Postgraduate study

International and European Politics MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

This programme offers an advanced understanding of the contemporary world, developed in response to the enormous political challenges facing our changing societies.

The programme draws on insights from International Relations as well as:

  • European Studies
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Science
  • Area Studies

You will explore in-depth key theories, issues and controversies, and will have the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary studies and develop your interests in a vibrant and intellectually stimulating environment.

You will have access to the University’s Europa Institute established in 1968 to specialise in the law and politics of the European Union; its library is considered one of the best of its kind.

Finally, there is also a vibrant community of students interested in international and European Politics, so you will have plenty of opportunities to:

  • network with your peers
  • organise events
  • work on publications in the 'Leviathan' (the University’s own journal of Politics and International Relations).

If international travel restrictions allow, another highlight of the academic year will be our study trip to Brussels, where you will visit multiple international organisations as well as non-governmental stakeholders and meet with practitioners.

The trip includes our very popular career event at which you will have the opportunity to network with alumni of the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh University Brussels Society) who have built successful careers in Brussels.

The MSc in International and European Politics is offered as a one-year full-time or two-year part-time programme.

Teaching will take the form of lectures, seminars and group work, with a strong focus on guided independent study.

The programme has two core courses:

  • Institutions and Policies of the European Union
  • Analysing Governance and Public Policy

There are also four optional courses, after which you will work towards an independently researched dissertation.


The dissertation is an extended piece of scholarship of a maximum of 15,000 words in which you will have the opportunity to pursue a topic largely of your choosing.

Academically it is the most advanced element of the degree. It is also the point where you will progress from structured study in courses to independent study. For this programme, there is also the option of doing a placement-based dissertation.

Examples of dissertation topics in previous years include:

  • International Security
  • Comparative Regionalism
  • Modern Peacekeeping
  • Middle Eastern Politics
  • African Foreign Policy
  • EU Environmental Politics
  • Humanitarian Intervention
  • International Terrorism
  • Gender Politics
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • International Trade
  • European Security and Defence Policy
  • Enlargement of the European Union
  • Turkish membership of the EU

Placement-based dissertation

The aim of the placement-based dissertation is to provide you with the opportunity to work on your dissertation within the context of a workplace of your choosing.

This could be within a public sector, a voluntary, a charitable or a private organisation, subject to the approval of the Programme Director.

Award Duration Study mode Structure
MSc 2 Years Part-time study Programme structure 2022/23
MSc 1 Year Full-time study Programme structure 2022/23

While many graduates of this programme have gone on to further study and an academic career, many have taken up positions in a wide range of institutions, including:

  • NATO and the United Nations
  • European Commission and Parliament
  • regional and national government institutions
  • development organisations
  • educational, research and think-tank organisations
  • banking
  • media
  • lobbying
  • the private sector

The transferable skills you gain in communication and research will give you an edge in the employment market, whatever your eventual career.

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Application fee

This programme requires a non-refundable application fee to be paid after you submit your application.

  • £50

Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee.

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your residency status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

Application fee

A non-refundable application fee of £50 must be paid after you submit your application. Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD