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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)



The Master of Studies (MSt) in International Relations is a part-time course designed for students from industry, teaching, the civil service, civil society or the armed forces who wish to study while pursuing their careers. We also welcome recent graduates wishing to undertake postgraduate study. The MSt is offered by the Department of Politics and International Studies and provides a two-year, part-time route to a full Cambridge Master's degree.

The next course is due to run in 2023-25. Applications are now open. To apply please visit Cambridge's Postgraduate Applicant Portal.

Watch our MSt in IR introductory video and find out what our MSt students have to say about the course


Useful information 

Course dates:  18 September 2023 to 20 June 2025

Course duration: 2 years

Apply by:  28 February 2023

Course fees for 2023-2025: 

  • Home: £19,000
  • Overseas: £33,500

Course director:

  • Professor Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni


Department of Politics and International Studies: The Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP

Qualifications / Credits: Master of Studies

Course code: HUPIM9

Open events

On Monday 26 September 2022, the Directors of the MSt in International Relations course hosted an Open Evening in the Atrium of the Alison Richard Building.

This event was an excellent opportunity for those who are considering an MSt in IR, but had questions about the course, to meet with its Directors and learn about the course content and structure.

If you were unable to join us, have questions about the event and would like to be contacted about future events please feel free to contact us via email at

Course overview

Course Overview

The course is distinctive in its multidisciplinary approach and breadth. Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminars on theory, politics, history, economics, law, security and various regional and area studies, as well as individual thesis supervision. The taught part of the course aims to familiarise you with the range and variety of disciplines required for a thorough critical understanding of International Relations. 

Who is the course designed for?

The programme is designed for students from (for example) industry, teaching, the civil service, NGOs or the armed forces who wish to study while pursuing their career. It is also suitable for students who have just completed their first degree. A background in international relations, law, economics, history or politics is a definite asset, but we welcome applications from all disciplines. The course is taught in intensive residential blocks which enables students to continue with their professional careers while studying, and also enables international students to attend.

Please note that as a part-time course, students are not eligible for a student visa and therefore those who are not eligible to remain in the UK will require a short-term study visa which only entitles residency during the stipulated residential sessions of the course.

Students wishing to study full-time are encouraged to consider the MPhil in Politics and International Studies

Aims of the programme

By the end of the course students should have:

  • developed the ability to apply critically the main theories, models, and concepts used in the study of international politics
  • developed an understanding and substantive knowledge of international politics, history, economics, and security
  • extended and developed their analytical, evaluative and critical capacities
  • developed transferable skills, including the ability to take responsibility for their own learning, making oral and written presentations, planning and producing substantive written assignments, and undertaking independent research
  • developed the ability to undertake independent research and writingMSt students aiming to proceed to PhD study must fulfil the usual requirement for progression by achieving a High-Performance grade i.e 75 per cent or above.

Former MSt students have used the skills and knowledge acquired on the course to develop their careers within NGOs, IGOs, major companies and organisations.

Watch our introductory video to find out what our MSt students have to say about the course. 

Teaching and learning

During the first year of the MSt in International Relations, all students are required to undertake a core course in International Relations, consisting of three modules in International Relations Theory, International Security and International Organization (taught by Prof. Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni, Prof. Jason Sharman, Dr. Alena Driescova, Dr. Carsten Schultz, and Mr. Ian Shields)
Students will select three further optional course modules from the following options*
1. International Constitutional Law (Prof. Marc Weller)
2. Global Capitalism and the Anthropocene (Prof. Jeremy Green)
3. Africa, Decolonization and Technology (Dr. Stephanie Diepeveen)
4. The Modern Middle East in Global Politics (Dr. Roxanne Farmafarmarian)
5. IR Theory and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine (Dr. Steven Ward)
6. Law and Politics in China and the Developing World (Prof. Bill Hurst)
7. The Great Powers Today (Prof. Brendan Simms)
8. US Foreign Policy in a Multipolar World (tba).
9. Religion and Politics (Prof. Tomas Larsson)
10. States, Corporations and AI (Prof. David Runciman)
11. Nationalism, Conflict, and International Order (Dr. Jaako Heiskanen)
12. Politics of the European Union (Prof. Julie Smith)
*Please note that individual modules offered may be subject to change according to student demand or unforeseen circumstances.
Students completing the first year successfully will spend their second year researching and writing a dissertation of 20,000 words on a topic of their choice, subject to the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) of the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS). Dissertation work will be individually supervised by an academic specialist.

Teaching blocks

All teaching takes place in Cambridge during the six residential sessions which are scheduled as follows:

Year 1:

18 September 2023 - 29 September 2023
04 December 2023 - 15 December 2023
08 April 2024 - 19 April 2024
24 June 2024 - 05 July 2024

Year 2:

30 September 2024 - 04 October 2024
13 January 2025 - 17 January 2025
Attendance at all the residential sessions is compulsory and applicants must ensure they can meet this attendance requirement before applying for the course.


Thesis:  Dissertation: 20,000 words maximum (including tables, footnotes, and appendices, but excluding bibliography). 

Written work: Students will submit work to demonstrate their knowledge of the content of the core course. The specific format of the work will be confirmed at a later date.

Feedback:  Students are given feedback on their assignments and supervisions throughout the course. Dissertation Supervisors are asked to write an annual progress report at the end of Year 1 and termly reports during Year 2.

Fees and funding

Fees and funding 

The fees for 2023-2025 will be £19,000 for home students and £33,500 for overseas/EU students, payable in instalments over the two academic years. The combined graduate fee includes college membership. Students on this course can apply to  Queens'RobinsonSelwynSidney Sussex, and Wolfson colleges. 

Students will be expected to cover the application fee (£50 online) and any costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence during residential sessions in Cambridge. Accommodation is available in your college at their standard rates.

Sources of government funding and financial support - including Professional and Career Development Loans

For information on a loan from Student Finance England for course fees and a contribution towards living costs.

Find out more

If you have any questions about the application process, contact our admissions team.

If you have questions about the course, please attend an open day or get in touch with us at

** Please note the course director is unable to comment on research proposals prior to application.**