University of Portsmouth
International Relations (Distance Learning) MA
University of Portsmouth

Course modalities offered

Key Course Facts

Course Description


Almost all aspects of life – economic, social, cultural and political – are influenced by players beyond the borders of national states.

If you want the skills to understand this dynamic international order and you're interested in the relations between countries, this MA International Relations Master's degree course gives you the platform to address some of the most contentious subjects in international affairs.

You'll study key topics across the spectrum of international relations and examine theories and historical inquiry. This will equip you with the tools to challenge conventional explanations and develop arguments of your own. You'll develop advanced analytic skills and critical assessment abilities, and learn to write engaging reports, policy briefs and essays.

When you graduate, you'll be in a strong position to generate creative solutions that benefit the global economy and international society.

You'll be suited for roles in security, development, social policy, governance, advocacy and communications. Previous graduates have gone on to work in parliaments, political parties, third sector and civil society organisations.

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Study pressing topics, such as: why war and conflict are a permanent feature of global affairs; why powerful states interfere with weak or fragile countries; the role of the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and EU in promoting cooperation; and whether global civil society and the third sector can promote security, development and rights

  • Complete an independent research project in a subject relevant to your future career

  • Get to study with members of CEISR (Centre for European and International Studies Research), the UK's largest centre for European Studies

  • Develop expertise in issues relating to Europe – ideal if you want to pursue a career in European institutions or with political lobbyists and think tanks

  • Be taught by internationally recognised experts, including members of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for the Study of Transnational Europe

  • Develop transferable skills in qualitative and quantitative research, critical reading, communication, and executing major projects

  • Have the opportunity to undertake a supervised work-based project if you work in a relevant field or do an internship during the course

  • Tap in to our Library’s electronic resources, which you can access from anywhere with a Web connection

You can study the course full-time or part-time, either on campus or through distance learning.

Careers and opportunities

With a rounded skill set, and knowledge of international issues, you'll be an informed global citizen, with a sense of responsibility and commitment to ethical practice and issues of global social justice.

What can I do with a Master's degree in international relations?

This MA International Relations Master's degree will put you in a strong position to pursue job roles in areas and organisations such as:

  • national, European and international state institutions

  • political parties

  • political lobbyists

  • think tanks

  • security and risk analysis

  • foreign affairs analysis

  • political communication and journalism

You could also continue your studies in postgraduate research, leading to a qualification such as a PhD.

You can get help and support from our Careers and Employability service in finding a role and for 5 years after you you leave the University.

You’ll be assessed through: academic essays briefing papers and reports blog posts narrated presentations a major independent project or dissertation You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark. This includes group discussions, peer review activities, and virtual seminars. You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Entry Requirements / Admissions

Requirements for international students / English requirements

IELTS academic test score (similar tests may be accepted as well)

    • 6.5
    • All Degrees

Get advice on which foundation courses are best for you to still study International Relations (Distance Learning), MA, if you do not meet the minimum requirements in terms of UCAS score, A levels, or English language requirements.

A good honours degree in a Social Science, Humanities or related subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.5.


Average student cost of living in the UK

Rent £518
Water, gas electricity, internet (at home) £50
Supermarket shopping £81
Clothing £35
Eating out £33
Alcohol £27
Takeaways / food deliveries £30
Going out / entertainment (excl.alcohol, food) £24
Holidays and weekend trips £78
Transport within city £17
Self-care / sports £20
Stationary / books £13
Mobile phone / internet £13
Cable TV / streaming £7
Insurance £51
Other £95
Average student cost of living £1092

London costs approx 34% more than average, mainly due to rent being 67% higher than average of other cities. For students staying in student halls, costs of water, gas, electricity, wifi are generally included in the rental. Students in smaller cities where accommodation is in walking/biking distance transport costs tend to be significantly smaller.

University Rankings

Positions of University of Portsmouth in top UK and global rankings.

See all 29 university rankings of University of Portsmouth

About University of Portsmouth

The University of Portsmouth is located on the United Kingdom’s only island city, Portsmouth. This public university, which was previously known as Portsmouth Polytechnic, forms part of the University Alliance, an organisation whose aim is to promote growth and innovation in the UK by putting an emphasis on links with business and industry.

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Where is this programme taught

Main Site - University House
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