Postgraduate taught 

International Relations MSc

International flags from all countries

This programme is designed for those interested in study of the most challenging problems our world currently faces, such as international conflict and instability, terrorism, climate change, or rapid globalisation. Building on a thorough understanding of international relations theory, it trains you in how to apply and leverage methods and research design to answer the most pressing societal questions of our time.

Why this programme

  • This programme offers comprehensive training in what international relations has to say about some of the most challenging problems in international politics and equips you with the appropriate methods and a good understanding of research design to analyse political data.
  • The programme draws on expertise in the fields of international relations theory, normative international theory, international security, international organisations, non-state actors, human rights, humanitarian intervention, and international political economy.
  • You will have the opportunity to approach the subject from a variety of disciplinary approaches through courses across the School of Social & Political Sciences, School of Law, history and other subjects.
  • You will benefit from a number of research and teaching initiatives which touch on important international issues, including Global Security Roundtable, Global Security Network, Glasgow Centre for International Development, Glasgow Refugee, Asylum & Migration Network; and Glasgow Human Rights Network.
  • You will gain a wide range of transferrable skills, including how to convey complex ideas and information effectively both orally and in writing, or how to analyse problems in international politics to inform the public debate.

Programme structure

You will take three core and three optional courses. You will attend lectures, seminars and tutorials and undertake independent research.

Core courses

  • International relations research
  • International relations theory
  • Research design OR Quantitative data analysis OR Qualitative methods.

Optional courses may include

  • China’s international politics
  • Chinese politics and society
  • Comparative public opinion
  • Critical perspectives on human rights
  • Environmental policies and problems in China
  • EU in international politics and development
  • Human rights and global politics
  • Humanitarian intervention
  • International organisations
  • International relations and development
  • International security and strategic thought
  • Internet and civil society
  • Media and democracy.

You may also be able to choose from courses in the other subjects in the School of Social & Political Sciences (subject to programme convener's approval).

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Legal statements: Disclaimer.

Career prospects

The programme provides you with key knowledge and analytical tools relevant to a career in a variety of settings related to international relations, such as international and domestic non-governmental organisations, international organisations such as the United Nations or the European Union, government agencies, media, think tanks, or for further academic training and research in a PhD programme. Our programme is supported by the College Employability Office to help students with collaborative dissertation projects, professionalisation of their web presence, job applications and placement. These offerings are supplemented by efforts to build active networks through speaker events, social activities, and alumni events.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2018-19


Home and EU
Full time fee£7650
Part time 20 credits£850
Full time fee£16650

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Additional fees

  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £315
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £250
  • Registration/exam only fee: £150
  • General Council fee: £50

Funding opportunities

University of Glasgow/Glasgow International College Achievement Award

In conjunction with GIC we are pleased to reward our best-performing students who finish the Foundation or Pre-masters course with excellent grades and attendance. This is awarded as a one off tuition fee discount of £3,000

more information

University International Leadership Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has  10  International Leadership Scholarships available to international (non-EU) students starting a postgraduate taught Masters programme in any discipline in September 2018. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fees discount.

more information

Alumni Discount

The University offers a 10% discount on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed a Study Abroad programme or the Erasmus Programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes.

more information

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

Entry requirements

2.1 Honours degree or non-UK equivalent in politics, law or related social science subject. We will consider applications from graduates from other fields, but you should submit a one-page personal statement indicating why you are interested in changing fields or the connection to your previous study. We will also take relevant work experience into account.

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification:

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 90; no sub-test less than:
    • Reading: 20
    • Listening: 19
    • Speaking: 19
    • Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We cannot accept applications any other way.

Please check you meet the Entry requirements for this programme before you begin your application.


As part of your online application, you also need to submit the following supporting documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • One reference letter on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process.

You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload supporting documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

For more information about submitting documents or other topics related to applying to a postgraduate taught programme, check Frequently Asked Questions

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately; they are also available within the help section of the online application form. 

If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.

Reference: Please provide the name and contact details for one reference. This should typically be an academic reference but in cases where this is not possible then a reference from a current employer may be accepted instead. Certain programmes, such as the MBA programme, may also accept an employer reference. The reference should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 21 July 2018 
  • UK and EU applications: 25 August 2018

Classes start September 2018 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now