MSc International Relations (with Security Studies Specialism)

Year of entry

20% Alumni discount

UK and EU Christ Church alumni are eligible for a 20% discount on self-funded Postgraduate Taught Masters and Masters by Research.

Getting to grips with the ever-changing shifts of international politics can be daunting. Our MSc in International Relations introduces you to the fundamental principles of global interaction, and refining your knowledge within specialist classes. You will learn in a systematic and engaging way about the origins, evolution and multifaceted character of the international political system, before turning to the Security Studies specialism, providing specialist insights on power, influence and governance within key national, regional and international structures. A fascinating and relevant degree supported in 2017 by a competitively-awarded Jean Monnet Studentship (£2000) as well as the possibility of in-house internships. Canterbury Christ Church University graduates are well placed to specialise in careers connected to key areas of international relations, enhanced with expertise in security.

"A Masters in International Relations at Christ Church is an excellent passport for careers in an ever widening field. We have seen very recently how much in demand experts in different fields of international work will be in the future, and this course offers invaluable development, learning and opportunities. From human rights to environmental standards, and NATO to NAFTA you will have the chance to prepare for a challenging and exciting future. Building on the recognised expertise and high reputation of the university in these fields this is a demanding but very rewarding course."

mark-hammond-70-x-70Mark Hammond Visiting Professor in Public Administration, Politics and International Relations, Canterbury Christ Church University

The new MSc in International Relations offered at Canterbury Christ Church University is established upon a firm foundation of research­led teaching, using innovative and blended learning methods, expertise driven insights, and a clear commitment to guiding and supporting all facets of graduate student development.

Jean Monnet Graduate Bursaries and Studentship

There are bursaries available for this MSc programme. Click here to find out more.

Our International Relations programmes will provide you with the opportunity to gain comprehensive conceptual knowledge of the prime structures and interconnections that make up international relations, and an indispensable practical understanding of national, institutional, legal, political, economic and socio­cultural actors of the global community.

The 2017 MSc in International Relations is offered with a specialism in Security Studies, allowing you to gain an especially strong understanding of the role of power and influence, the distribution of authority and governance within national, regional and international modes of security, and the principles driving the narratives and practices of security.

Offered both full and part-time, Canterbury Christ Church University’s innovative MSc in International Relations will help you tackle the ‘big issues’ in international politics with confidence and curiosity, equipping you for career paths in local, national, and international arenas thanks to innovative modules and a ‘calling card’ thesis.  

Through a combination of core and specialist modules, the MSc in International Relations is constructed around a series of modules that will help you analyse the multifaceted origins, evolution and conflictual development of the international political system.

You will explore the analytical application of a range of the core theories and contemporary concepts that make up the canon of International Relations. You will also interrogate the relative merits and shortcomings of ideologies, political, economic and socio-cultural philosophies, structures of power, and systems of governance across in order to better understand the global political system.

Modules on International Relations (as well as the Security Studies specialism) are comprised of formal lectures on key themes of IR, security and globalisation, and interactive seminars that explore global actors, structures, and policies, making use of a robust range of teaching and learning styles to deconstruct this complex and fast changing subject area.

Based on nationally recognized, award winning teaching styles, graduate classes are engaging and interactive, ranging from simulation games that reflect the actual workings of an international institution or a given security actor, to negotiation-based group work, as well as the analysis of key international policy texts, treaties or conventions, Students are encouraged to produce work in the form of briefing notes, blogs and pieces of advocacy, all focusing on contemporary challenges to the international structure, ensuring that students completing the MSc in International Relation graduate with an advanced knowledge of their chosen area through the most contemporary pedagogic styles.

You will follow five core modules, which provide a comprehensive foundation for the pathway as a whole. The modules are taught to all graduate students within the Politics/International Relations programme, introducing them to basic concepts, working approaches, research methodologies and current political dilemmas that help link the scholarly subject matter of International Relations, Politics and European Politics to real-world issues.

  • Research Methods 1, and Critical Issues: Shifting Perspectives (Autumn term)
  • Research Methods 2, and Advanced Research in Politics and International Relations (Spring term)
  • The MSc Dissertation (Spring and Summer terms)

All five of these graduate modules have been carefully and methodically laid out in a clear and comprehensive fashion, to prepare you in the most thorough and engaging way possible both to manage your accompanying specialism modules, and to then undertake the graduate dissertation that completes the totality of the degree pathway.

