International Relations MSc

International Relations MSc

British Commonwealth and World national flags all over the world

The MSc in International Relations provides a rigorous grounding in the study of international relations, politics, and development. It will equip you with the knowledge of methodologies appropriate to such study. 

Programme structure

Drawing on a range of different disciplinary approaches – from Political Science, International Relations, Area Studies, and Economic and Social History – the MSc in International Relations will survey the major contemporary challenges in world politics.  In particular, it will focus on relations between state and non-state actors in the context of a globalized and interdependent world. 

The programme will also provide research training that will encompass both research skills and methodologies. 

The programme will conclude with a dissertation. This focused piece of work will permit you to develop your own ideas and demonstrate your capacity for original thought; while also building on the themes and issues covered in the full range of courses.

The programme provides you with:

  • a comprehensive programme of study reflecting a broad picture of global politics in the 21st century.
  • opportunities to reflect on theoretical and conceptual approaches to global politics
  • knowledge of a range of relevant disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of world politics derived from the social sciences and humanities.

Graduate attributes

As a graduate you will possess the knowledge and understanding to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of theoretical approaches and debates in Politics, International Relations, and Development Studies
  • Demonstrate broad and informed knowledge of central issues in international politics such as the legitimacy of the world trading system, new ways of conceptualising security and challenges to traditional understandings of state sovereignty
  • Conceptually locate rival approaches to studying international relations, politics, and development within a broader set of debates in social sciences and humanities
  • Demonstrate understanding of different approaches to international relations as they bear on specific domains of interest.


The degree programme is delivered over two years of full-time study and courses are delivered by both Universities.

Possible Nankai University delivered courses may include: 

  • Challenges in International Politics
  • China's Foreign Policy
  • Institutions and Policies of the EU
  • International Political Economy
  • US Foreign Policy
  • International Conflict and Negotiation
  • International Organization
  • International Law.

Possible University of Glasgow delivered courses may include:

  • International Relations Theory
  • Challenges in International Politics
  • Globalization in the Modern Economy
  • Comparative European Politics
  • Russian Foreign Policy
  • EU in International Politics and Development
  • The Geopolitics of Central Europe

Career prospects

Career opportunities include positions in higher education, government/foreign ministry, intergovernmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, think tanks; and further study at PhD level.

About the School of Social and Political Sciences

The School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow brings together academic faculty from Politics, Sociology, Economic and Social History and Central and East European Studies.

You will have the benefit of learning from leading faculty from across these subject areas. We are ranked as a UK leader in political studies, with particular strengths in comparative international politics, political theory, politics and media, and European politics. Our teaching is consistently ranked among the best in the University. 

English language requirements




Overall score of 6.5, with no sub-test less than 6.0 in each band.




Overall score of 90


Sub-tests no less than:

Reading 20

Listening 19

Speaking 19

Writing 23

How to apply

To apply as a student of Chinese Nationality:

  • Students register online for the China National Postgraduate Entrance Examination and select their desired JGS MSc programme.
  • Students sit the National Entrance Exam
  • Once the results are released, students are selected for joint interviews by Nankai University and the University of Glasgow. Students must fulfil the requirements for both universities.

To apply as a student of non Chinese Nationality:

Please apply through the International Office of Nankai University, which can be contacted at:

Tel: +86 22 2350 8825



Session dates

  • Autumn semester: 21/09/2018 - 18/01/2019
  • Winter break: 21/01/2019 - 15/02/2019
  • Spring semester: 18/02/2019 - 21/06/2019
  • Summer semester: 24/06/2019 - 19/07/2019
  • Summer break: 22/07/2019 - 6/09/2019


Professor Mark Tranmer – Research Methods

Professor Mark Tranmer joined the School of Social & Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, in July 2016 as Professor of Quantitative Social Science. Prior to this, from 1999 to 2016, he was based in Social Statistics in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester, UK. He was awarded a PhD in Social Statistics from the University of Southampton, UK in 1999. He previously studied statistics in Sheffield, UK.

His methodological research focus began in multilevel modelling, including the development of an approach to combine individual and aggregate data to assess individual and area variations in social, political and health variables. Recently, he has been interested in developing multilevel approaches to include the social networks of individuals in a multilevel model framework. He has further extended these approaches to assess changes over time in these variations. These methodological developments highlight his general interest in understanding social population structure from a geographical, organisational, network, and temporal perspective.

Substantive applications of these methods include assessing individual and area variations in the take-up of post-compulsory education, inequalities in health and well-being, variations in crime by local area, variations in civic and political engagement in the UK and Europe, network variations in hospital waiting times and patient safety, and area, school, and network variations in health behaviour.

Another of his recent research interests is the application of the Relational Event Model (REM) to assess persistence and reciprocity of social interactions over time, as well as the use of the REM for model-based approaches to the analysis of sequences, such as the life course, and its association with the health and well-being of people in later life.

