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.
Dr Matthew Hill, Programme Leader
This fascinating Masters programme has been developed to provide our University and our city with the opportunity to see how the world operates. It covers not just the politics of International Rel...
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
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)
- 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.
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.
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.
Understanding International Relations
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
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
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
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
War and Peace in Africa Since 1990
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.
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.
Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning
Prior to LJMU, Matthew was a Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University working as the Course Convenor for the MA in International Relations. Prior to that, he worked as a Lecturer in US Politics at the School of Advanced Study, University of London where he taught on the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies. He was also the principal investigator for two US-based research projects. First, he created the Atlantic Archive: UK-US Relations In An Age Of Global War 1939-1945 online database on official UK perspectives towards the US. It examines UK government documents discussing US economic, political and social/ cultural life. Second, in the Women and US Foreign Policy Interview Project he interviewed predominantly women involved, and affected by US foreign policy. These interviews are placed into an online repository. Matthew was also a lecturer in politics at De Montfort University, Oxford Brookes University and Cardiff University. He completed his Ph.D. on US democracy promotion in Bosnia and Afghanistan under Presidents Clinton and Bush, and his MA was in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
This is the perfect programme if you want to conduct research on and further develop your understanding of International Relations.
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.
Order your brochure Research
You will need:
- a minimum 2:1 honours degree in a related subject; Law, History or Politics
- to demonstrate the ability to benefit from and contribute to the programme
- RPL is accepted on this programme
- IELTS 6.5 (minimum 7.0 in writing and 5.5 in other elements)
- Although most applicants will be graduates in a related field, the fact that candidates may not have a relevant degree is not necessarily a bar to entry.
- Applicants from non-standard applicants are welcomed 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.
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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.