- Learn from a teaching team who have extensive experience in the world of research and policymaking
- Complete an internship alongside your studies to apply what you learn to a real organisation and see policymaking in action
- Keep up to speed with changes by exploring new trends and developments in international relations as they happen
- Expand your understanding of different research methods, from statistical analysis to fieldwork
- Develop the skills you need for a rewarding role in areas such as the Civil Service, think tanks, NGOs and research centres
Issues around immigration. Shifting power dynamics. Conflict across countries. Addressing these challenges starts with looking at relationships between nations. Join us to look at the world through a critical lens while understanding what it takes to create new policies and carry out vital research.
A critical lens
The relationship between academia and the real world is central to this course. Many experts at Lancaster have been policymakers so they’ll teach you what it takes to translate theory into practice. Our teaching is interdisciplinary too, which means you’ll hear from experts in religion, philosophy, diplomacy and more – subjects that intersect with international relations.
We’ll help you explore the latest trends in international relations in areas like queer studies and post-colonialism, as well as discussing how environmental issues are impacting on policymaking.
Outstanding research skills
From quantitative studies to fieldwork, you’ll discover what it takes to use a range of research methods to advance your knowledge in this area. Combined with your understanding of theory, concepts and practice, your analytical skills will be valuable to employers in a range of areas.
If you want to add more experience to your CV, try applying to our internship programme for the chance to do exactly that. By working with an organisation in this sector, you’ll see firsthand how new policies are created and get lots of practice writing them too. Perhaps this experience will shape your dissertation which can be on any area of international relations.
By the time you finish this course, people will view you as an outstanding critical thinker and confident public speaker. You’ll also be able to work with others to solve different challenges and thrive as part of a team. All of this will help you stand out to potential employers and secure your ideal role.
Our graduates find fantastic roles in:
- The Civil Service
- Research centres
- Think tanks
Many of our alumni also continue to carry on research in this field using their knowledge of a diverse range of methods.
2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in a relevant background.
We may also consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for information.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
English Language Requirements
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum of 5.5 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
The module involves the negotiation, design and delivery of a research project whose precise topic will be determined by the student and the project supervisor.
The dissertation will be up to 20,000 words in length. The process of producing it is designed to provide students with the opportunity to consolidate their existing knowledge and skills base while developing new knowledge and skills made possible by its project-orientated nature.
Major Approaches to the Study of International Relations
Major Approaches to the Study of International Relations will explore the development of International Relations (IR) theory in the 20th and 21st centuries and examine it in the light of major historical developments and contemporary events. The module aims at providing the students with the necessary skills and background knowledge to engage critically with the world that we live in. To do so, the module pays special attention to the unequal power relations and Western dominance in the study of IR and politics, and to how they have become embedded into our institutions, theories and methods. The module will also introduce students to theories and debates in human and environmental sustainability.
- compare and contrast the major international relations theories and apply them to contemporary international relations, security and sustainability issues and problems;
- understand the different historical contexts behind these theoretical developments and see how they change and develop over time;
- understand the different political implications of the main IR theories and how these interact with different political movements;
- better understand specialised debates in international relations, security and foreign policy, including a knowledge of specialised terminology;
- put into historical context, understand and criticise debates about international relations, security and sustainability;understand the larger theoretical framework in which international relations are positioned;
- provide space to engage in critical discussions about power, gender and race in IR, and help in developing a more critical eye to the challenges and possibilities of different approaches to and visions of IR;
- obtain an introductory knowledge of environmental sustainability.
Theory and Methods in Postgraduate Studies
This module serves to consolidate postgraduate research and learning support by enabling students to engage with theories, methods, and skills relevant to your studies. The module is core for all PPR PGT politics students and complements core subject and discipline-specific provision in religious studies and philosophy. Through this module we aim to equip you with the ability to reflect upon the processes and implications of research project planning, design and execution in Politics, Philosophy and/or Religion.
The first part of the module examines the principles of research, including different disciplinary traditions of knowledge production. It goes on to set out the process of structuring a research project and explores how to develop and apply theory. The second part of the module examines a range of methods for conducting research, including interviews, surveys, and case studies. The final section covers questions of ethics and goes through how to write up and present research. Through the module, students will design research projects, develop writing and critical evaluation skills, and have the opportunity to present their research ideas as part of the annual MA conference. The module involves a combination of lectures, small group discussion, and presentations covering the following areas:
- The academic research process.
- Project planning, design and process management.
- Ethics in postgraduate research.
- Resource identification and review processes.
- Data acquisition techniques and issues.
- Analytical and interpretative approaches.
- Academic conventions (e.g. making an argument, writing, referencing).
Assessment is by 5,000 word research proposal.
