MA International Relations

Start date(s)
September 2023
Study mode
Full-time (1 year)
Part-time (2 years)

Tuition fees 23/24

Home (full-time, per year): £7,610

Home (per credit): £42.28

International (full-time, per year): £16,900

Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies:
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About this course

LJMU's innovative MA International Relations provides a grounding in key theories 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
  • Apply for Erasmus funding which is available for internships in Europe
  • Enjoy free field trips to explore the complex workings of institutions and think tanks
  • Attend the Perspectives in IR research seminar series
  • Learn a language online through Rosetta Stone
  • Join a highly motivated postgraduate research community

This fascinating programme takes an expanded definition of 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, the United Nations, international affairs in the Asia-Pacific region, and the role of humanitarian actions by state and non-state actors.


In addition to the cross-Faculty taught aspects of the MA, the programme recognises the importance of networking by obtaining employment in a related field. This is why we will hold and attend regular events and workshops with experts in a variety of fields, and support you in arranging work-based learning if interested.

  • Alexander Green, student

    "Studying on the MA International Relations course has been a rewarding and beneficial experience that has aided me in identifying the next steps that I would like to take in my career path, su...

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Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to programme-appropriate software
  • Library and student IT support
  • Free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)
  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)

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  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

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 including government and non-government sectors. It exposes you to the careers available and enables you to network with people in the field.

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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.

The student experience

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Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

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Core modules

Understanding International Relations
30 credits

This core module provides an introduction to International Relations by examining the theories, key concepts and authors. It aims to:

  • engage you in independent and critical thinking
  • develop and engage with the theoretical concepts and apply them to the world
  • develop the ability to present and defend arguments and interpretations in an appropriate and scholarly manner
  • help you understand global events from the state, non-state and international perspectives

Research Methods for International Relations
10 credits

This module provides a thorough understanding of the key skills required to develop and carry-out a research-based project or dissertation on the subject of International Relations. It aims to:

  • introduce you to postgraduate-level methodological and theoretical approaches to researching international relations
  • provide the opportunity to critically appraise methodological and theoretical approaches to researching international relations
  • provide the skills required to undertake a research project at postgraduate level

The War/Peace Cycle
20 credits

This module develops a comprehension of the theory, practice and historical development of the War/Peace Cycle. It will demonstrate an understanding of the strategic significance of the War/Peace cycle in international relations over the course of the last 200 years. It also builds in-depth knowledge of  particular problems in the War/Peace cycle.

Research Project in International Relations
60 credits

This module will prepare you to undertake your dissertation following the relevant research methods module. It will enable you to:

  • engage in independent and critical thinking and apply theoretical concepts in the field of international relations
  • apply knowledge of recent advances within the field of international relations and situate the proposed work accordingly
  • identify, access and critically evaluate relevant research resources
  • present and defend research findings in an appropriate and scholarly manner
  • examine an appropriate area of research and modify the project after discussion, reflection and feedback
Optional modules

War and Peace in Africa Since 1990
20 credits

This module engages with both political science and historical approaches to the study of warfare in contemporary Africa. It will enable you to:

  • consider the nature of international interventions in African wars
  • consider the dilemmas of post-conflict agendas of justice and reconciliation

Conflict and Warfare in International Law
20 credits

This module aims to:

  • consider current controversies in international law pertaining to the use of force between states
  • provide you with an understanding of legal limitations on methods and means of armed conflict
  • explore modern and emerging challenges to the law of armed conflict

Philosophy of History, International Relations & European Integration
20 credits

The module aims to teach the students the various theories on philosophy of history (linear and directional vs. cyclical history; ‘end of history’ theories; Marxist notion of history; recognition of patterns in history, such as, cycles; theory of history as history of ‘civilizations’; Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence theory; decline of the West; Carl Schmitt’s Land vs. Sea dichotomy) and to familiarize the students with the works of the thinkers who developed these theories (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Fukuyama, Popper, Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Huntington, Spengler, Schmitt, Toynbee, Gibbon etc.). The module aims in particular to show the relevance of these theories to international relations (IR) and European integration theory.