Designed in a thoroughly interdisciplinary manner with colleagues from across the school, the two Research Methods modules are specially designed to introduce graduate students to the fundaments of graduate study, and the subject-specific background and research requirements appropriate for International Relations, Politics, and European Politics.

The working practices and methods laid out in the two Research Methods modules provide students with the historical and theoretical foundations of social and political science, and then move on to examine the full range of qualitative and quantitative research techniques, analytical, methodological and writing skills. The objectives of these two core courses are reinforced in the two associated core modules: Critical Issues: Shifting Perspectives, and Advanced Research in Politics and International Relations, in which students gain a truly interdisciplinary understanding of both International Relations, and the security specialism of their degree. Both these core modules are fascinatingly multi­disciplinary in their construction, allowing students to gain a genuinely multi-dimensional perspective of the classic theories, and contemporary that comprise the world of international relations, and the particular challenges of their Security specialism.

Attention is paid to developing transferrable skills in all five of these core modules, generating a variety of viable research skills and techniques, a range of written outputs, and increasing confidence in giving oral presentations. From this foundation of 80 credits, you then take another 40 credits of taught modules, deepening your Security specialism, and further preparing you for your selected dissertation topic.

The dissertation is the culmination of the postgraduate learning experience in International Relations, drawing upon the wide range of intellectual and skills developed throughout the degree pathway, and providing an extended opportunity for you to undertake independent work, display individual thought, and take responsibility for the management of your own learning.

MSc in International Relations (Security Studies)

Faculty Research Module (40 Credits)
Advanced Research in Politics and International Relations (20 Credits)
Critical Issues: Shifting Perspectives (20 Credits)
Contemporary Security 
(20 Credits)
Security in the Digital Age 
(20 Credits)
Dissertation: Assessing Security Studies (60 Credits)

An MSc in International Relations will provide you with an exceptionally wide knowledge base, allowing you to command both the organising principles and nuanced specifics of the contemporary regional, international and global structure.

This innovative, relevant and marketable degree will ensure you with a refined understanding of international relations as a whole, as well as the role and application of your Security Studies specialism.

In order to complete this demanding degree, you will be able to thoroughly and expertly use a wide range of sources and forms of information to critically assess the contemporary international structure, its various distributions of power and influence, and ensuing forms of authority and governance within national, regional and international modes. You will also be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the numerous forms of security, from the canon of securitisation studies to myriad practical examples of political, economic, social and even cultural   security implicit in the concept of a world that is increasingly interdependent and yet predisposed to enduring state structures. As such, you will emerge with an enduring understanding of both the contemporary   international structure, in terms of its various distributions of power, wealth and interactive mechanisms of governance, from traditional sovereign units to international level structures.

Throughout the year, you will be provided with curriculum based expertise informed by the IR­oriented research activities and policy specialisms of the staff. This promotes a depth of intellectual inquiry and a practical quality to the debate amongst other students within and beyond the classroom, which you will subsequently convert into concise and clear­headed thinking in future roles. You will also emerge with the tools to operate in a culturally and socially sensitive learning and working environment.

Further transversal graduate skills obtained include comparative, analytical, research and writing based tools facilitated by the curriculum requirements, as well as the opportunities to fine-tune skills in oral presentation, group work and sustained individual research.

The MSc in International Relations programme utilises a wide range of innovative teaching and learning methods, including:

  • Interactive lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Workshops
  • Virtual learning environments
  • Seminars
  • Simulation games
  • Problem based learning group work

Tutorials with supervisors, where graduate students will study in an informative, engaging, stimulating and participative environment.

The MSc in International Relations will assist you in developing a range of communication skills, helping you to then tackle the disciplinary content of your pathway, develop your confidence regarding the advanced management of a wide range of information (i.e. comprehension, analysis, description, critical thinking) and improve your overall range of understanding and knowledge.

Modules themselves, both core and specialism, comprise formal presentations by core and guest lecturers, with a wide range of interactive Q&A, individual presentations, group-work, simulation games and workshop methods designed to allow students to get the very most out of each weekly session.

In-course contact hours are supplemented by a wide range of module-based support on the Blackboard VLE used by CCCU, which will allow you to engage in blended learning beyond the classroom, whilst still receiving support and direction by your module convenors. Weekly office hours are offered by all course moderators, while individuated support from module convenors, thesis supervisors and university support staff ensures students receive support at all phases of their graduate development.