Body in Text: Politics of Gender in Islam
Week 1 Introduction to the study of Gender, Religion and Islam: This session is devoted to getting to know each other and discussing key issues in the study of gender and religion in light of feminist and post-colonial approaches.
Gender in the Tradition: Weeks 2-5
Week 2 Women in Qur'anic Narratives: This session introduces students to the study of the Qur’an with a focus on the representation of gender in Qur’anic narratives.
Week 3 The Construction of Gender Norms: This session investigates the moral boundaries of gender relations in the Qur’an, Hadith and early Muslim interpretation with a focus on the model of the Prophets’ wives and its extension to Muslim women in general.
Week 4 Sexuality and Modesty: This session continues to investigate the moral boundaries of gender relations in the Qur’an and Hadith with a focus on the question of sexuality and the dress code.
Week 5 Authority and power: This session will explore premodern Muslim views about the status of women and male authority, particularly in light of the central text Q. 3:34 (Male guardianship and the so-called beating verse)
Week 6 Individual Tutorials
Feminist Approaches and Contemporary Movements: Weeks 7-10
Week 7 Feminist Approaches to the Islamic tradition: Deconstructing Patriarchy: This session will look at the reform discourses which led to new approaches to the Qur’an with a focus on feminist interpretations that aim to deconstruct ‘patriarchal’ readings of the Qur’an.
Week 8 Feminist Approaches to the Islamic tradition: Reconstructing Islamic law: In this session, we take a closer look at the transnational Muslim Musawah (Equality) movement associated with Sisters in Islam and its effort to reconstruct Gender norms and laws in Islam.
Week 9 Politics and Piety: Reconstructing Islamic Practice: In the final two sessions we move to look at women’s involvement in changing religious practices through political action. This session looks at the British and US contexts and the emergence of the women-led mosques.
Week 10: Politics and Piety: The Revival of the Tradition and Critiques of Feminist Approaches: This session focuses on the revivalist, more traditionally-oriented mosque movement in the Middle East with reference to Egypt. The primary aim, however, will be to critically reflect upon and assess feminist approaches to Gender in Islam.
Conflict Management and Contemporary Conflicts
The course aims to explore a variety of approaches to conflict management in contemporary conflicts, by third parties and parties in conflict, and critically assesses their effectiveness and potential. The course draws its theoretical foundations from peace and conflict research but is aimed at enabling students to learn to assess the scope for conflict management and peace- building in practice. The module includes both academic literature as well as policy relevant papers.
The focus of the course is on analysing peace processes and practical problems of conflict prevention, conflict management and peace-building in a range of contemporary international, internal, ethnic, community and environmental conflicts.
Students will be divided up into groups of two or three, and each group will take responsibility for identifying and investigating a specific approach to conflict management in a conflict of their choice. The choice of cases will vary with the interest of students. In recent year topics included Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia, Kashmir, Kosovo, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Liberia/Sierra Leone, Timor Elste, conflict prevention and the emergent global climate change negotiations, and peace-building in contemporary Africa and Asia.
The course is taught in 10 2-hour lecture seminars, with the first half devoted to the lecture and the second half dedicated to substantial presentations by the student / group.
Conflict, Security and War
This module revolves around different aspects of Asian Security and looks at some of Asia’s trouble spots. The course will also examine the politics of intervention in these conflicts, and the attempts made to manage and prevent conflicts, and transform these conflict zones into more peaceful situations. The case studies that this module looks at include Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China.
The module aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the different facets of contemporary Asian conflicts and how international organisations and Western and Asian governments have attempted to deal with these challenges in recent times. Conceptually, the course will examine the principles of state failure; terrorism, ‘New Wars’, the New Security Agenda, nationalism and sub nationalism, international conflict prevention; peace keeping; and global governance. The course also covers topics like the rise of Islamism and Hindu nationalism in contemporary South Asia. This module provides students with an overview of the key security concerns of South-Central Asia.Aims of the Module
- To firstly identify trouble spots in contemporary Asia and the different layers of conflict in each case study;
- To analyse the politics of intervention;To examine the basis of political identities, the nature of nationalism and sub nationalism and their implications for the nation state, regional stability, security, peace, cooperation and development;
- To identify methods of conflict resolution for these violent conflict zones and to look at the politics of reconstruction.
Assessment is by 5000 word essay.
Independent Study Module
An Independent Study module allows you to undertake a focussed and self-directed study of your own choice of topic in philosophy, guided by a tutor with relevant expertise and research interests. Teaching consists of one-on-one tutorials, and contact hours are five hours of meetings, to be arranged between you and your supervisor over the term. You can take an independent study module in philosophy in Michaelmas and/or Lent, up to a maximum of two.