He has published in a range of substantive and methodological journals including those focusing on sociology, social networks, health, human geography and statistics. He has honorary senior and professorial positions at the Universities of Stirling (UK), Wollongong (Australia) and USI (Switzerland). He has also taught a range of statistical methods courses at various levels in the UK and internationally to academic and non-academic audiences, and supervised PhD students to completion for a range of topics in the social and political sciences.

He leads the Glasgow Quantitative Methods Group (GQMG), which promotes the interdisciplinary use of quantitative methods in research & teaching. 

Dr Tom Lundberg – Comparative European Politics

Thomas Carl LunbergTom Lundberg is a Politics Lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences. He gained a BA degree in Political Science at Arizona State University and an MA in the same subject from George Washington University. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame (USA) in January 2003. He was a lecturer in Politics at Keele University, England, for over four years and has been in Politics at the University of Glasgow since July 2007.

He has taught courses in comparative politics, British and Scottish politics, and the European Union. His research interests are in comparative politics and the quality of democracy, focusing on political parties, constitutions and electoral systems, and the relationship between citizens and their representatives.  His research monograph, Proportional Representation and the Constituency Role in Britain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), compares the British experience with proportional representation to the experiences of Germany and New Zealand. Other research has examined minority government, referendums, anti-political establishment parties (including the UK Independence Party, UKIP), and the supposedly 'new politics' in Scotland since devolution. Future research will explore the quality of democracy in small states and nations.

He has been taking Mandarin courses with the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow to help prepare him for living and working in Tianjin.

Key publications

Dr Haitao Huang – Foreign Policy of the United States

Haitao Huang is a lecturer in International Relations at the Zhou Enlai School of Government at Nankai University. 

His main research areas are International Relations theories, foreign policy analysis and international law.

He teaches courses on American Foreign Policy, International Law and International Organisations, and IR Research Methods.

He was a short-term visiting scholar at the University of Glasgow in 2012 and is one of the translators of Roger Pierce’s Research Methods in Politics: A Practical Guide (Chongqing University Press) – due for publication. He received his PhD in political science from Nankai University in 2009.

Key publications

  • Haitao Huang, A Critical Analysis of the Historical Evolution Process of Humanitarian Intervention, International Forum, No.4, 2012;
  • Haitao Huang, The Legitimate Bases and Their Internal conflicts of Humanitarian Intervention, Journal of China Youth University for Political Science, No.4, 2012;
  • Haitao Huang, Global Governance within the View of South Africa, Nankai Journal, No.6, 2012.

Dr Xinghua Liu – International Relations of Asia-Pacific

Xinghua Liu is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations in the Zhou Enlai School of Government at Nankai University where he gained his PhD in 2009.

He studied in the Department of Government at Cornell University in New York from 2007-08, sponsored by the China Scholarship Council. His research and teaching focus on international relations in Asia Pacific, diplomacy, international norms, globalization and regionalization.

Dr Liu is currently working on a research program on the Internet and national soft power, which is sponsored by the National Social Science Foundation.

Key publications

  • Xinghua Liu (2012). International Norms and Domestic Institutional Reform. Dangdai Yatai (Journal of Contemporary Asia Paccific). Vol. 4
  • Xinghua Liu (2004). Regional Identity and East Asian Regionalism, Xiandai Guoji Guanxi (Contemporary International Relations), Vol. 6,
  • Xinghua Liu (2010). From China’s Soft Power to East Asian Soft Power, Dangdai Yatai (Journal of Contemporary Asia Pacific Studies), Vol. 2,.

Professor Zhaoying Han – Chinese Foreign Policy and International Relations History

Zhaoying Han is Chair and Professor of the International Relations Department at the Zhou Enlai School of Government at Nankai University. His major research fields include foreign policy analysis, American foreign policy, Chinese foreign policy, and China-U.A. relations.

He was a visiting professor and Co-director of the Confucius Institute at the University of South Florida. He was also a Fulbright visiting research scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University at Washington D.C. and taught as a visiting professor at the Mansfield Centre of the University of Montana.

Key publications

  • Zhaoying Han (2000). Exploring America: USIA and Public Diplomacy, Tianjin People’s Publishing House,.
  • Zhaoying Han (2007). American Politics and Foreign Policy. Tianjin People’s Publishing House.

Dr Feng Liu – Contemporary International Relations and International Security

Feng Liu is an Associate Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of International Relations at the Zhou Enlai School of Government at Nankai University.

His research interests focus on international relations theory and international security in general and specifically in the evolution of realist thought, the Balance of Power theory, alliance politics, great-power politics after the Cold War, and East Asian security. He is also the editor of The Chinese Journal of International Politics.

Key publications

  • Feng Liu (2010). The Logic of Balancing: Structural Pressure, Hegemonic Legitimacy and Great-Power Behaviour, Beijing: World Affairs Press.
  • Feng Liu. (2011). Co-editor, China’s Rise & World Order, Beijing: Social Science Documentation Publishing House