Politics and International Relations - Pathway in US Politics - MA/MRes
- Mode of study
- Full time, Part time
- Entry months
- September and January
- Duration of Study
- Full time - 1 year Part time - 2 years
- Subject Area
- Politics and International Relations
- FEES (2022/23 academic year)
- UK - FT £8,400, PT £4,600
- International - £16,800
The USA is wrestling with its changed status in a multi-polar world, but it remains a vital force in international politics and a source of fascination to outside observers. Domestically, its politics are riven by competition between its parties and contentious debates across a whole range of policy areas. As the players in Washington DC and the statehouses struggle for power and the media reflect an increasingly coarse and strident form of politics, the American public have become more frustrated.
About the course
The MA/MRes in Politics and International Relations is distinctive as it is one of the most diverse collections of Masters pathways in the UK. The programme offers the possibility of developing an individual specialism as well as learning about broader issues in the pathway, and in wider fields of Politics and International Relations. You will gain a thorough grounding in the philosophical and practical issues underpinning study and research in Politics and International Relations.
Key benefits of studying for the MA/MRes in Politics and International Relations include; small class sizes, expert dissertation supervision on cutting-edge issues and debates, a dynamic academic community, strong student-staff relations and stimulating extra-curricular seminars and workshops. Staff and students regularly organise research events, which provide important opportunities for learning, networking and collegial debate on contemporary political and philosophical issues. For example, we host an annual Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture series, a bi-annual European Consortium on Political Research environmental politics PhD summer school, and in recent years have organised several ESRC-funded (Economic and Social Research Council) seminar series.
The School of Social, Political and Global Studies is a multi-disciplinary school which brings together research-led academics to produce world-class research.
The MA in Politics and International Relations provides you with an intensive period of study in which you can engage with specific issues connected to your chosen pathway (Diplomatic Studies, Global Security, Environmental Politics and Climate Change, International Relations, Politics, and US Politics) in a systematic and disciplined manner. Keele is ranked in the Top 3 in England for international relations behind only Oxford and Cambridge (Guardian University Guide, 2020).
How the course is taught
You will study 3 compulsory core taught modules, 4 optional modules and a dissertation over 12 months (full-time) or 24 months (part-time). Within the compulsory modules, you will have the flexibility and opportunity to choose a pathway module that is specific to the area you are most interested in. Optional modules will complement the compulsory core modules and provide you with access to in-depth scholarly debates, leading theoretical perspectives, and relevant practical issues, in particular pathway-specific topics. You will complete your studies with an independent dissertation. The dissertation is a formal written academic project of between 15,000 and 20,000 words. While the MA and the MRes have similar overall aims, the MRes has a higher component of dedicated research training modules designed to equip you with the additional skills required to carry out research in social science. You will agree your dissertation topic with your supervisor who will guide and support you through the project. It will be based on your own research interests that you develop during taught modules. Supervisors will be assigned to you by the programme director who will match your interests with the academic expertise of staff in the school.
Our modules are taught by research specialists, offering you their subject-specific knowledge and delivering the programme in engaging ways. The programme will provide you with the opportunity to develop your own research and study interests within this framework, while also providing access to learning about a broad range of important issues within your chosen field of study. The programme is delivered through taught sessions for each module, and comprises of lectures, large and small group work, and guided independent study. You will be primarily taught in a seminar format and through assessments which will develop your independent research skills.
Most modules will be assessed through a diverse range of coursework, including essays, critiques, reports and presentations.
The list of modules below are offered in the 2019/20 academic year. We expect to offer the same modules in the future but this may change due to staff availability. If the modules change we will inform you during the admissions process.
Core Taught Modules
You will study the following 3 core modules;
Research in Action (15 credits): You will look at how advanced research in the social sciences is designed and conducted. This module provides an in-depth and hands-on advanced introduction to research design and evidence gathering in the social sciences. It will provide you with an overview of different research designs and approaches to data gathering, ethical issues involved in conducting research, and will introduce you to examples of researchers currently engaged in work that uses a range of leading-edge research methods.
