Do world affairs interest you to the extent that you become interested in international debates and their affects on entire populations and industries which can disappear overnight? International Political Economy prepares you to understand risk, finance, globalisation, power balance, and trade deals. You will study production the relationships with law, custom and government along with wealth distribution, preparing you for worldwide careers in foreign affairs and public and private sectors.

This programme is studied on campus.

  • You will study the relationship between people,markets, governments/state, and society using methodology and knowledge from economics and politics worldwide.
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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

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

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

International Political Economy: Theory and Themes (IR5007) - 30 Credit Points

Introduces students to the key theories and themes in the disciplinary study of International Political Economy. Topics covered include global inequality and wealth distribution; financialization and crisis; precarization of work; global regulation of trade, labour, and money; gender, and the environment in the international political economy.

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Optional Courses

One course from the following:

Theories and Concepts in International Relations (IR5001) - 30 Credit Points

This course lays the foundations for, explores, and critically analyses the main theoretical paradigms and debates in International Relations, and engages with the complexity of debates on concepts in IR. The theoretical topics to be covered include debates on the international system, cooperation, world order, conflict, development, representation and identity. Students will also be introduced to some of the main debates in epistemology and methodology that apply to the discipline.

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Energy Politics (PI5025) - 15 Credit Points

History and politics of energy since WW2. Nuclear Power politics – rise, fall and non-rise?. Renewable energy politics, rise and stagnation or triumph? EU politics of liberalisation and interventions such as the EU ETS. Environmental politics and oil; conserving nature and extracting oil Arguments about regulations on oil and gas, planning arguments, arguments about oil spills, protests (eg Brent Spar). The politics of natural gas. The case of ‘fracking’. The course will discuss how economics and politics interact. No prior technical or econometric knowledge is required for this course.

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Religion, Conflict and Security (PI5027) - 30 Credit Points

Since the end of the Cold War the world has seen a resurgence of religious movements in the public sphere and, particularly since 9/11, religion has increasingly been viewed in policy debates as an issue of domestic and international security. In the ever increasingly globalized era, religious identifications criss-cross national boundaries and identities posing a dilemma for the established norms of the secular nation-state, political theory and actors. This course will examine some of the emerging theories associated with the rise of political religion, and the potential for conflict and peace that emerge. Utilizing diverse case studies ranging from religious Zionism, to political Islam to national Hindu movements the course will critique and employ contemporary theoretical frameworks to gain understanding of the current phenomena of religion in the international political domain.

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Introduction to Energy Economics (BU5053) - 15 Credit Points

This course introduces key techniques from economics and finance to allowing understanding of the basics of business decision making within the energy industries and the economic implications of key energy policies. We consider basic financial concepts such as: present value, the opportunity cost of capital and their role in business decision making in energy industries. We also consider key economic elements of markets and how the economic environment structures the way in which businesses make decisions and energy market outcomes.

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Advanced Qualitative Methods in Social Science (SL5011) - 30 Credit Points

Qualitative Sociology: Philosophy and Methods: This course introduces students to a range of methods used in qualitative sociological research (such as participant observation, qualitative interviewing, focus groups, diaries, photography and film, and archived data sources). The emphasis will be on the research process, from project design to analysis and presentation, with methodological issues raised in the context of researchable questions. Issues of reliability, representativeness and validity, and the potential for combining methods will be addressed. Students use the course work to develop their research interests and reflect on their research practices.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Dimensions of Globalization (SO5512) - 30 Credit Points

This interdisciplinary course focuses on substantive dimensions of globalization by considering recent changes occurring in the economic, political, social, and cultural realms of society. These themes are analysed by considering recent empirical studies, which seek to clarify our theoretical understanding of globalization through advanced social scientific research. The substantive themes covered include global capitalism, the global division of labour, global governance, the changing role of the nation‐state, transnational social change, and cultural homogenization and heterogenization. Interconnections between these aspects of globalization are highlighted.

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Optional Courses

One course from the following:

Global Security Issues (PI5502) - 30 Credit Points

'Global Security Issues' is an elective, second semester module for the MSc Strategic Studies, Strategic Studies & International Law and Strategic Studies & Management degree programmes.

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Research Design, Data and Presentation (PI5516) - 30 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to issues of research design, data collection and effective academic communication in political science research. Its primary objective is to introduce students to the basic rationale, logic and method of original empirical research. It prepares students for how one develops and translates interesting questions and broad theoretical concepts into manageable research projects, and how to communicate the project’s ideas and findings. This requires an understanding of the state of the art of the discipline and the diversity of theoretical and methodological approaches.

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International Energy Security (PI5518) - 30 Credit Points


Oil and Security – how oil crises have occurred since 1973, with a focus on the energy demand and supply pressures and the political factors triggering the 1973 and 1979 oil crises. OPEC and IEA. The factors underpinning the oil crisis of 2008 and its relationships to world economic crisis. The role of China in oil politics.

Natural Gas, the EU and Russia. How conceptions of (natural gas) energy security are constructed and implemented in the EU and Russia –Nuclear Power and energy security;– eg Iran .

Climate Security

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Terrorism and Counter Terrorism (PI5520) - 30 Credit Points

Salient, specific facets of historical and contemporary national, international and transnational terrorism and the problems and challenges these different kinds of terrorism pose for national and international counter-terrorism strategies will be scrutinised. The debates on the different causes for terrorism (for instance religion, ethnicity, and ideology) and the different theoretical approaches to explain and understand the roots of terrorism will be examined. Specific facets of terrorism like (female) suicide bombers, ‘lone wolfs’ and ‘home-grown terrorists’, as well as the national and international strategies to counter terrorism, will be critically reviewed.

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Approaches to Quantitative Analysis in Social Research (SL5511) - 30 Credit Points

The course utilises secondary sources to demonstrate approaches to data analysis of social surveys. It provides a review of techniques suited to different data types, including categorical data in the form of tables and 'yes' and 'no' outcomes in multivariate analysis. The course makes comparisons among social groups and between societies in cross-sectional and longitudinal designs that include control, moderating and mediating factors in explanatory models. Students identify a topic and undertake their own analysis of a secondary data source to produce two research reports. Those two report comprise the total assessment for the course.

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Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation in International Political Economy (IR5905) - 60 Credit Points

​The dissertation in IPE enables students to develop in-depth knowledge of a topic of interest. Under close supervision by an expert on the topic selected, students have an opportunity to frame, develop, research and write a substantive and original thesis on a topic of their choosing.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Teaching will comprise lectures, student-led seminars, student-led class presentations and close and critical reading of texts.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars

Assessment Methods

By written exam, essay work, class presentation and project work as prescribed for each course and by submission of a dissertation.

Formative assessment comprises class presentations and student led seminars on which oral and written feedback will be provided

Summative assessment comprises discursive, reflective essays and a dissertation

Why Study International Political Economy?

  • You learn about moral philosophy in a contemporary discipline
  • You analyse tariff policies, political economies, social and political pressures and how these influence the political process
  • You learn about the impact of policies on the public and trade

Entry Requirements

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 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.

Qualifications for entry: Normally an upper class honours degree or recognized equivalent in International Relations, Politics, Economics, Management, Business Studies, Law, Geography, History or cognate subject deemed appropriate by the School of Social Science. If a candidate does not meet these requirements, account may be taken of relevant professional experience, e.g. government officials, members of UK or other armed forces, officials of International Organizations and business executives.

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 - 51; Reading - 54; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & 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 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

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £9,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
International Students £19,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • 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 InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


This course is designed to prepare students from diverse backgrounds for careers with an international focus, in governmental and non-governmental organizations, corporations and policy-making for instance, as well as those seeking to pursue further research in the field.

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. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Social Science
University of Aberdeen
Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street
AB24 3QY