International Relations, MSc

International Relations, MSc


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.

This course has both January and September start dates. Apply Now.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January

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.

Available Programmes of Study


International Relations

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month  
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September More
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January More

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £23,800
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
UK £11,100
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year

We will endeavour to make all course options available. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our Tuition Fees page.


Self-funded international students enrolling on postgraduate taught (PGT) programmes will receive one of our Aberdeen Global Scholarships, ranging from £3,000 to £8,000, depending on your domicile country. Learn more about the Aberdeen Global Scholarships here.

To see our full range of scholarships, visit our Funding Database.

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.

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

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.

Why Study International Relations?

  • The MSc International Relations at Aberdeen offers you the opportunity to develop in depth analysis and research skills to enable consultancy on behalf of a range of international organisations.
  • You are taught by published researchers and international relations consultants at University of Aberdeen, providing the latest research and innovation in the subject.
  • An MSc International Relations provides you with a wide range of options in a wide range of professions, and research areas.
  • Aberdeen is part of a major collaborative project, Preventing and Responding to Conflict: Developing Civilian Capabilities for a Sustainable Peace that will provide a comprehensive, comparative and multidisciplinary analysis of the EU's current conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities.
  • You are studying one of the newest academic areas with innovative thinking and research to understand new challenges in International Relations.
  • The MSc International Relations is taught by The School of Social Sciences where teaching quality was judged as 'Excellent.'
  • Politics and International Relations is ranked 5th in research grant income (per fte) in the UK.
  • PIR has an 86.8% student satisfaction rate (National Student Survey, 2022).
  • All of our degrees offer thorough training in the basic principles of social science and specialised training in preparation for a wide variety of careers.
  • We are a medium sized department that bring together experts in a variety of areas of research.
  • The department recently celebrated five decades as a centre of academic excellence for political research with an international reputation.
  • It provides you with a core curriculum along with unique options that represent the research interests among staff. These interests include international political economy and globalisation, democracy and democratization, public policy and public opinion, power and security, interest groups, political parties, social movements, institutions and many more.
  • The department offers expertise in the Middle-East, Latin America, North and South Asia, the Nordic Countries, Central and Eastern Europe as well as Scotland, the UK and the EU.
  • Arab-Trans, a major international research project links Aberdeen to 7 Arab countries which include Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq.

What Our Students Say

Sebastian Sjöblom-Keller

Sebastian Sjöblom-Keller

Sebastian Sjöblom-Keller

During the International Relations programme, I have gained a multitude of knowledge, skills, and experiences that have enriched my understanding of global affairs. What truly enhanced my experience was the exceptional faculty members.

Entry Requirements

Prospective students requiring a visa to study in the UK are advised to apply as early as possible to secure a place.


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:

IELTS Academic:

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

PTE Academic:

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.

Document Requirements

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.

Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
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

Aberdeen Global Scholarship

Eligible self-funded postgraduate taught (PGT) students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Explore our Global Scholarships, including eligibility details, on our dedicated page.

Aberdeen Global Scholarships


Careers relating to International Relations involve public sector research and policy-making in foreign affairs, defence, development and human rights. Many graduates now choose to do public advocacy, research, and project management work for non-governmental organisations (NGOS), and regional and global institutions such as the European Union or the United Nations. Graduates also forge careers in the international media, the armed forces, international risk management, and international corporations involved in trade and finance.

An MSc qualification in International Relations will be an important asset to you if you already hold an undergraduate degree in IR, given the increasing demands for postgraduate qualifications in the job market. In addition, graduates from cognate disciplines can use this route to change their career path, or improve their qualifications within the framework of an existing career.

Career Opportunities

  • Civil Servant
  • Diplomat
  • Government Official
  • Journalist
  • Junior Lecturer
  • NGO Worker (Charity Worker)
  • Police Officer

Studying at the School of Social Science

Students from the School of Social Science tell us more about their experience studying at the University of Aberdeen and their perspectives on life in Aberdeen.

What our Alumni Say

Rusdi Bastian Ilham

Rusdi Bastian Ilham

Rusdi Bastian Ilham

Graduated 2023

This course has exceeded my every educational hope and expectation. In addition to the school's high standing in the UK, I've found that the MSc International Relations programme is excellent as it has allowed me to connect with a number of great people and classmates and provided me a great learning environment, and fantastic lecturers who are always willing to go the extra mile to help me with my academic needs.

Liisa Hyrsky

Liisa Hyrsky

Liisa Hyrsky

Graduated 2020

I felt that the University of Aberdeen was the best choice for my postgraduate studies as well because I knew the politics and international relations department was going to provide me the perfect academic tools for excelling in my postgrad studies. The professors and lecturers are engaging and supportive and the course selection is varied covering everything from terrorism to environmental politics this catering for whatever a student interests are in their postgrad or undergrad studies.

Beste Sabri

Beste Sabri

Beste Sabri

Job Details
Graduated 2019

The campus is welcoming and relaxing place to be. It is not only good for motivation to study but it has nature feeling and places to rest. Students are from all parts of the world which makes it the perfect place to develop relations with variety of professionals. The city of Aberdeen is compact and offers good range of part-time job opportunities while studying.

Vojtech Chmelicek

Vojtech Chmelicek

Vojtech Chmelicek

Graduated 2018

The professors did a wonderful job of paying close attention to each student and providing them with all the care and attention they needed.

Amy Mackenzie

Amy Mackenzie

Amy Mackenzie

Job Details
Corporate Fundraiser
Graduated 2017

I was interested in international development and pursuing a career in the third sector, therefore I believed an MSc in International Relations would give me the scope to select specific topics that were more aligned to my specific interests. The teaching is consistently strong and informative and I was introduced to a range of topics that I had little to no knowledge of beforehand, which have now become extremely important to me.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr Ritu Vij

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.


In addition to currently hosting the Arab-Trans International Research Project, the University of Aberdeen is the home of several research centres and institutes.

Centre for Global Security and Governance

The Centre for Global Security and Governance brings together academic experts, policy makers, and students to define, analyse, and propose remedies to the most pressing security and governance challenges the world faces in the 21st century.

The Institute for Conflict, Transition and Peace Research

ICTPR at the University of Aberdeen brings together a diverse and interdisciplinary group of scholars and students to develop in-depth theoretical understandings of the concepts and practices of transitions in terms of conflict and peace.

Find out more

New Europe Centre

The New Europe Centre represents a group of researchers at the University of Aberdeen with projects from a number of different funding sources. We are committed to doing quality research in order to better understand the world around us.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX