These are interesting times for international relations: issues such as globalisation, environmental degradation, poverty and deprivation, international conflict, the rise of religious fundamentalism, the future of democracy - among many others - challenge us to understand trends taking place in modern society. The discipline of International Relations is quintessentially concerned with these issues. This postgraduate degree enables students to increase their understanding of contemporary issues in international relations in a global context.
The course places emphasis on gaining critical perspectives on contemporary theory and practice in international relations. It will not only enable you to evaluate and explain contemporary issues in international relations, but will also allow you to gain insight into the nature, development, and history of contemporary theoretical perspectives in the discipline of International Relations. The course also aims to provide a sound grounding in research methods in the social sciences.
The course will appeal to students who have a broad interest in international affairs, and to those whose future work is likely to involve the public sphere in an international and global context. It is relevant to careers in media and general management, as well as in the Civil Service, Intergovernmental Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations. It will also appeal to those wanting to go on to do a research degree.
Teaching, learning and assessment 教學與評分方式
Diverse teaching methods are employed throughout the MA programme in order to aid the quality of learning opportunities for students' knowledge and understanding of international relations. Teaching methods include lectures, tutor/group led seminars, analysis of case studies, groupwork presentations, individual presentations, individual and small group tutorials.
Assessment will be conducted through a variety of assignments linked to the course's expected learning outcomes. Assignments will include essays, presentations, projects, reports and the dissertation. These will be spread over the year to provide constant feedback and assessment. The core module will also be assessed by a comprehensive final exam.
To gain a master's in International Relations, you will have to pass all compulsory modules, two optional modules and a dissertation.
Compulsory modules: 必修課程
- International Relations in Theory and Practice provides an advanced investigation into theoretical approaches in the discipline of International Relations, as well as an overview of contemporary debates. The module aims to establish a clear understanding of the role and purpose of theory, and its relation to substantive issues in international relations.
- Readings in Social Science aims to introduce key themes and thinkers in the study of the social sciences, as exemplified by in-depth study of key portions of social science literature. It offers critical analysis of specific themes and schools of thought while allowing connections to be drawn between related ideas.
- Research Methods in the Social Sciences or Data Collection acquaint students with basic social science research methods so that they can understand how evidence is produced and critically appraise the research they use. It includes discussion of research strategies and study design; research ethics; principles and methods of sampling; questionnaire design, interviewing and focus groups; principles of qualitative, documentary and survey analysis; comparative historical analysis; statistical analysis using SPSS; presenting findings and writing up research.
Optional modules (choose two): 選修兩科
- International Security in the Global Era examines the study of security in the international system, through its roots in Cold War strategic studies to the development of a more broadly focused field today. The module critically analyses contemporary security issues in the context of processes of globalisation.
- Global Political Economy examines the various theories of global political economy and their competing explanations of the inter-relationship between states and markets in the global system. Various issues in the contemporary global political economic order will be drawn upon to illustrate the theoretical claims, such as trade, development and finance.
- Global Governance, Civil Society and Social Movements investigates the institutions of global governance and the dynamics of civil society, understood as the space for interaction between institutions and non-state actors. It asks questions about the nature of accountability and legitimacy as well as claims that civil society presents a democratising force for global governance.
- Culture and Identity in International Relations - politics in the global arena is shaped significantly by the multiplicity of collective identities and cultural frameworks. As globalisation and the aspects of global integration associated with it advance, questions of culture and identity have gained renewed pertinence and relevance. In this course, we will engage with the debates about the resurgence of identity politics, trace their conceptual and normative underpinnings, and consider the practical political implications of boundaries of identity and culture.
- Japan and Asian Regionalism examines the international relations of the Asian region, with particular emphasis on Japan's role as a key regional power in shaping the mode and structure of intra-regional relations since 1945. During the Cold War, relations among states within Asia were largely characterised as an American-led 'hub-and-spoke' bilateral system, in which Japan's alliance with the United States was central to the system. Since the late 1980s, however, Asia witnessed a proliferation in multilateral institution-building, for which Japan has played an active role. With this backdrop, the module explores key aspects of the development of Asian regionalism, while examining both changes and continuity in Japanese foreign policymaking toward the region. The overall goal of this module is to provide students with a basis for improving their understanding of intra-regional relations of Asia through an advanced study of Japan's role in regional and world affairs.
Students may also choose no more than one of the following modules taught by the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice, CENDEP (this choice would replace one of the options from the International Relations modules above).
- Armed Conflict and International Humanitarianism examines the nature of contemporary armed conflict, the values and international legal framework that shape international humanitarian action, and the recent development of UN and bilateral humanitarian policy.
- Humanitarian and Human Rights Practice in Violent Conflict explores theories of conflict and peace - before examining in detail the merging of theory and practice around humanitarian, human rights and peace pratice.
The dissertation is the final part of the MA in International Relations, carrying forward topics that you may have found of particular interest or relevance into an individual project. This is an extended and supervised piece of work on an appropriate field-based or documentary-based topic chosen in consultation with course tutors. You are encouraged to choose a topic that relates to your professional, voluntary, political or research interests.
Candidates should normally hold, or be about to obtain, a good honours degree in International Relations or a cognate discipline.
Exceptionally, applicants who can show that they have qualifications or experience (or both) which demonstrate that they have knowledge and capabilities judged by the course tutor to be equivalent to those possessed by holders of the standard qualifications for admission, may be admitted with dispensation from those requirements.