Advanced Approaches to Politics and International Relations (30 credits): This module provides an overview of the philosophies, assumptions and approaches underlying the study of Politics and International Relations topics. An an intensive workshop like approcah, you will examine how scholars have approached the issues of what to study and how to study, and the ways in which these issues are bound up with historical and current power structures within the world.
A pathway specific module (15 credits): You will have the flexibility to choose one pathway specific module in either semester one or two. Examples of pathways specific to US Politics include:
The US Presidency and Public Policy: The US Presidency is a phenomenally high-profile institution, yet its power is constrained in a range of ways. This module considers how a Clinton, Bush or Obama should be studied by researchers. How much attention is the role of the individual worth? Can the institution’s behaviour be understood regardless of which individual occupies the Oval Office? What forces shape presidential behaviour - systemic, electoral, partisan, and intellectual?
Race and Justice: Civil Rights in the US: Despite the successes of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, discrimination is still a top issue in the United States. This module examines discrimination, inequality and civil rights from the second half of the 20th Century. The module analyses the state of civil rights law and the extent to which the courts have effectively enforced social change, using legal cases and case studies to analyse the state of civil rights in the United States today.
Rethinking Fault-Lines: Beyond the East/West Divide in Global Politics: In the 21st century, the world seems to have become increasingly complex. This module embraces such complexity, challenging a number of mainstream perspectives such as Euro-centrism, neoliberalism, underdevelopment-ism, and brings a critical approach to the study of key structures, actors, dynamics, and processes that define global politics in the 21st century, and taking into account the multiple, fast changing and competing explanations about it.
You will choose two optional modules if you are taking the pathway specific module in semester 2 and three optional modules if you are taking the pathway specific module in semesterYou will choose two optional modules if you are taking the pathway specific module in semester 2 and three optional modules if you are taking the pathway specific module in semester 1.
Optional modules may include:
The Theory Of Global Security: This module offers an introduction to the analysis of global security. It exposes students to the main theoretical traditions through which security has been understood since the end of World War 2 and focuses in particular in the post-Cold War period.
The Changing International Agenda: The Changing International Agenda offers an in-depth critical assessment of the development, change and nature of the international system since the close of the Second World War. This period has witnessed radical shifts in the nature of the international system, such as the rise and fall of the Cold War, the birth of the UN, European decolonisation and the war on terror.
Comparative European Politics: Informed by classic and contemporary theoretical and empirical approaches to comparative politics, this module considers the nature and role of fundamental political structures in Europe (including electoral systems, political parties, executives and legislatures). It explores the ways in which these structures, and the actors within them, interact.
Diplomatic Law: This module understands diplomacy to be the means whereby states communicate and attempt to adjust their relations. Without such an arrangement, inter-state relations as we know them would not be possible. Accordingly, the course considers the nature of diplomacy, the environment within which it operates and the law that governs its conduct.
Equality, Discrimination & Minorities: Using the thematic of religion, race, ethnicity and caste/descent, the module examines and critiques particular inequalities in international human rights policy and practice such as geographical and governance inequalities, exploring equality issues through particular case studies. Examples could include UK and comparative perspectives on equality and discrimination.
Race & Justice: Civil Rights In The US: Despite the successes of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, discrimination is still a top issue in the United States. You will examine discrimination, inequality and civil rights from the second half of the 20th Century. You will also explore the state of civil rights law and the extent to which the courts have effectively enforced social change, using legal cases and case studies to analyse the state of civil rights in the United States today.
Equality, Discrimination & Minorities (Law module): Using the thematic of religion, race, ethnicity and caste/descent, you will examine and critique particular inequalities in international human rights policy and practice. You will look at geographical and governance inequalities and equality issues through particular case studies. Examples could include UK and comparative perspectives on equality and discrimination.
Foundations of Human Rights (Law module): You will explore historical, philosophical and structural aspects of human rights, including Enlightenment perspectives, theories of rights/history of rights theory, universalism/relativism debates, sovereignty and non-intervention concerns and other ‘structural’ issues pertinent to international law and relations.
Diplomatic Practice: The core tutorials in this module concentrate on analysing the role of diplomats in the making and execution of foreign policy. You will examine the evolution of diplomacy over the last century in the twentieth century and the major challenges that face it in the twenty-first century.
