Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

MA International Relations and International Law

UCAS code: LM29

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Social and Political Science

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA International Relations and International Law

On this combined degree programme, you will look at the origins and evolution of the state system and the changing nature of state power. You will also learn about the driving forces behind international cooperation and conflict and you will explore security and prosperity in the international system.

The law components of this programme involve learning the general principles underlying different areas of international law, and learning how to apply them to specific situations and the facts of different cases.

In Year 1 you will be introduced to the key principles of international relations and international law.

Year 2 introduces more theoretical concepts across the two areas.

In Years 3 and 4 you choose from a range of specialist courses which allow you to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the two subject areas and the interaction between them, as well as tailor your degree to meet your career needs.

Please note that our Year 1 and 2 courses are under review and the precise names and content may be subject to change.

Year 1

You will take an introductory course in politics and international relations and political theory as well as two introductory courses on international law.

Year 2

Compulsory international relations courses in Year 2 look at how and why states interact at international level, including cooperation through international organisations such as the European Union, the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations.

You will also be introduced to comparative politics by comparing and contrasting governments on the global stage.

Compulsory law courses give you an introduction to legal systems and public law. Further option courses are also taken.

Year 3

The compulsory courses (the precise content of which may change from year to year) generally examine the fundamentals of international law and global affairs and a course in research design is undertaken in preparation for your honours dissertation in Year 4.

A further three courses from the range of honours options available across politics and international relations or law are also taken.

Year 4

During Year 4 you will undertake an honours dissertation on an international relations topic of your choosing.

A further four courses from the range of honours options available across politics and international relations or law are also taken.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2019/20)

Our facilities

The majority of teaching takes place at facilities located within the University's Central Area. You will also have access to the University's library and computer facilities.

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 through the Erasmus programme or the University's international exchange programme.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught mainly through a combination of lectures, tutorials and skills hours.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a diverse set of components, such as essays, exams, policy briefs, group presentations and tutorial participation exercises.

In recent years, graduates have entered careers in the civil service, foreign affairs or political and parliamentary research.

The programmes will also equip you with some of the transferable skills required for employment in finance and consultancy, the voluntary sector, journalism or teaching.

Some graduates choose to go on to further training in accountancy or law or take postgraduate programmes with a view to pursuing an academic career.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAA - ABBB by end of S5. If you haven't achieved this by the end of S5 we may consider your application based on a strong performance in S6. A minimum of BBB must be achieved in one set of exams and by end of S5. (Revised 18/10/2019 from 'AAAAA - AABB'.)
  • A Levels: A*AA - ABB
  • IB: 43 points (grades 776 at HL) - 34 points (grades 655 at HL).

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one set of exams by end of S5.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points (grades 655 at HL).

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Higher: English at grade B.
  • A Levels: English Literature, English Language or combined English at grade B. Note: English Language and English Literature GCSE both at grade A or 7 are accepted in place of A Level English.
  • IB: HL: English at grade 5

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C

  • SQA Standard Grade 3

  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A

  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C

  • GCSE Grade C or 4

  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C

  • IB Standard Level Grade 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section

  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component

  • PTE Academic: Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications 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 or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

(Revised 05/06/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA International Relations and International Law

Additional costs



For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding