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MSc International Relations

Course overview

Start date

January 2018

September 2018

Subject area

Social Sciences





On campus

Course summary

The course will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the forces shaping global politics and state and inter-state relations. It will also give you an appreciation of the context of international relations in terms of global inequalities, power and environmental risks. 

Our students come to us from all over the world, so you will be working in an international environment. The course will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need for a career working in a global body, government department or organisation dealing with international policy. 

You will also be encouraged to improve your research skills and learn how to take an active part in international and academic conferences and debates.

This course offers a unique combination of critical thinking in relation to international relations and the study of global environmental politics. We were the first university to offer this special focus on the environment, which has become a central issue of global relations.

Contact us

If you have any questions, talk to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0) 20 8223 3333 or email

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In UK to focus on global environmental politics

This cutting-edge course was the first of its kind to have a special focus on global environmental politics.

Our academic team are experts in the field of international relations

Our academic team are world-renowned experts in current global debates through their pioneering research.

Join a global community of students and researchers

The course attracts students from around the world who are encouraged to become an active part of our research community.

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What we're researching

You will be taught by research-active, well-published academic staff who are experts in their field.

Our academic team are actively researching the key issues of today’s globalised world, such as fair trade and wellbeing, justice and natural resource extraction, comparative perspectives of urban deprivation and gender and development. 

We are engaged in cutting-edge research in the area of post-human approaches to international relations, ‘the post-human way of war’, gender power systems of conflict and violence, psychosocial aspects of forced displacement, digital diasporas, social capital and integration.

Our staff also have regional expertise and excellent contacts in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and Western Balkans.

We have a number of research centres and groups in the area of global studies and run many research seminars and events. All of our postgraduate students are welcome to become part of our vibrant research community.we're researching text.

Making a difference

UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.

Katy Savage

MSc International Relations

MSc International Relations at UEL has been an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. The lectures are engaging and stimulating and staff are friendly and approachable.  This course has given me the tools and confidence to move forward in my career.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:2 Honours

We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. 


(Including European Union)

We accept a range of qualifications from across the world. Please see our country pages for information on specific entry requirements for your country.


Applicants need to demonstrate a clear interest in International Politics.

Overall IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

As an inclusive university we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application (particularly your personal statement) and may ask you to attend an interview or submit a piece of work to help us decide on your eligibility for the course. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.

You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre. Please click here for details.

What you'll study


  • Critical Theories International Relations (core)
  • Global Environmental Politics (core)
  • Qualitative Research Methods for Social Scientists (core)
  • Cultural Encounters in International Relations (option)
  • Introduction to Forced Migration (option)
  • Migration, Citizenship and Social Policy (option)
  • War and Human Rights (option)
  • Current Issues and Research in International Law (option)
  • Law and Policy in the Middle East (option)
  • Dissertation (core)

How you'll be assessed

You’ll be assessed through a wide range of marked coursework, including essays, project work, oral presentations, critical readings, annotated bibliographies, publicity briefings, and independent research reports.  You’ll also undertake a dissertation in which you’ll carry out a piece of research in an area of your choice.

Course specification

How you'll learn

Our students are not only from diverse countries and backgrounds but they also have a wide age range. Some have already worked in international bodies while others are coming to the issues for the first time. 

Whatever your age or background, we encourage you to become part of our research community during your time on the course.  We also give students the confidence to increase their publication profile. One of our current students, for example, has written a book review during the course that was published in an international journal.

In addition to traditional teaching methods of lectures and seminars, we also organise special mini-conferences where students present their work to their fellow students and academics and chair panel discussions. 

The day-long conferences provide opportunities to answer probing questions about your work and to quiz others on their findings. 

This kind of specialist training is designed to enhance your confidence and communication skills when taking part in international conferences and events and in presenting your ideas in a public environment. 

The conferences are also a creative way of broadening your knowledge and providing you with inspiration and ideas for research.

What you'll learn

You will study three core modules leading up to a dissertation of 15,000 words.

The first module focuses on the Critical Theories of International Relations and then you will look in detail at Global Environmental Politics - one of the key issues and potential crises facing the international community in the 21st century.

These modules have been much enjoyed by students on the course and described by external examiners as “cutting edge” in their content.

The third module will give you experience of Qualitative Research Methods, equipping for your research project. For this you can choose a subject linked to your previous professional interest or a completely different area for analysis. 

There are also optional modules to choose from, including Conflict, Displacement and Human Security, International Human Rights, Law and Policy in the Middle East and an Introduction to Forced Migration. 

Our academic team are actively involved in shaping the global debate on many of these issues and will guide you through the modules with creative learning methods, feedback and advice.

Your future career

Some of our students have already worked in an international relations environment while others are looking to start a career in the area.

Many aspire to work for the United Nations or to develop a career in international policy or development at a government level. Some have used the skills they have developed on the course to forge careers in local as well as national government.  

Our course will give you the advanced skills to take your career to a new level. You will also learn how to work in an international environment and how to influence the debate. 

Throughout the course you will have the expertise of our distinguished academic team to guide you. Course Leader Dr Erika Cudworth has published on environmental, social and political theory and environmental social movements.

Dr Tim Hall is a social and political theorist, Dr Steve Hobden is known for his work on theories of international systems and Dr Branislav Radeljic has undertaken research on European Union politics and Eastern Europe. 

The depth and breadth of their knowledge and the creative teaching methods on this course may well inspire you to pursue your own career in academic research or teaching.

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Meet us in your country

Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London.

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