Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
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Loughborough University

Programme Specifications

Programme Specification

MSc International Relations

Academic Year: 2016/17

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if full advantage is taken of the learning opportunities that are provided.

This specification applies to delivery of the programme in the Academic Year indicated above. Prospective students reviewing this information for a later year of study should be aware that these details are subject to change as outlined in our Terms and Conditions of Study.

This specification should be read in conjunction with:

  • Summary
  • Aims
  • Learning outcomes
  • Structure
  • Progression & weighting

Programme summary

Awarding body/institution Loughborough University
Teaching institution (if different)
Owning school/department Department of Politics, History and International Relations - pre 2018
Details of accreditation by a professional/statutory body
Final award MSc
Programme title International Relations
Programme code EUPT37
Length of programme
UCAS code
Admissions criteria


Date at which the programme specification was published Thu, 11 Aug 2016 16:08:45 BST

1. Programme Aims

Global Politics - many say - takes place under conditions of anarchy.  How this works or does not work for the many actors and even more issues we face in our international relationships remains open to interesting debates and contested practices.  The MSc in International Relations will engage students to examine emerging issues with which policy-makers and citizens struggle every day.  We do so by investigating the different dimensions and actors.  The programme starts by building a solid foundation through exploring different theoretical and methodological perspectives which are then applied both in the classroom and, optionally, the field.

The aims of the programme are to:

  • Provide a foundation for advanced study for students specialising in International Relations.
  • Enable students to specialise in the study of international relations, deploying appropriate theories, concepts, methods and historical context.
  • Enable students to analyse and evaluate the linkages between national politics and society, transnational actors and international relations in the global arena.

2. Relevant subject benchmark statements and other external and internal reference points used to inform programme outcomes:

Subject benchmarks for Politics and International Studies.

3. Programme Learning Outcomes

3.1 Knowledge and Understanding

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • Theoretical and analytical perspectives in the field of International Relations.
  • Linkages between these perspectives and the realities of International Relations as approached through different methods of learning, such as contemporary and historical case studies, field experience and study of public policy documents.
  • Particular specialist areas of International Relations, including the practical operation of particular international and domestic organisations and movements.
  • The opportunity to develop practical language skills, with a view to enhancing candidate employability.

3.2 Skills and other attributes

a. Subject-specific cognitive skills:

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to demonstrate:

  • high-level skills in processing information and in communicating it in either written or oral form (and the opportunity to develop modern language skills);
  • high-level conceptual and analytical skills, including the evaluation of evidence in complex policy-making arenas, and the application of concepts and theories to case-study materials;
  • critical and evaluative skills at an advanced level in relation to the history structures, theory and practice of policy-making in international relations;
  • research skills in the context of an extended Dissertation, and at the level necessary to provide for further progression in a research career (academic or non-academic).
b. Subject-specific practical skills:

On successful completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  • show strong awareness of issues relating to contemporary international relations and how this was influenced historically;
  • display evaluation skills in the context of national and international foreign policy-making and its effects on society and global politics more broadly;
  • demonstrate an ability to link, both conceptually and empirically, issues across national and international contexts. 
c. Key transferable skills:

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to show competence in:

  • management of self-learning (using the Library and other printed, audio-visual and electronic resources; revision and examination techniques, reading efficiently, problem solving, action planning, self-motivation, time management);
  • written, verbal and visual communication;
  • IT skills;
  • team work and networking. 

4. Programme structure

Full time students take modules with a total modular weight of 70 in semester 1 and 70 in semester 2.  In addition, students complete a 40-credit weighted dissertation module between May and September.

Semester One

Compulsory Modules (total 40 credits)

Module Code


Modular Weight


Philosophical Foundations of Social Science Research



International Relations Theory



Optional Modules (choose 30 credits)

Module Code


Modular Weight


Globalization: Key Debates and Issues



Politics of Representation



Digital Futures: Exploration in New Media



Language options



Semester Two

Compulsory Modules (40 + 40 dissertation = 80 credits total)

Module Code


Modular Weight


Research Methods






International Politics: Issues and Policies



Optional Modules (choose 30 credits)

Module Code


Modular Weight


Masters Seminars in Global and European Studies



Comparative Foreign Policy



Media and Modernity


5. Criteria for Progression and Degree Award

In order to be eligible for the award of MSc, candidates must satisfy the requirements of Regulation XXI.

6. Relative Weighting of Parts of the Programme for the Purposes of Final Degree Classification

Prospective students

Information on studying at Loughborough University, including course information, facilities, and student experience.

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