MA Politics


Program Description

The MA/MRes in Politics and International Relations in SPIRE is distinctive as it is one of the most diverse collections of Masters pathways in the UK. The programme offers the possibility of developing an individual specialism as well as learning about broader issues in the pathway, and in wider fields of Politics and International Relations. You will gain a thorough grounding in the philosophical and practical issues underpinning study and research in Politics and International Relations. You will study 3 compulsory core taught modules, 4 optional modules and a dissertation over 12 months.

Key benefits of studying for the MA/MRes in Politics and International Relations include; small class sizes, expert dissertation supervision on cutting-edge issues and debates, a dynamic academic community, strong student-staff relations and stimulating extra-curricular seminars and workshops. Staff and students regularly organise research events, which provide important opportunities for learning, networking and collegial debate on contemporary political and philosophical issues. For example, we host an annual Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture series, a bi-annual European Consortium on Political Research environmental politics PhD summer school, and in recent years have organised several ESRC-funded (Economic and Social Research Council) seminar series.

The School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment is a multi-disciplinary school which brings together research-led academics to produce world-class research. SPIRE’s research was rated among the strongest in the UK for its impact in the most recent UK Research Excellence Framework - 2014.

How The Course Is Taught

You will study 3 compulsory core taught modules, 4 optional modules and a dissertation over 12 months. Within the compulsory modules, you will have the flexibility and opportunity to choose a pathway module that is specific to the area you are most interested in. Optional modules will complement the compulsory core modules and provide you with access to in-depth scholarly debates, leading theoretical perspectives, and relevant practical issues, in particular, pathway-specific topics. You will complete your studies with an independent dissertation. The dissertation is a formal written academic project of between 15,000 and 20,000 words (for those choosing the MA) and between 15,000 - 20,000 words (for those choosing the MRes). While the MA and the MRes have similar overall aims, the MRes has a higher component of dedicated research training modules designed to equip you with the additional skills required to carry out research in social science. You will agree your dissertation topic with your supervisor who will guide and support you through the project. It will be based on your own research interests that you develop during taught modules. Supervisors will be assigned to you by the programme director who will match your interests with the academic expertise of staff in the school.

SPIRE’s modules are taught by research specialists, offering you their subject-specific knowledge and delivering the programme in engaging ways. The programme will provide you with the opportunity to develop your own research and study interests within this framework, while also providing access to learning about a broad range of important issues within your chosen field of study. The programme is delivered through taught sessions for each module, and comprises of lectures, large and small group work, and guided independent study. You will be primarily taught in a seminar format and through assessments which will develop your independent research skills.


Most modules will be assessed through a diverse range of coursework, including essays, critiques, reports and presentations.

Academic Entry Requirements

You should have a first or a good second-class honours degree or it's equivalent. Your undergraduate degree should be in Politics, International Relations or any social science subject (e.g Law or Sociology), or a humanities subject (e.g History, Philosophy, English, or Modern Languages).

English Language Entry Requirement For International Students

Where English is not the first language, evidence of the English language competence will be required (IELTS 6.0 or equivalent, with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-test).


SPIRE graduates follow a wide range of careers in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Careers include; Journalism, Banking, the government, IR Consulting and NGO's. SPIRE alumni often come back to Keele to speak to our current students and also feature in our Spotlight on International Relations (a series of lectures by International Relations Alumni and friends). Recent speakers have included Jonty Bloom (BBC Correspondent), John Duncan OBE (Former British Ambassador and Governor of the Virgin Islands) and Fidellis Swai (former UNHCR in Somalia).

The University has a Careers and Employability team who can provide you with advice and guidance about your future career. The team offer specialist workshops, for example 'Options with Postgraduate Study' and Moving on with your PhD', and can also meet you individually to give guidance and support to help you develop your career. We also hold regular careers fairs on campus and informal events where you can meet employers. You will also have access to our database of job opportunities and digital resources such as online psychometric testing.

Last updated Mar 2019

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About the School

Whether you’re considering a foundation course or an undergraduate degree, a master's or a PhD, Keele is a place where students thrive - we're proud to be joint No.1 in England for Course Satisfaction ... Read More

Whether you’re considering a foundation course or an undergraduate degree, a master's or a PhD, Keele is a place where students thrive - we're proud to be joint No.1 in England for Course Satisfaction in the Guardian University League Table 2019, in addition to having been ranked No.1 in England for student satisfaction in the 2018 National Student Survey, of broad-based universities. We were also awarded Gold in the recent Teaching Excellence Framework. Read less