Day after day we experience what it means to live in an internationalising world. Grasping its essence, however, is all but evident. The MA in International Relations tries to grasp the complexity of international processes and to offer the necessary tools to understand its different dimensions (political, legal, economic) and the role of various actors (states, international organisations, business, etc.). The programme is built on the interaction of theory (how we approach the world), method (how we explore the world) and substance (what we know about the world). Students can choose five out of seven courses from a wide variety of electives. This allows them to assemble their personal programme, tailored to their interests and background.
The programme builds on the long tradition of the University of Kent as a leading university in the field of international relations. By offering an MA in International Relations in Brussels, we place this expertise in the unique context of a European and international capital, host to the EU and NATO. More than a context, this aspect of Brussels as hotspot of international policy-making is actively integrated into the programme and reflected in the high number of high-profile diplomats and policy-makers lecturing at BSIS.
Staff and students share their insights and experiences of the International Relations Master's.
We are committed to offering flexible study options at BSIS and enable you to tailor your degree to meet your needs. This programme is available with start dates in September and January; full- and part-time study options; split-site options, and students can combine two fields of study leading to a degree that reflects both disciplines.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- historical and theoretical issues at the forefront of the discipline of international relations, together with familiarity with appropriate bibliographical sources
- the epistemological and methodological principles in their application to the study of international relations
- key ontological, theoretical, and methodological problems of international relations
- current challenges to international order, co-operation, identity, social formations, and global issues, and possible strategies to address them
- the changing role of the state in the context of globalisation and regional integration and the implications for international peace and security
- for the MA and MA (120 ECTS): how to carry out an independent research project and write in a scholarly manner demonstrating familiarity with academic conventions, deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- general research skills, especially bibliographic and computing skills
- gathering, organising and deploying evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources
- identifying, investigating, analysing, formulating and advocating solutions to problems
- developing reasoned arguments, synthesising relevant information and exercising critical judgement
- reflecting on, and managing, your own learning and seeking to make use of constructive feedback from your peers and staff to enhance your performance and personal skills
- managing your own learning self-critically.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- applying concepts, theories and methods used in the study of international relations, the analysis of political events, ideas, institutions and practices
- evaluating different interpretations of political issues and events
- describing, evaluating and applying different approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting political information
- developing a good understanding of the main epistemological issues relative to research in the social sciences, including some major theoretical and epistemological debates in the social sciences, such as explanation of, and understanding the differences between, positivist, realist and other accounts of social science and the practical implications of the major alternative philosophical positions in the social sciences for research.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- communication: the ability to communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing (including, where appropriate, the use of IT), organise information clearly and coherently, use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information, including, where appropriate, statistical or numerical information
- information technology: produce written documents, undertake online research, communicate using email, process information using databases;
- working with others: define and review the work of others, work co-operatively on group tasks, understand how groups function, collaborate with others and contribute effectively to the achievement of common goals
- improving your own learning: explore your strengths and weaknesses, time-management skills, review your working environment (especially the student-staff relationship), develop autonomy in learning, work independently, demonstrate initiative and self-organisation
- important research management skills include the setting of appropriate timescales for different stages of the research, with clear starting and finishing dates (through a dissertation), presentation of a clear statement of the purposes and expected results of the research, and developing appropriate means of estimating and monitoring resources and use of time
- problem-solving: identify and define problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.
This programme aims to:
- provide a programme that will attract, and meet the needs of, those seeking advanced training in the discipline of international relations
- provide you with a research-active learning environment which gives you a good grounding in the study of international relations, including its political, social, and economic aspects
- examine how state, non-state and supra-national actors behave and interact through a dynamic appreciation of different levels of analysis
- ensure that you acquire advanced knowledge of the theories of international relations, the heritage and development of the discipline, its major debates, its inherent nature as an interdisciplinary study, and a critical appreciation of the essentially contested nature of politics in general and international relations in particular
- ensure that you acquire an advanced understanding of the relationship between the theoretical, methodological, and empirical content of the issue-areas studied
- for the MA and MA (120 ECTS): develop your general research skills and personal skills (transferable skills), in particular through a substantial dissertation.