IR can indeed be understood in different ways depending on the different conceptions of history; for example, as international ‘class struggle’ (Marxist approach), as ‘clash or encounter of civilizations’ (Huntington, Spengler, Toynbee), as ‘struggle for recognition’ (Fukuyama), as conflict between terrestrial powers and thalassocracies (Schmitt), as ‘eternal recurrence’ of the same patterns and conflicts (Nietzsche). The module will therefore encourage the students to think about IR in combination with a particular conception of history.

The module is relevant to European integration theory. The most important theories on European integration (especially neofunctionalism, but also, although less evidently, liberal intergovernmentalism) adopt a deterministic approach or at least an approach which draws inspiration from historical determinism. Accordingly, European integration theories reveal an underpinning ‘philosophy of history’ that sees integration as an automatic result of certain premises (for example, economic integration as leading necessarily to political integration) and that sees the EU as the most important example of ‘post-historical’ (Fukuyama) and ‘post-political’ entity (Majone). The module will therefore disclose to students a new way to look at European integration theory in combination with a particular conception of history.

EU Foreign Security and Defence Policy
20 credits

This module enables you to examine and critically analyse contemporary issues arising from the EU Foreign, Security and Justice Policy. You will also be able to consider contemporary global problems through EU law and policy.

International Politics and Development in Asia-Pacific
20 credits

This module aims to enable students to analyse contemporary issues of the Asia-Pacific region and be able to pinpoint its significance in world politics, so the module will be taught by closely engaging provocative debates on contemporary events, headlines and widest media coverage of the region.

The United Nations, International Security and Global Justice
20 credits

The module aims to:

  • introduce you to the work of the United Nations in the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security
  • develop your understanding of the legal framework which governs the work of the UN in this area

Statehood, People and Statelessness
20 credits

This module aims to:

  • provide you with an appreciation of the nature of the state within international law
  • develop an awareness of the causes, consequences and responses to statelessness and the awareness of the challenges posed to the integrity of the state and international law’s response to these

International Human Rights Law
20 credits

Introduces students to the basic conceptual, institutional and substantive elements of international human rights law, current debates regarding the interpretation and application of international human rights law.

The module will provide students with critical appreciation of contemporary issues of global and regional concern relating to the interpretation and application of international human rights law.

Gender, Peace and Security
20 credits

This module provides a grounding in gender as a critical theoretical lens for understanding how certain categories of power impact upon international peace and security. It will be important for students interested in working in industries concerned with peace, security, and development, as the WPS agenda continues to gain recognition and grounding internationally.


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

Full-time students spend around seven hours a week in on-campus sessions and part-time students three to four hours. The Practitioner Workshops and the Perspectives in IR series take place four times each semester and add an extra 30 minutes a week to the on-campus study time.

Teaching methods

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.

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How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.

The aim in all the assessments is to test your understanding of International Relations. Assessments on this course are a mixture of essays, presentations, exams and portfolios.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

I have taught widely across the School on modules related but not limited to: security, the sociology and politics of sports, international organizations, IR theory, sociological theory and identity, qualitative methods and international fieldwork, and global issues.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

Based within the John Foster Building on the Mount Pleasant Campus the School of Humanities and Social Science has many outstanding facilities, including well-equipped IT Suites, a light-filled Student Common Room and dedicated postgraduate study areas. At the back of the John Foster Building is the Aldham Robarts Library, which gives access to an exceptional range of materials to support the study of humanities and social science.


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Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a minimum 2:1 honours degree in a related subject such as Law, History, Politics, Sociology, Geography, Anthropology or Economics
  • to demonstrate the ability to benefit from and contribute to the programme
  • applications from candidates with non-related degrees will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please submit an application via the online form or a query to  
  • we welcome applications from non-standard applicants who can demonstrate relevant work experience of at least 2 years in an international relations related field and an ability to succeed at MA level.

Additional information:

  • RPL is accepted on this programme
  • IELTS 6.5 (minimum 7.0 in writing and 5.5 in other elements)

If you have any specific queries, please contact

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

View country specific entry requirements

Contact LJMU's International Admissions Team for guidance on visa information. Further information is also available from our international web pages.

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

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 would contribute to you being successful on the programme.

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.