The subject-specialist tutor who supervises the student will:
- help to shape and focus the research project
- give guidance on the professional literature, and on the nature, format, and planning of the essay
- discuss the developing content of the essay
- give feedback on at least one draft
- if possible, suggest appropriate undergraduate modules which the student could audit in support of their research
Independent study requires intellectual maturity and self-direction from the student. The student will:
- work with the supervisor to shape and focus the research project
- seek out, read, and engage argumentatively with relevant disciplinary literature
- write, share, and discuss draft work towards the assessment
- engage with the supervision process
Assessment is by 5,000 word essay.
International Relations and Politics of South Asia
The course will begin with a look at the history of the subcontinent, covering ancient, medieval and modern times. This will help us to understand the historical and cultural roots of the region and what impact modernisation has had on it. Since most states of the region have adopted western political institutions, it is important to inquire if these are working satisfactorily and if they are not, what is the alternative? This necessitates an examination of political systems. However, in order to further our understanding of South Asian politics, we also need to look at ethnicity and nationalism in the region. An examination of the relations between the states in the region as well as their relations with the rest of the world is important in understanding the foreign policy goals of each state and their contribution to the regions overall development. Important issues that need to be examined include efforts to promote regional cooperation and South Asias role in the global political economy.
- Introducing South Asia
- Perspectives on the history of the Indian subcontinent
- India: The Construction of a Nation State
- Pakistan and Bangladesh: Weakness of Internal Sovereignty
- Sri Lanka: The Failure of Multiculturalism
- South Asian Security: Its Different Dimensions
- India: A Heavyweight in Regional Politics?
- Pakistan: Survival is the key Concern
- Sri Lanka/Bangladesh/Bhutan/Nepal: Small State Psyche
- South Asian Regional Cooperation: SAARC
- Concluding the Course
Assessment is by 5,000 word essay.
Issues and Practice in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy are central to the understanding of international politics. The structure of the international system induces a constant need for political dialogue and negotiations. Besides war, diplomacy is the common language states are using to interact on the world stage.
Complementing the first core module on Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, which provides theoretical understanding of the subject, this module applies these theoretical tools to contemporary diplomatic and negotiation issues and great power politics (PPR.430 is NOT a prerequisite though). Indeed, the teaching and learning strategy of Diplomacy and Foreign Policy is designed to give students both theoretical and practical understanding of contemporary issues in diplomacy and foreign policy. Academic teaching will thus be complemented by guest lectures (e.g. by a practitioner) and in-class activities such as mock negotiation exercises.
The syllabus is likely to draw upon the following: Nuclear weapons and foreign policy, Arms control and diplomacy, International climate negotiations, South-North relations and development, and some in-class mock negotiation exercises.
Assessment is by 5,000 word essay.
Politics & Policymaking of Immigration
Immigration is one of the most controversial political issues across liberal democratic states. The issue dominates debate across the political spectrum and continues to be a top voting issue in many Western states including the UK. It is one of the most divisive, contested and important issues of our time. The goal of this course is to unpack the politicisation of immigration, including how and why immigration is so contested, the actors that shape these debates and how immigration policy is made. The course is designed to give students a rich understanding of the politics of immigration and immigration policies, including a comprehensive understanding of why immigration policies differ across countries, the critical debates at the heart of immigration policymaking, and ultimately why immigration is politicised. The course particularly considers European countries’ immigration policies and the political dynamics and processes that shape these policy outputs. By the end of the module, students will have developed an understanding of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks used by political scientists to analyse the politics of immigration, as well as acquiring a sound knowledge of political debates and policy trends across Europe. Students will acquire the skills to analyse the political dynamics of immigration policymaking.
The course will touch on a number of questions, including why is immigration politicised? Who makes and shapes immigration policy? What role do political parties play? To what extent is migration policy become ‘Europeanized’? Has multiculturalism failed? Have states ‘lost control’ of migration? Why do gaps persist between immigration policy outputs and outcomes? How can we explain differences in immigration policies, across streams and countries? Why do publics oppose immigration? To answer these questions, this course will unpack the political dynamics of immigration and in turn, the policymaking processes by examining different explanatory theories and concepts utilised by political scientists.
Politics and International Relations of the Middle East
This course familiarises you with the major issues in the politics and international relations of the contemporary Middle East region. The countries covered include all Arab states and non- Arab states such as Iran and Israel. Deliberately, the course will start with a hard look at the contemporary picture in the region and, from that, ask the questions about how we got there. Digging back will include a broad introduction to the people, society, history and politics of the Middle East. The course will then explore the interplay of factors such as religion, ethnicity, gender and class in the politics of the region; the role played by internal and external actors; issues of conflict in the region; political economies; foreign policies of major states and the perception of what those policies might be; regional integration; the concepts of political Islam and the challenge of democracy and Islam.
