courses lasting one year or more are eligible for a council tax exemption certificate.

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 may make changes to a programme of study or module where 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.
Further guidance on programme changes

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