The MA in International History offers an intellectually stimulating approach to the subject through a theoretically based programme that aims to provide an understanding of global historical developments in the twentieth and emerging twenty-first centuries.

The course offers a broad international perspective on relationships and events between and amongst states over time, and ways of integrating specific national or regional approaches with aspects of world history. Rapid changes in communications, science & technology, urbanisation and industrialisation have brought dramatic changes, making it an exciting time to study history, particularly with an international perspective.

Study Details:

MA 2 years Distance Learning

Module Details:

 MA=180 credits

Core modules

International Relations in the Modern Era examines the historical evolution of International Relations theory in relation to historical events of the 20th Century. It examines the First World War and its aftermath, the establishment of International Relations as an academic discipline, the rise of idealism, and the League of Nations and its failure. Through an examination of debates within International Relations the course compares the ‘political realism’ of the Cold War with a number of alternative perspectives. The increasing importance of international organizations (including the United Nations), the politics of the global economy, US predominance, the experiences of developing countries all in turn inform alternative perspectives including those emphasizing interdependence and dependence.

Diplomacy in a Global World introduces and explains the diplomatic system in relation to concepts and practice.  It charts the development of diplomacy from its early recorded history in the ancient Middle east to the global age, considering the impact of the changing contexts within which diplomacy has operated. It examines the contexts and tasks of diplomacy in the contemporary world and considers how the nature of diplomacy is rapidly changing in response to rapid technological advances, the growth of international law and organization, political transformation and shifting patterns of power. It considers the proliferation of actors involved in diplomacy, not only politicians engaged in ministerial and summit diplomacy, but other state and non-state actors engaged in negotiation on an ever expanding set of international issues. 

Concepts in International History introduces students to key concepts in historical thought, specifically related to the study of international history in the twentieth century.  The concepts studied are nationalism, ideologies, imperialism, modernisation and globalization.  All are crucial to our understanding of history at a global and international level and together they form the basis for research and evaluation in the MA International History Course.  The module will help students to transcend the narrowly national or regional studies of history and to remove some of the limitations inherent in such an approach.  It will consider the problems of definition, the historical background and evolution of the concepts and finally the application of these concepts by historians over time. 

The Dissertation is supervised by staff but is a student centered piece of independent work.  Dissertation topics may be drawn from the areas covered in any of the modules taken by individual students.  The core courses will help provide context in terms of the general academic discourse underlying research concerns focused on international relations, international history or international policy and diplomatic issues.  Students would normally be discouraged from adopting Dissertation topics that are clearly outside the specific taught areas taken by them.  The student will be expected to integrate elements of their learning on the programme as a whole, as well as applying skills of research (using primary and/or secondary sources), being cognizant and appreciative of methodological issues, and demonstrating a level of communicative skill appropriate for the Masters level utilizing standard notational and referencing conventions.  The length of the Dissertation is set at 15,000 words.

Option modules

International Security begins with traditional conceptions of security examined in relation to the deployment and use of force. It considers the philosophy of strategy, the work and importance of Clausewitz, the nuclear arms race of the Cold War and arms races, arms control and the arms trade today. The influence of the Cold War, and its aftermath is also explored in terms of the impact on the security structures in Europe and on the security of developing countries. Newer challenges to the conceptualization of security are examined especially in terms of a broader set of post-Cold War issues, including terrorism, state and non-state threats, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.   Furthermore, alternative/newer approaches to security are examined via a consideration of Peace Research and Critical security Studies.

Money, Trade and Development provides an analysis of the main problems facing less developed countries [LDCs] as well as policies designed to address these problems. It will emphasize the role of human capital, technology, trade and government policy in the development process. Alternative trade regimes and their potential contribution to economic development; poverty and poverty reduction policies, and the potential for government policies aimed at growth promotion will be critically examined. The module will also investigate the impact of external financial relations between LDCs, advanced countries, multinational trade organizations and financial institutions (IMF, WB, WTO, etc). 

Foreign Policy Analysis explores some of the most prominent approaches to the study of foreign policy. The roles of states and other actors in the foreign policy-making process are examined. The ways in which international actors and processes influence foreign policy decision-making are considered. Likewise, the module considers the influence of actors and processes in domestic politics and society. The theoretical material of the module is combined with a selection of illustrative case studies including the Cuban Missile Crisis and more recent events.

Student Destinations

The award will equip you with practical and academic skills attractive to employers. These include independent judgement, self-reflection and critical debate. You may choose to use the specialist knowledge you acquire, to work in education, national foreign or defence ministries, armed forces and security services or in one of the many international or regional institutions or other internationally oriented organisations of many sorts. Alternativel


Home and EU students: £28.50 per credit

Entry Requirements

2.2 Honours degree or above, or relevant professional experience. Language level has to be at least IELTS 6-6.5 or equivalent.

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