The aim of the course is not in the first place to cover in detail all of the most recent events, and it will be assumed that you follow current affairs in the region. Rather, the aim is to undertake a deeper exploration of the region: to help you understand and analyse the dynamics involved in these events and processes. In other words: why did things evolve the way they did, why are they what they appear to be today, and what does this tell us about where they are likely to go in the future? This will be done through guided reading, seminar discussion, and your own research and writing.
The topics covered in the course include:
- The Middle East after the Arab Spring(s); the shi’i/sunni pulls for influence
- “Political Islam” and the concept of the state; the “war on terror”
- Where did all this come from? People, society, tribes, money and politics
- Voices of the Middle East: religion, ethnicity, gender and class, salafis, language and the Qur’an
- Internal and External Actors in the Middle East; diplomacy
- Political economies of the region: oil power or dependency?
- The Arab-Israeli conflict
- Wars now in the region; containment, intervention and persuasion
- Democracy in the Middle East; shi’a and sunna; the “gates of ijtihad”
The European Union
This module focuses on the politics and international relations of the European Union. It assumes a basic level of knowledge of the EU and as a consequence, will go on to cover specific public policy areas, with a focus on how and why the EU takes political decisions. The module will also analyse the wider dynamics of European integration, and the activities of the various European institutions in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg (Council, Commission, Parliament, Court of Justice).
Policy areas covered will include economic, social, cohesion, environmental, justice and home affairs, and foreign affairs. The wider European Social Model (ESM) - economic free markets mixed with social welfare - will act as a backdrop to the class, and the question of its effectiveness in 2022 will be discussed and analysed. This will also extend to the wider role of the EU as a ‘soft power’ in the world and the argument that it acts as a global model for International relations and government.
The class will be taught as a two hour graduate seminar with short introductory presentations and videos followed by class discussions. The module will also have the aim of introducing students to careers in the EU and looking at what it is like to work for a European institution.
Theorising Security and War
This course examines the changing character of war and security in a time of rapid and disruptive technological and geopolitical/ecological change. The course combines analysis of contemporary policy documents with the interdisciplinary insights of intellectuals – such as Zygmunt Bauman and Paul Virilio – who have examined how war has changed in the modern age.
Students are introduced to a range of concepts that are currently significant in the debates about the future of war – concepts such as ambiguous war, the gray zone, unrestricted warfare, the third offset strategy, and the three block war.
While the course is grounded in broader debates from social and political thought about war and modernity, it explores a range of evolving and inter-related case studies that are central to understanding how war is changing: cybersecurity/artificial intelligence; cities and urban war; drones and the future of robotics; climate change and ecological insecurity.
Assessment is by 5,000 word essay.
Theory and Concepts in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy are central to the understanding of international politics. The structure of the international system induces a constant need for political dialogue and negotiations.
This module introduces students to ways of conceptualizing diplomacy and foreign policy in the 21st century:
- Why do states rely on diplomacy?
- What are the current forms and features of diplomacy and foreign policy?
- Is diplomacy the only form of international dialogue besides war?
- How do states (and statesmen) negotiate?
- How has diplomacy evolved throughout history?
- Does ‘global governance’ exist?
The teaching and learning strategy of Diplomacy and Foreign Policy is designed to give students both theoretical and practical understanding of contemporary issues in diplomacy and foreign policy. Academic teaching can be complemented by lectures and in-class activities carried out by practitioners (e.g. diplomats, civil servants, etc.).
Assessment is by 5,000 word essay.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
Fees and Funding
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2024/25 entry fees have not yet been set.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small College Membership Fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Application fees and tuition fee deposits
For most taught postgraduate applications there is a non-refundable application fee of £40. We cannot consider applications until this fee has been paid, as advised on our online secure payment system. There is no application fee for postgraduate research applications.
For some of our courses you will need to pay a deposit to accept your offer and secure your place. We will let you know in your offer letter if a deposit is required and you will be given a deadline date when this is due to be paid.
Fees in subsequent years
If you are studying on a programme of more than one year’s duration, the tuition fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. Read more about fees in subsequent years.
Scholarships and Bursaries
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for 2024-entry study are not yet available, but you can use our opportunities for 2023-entry applicants as guidance.
Check our current list of scholarships and bursaries.
Politics and International Relations
- Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies MA
- Conflict, Development and Security MA
- Diplomacy and Foreign Policy MA
- Diplomacy and International Law LLM
- Diplomacy and International Law MA
- Diplomacy and International Law (Distance Learning) LLM
- Diplomacy and International Law (Distance Learning) MA
- Diplomacy and International Relations (by Distance Learning) MA
- Diplomacy and Religion MA
- International Law and International Relations LLM
- International Law and International Relations MA
- International Relations PhD
- Philosophy and Religion MA
- Politics MA
- Politics PhD
- Politics and International Relations PgCert
- Politics and Philosophy MA
- Politics, Philosophy and Management MSc
- Public Policy MSc
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.