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Postgraduate Course

International Politics and Security MA

Examine the constantly evolving and most pressing political and security challenges our world faces today.

International flags

With the unprecedented challenges our society is encountering, it is more important than ever that we explore and advance our understanding of international politics. On this course you will look at the complex nature of politics, power, war, security, culture, gender and inequality and how they play out in the world.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time, 2 years part time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum entry requirements

2:2 honours degree in a related subject

Interview if your honours degree is in an unrelated subject

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Course overview

We recognise the need to adopt a global perspective when it comes to tackling the pressing issues facing us. Some of the issues we will cover on this course include:

  • New security challenges in a multi-polar world
  • Diplomacy
  • Women
  • Religion
  • Peacebuilding
  • Public Health

Whether you already work in a policy role for government or third-party sector organisation, or this is a career you would like to pursue, this course will give you the opportunities to develop the knowledge and gain experience you need. You will learn how to think about complex issues and engage with a diverse range of perspectives. We will support you in completing a dissertation that will focus on a topic that interests you. This will demonstrate your ability to combine theory and experience to tackle current political challenges.

There will be regular research seminars for you to join. You will be invited to hear guest speakers discussing international politics and security issues. These will give you policy perspectives from a variety of relevant fields.

Course structure

How you will study

You can study this postgraduate course full time or part time. This allows you to fit your studies around other commitments.

If you choose to study full time the course will take 1 year to complete. You will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules
  • 3 optional modules

If you choose to study part time the course will take 2 years to complete and the modules will be split across both years.

You can find out which modules are available in each term in the Course Specifications.


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will learn how research methods are used to gain data and evidence and how these are used to verify and test theories. This will help you to develop the skills needed for you to carry out research in international politics and security. You will gain several useful skills on this module including:

  • How to use bibliographic software
  • Forming research questions and hypotheses
  • Research design and methodology including ethics in research
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods in researching international politics
  • How to gather data through interviews, questionnaires and using the internet

Credits: 30

Optional module

The 21st century has seen a rise of new and emerging security challenges that generate questions around the meaning of security. In our multi-polar world order multiple states are competing for influence and dominance in world affairs. On this module you will explore the causes behind the emerging security challenges caused by this, and how states attempt to manage these threats. Some of the security issues you will explore include:

  • Cyber security
  • Migration
  • Terrorism
  • Drones and drone warfare
  • Intelligence and surveillance
  • Sexual violence in armed conflict

Credits: 30

Optional module

Explore how the ways in which culture and women interact have crucial implications for understanding international relations between the Muslim world and the West in the 21st century. You will focus on issues related to the gendered constructions of culture, power and politics. This will help you to develop an understanding of feminist International Relations theories about the (mis)representation of women.

Credits: 30

Optional module

The role and function of the United Nations (UN) has evolved significantly since its creation in 1945. As the UN moves further into the 21st century it faces a whole range of new and evolving challenges. We are in a period of increasing change in the international system. It is crucial to reflect on how new shifts in global power will potentially impact on the work and performance of the UN, as well as the future sustainability of the organisation. On this module you will assess the current practices of the UN and explore how they could be improved. You will gain an understanding of the key challenges faced by the UN and the policy dynamics of decision making at an international level.

Credits: 30

Optional module

In this module you will explore issues that have been historically under researched and discussed in Western International Relations. Topics you will cover include:

  • How technological change and visual communication frame how global politics is perceived, from social media and video games to terrorist recruitment campaigns and drone warfare.
  • How our networked aged is reshaping issues such as contemporary warfare, political violence, social justice campaigns and state surveillance.
  • The politics of global connected histories and how these are represented and shaped by colonial and imperial legacies today.
  • Exploring the concept of global populism and the key factors driving its growing influence.

The connection between these topics will give you an exciting space to question how our understanding of International Relations is evolving.

Credits: 30

Optional module

On this module you will explore the ways in which religion can build peace in contemporary societies. Religion can be the cause of conflict and it can be the cause of peace. Numerous examples across the world show the important contribution that faith based approaches to peace-making are having, especially at a grassroots level in promoting peace and reconciliation.

Credits: 30

Optional module

On this module you will learn to analyse, evaluate and design environmental policy programmes at local, national and international levels. We will introduce you to a wide range of existing policies and environmental management frameworks designed in response to various environmental challenges. You will learn about multiple policy theories and models, and theories of environmental governance, as well as considering the different roles and power relations which influence the environmental policy process.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will write a substantial dissertation based on independent postgraduate-level research in a specific area of concern for international politics and security. Through writing your dissertation you will demonstrate the accumulated independent research and writing skills you will have gained on the course. Skills acquired in research, critical analysis and written expression are consolidated and demonstrated by the dissertation.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

You will be supported by us to develop your own specialist knowledge and pursue your own interests through the modules and assessments. We will encourage you to use your own academic reading and knowledge and share your insights in classes and seminars.

We will deliver the modules through seminars and workshops. You will study independently alongside these to further your knowledge and interests. We offer individual tutor support to help you with your own study needs.

You will develop key skills including:

  • Self-reflection
  • Self-management
  • Time management
  • Independent learning
  • Constructive use of feedback

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.



You will be assessed through a range of methods including:

  • Research proposal
  • Essays
  • Policy briefing
  • Dissertation

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    2:2 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview if your honours degree is in an unrelated subject

If your degree is in an unrelated subject, but you can provide evidence of relevant professional experience, your application may still be considered.

If we have further questions about your application, you may be invited to a short interview.

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you might be able to provide evidence of professional experience in the subject as an alternative way to meet the entry requirements. This is called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Appropriate references and records of employment would need to be presented to support your case for admission. 

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

UK 2024 - 2025 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £8,000 for full time study
  • £4,000 per year for part time study

These costs apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities

International 2024 - 2025 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £11,300 for 1 year of full time study
  • £5,650 for 2 years of part time study

These costs apply to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

International Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could International Politics and Security MA take you?

This degree could lead you to, or help you progress in, a career directly related to, Politics, such as working in local government or the Civil Service. It could also take you in a completely different direction to work in the third sector, for example, using the many transferrable skills you will develop. These include problem solving, designing and carrying out research, developing and critiquing arguments, analysing and evaluating information, collaboration, independent working, communication and more.

This will give you an advantage in careers such as:

  • Local or national government
  • Policy development
  • Political and social research
  • Charities and the third sector

Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study.

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £6,500 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2022).

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University. Select your course option using the drop down to access your application link. You will also need to tell us which country you are applying from.

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details.

Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Fees and key information

Apply now

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