Graduate modules are generally four hours in duration per week, with three modules offered each term (e.g. Research Methods 1, Critical Issues, and Contemporary Security in Term 1), which ensures a manageable balance in terms of working hours, and a reliable method of acclimatizing students to the rigors of preparing a complete thesis during the Spring and Summer Terms.

Taught modules (both core and specialist) are offered during Autumn and Spring terms, for a duration of 12 weeks, comprising an average of 50 teaching hours, and 200 hours of independent. student learning (e.g. 4 hours of independent preparation for each hour in the classroom).

Students can also expect to have assessment returned, with thorough, relevant and personalized feedback within a maximum of three weeks of submission, via the Blackboard VLE. Subsequent discussions are then encouraged in order to ensure a positive trajectory in terms of student performance, within and across the core and specialist modules.

Core and specialist lectures and seminars are delivered by Politics/IR staff; guest lecturers are drawn in from other departments and faculties across the university; doctoral students are occasionally invited to share their perspective on their research.

The vast majority of teaching on all three of our graduate pathways is provided by our fully-accredited and full-time Politics/IR staff, not by graduate students.

Students of the MSc in International Relations will be assessed through a range of methods, including essays, briefing notes, book reviews, portfolios, individual and group oral presentations, action research, political role play, simulations, standard examinations, as well as a sustained piece of academic work in the form of a thesis, all of which take account of two key inter­dependent aspects:

The acquisition of relevant knowledge and understanding in the area of International Relations; and

The development of academic style and practical skills in the area of International Relations and the Security Studies Specialism.

Accordingly, assessment procedures are designed to test the acquisition and needs of graduate students in terms of their newly attainment and management of broad areas of knowledge and understanding in their chosen subject area, as well as the various transferrable skills by which that knowledge is acquired.



2017/18 tuition fees for this course

Full-time £5,050 £11,500**
Part-time £2,525 (90 credits) / £1,685 (60 credits) n/a

Tuition fees for all courses which last more than one academic year are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

There will be an annual inflationary increase in tuition fees for this course where the course lasts more than one academic year. The increase will reflect cost inflation in the University. Any inflationary increase will be no more than 3.5% for each year of your study. The increase will be calculated on the previous year’s tuition fees and not the tuition fees at the start of the course. 

Government loans of up to £10,000 are available for some postgraduate Master’s courses for students starting their course from 1 August 2017. Loans are subject to both personal and course eligibility criteria. 

The rules around course eligibility mean that in some cases it may depend on how you are studying (full-time or part-time) as to whether you can apply for a postgraduate loan. To check whether your course is eligible, you can email the Student Fees Team or call 01227 923 948

Read more about postgraduate masters student loans.

The part-time fees quoted relate to courses taken over 2 years (90 credits per year) or 3 years (60 credits per year)

Students may self-fund their course or a sponsor may fund or part-fund. Bursaries, scholarships and fee discounts may also be available.

Further information

**Overseas fee scholarships may be available. See further information about funding and scholarships or contact the International Office.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any library fees and fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

Our standard offer for accepting students onto the MSc in International Relations is a 2:1, preferably in directly relatable subjects within the social and political sciences, although cognate subjects including history, law, comparative studies, or the broader range of sociology and psychology, and English will also be considered providing undergraduate marks obtained are robust enough. This is in addition to two letters of recommendation, and a brief personal statement outlining interest and areas of specialism being considered, as well as a complete CV.

The University has a well-established Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) and Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) structure in operation. Students without previous qualifications may be accepted as part of this process. If you are unsure  whether  your  qualifications are appropriate please  contact us directly:

Fact file


  • 1 year full-time
    2 years part-time

Entry requirements

  • Our standard offer for accepting students onto the MSc in International Relations is a 2:1, preferably in directly relatable subjects within the social and political sciences, including previous study in the area of international relations, although cognate subjects including history, law, comparative studies, or the broader range of sociology and psychology will also be considered providing undergraduate marks obtained are robust enough. If you are unsure whether your qualifications are appropriate please contact us directly:



More about

Last edited 05/12/2017 02:49:00

Print or share this page

Connect with us

Last edited: 05/12/2017 02:49:00