International Relations


Intermediate award(s): PG Cert, PG Dip
Full-Time and Part-Time

Eyemobe, Nigeria

MA International Relations


I count myself lucky to be taught by seasoned and distinguished intellectuals in their respective field of global affairs.

Classes and seminars are always interesting because students are from different nationalities and we get to learn and network with each other's unique cultures, which really forms the basis of International Relations. Another unique feature of the course is learning to write journals, which helps develop academic writing skills.

Above all, the MA International Relations is a brilliant, well-structured course.

An image about International Relations

A young Somali boy greets a Ugandan soldier.

Image courtesy of AU-UN IST / Stuart Price.

Course overview

The MA International Relations focuses specifically on the pragmatic, real-world application of international relations theory to policy and strategy, and the examination of practical problems. The course examines the theory and definition of the state and relations between states, but also the roles of other institutions and organisations, including multinational companies and transnational crime organisations. You will study theoretical foundations in the discipline, but also explore more pragmatic concerns, with a strong vocational emphasis on how theory affects and is affected by events on the ground.

This course is distinct in offering:
  • Teaching by lecturers with academic and practice backgrounds/expertise in, for example: international strategic planning and security, defence analysis, UN training, conflict communications, Foreign Office, new media and risk analysis.
  • Cutting-edge lectures and seminars from prestigious guest speakers, practitioners and diplomats
  • Opportunities to visit a wide range of organisations (which may include, for example, the Ecole de Guerre in Paris, UN seminars, EU, UK government bodies, think tanks and media agencies)
  • Support in arranging internships and placements

Additional course information

In addition to studying the historical and theoretical background of international relations you will also have the opportunity to explore some of the following topics and themes: the global risk society; policing and security, corruption and cross-border crime; terrorism and terrorist activity, including definitions of terrorism and state violence; insurgency and asymmetric wars; communication in conflict zones and in peacekeeping; war reporting and propaganda; the impact of the new media, 24/7 reporting and the CNN effect; unilateral and multilateral military intervention in contemporary international relations and global politics; the politics of resources and sustainability; strategic planning, and economic and global health issues. The emphasis is on decision-making, planning and debate, and you will be encouraged to participate in interactive sessions, respond to specific scenarios, write to briefs and undertake critical analysis. You will also have opportunities to develop or enhance research methods skills.
Semester 1 compulsory module
  • International Relations Theory in Context

    There is more to understanding how states interact in the world than reading, watching or listening to the news. Why do state and non-state actors act the way they do? This core module provides an introduction into International Relations by examining the theories, key concepts and authors in the field that help us to answer this vital question. We go from examining the mainstream theories such as Liberalism and Realism to questioning the suitability of these mainstream theories by questioning the very rationale of a theory in understanding international relations to examining how practitioners use IR theory to explain and make policy. To interrogate how these theories help explain the world we also apply them to real-world case studies.

Semester 2 compulsory modules
  • International Institutions and Policy (30 credits)

    This module critically analyses the origins, evolution and role of international institutions in the global order over the course of the 20th and 21st century. The aim is to understand why these institutions have developed, and why states choose, or do not choose, to use these institutions as a means to achieve their objectives. It includes the study of international courts and justice, and questions about global links and differences, nationhood and security.

  • Major Project

    This project enables you to demonstrate your ability to raise and investigate significant questions in relation to your specialist research area either through empirical research or sustained theoretical investigation. Based on your initial project proposal you will be expected to negotiate a learning contract with your supervisor, which outlines title, research question, assessment weighting and criteria, and the form of the project.


Forms of assessment will include: Role-play scenarios, briefs, written reports, poster presentations, group projects, dissertation, longer essays, case studies, research proposal, short analyses of global events, short review papers, practical data gathering exercises, short abstracts of core course readings.

Special features

Opportunities to work at or visit relevant organisations and institutions. Prestigious guest lecturers.


Study in Cambridge; purpose built Court room for debates and role-play opportunities.

Meet the team

Dr Elke Schwarz
(Course Leader) - ethical, legal and political debate on the use of drones and bridging ethical aspects with future policy, specifically EU policy; the role of the human in accelerated contexts of technological developments; developing theoretical explorations of the shifting nature of warfare today.

Ian Shields OBE
- Security and Strategy, Military Ethics; Air and Space Power; the Media; Civil-Military Relations. Former RAF commanding officer and Vulcan bomber pilot, Member of the UK's Chief of the Defence Staff's Strategic Forum.

Carina O'Reilly - European security and organised crime, and local policing and local governance. Freelance defence and security analyst, formerly editor and analyst at Janes, global country risk analyst for Cambridge International Research on Current Affairs.

Dr Anna Markovska - Transitional countries; serious crime; corruption, drug abuse

Dr Samantha Lundrigan - Criminological profiling systems; profiling serial offenders, research methods

Colleen Moore - violent crime, comparative criminology, terror as crime

Bill Tupman - Global security, cross-border responses to organised crime and terrorism, terrorist financing and the political economy of terrorism

Professor Bronwen Walter - Irish diaspora studies, identity and hybridity, genealogy and citizenship

Associated careers

Diplomacy and diplomatic services, strategy and strategic planning, public services, foreign office, UN and other bodies, local government, NGO's, charities, education, journalism and press agencies.

Links with industry/Professional recognition

Links with CEDS, ILERI in Paris, University of Dusseldorf. Various bodies including diplomacy and diplomatic services, strategy and strategic planning, public services, foreign office, UN and other bodies, local government, NGO's, charities, education, journalism and press agencies.

Main requirements:
  • A good honours degree, (or equivalent), normally in a related subject. Applicants with professional experience are also encouraged to apply.
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 ( Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University
Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Entry requirements listed are for September 2015/January 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

International and EU applicants

We welcome applications from International and EU students. Please select one of the links below for English language and country-specific entry requirement information.
If you do not meet the above requirements, then there is an alternative. Consider entry to the course via an integrated foundation year at Cambridge Ruskin International College, an associate college of Anglia Ruskin, which is located on our Cambridge campus.

How to apply



September starts:
12 months full-time
24 months part-time

January starts:
15 months full-time

Teaching times*

Part-time:September starts:
Semester 1: Mon 3-6pm
Semester 2: Mon, Tues or Thurs afternoon depending on your choice of modules
January starts:
Semester 2 only: Mon, Tues or Thurs afternoon depending on your choice of modules

Available starts

September, January

Fees & funding

Open Day

25 April, Chelmsford and Cambridge
Postgraduate Open Day


Arts, Law & Social Sciences


Humanities and Social Sciences

Contact us

UK and EU applicants:International applicants:


* Teaching days are subject to change each academic year. Timings are also dependent on any optional modules you chose and are for guidance, so we advise all applicants to wait until they are in receipt of their timetable before making arrangements around course times.

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