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International Relations


A successful programme

A wealth of experience and wide-ranging expertise

Distance learning

Flexible study designed to fit around work or other commitments

Great support

Regular contact with staff and fellow students

Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
Part-time, distance learning
3 Years
Start date:
8 February 2021
13 September 2021
School of Law, Policing and Forensics
Book onto a Virtual Open Event Enquire about this course Apply now

International Relations is an exciting and important area of study. On this distance learning course, you’ll get a grounding in the discipline of International Relations contemporary theory as well as examining issues of global importance.

The MA gives you global context for a career with an international focus or a basis for further research in a related discipline. The course is taught and assessed entirely online, giving you the freedom to study anytime, anywhere.

You’ll address issues associated with the way countries co-exist in the face of rapid change and the increasing importance of policy making. Examine how and why decisions are made at the global level and the complexity of communications spanning governments and non-government organisations. 

This course attracts professionals from many countries and in high profile positions including diplomats and experts in NGOs working in the field as well as those wishing to take their research to the next level.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: MA International Relations

Part-time study

This course is run as part-time distance learning over three years. However, it can be completed in a minimum of two years, four months.

The expected study pattern is to complete modules totalling 60 credits in each year of study.

Course content

The core modules provide context for research concerns focused on international relations, contemporary theory, international history or international policy and diplomatic issues. 

The dissertation is supervised by staff but is a student-centred piece of independent work. Topics may be drawn from the areas covered in your module selection.   

Optional modules allow you to specialise in your course of study:  

  • examine traditional conceptions of security, the impact of major events and newer approaches
  • study trade and development implications for less developed countries or approaches to foreign policy
  • adopt a more transnational approach to modern history


The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

Standard route

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
Diplomacy And The Global World (Vle) 30 credits
International Relations In The Modern Era (Vle) 30 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
Contemporary International Relations Theory (Vle) 30 credits
Show 3 optional modules
Year 3 compulsory modules
Year 3 compulsory modules
Dissertation In International Relations (Vle) 60 credits

Honours degree of 2:2 or above, or relevant professional experience.   

Language level must be at least IELTS 6-6.5 or equivalent. However, you’ll be considered if you have a level of fluency to meet the needs of the course.  

The course is delivered through digital platforms so internet access is a requirement. 



After completing the International Relations MA, you’ll be equipped with transferable skills attractive to employers. These can be adapted to a range of professions including: 

  • Education
  • National foreign or defence ministries
  • Armed forces
  • Security services
  • International or regional organisations

Eager for more knowledge? Upon completion, you’ll be ideally placed for further academic study at PhD level.

Teaching and assessment


As a distance learning student you’ll be expected to study independently. Support is available when you need it. You can contact your tutor by phone, email or in person.

Our teaching is supported through our Virtual Learning Environment called Blackboard. This means you can access a range of materials to support your studies wherever you are. This includes discussion forums where you can debate subjects with your tutors and fellow students.


There are two types of assessments: practice (also called formative) or formal (also called summative).

Your formal assessments could include essays, virtual presentations or critical reviews.

Learning support

Your course tutors will provide lots of support. But you can also take advantage of our Academic Skills team, who can help you online with:

  • Study skills (including reading, note-taking, presentation skills)
  • Written English (including punctuation, grammar)
  • Academic writing (including how to reference)
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Revision and assessment skills (including time management)


Additional support

If you have additional needs like dyslexia or a sensory impairment, then our AccessAbility Services are here to help make sure nothing stands in your way.


We know that it’s important for you to be able to gauge your progress. So, your tutor will give you feedback on any practice assessments you do or through a weekly discussion board.

We usually give you feedback on formal assessments within 20 working days, but the format will vary for each module.


We are a research-active department with internationally-recognised outputs. This provides our students, not only with world-class subject experts, but with considerable levels of research-informed teaching and pedagogical experience as well.

The curriculum design of this MA is structured around three core modules which have been developed to reflect the research expertise of each staff member contributing to the delivery of the course.

Dr Fiona Robertson-Snape
Dr Fiona Robertson-SnapeSenior Lecturer

Fiona's expertise is in international relations theory and international ethics. Her research interests cover international society, human rights and international criminal justice.

Read full profile
Dr Simon Smith
Dr Simon SmithAssociate Professor

Simon's expertise covers EU-NATO Cooperation, transatlantic security and European and US defence transformation. His research interests include transatlantic security and reforming European defence.

Read full profile
Alun Thomas
Alun ThomasLecturer

Alun's research interests cover the history of Russia and the Soviet Union and Central Asia; imperialism, colonialism, decolonisation, refugeedom, itinerance; nomadism,nationalism, state-building, urbanisation, memory and patrimonialisation.

Read full profile
Dr Tony Craig
Dr Tony CraigAssociate Professor

Tony's expertise is in Northern Ireland, intelligence and security studies, archive research, conflict resolution. His research interests include Irish and British foreign policy, intelligence history, terrorism, security studies and decolonisation.

Read full profile
Anthony Mckeown
Anthony MckeownP/T Lecturer (Hrly)-Intel Ir Hist & Pol

I teach International Relations in the Modern Era; Global Policy Analysis and Money, Trade and Development.

For the course starting on 8 February 2021 the tuition fees are:

Tuition fees for MA-Part-time, distance learning
Study option UK / Channel Islands International
Part time £2,610 per year of study £2,610 per year of study

For the course starting on 13 September 2021 the tuition fees are:

Tuition fees for MA-Part-time, distance learning
Study option UK / Channel Islands International
Part time £2,685 per year of study £2,685 per year of study

The expected study pattern on this programme enables you to complete modules totalling 90 credits in your first year of study and the other 90 credits, in your second year of study. Following this pattern of study you will pay the same fee for each year of study.

If you would like to know more about the fees listed and what this means to you then please get in touch with our Enquiries Team.

Alumni discount

If you have previously completed an undergraduate degree with us, you may be entitled to a discount off your course fee for any subsequent postgraduate taught course. For further information please contact Graduate Relations.

Our students

Peter Dawkins
Chief of Digital Communications, United Nations, Graduated 2016

This course has been a fascinating, enlivening and enlightening three-year journey that has helped me better understand the world we live in today.

Since I work for the UN, the MA has given me more insight into my work as well as opened up future career opportunities. I found the faculty to be very approachable and supportive as it can be challenging keeping up with the academic workload along with life’s demands.  I strongly recommend the course for anyone who is working or considering working in the field or just wants to have a more informed understanding of today’s global situation.


Stoke-on-Trent campus
Part-time, distance learning
8 February 2021
Stoke-on-Trent campus
Part-time, distance learning
13 September 2021

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations.

25/01/2021 01:30:09 / International Relations / Part-time, distance learning / 43.0 / 31.0 / SSTK-08054 / Direct link