Postgraduate study

International Political Theory MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: International Political Theory

COVID-19

We are committed to offering a high-quality experience to all our students. We are working to minimise the impact of COVID-19, but we have reluctantly decided that we will be unable to offer this programme for entry in 2020.

We anticipate that this degree will be available again for entry in September 2021, but we are not currently in the position to confirm that. Applications for the next intake usually open in October.

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This programme aims to equip students with the intellectual skills to analyse contemporary international affairs from a philosophically informed perspective, with a particular focus on their ethical dimensions.

In the new and rapidly expanding field of international political theory, issues that relate to justice, rights, political obligation and forms of government have grown beyond their nation-state context, and now need to be examined in light of increasing global integration.

This political philosophy programme looks at these international issues with a particular focus on their ethical dimensions, examining the rights and wrongs of international affairs and their global political and economic consequences.

As well as delving into the history of political thought, you’ll be examining the issues of today, with particular emphasis on normative political theory, learning to analyse contemporary international affairs from a philosophically informed perspective.

Teaching will be by lectures, seminars, group work and guided independent study.

You will complete two compulsory courses and four option courses, after which you will work towards an independently researched dissertation.

With the agreement of the Programme Director, you may select option courses from elsewhere within the University.

Students who follow this programme will be able to:

  • extend and further develop their understanding of the main concepts and methods of political theory
  • understand how concepts of justice, rights and democracy apply in international and global contexts
  • assess critically how existing transnational institutions meet, or fail to meet, appropriate normative standards
  • apply analytical, critical and philosophical methods to the study of empirical problems in the field of international politics

This programme will give you the theoretical foundation for further study and a career in academic teaching and research. Alternatively, you may apply your learning to a career relating to international political policy.

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

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

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

For 2020 entry we accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

*(Revised 21 February 2020 to remove PTE Academic from 2021 entry requirements. Revised 21 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition in 2020 and 2021 entry requirements.)

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, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, 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.

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:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

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, and 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.

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