Course information


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

The MA International Relations deals with the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century from a critical perspective.

On this International Relations degree, you will engage with critical approaches to understanding contemporary world politics, focusing on human rights, mobility, justice, conflict, race, and technology.

Ask the right questions

  • How do people at the margins struggle over human rights? How are dominant concepts such as the nation-state and democracy challenged by competing categories such as the caliphate, or the Chinese ‘civilization-state’? How do post-conflict societies deal with their difficult pasts through processes of justice, truth-telling, and memorialization? How does global migration push us to rethink ‘the international’? How do movements such as Black Lives Matter foreground the legacies of Empire and with what effects?
  • This programme will allow you to explore International Relations starting from the assumption that the West is no longer the centre of world politics, and to take new political imaginaries into account. Instead of replicating Eurocentric representations of international politics, the programme offers critical approaches to 'the international’ and challenges the boundaries between politics, culture, religion, and economy.

Study with experts

  • You will study in small groups, supported by lecturers and tutors pushing the boundaries of International Relations. You will be introduced to innovative approaches to the subject, and an unusually wide range of area expertise, including on Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.
  • The programme will also allow you to tailor your degree to your needs and interests by choosing from a wide range of option modules. These can include modules about human rights, gender, resistance, justice, the political economy of the Anthropocene, conflict, and migration, among others.
  • Throughout your studies, you will gain analytical skills essential for further study at PhD level. These will also be invaluable should you wish to work in fields like journalism, government, diplomacy, or in NGOs, international organisations, and think tanks. You will have opportunities to learn from practice and to undertake real-world work experience as part of your degree. The MA International Relations will enable you to build research and employability skills, while you debate the urgent questions in world politics.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Martina Tazzioli.

What you'll study

Compulsory modules

You take the following compulsory modules, including a 60-credit dissertation:

Module title Credits
Re-Thinking the International 30 credits
MA International Relations Dissertation 60 credits

You'll then take either 90 credits of optional modules from a list provided by the Department of Politics and International Relations, or 60 credits from within the Department and 30 credits from approved modules in other departments. Lists of optional modules will be produced on an annual basis.

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Between 2020 and 2022 we needed to make some changes to how programmes were delivered due to Covid-19 restrictions. For more information about past programme changes please visit our programme changes information page.

What our students say

Amanda Dietsch

Getting to have work experience at Mercy Corps gave me a taste of what future humanitarian work will look like after finishing the course.

My work placement experience at Mercy Corps was a fantastic opportunity that allowed me to bridge the coursework with applicable, transferable skills I was able to foster throughout my time there. I enjoyed getting to be a part of a multi-disciplinary team working on a project start to finish that was tackling pressing issues in our world today, understanding Climate Change and Conflict nexus in fragile regions. I also was able to see what all goes into putting on a forum with different actors in this space, to have a more in-depth discussion about the multi-layered solutions for a global problem. Getting to have work experience at Mercy Corps gave me a taste of what future humanitarian work will look like after finishing the course. The people I have met at Mercy Corps has allowed me to build connections with individuals across different sectors that will help me on my path to building a meaningful career.

Renan de Souza

The MA International Relations gave me the analytical tools that are key to my job and made me stand out in the competitive job market in the first place.

Valuable analytical tools

As an International Affairs Analyst for CNN in Brazil, I need to analyse current world politics in real-time. The MA International Relations at Goldsmiths prepared me well for this. It gave me the analytical tools that are key to my job and made me stand out in the competitive job market in the first place. During my studies, I learned to analyse contemporary international relations from a variety of critical perspectives. In the seminars, my lecturers often pushed me to think creatively outside the box.

Real-world experience

Beyond theories and academic analyses, the course also offered me the possibility to sharpen my job profile and gain real-world experience during a work placement module. As part of my studies, I thus worked for a human rights organisation on the situation of conflict and peace in Colombia. In doing so, I gained relevant experience in advocacy on human rights, international development and peacebuilding, including informing British MPs about the situation in Colombia. I thus feel that the MA International Relations at Goldsmiths offered the perfect combination of theory and practice.

Book inspiration

In 2022 I published my first book, 'Private Military Companies and the Outsourcing of War: Re-examining the Political Rationale Towards Peace', which is the result of my dissertation on my MA. I combined my dissertation and an essay written during my time at Goldsmiths into a book. Moreover, the book's foreword is written and signed by a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and it has been featured in the ranks of the bestsellers of Amazon in Brazil. 

