Course Content for Masters in Politics and International Relations Pathways

Core Modules

Advanced Approaches to Politics and International Relations (15 credits)

This module aims to provide you with a foundation in the philosophy of the social sciences and an examination of the core assumptions that underpin different approaches to knowledge generation. It also aims to provide you with an understanding of the politics and international relations of knowledge generation and circulation.  In other words, it examines how social scientists have approached the questions of what to study, how to study, and the ways in which these issues are bound up with historical and current power structures in the world.

Perspectives in Politics and International Relations (15 credits)

This module aims to provide an opportunity for in-depth independent study within your chosen specialised pathway, in order to prepare you for the completion of your dissertation.  You will be provided with an introduction to strategies for finding resources, both on-line and in the Keele University library.  You will work in small groups under the guidance of an expert in your pathway subject. This will provide an environment for the cross-fertilisation of ideas and research strategies between students, as well as between students and academic staff. 

Research in Action (15 credits)

This module provides an in-depth and hands-on introduction to particular methods of evidence gathering with relevance to social science research. Such methods are relevant for students intending to go on to further academic study, but are also relevant for many professional careers in which the collection of data and understanding of their significance is crucial.  The module provides an introduction to methods of data collection and analysis and includes informed discussion of best ethical practice in social research.

All modules are available to all students on the MA in Politics and International Relations. (subject to staff availability)

Elective Option Modules (15 credits)

  • Approaches to Dialogue
  • Climate Change: Governance, Power and Society
  • Comparative European Politics
  • Crisis, Continuity and Change: Trends and Issues in Contemporary Global History
  • Dimensions of Environmental Politics
  • Diplomatic Law
  • Diplomatic Practice
  • Environmental Decision Making: The Case of Complex Technologies
  • Environmental Diplomacy
  • Equality, Discrimination and Minorities
  • Foundations of Human Rights
  • Green Political Theory
  • Human Rights and Global Politics
  • International Environmental Law
  • Learning and Research Skills
  • Maritime Security
  • Parties and Democracy
  • Party Politics and the European Union
  • Race and Justice: Civil Rights in the US
  • Rethinking Fault-Lines: Beyond the East/West Divide in Global Politics
  • The Changing International Agenda
  • The EU and the Global Commons
  • The Politics of Sin: Culture Wars in the US
  • The Theory of Global Security
  • The US Presidency and Public Policy
  • War, Memory and Popular Culture

 A modern foreign language (French, German, Japanese, Russian, Spanish)

Dissertation (60 credits)

A dissertation gives you the opportunity to conduct research on an approved subject in which you have a particular interest. The quality of a dissertation carries special weight in any application to proceed to a higher research degree.

The dissertation can take a number of different forms: it may review an event or a theory; it may ‘test’ an existing assumption within the literature; it may place existing knowledge in a new light; or it may develop ideas about the working of some aspect of the subject of your MA/MRes.

Dissertations are 15,000 words long and are due at the beginning of September.  Work begins in semester two, and then June, July and August are devoted entirely to writing your dissertation.  You will work under the guidance of a supervisor who has expertise in the subject.

The list below includes some of our students’ recent dissertation topics. In general, you will be able to write your dissertation on any topic in Politics or International Relations that can be supervised by a member of staff in the School.

  • A comparative study of the history and politics of the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran
  • E-government as an instrument of innovation and transformation in public administration
  • New Labour and environmental security
  • Bio-fuels in Brazil: A vehicle for development?
  • US space policy: primacy and hegemony?
  • Britain and German unification: the failure and successes of British foreign policy
  • The Israeli lobby: from pressure to policy
  • Countering right-wing extremism: a critique of West European response