The University of Aberdeen is following Scottish Government Guidelines in relation to the
Covid-19 pandemic. This includes adhering to physical distancing measures to support a
safe environment for our staff and students. Therefore for programmes with a January 2021
start date the programme structure and delivery method may differ slightly from that listed
on this page.
Find out more about January 2021 study with us
The MSc in International Relations offers you the opportunity to study international order/disorder in relation to the interaction among states; transnational institutions; non-governmental organisations; multinational corporations; popular culture and everyday life.
The disciplinary landscape of International Relations (IR) has expanded considerably in the early twenty-first century, with a number of new challenges confronting a now outmoded global architecture of power. IR's traditional concern with war, security and diplomacy have been called into question by the end of the Cold War and the War On Terror and have been further complicated by far-reaching epistemological and methodological shifts in social theory.
Debates about the nature of globalisation, international institutions, development/post-development, global political economy, culture and identity, citizenship and rights bear prominently on efforts to understand the ebb and flow of contemporary IR. In theory and practice, understanding the modalities of power in constituting the ‘international,’ as well as challenges to hegemonic stabilizations of it, has gained a particular urgency, making the study of IR central to apprehending the complexity of global social life.
The MSc in International Relations provides you with a sustained engagement with key issues in contemporary International Relations including development & political economy, critical & human security, globalisation, gender, identity, human rights and governance. It builds a foundation on the conceptual/ theoretical underpinnings of IR, the programme offers a range of courses that enable individualized programmes of specialized study on a particular theme or region.
How You'll Study
Teaching includes a range of interactive methods and approaches to learning in order to enhance students’ critical thinking, presentation and interpersonal skills.
The aim of the programme is to provide a nuanced understanding of key concepts and paradigms that structure the disciplinary study of International Relations and the theoretical and analytical tools to engage debates about them.
Several areas of thematic and regional specialisation that reflect their research and professional interests. For each area, students develop the relevant empirical and theoretical knowledge and understanding to produce in-depth analysis of complex problems. Taken together, these area choices provide students with an understanding of the multifaceted nature of contemporary International Relations.
Postgraduate-level skills of intellectual and professional relevance including: research skills, organisation and structure, critical evaluation of sources and arguments, logic of argumentation, independent study and judgement, and written and oral communication.
By coursework, written examination, or a combination thereof, as prescribed for each course and by submission of a dissertation. The degree of MSc shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGS grade of D3 mark of 9 or above in IR5901, irrespective of their performance in other courses.
Prospective students requiring a visa to study in the UK are advised to apply as early as possible to secure a place.
Applications received after 29 July (September intake) or 2 November (January intake) from students who need to apply for a visa will not be processed in time for entry, but will be considered for entry into the next intake as appropriate.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
Applicants for admission will normally be expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with a 2:1 standard from a recognised university or body.
Applicants without this qualification may be admitted subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of work experience appropriate to the field of study. Also taken into careful consideration is the trajectory of results, an applicant without an overall 2.1 but with 2.1 results in their final two years of study may be admitted.
Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.
English Language Requirements
To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:
OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0
OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21
OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59
Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:
OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169
Read more about specific English Language requirements here.
You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
Reference x 2
two reference letters, one of which should be from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employers, or other professional individuals