L2KA07 Research Methods (Politics, International Relations, Security) MA Postgraduate Taught 2018
This is a degree offered in collaboration with other departments in the Faculty of Social Sciences. It is designed to provide a strong all round training in research methods allied to further specialisation within the fields of politics, international relations and security for students intending to go on to register for a PhD. As such it implements the ESRC research training guidelines for '1+3' PhD students, and includes compulsory elements in a wide variety of techniques including statistics and quantitative methods, but contains less subject-specific content than the other MA courses.
Two core modules worth 15 credits each, plus a Dissertation worth 60 credits, plus optional modules to the value of 90 credits
- Empirical Research in Politics, International Relations and Security
- Perspectives on Social Research
30 credits of Quantitative Research Methods module, which in previous years have included:
- Applied Statistics (30)
- Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15)
- Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15)
One Qualitative Research Methods module, which in previous years have included:
- Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science
- Fieldwork and Interpretation
30 credits of specialisation modules, which in previous years have included:
- Politics: Core Concepts in Political Science (30)
- International Relations: International Relations Theory (30)
- Security: Defence, Development and Diplomacy in Conflict (15) and Conflict Prevention and Sustainable Peace (15)
One further optional module to the value of 15 credits from a list provided according to the specialisation module selected.
Course Learning and Teaching
At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.
This 180 credit one-year MA degree programme is divided into two core module, with a selection of optional modules. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 60 credits of not more than 12,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.
Usually, a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.
All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the latter half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.
SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as computer room/work room with networked PCs, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, and Wi-Fi.
SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students with the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.
Students can contact the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance in applying for these.
Subject requirements, level and grade
UK 2.1 Bachelor degree, or equivalent. The degree should be in the field of social sciences, but we will actively consider significant relevant experience in lieu of this requirement.
IELTS 7.0 (with no component under 6.5) or equivalent scores in an alternative accepted English language test. Details of alternative accepted tests and the requirements for your subject and level of study can be found here. In some cases, English language proficiency can also be evidenced in other ways. You can find further information regarding this, here.
Two satisfactory academic references. In cases of applicants who have significant relevant experience, one work-related reference and one academic reference would be considered appropriate.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Fees and Funding
The tuition fees for 2018/19 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.
Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
School of Government and International Affairs
Our students go on to a wide range of successful careers including civil service and other government agencies, UN/INGOs/CSOs, journalism, media, teaching, law, banking and finance, diplomatic services and risk analysis.
For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Overseas Visit Schedule
Postgraduate VisitsPGVI or
School of Government and International Affairs
Durham’s School of Government and International Affairs (SGIA) combines a long tradition of expertise in a wide range of fields in politics, political theory, political economy, and international relations with a depth of specialisms in regional expertise – Europe, East Asia, USA, the Middle East and wider Muslim world. SGIA provides an exceptional environment for learning, training and research.
We have a thriving cosmopolitan student community, currently there are students from over 50 different countries studying here. Our postgraduate community is substantial with over 100 students taking our Taught Masters courses in 2014/15.
71% of the department’s research is either Internationally Excellent’ (3*) or World Leading (4*) – the top two categories in REF 2014.