The book has been referenced in academia and the media globally, especially following the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Also, when the war broke out, I was live on CNN for several hours as I have this knowledge after studying for an MA in International Relations. 

Personal awards

I am the winner of the Chevening Scholarship Program awarded by the British Government to study in the United Kingdom. I was selected through a competitive process involving over 60,000 candidates from all over the world. Moreover, I am also the winner of the Gobernador Enrique Tomas Cresto award granted by the Argentine Senate recognising me as a leader of Latin America and highlighting my contribution to the continent's development. I was the youngest person in history to receive this award.

In 2020, I was nominated for the 2020 Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD). In support of the International Decade for People of African Descent (proclaimed by United Nation's General Assembly resolution 68/237 and to be observed from 2015 to 2024), MIPAD identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together in the spirit of recognition, justice and development of Africa, its people on the continent and across its Diaspora.

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2023/2024 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £9050
  • Home - part-time: £4525
  • International - full-time: £19210

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your academic qualifications
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively a copy of your academic reference
  • Copies of your educational transcripts or certificates
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online. Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Suggested reading

Staff List:

  • Jasna Dragovic-Soso, ‘History of a Failure: Attempts to Create a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1997-2006’, International Journal of Transitional Justice, 10/2, July 2016: 292-310.
  • Michael Dutton, Streetlife China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1999)
  • Elizabeth Evans, The Politics of Third Wave Feminisms: Neoliberalism, Intersectionality, and the State in Britain and the US (AIAA 2015)
  • Jeremy Larkins, From Hierarchy to Anarchy: Territory and Politics before Westphalia (New York: Palgrave 2010)
  • James Martin, 'Capturing Desire: Rhetorical Strategies and the Affectivity of Discourse, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, vol 18, no 1.
  • Georg Menz and Alexander Caviedes, Labour Migration in Europe (Palgrave Macmillan 2010).
  • Saul Newman and John Lechte, Agamben and the Politics of Human Rights: Statelessness, Images, Violence, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013).
  • Saul Newman, Michael Levine and Damien Cox, Politics Most Unusual: Violence, Sovereignty and Democracy in War on Terror (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
  • Rajyashree Pandey, Perfumed Sleeves and Tangled Hair: Body, Woman, and Desire in Medieval Japanese Narratives (University of Hawaii Press, 2016).
  • Sanjay Seth, ed., Postcolonial Theory and International Relations: A Critical Introduction (London: Routledge, 2013).

Recommended Readings:

  • Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics, 4th ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
  • Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches, & Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (University of California Press, 1989).
  • David Campbell, Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity, revised ed. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998)
  • E.H Carr, The Twenty Years Crisis, 1919-1939, revised ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001).
  • Collins, P H and S Bilge. 2016. Intersectionality Cambridge: Polity
  • Fanon, Frantz. 1952. Black Skin, White Mask.
  • Frosh, Stephen, A Brief Introduction to Psychoanalytic Theory. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2012.
  • Keohane, Robert O. ed., Neorealism and Its Critics (NY: Columbia University Press, 1989).
  • Kerr, Rachel and Eirin Mobekk, Peace and Justice: Seeking Accountability After War, Cambridge: Polity, 2007.
  • Halbwachs, Maurice, On Collective Memory, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
  • Hopgood, Stephen, The Endtimes of Human Rights (Cornell University Press, 2013)
  • Misztal, Barbara, Theories of Social Remembering, Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2003.
  • Minow, Martha, Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence, Boston: Beacon Press, 1998.
  • Nash, Kate, The Political Sociology of Human Rights (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • Osiel, Mark, Mass Atrocity, Collective Memory and the Law, London: Transaction Publishers, 2000.
  • Olick, Jeffrey, The Politics of Regret: On Collective Memory and Historical Responsibility, New York: Routledge, 2007.




You'll develop:

  • a critical engagement with the broad field of international studies
  • communication skills
  • research skills
  • presentation skills
  • writing skills


The MA is especially relevant if you are considering further study at PhD level, or if you want to work in areas where an understanding of international relations is essential (journalism, diplomacy, NGOs, international organisations, for example).


It offers valuable training and analytical skills for those working in non-governmental organisations, international institutions and corporations, diplomatic services, government offices, media industry and teaching.

Our graduates go on to work within these areas but many also undertake professional training in law, accountancy, journalism, business administration, teaching, social work or nursing.

If you would like to speak to some of our current students or alumni, please contact Dr Anca Pusca.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

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