War, Memory and Popular Culture: This module frames the study of war around a number of critical interpretations of International Relations. It offers an opportunity for you to deepen your theoretical awareness of the conceptual and political problem of conflict. Through an analysis of influential writings and other media concerning the theme of war, the module promotes a self-directed study of critical International Relations theory.
Maritime Security: Recent technological developments, changes in international law, environmental concerns and the emergence of maritime economies has radically altered our understanding of sea space. This module takes you through the legal, historical and economic aspects of these developments and changes and explores the theory and practice of securing a vast, three-dimensional, fluid and dynamic environment. It foregrounds your study of maritime security through innovations in the fields of critical geopolitics, introducing you to novel analytical methods, which demonstrate how the political can be revealed through the study of space.
Environmental Public Policy: This module aims to provide students with an overview of key concepts, debates, processes and discourses in relation to environmental public policy in the UK. Issues such as GM crops, wind-farms and nuclear energy, which have provoked significant controversy and protest, will be analysed and unpacked.
Human Rights and Global Politics (Law module): This module further develops the connections between global and local causes and responses to contemporary human rights issues. The overall focus of the module is on exploring evolving political and legal strategies to advance human rights in a global political framework. Key issues include the r2p, humanitarian interventions, aid and development, security in the post 9/11 era and more.
Academic entry requirements
You should have a first or a good second-class honours degree or it's equivalent. Your undergraduate degree should be in Politics, International Relations or any social science subject (e.g Law or Sociology), or a humanities subject (e.g History, Philosophy, English, or Modern languages).
English Language Entry Requirement for International Students
Where English is not a first language, evidence of english language competence will be required (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent, with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-test).
Some travel costs may be incurred if an external project or placement is undertaken; any such costs will be discussed with the student before the project is confirmed. It may be possible for the student to select an internal project and that would not incur any additional travel costs. There may be additional costs for textbooks and inter-library loans.
Keele University is located on a beautiful campus and has all the facilities of a small town. Student accommodation, shops, restaurants and cafes are all within walking distance of the teaching buildings. This is a very cost effective way to live and to reduce your living costs.
Scholarships and Funding
We are committed to rewarding excellence and potential. Please visit our Scholarships and Bursaries webpage for more information.
It's important to plan carefully for your funding before you start your course. Please be aware that not all postgraduate courses are eligible for the UK government postgraduate loans and, in this case, you would be expected to source alternative funding yourself. If you need support researching your funding options, please contact our Financial Support Team.
Our academics seek answers to some of the world’s biggest philosophical questions, unpick and understand political thought and political action, and interpret and explain complex, global political events. The pathway lead for US Politics Dr Jonathan Herberts areas of expertise include U.S. Presidency (rhetoric and communication, policy leadership, executive power)
Jon’s primary focus is the American Presidency, although he has broader interests in both public policy and US government as a whole. John is particularly interested in how presidents choose to govern and what constrains their ability to get things done. Particularly, he is working on ideas concerning the relationship between presidential policy-making, presidential agendas and political strategy. Jon publishes on other subjects (recently on the conservative movement in the US and US foreign policy). Jon is a member of Keele’s Research Institute for the Social Sciences.
Find out more about Dr Jon Herbert on the link here
Our graduates follow a wide range of careers in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Careers include; Journalism, Banking, the government, IR Consulting and NGO's. Alumni often come back to Keele to speak to our current students and also feature in our Spotlight on International Relations (a series of lectures by International Relations Alumni and friends). Recent speakers have included Jonty Bloom (BBC Correspondent), John Duncan OBE (Former British Ambassador and Governor of the Virgin Islands) and Fidellis Swai (former UNHCR in Somalia).
The University has a Careers and Employability team who can provide you with advice and guidance about your future career. The team offer specialist workshops, for example 'Options with Postgraduate Study' and Moving on with your PhD', and can also meet you individually to give guidance and support to help you develop your career. We also hold regular careers fairs on campus and informal events where you can meet employers. You will also have access to our database of job opportunities and digital resources such as online psychometric testing.