International Relations

For HM Forces

Study options



Key facts

Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
Part-time, distance learning
2 Years
Start date:
23 September 2024
27 January 2025

Distance learning

Flexible learning delivery that recognises the ongoing demands of your career

Contemporary content

Taught by staff with a wealth of expertise and experience in a wide range of discipines of global importance

Specialist pathways

Option to gain specific expertise in intelligence in policy and practice

Our MA International Relations degree is designed specifically for MOD Intelligence personnel.

International Relations is a fascinating and important area of study. This distance learning course will stimulate inquiring minds by providing an insight into international issues of global importance and the complexity of the contemporary world.

Enjoy the flexibility of distance learning while connecting with your fellow students who will bring with them a range of different experiences. You’ll be encouraged to use digital platforms for a weekly programme of study with regular support from our experts and the opportunity to debate key subjects with fellow students.

The MA International Relations will address issues associated with the way countries co-exist in the face of rapid change and the increasing importance of policy making. You will examine how and why decisions are made at the global level and the complexity of communications spanning governments and non-government organisations. The course is taught and assessed entirely online, giving you the freedom to study anytime, anywhere.

You can also tailor the course to a topic that interests you, through our Intelligence pathway, enabling you to have a greater focus on intelligence in policy and practice.

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

If you wish to study this course part-time, the duration of the course is two years.

The expected study pattern is to complete modules totalling 180 credits over the two years of study.

Course content

This course offers fresh insights by familiarising students with the latest developments in the field and equipping students with an understanding of International Relations through the analysis of relevant contemporary international problems.

The core modules enable you to examine the theories and concepts of International Relations and provide context for research concerns focused on this fascinating discipline. You will gain an understanding of the historical and theoretical contexts of International Relations to enable you to address the demands posed by global problems.

Your dissertation will be supervised and guided by staff but it is a student-centred piece of independent work. Topics may be drawn from the areas covered in your module selection, or aligned to your personal experience, and your tutors will support you with the development of your research question. The MA International Relations degree allows you to specialise in your course of study through optional modules including Concepts in International Studies, Security Governance, Terrorism in the 21st Century or Diplomacy, or through pathway routes.

You can choose a specialist pathway in Intelligence, Contemporary China or Russian Studies. If you opt for the pathway route, your award title will reflect this.


The fees for this programme of study are £4,950.


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 where available.

Standard route

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
International Relations Theory 40 credits
The Changing Global Order 40 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
Diplomacy, Law And Governance 40 credits
Dissertation In International Studies 60 credits


Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
International Relations Theory 40 credits
The Changing Global Order 40 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
Dissertation In International Studies 60 credits
Intelligence In Policy And Practice 40 credits

Russian Studies

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
International Relations Theory 40 credits
The Changing Global Order 40 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
Dissertation In International Studies 60 credits
Russia And Russian Security 40 credits

Contemporary China

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
International Relations Theory 40 credits
The Changing Global Order 40 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
China In Global Context 40 credits
Dissertation In International Studies 60 credits

Entry requirements

A 2:2 honours degree or above, or relevant professional experience.

For equivalent entry requirements in your home country, please see the information on our country pages.

Choose your country

Check our entry and English language requirements for your country.

Teaching and assessment


As a distance learning student you will be expected to study independently, but the content of the modules will be provided in a structured manner to support you through the material and to prepare you for your assessments. Support will be available when you need it and you can contact your tutor by phone, email or in person.

Our teaching is delivered through our Virtual Learning Environments. This means you can access a range of materials to support your studies wherever you are and whenever works for your. This includes notes, recorded presentations, activities and discussion forums, where you can debate subjects with your tutors and fellow students.


During your course you will undertake two different types of assessments, informal assessments (also known as formative) and formal (also known as summative). Your formative assessments are designed to enhance your engagement with the taught content of your modules and to prepare you for your summative assessments. They also provide you with the opportunity to receive feedback on your progress. Your summative assessments contribute towards your final grade and degree classification and will assess you based on the learning outcomes of your modules. Your summative assessments could include a combination of written assignments, contributions to discussion boards, critical reviews, digital poster presentations and dissertations.

Learning support

In addition to the excellent support you will receive from your course teaching team, our central Academic Skills team provides group and one-to-one help to support your learning in a number of areas. These include:

  • study skills such as reading, note-taking and presentation skills
  • written English, including punctuation and grammatical accuracy
  • academic writing and how to reference
  • research skills
  • critical thinking and understanding arguments
  • revision, assessment and examination skills
  • time management

Additional support

Our Student Inclusion Services support students with additional needs such as sensory impairment, or learning difficulties such as dyslexia.


We are a research-active department with internationally recognised expertise. 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 core modules which have been developed to reflect the key requirements of the subject discipline of International Relations as well as the research expertise of each staff member contributing to the delivery of the course.

You will also have the opportunity to undertake your dissertation under the supervision of our expert staff, which provides you an excellent chance to tailor your degree to your area of interest.

For each of your taught modules, you will have specific sessions delivered through our online learning platforms. These engaging and interactive sessions will enable you to benefit from the expertise of our teaching staff and will signpost you to supplementary resources to support the content of the module. These sessions will also be recorded, so you can access the learning material at any time, giving you the freedom to study anywhere and anytime.

In addition to the module content, you will also be able to arrange online meetings with your tutors and dissertation supervisor, to review your progress on the course, to clarify module content, to provide support for assessments and to receive feedback on your work.

Independent learning

In addition to your online sessions, you will be provided with a wealth of additional resources to enable you to experience a rich variety of perspectives and insights to share and discuss with your tutors and fellow students. You will be required to engage with the literature, videos, podcasts, activities and additional resources that will be provided on the virtual learning platform, and use this information to help you complete your formal and informal assessments.


Location Award Study option Start date Apply Link
Stoke-on-Trent campus MA Part-time, distance learning 23 September 2024 Apply now
Stoke-on-Trent campus MA Part-time, distance learning 27 January 2025 Apply now

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.

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