Department of Politics and International Studies

MSc Politics and International Relations

Key information

Start date
Duration
1
Start of programme
September
Attendance mode
Full Time & Part Time
Location
On Campus
Fees

Home student fees: £12,220 per year
Overseas student fees: £25,320 per year

Please note that fees go up each year.
See postgraduate fees for further details.

Course code
PGTF0273
Entry requirements

We will consider all applications with a 2:2 (or international equivalent) or higher in a relevant subject.

 

Afghanistan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 80% or 3.3/4.0 

Argentina: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Titulo / Grado de Licenciado

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/10

Information for prospective students from Argentina

Australia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 or Credit or 65%

Information for prospective students from Australia

Austria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2.5/5.0 and overall Pass (Bestanden)

Bahrain: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Bahrain

Bangladesh: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor’s from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology or Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 60% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Bangladesh

Belgium: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licentiaat or Licencié

Equivalent to 2:ii: 13/20 or 65%

Information for prospective students from Belgium

Botswana: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (5-year) or Master's from University of Botswana

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.5/5.0 or 65% or B- or Good

Brazil: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Título de Bacharel / Título de Licenciado (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/10 or 70%

Information for prospective students from Brazil

Brunei: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class Honours with 50% overall

Information for prospective students from Brunei

Bulgaria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 4.3/6

Information for prospective students from Bulgaria

Cameroon: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplôme d'Ingénieur/ Diplôme d'Études Supérieures de Commerce (5-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 12-13 assez bien (fair); 70-74; or B+

Canada: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or 74-77% or overall B

Information for prospective students from Canada

China Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 
73% or 2.6/4.0 (C9 unis)
75% or 2.8/4.0 (Double First unis)
80% or 3.25/4.0 (all other unis)

Information for prospective students from China

Colombia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licenciado / Titulo (4-year) 

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.5/5.0

Information for prospective students from Colombia

Croatia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Baccalaureus / Baccalaurea (Bachelor degree)

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall score 3/5

Cyprus: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.5/10

Czech Republic: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 1.75/4.0 or High C 'dobre’ (good)

Information for prospective students from the Czech Republic

Denmark: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/12 or 8/13 or grade C

Information for prospective students from the Denmark

Egypt: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Egypt

Estonia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bakalaurusekraad / University Specialist's Diploma / Professional Higher Education Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: 4.0/5.0

Finland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor / Kandidaatti / Kandidat (180 ECTS credits)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3/5 or 2/3

France: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licence or Diplôme from a grande école

Equivalent to 2:ii: 11.5 out 20

Information for prospective students from France

Gambia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree (2-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.3 or 64% or B

Germany: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2.6/5

Information for prospective students from Germany

Ghana: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 (Second Class Lower Division) or GPA 3.25/5.0 or 60%

Information for prospective students from Ghana

Greece: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.50/10

Information for prospective students from Greece

Hong Kong: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Upper second class or GPA 2.7/4.0 or 75% or B Minus

Information for prospective students from Hong Kong

Hungary: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (Alapfokozat) or Diploma (Egyetemi Oklevél)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.5/5.0

Iceland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (Baccalaureus or Bakkalarprof)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7.0 out of 10

India: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: CGPA: 55-60% or 5.5/10 - 6.0/10

Information for prospective students from India

Iraq: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (Licence/Karshani)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 0.7

Israel: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or C+

Information for prospective students from Israel

Italy: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Laurea (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 100/110

Information for prospective students from Italy

Japan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or C+ or 3.0

Information for prospective students from Japan

Jordan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/4.0 or 70%

Information for prospective students from Jordan

Kazakhstan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelors (Bakalavr Diplomi) or Specialist Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or GPA 4.0/5.0 or B

Information for prospective students from Kazakhstan

Kenya: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 or 60%

Information for prospective students from Kenya

Kuwait: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/

Information for prospective students from Kuwait

Latvia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bakalaura Diploms (Bachelor's) or Profesionālā Bakalaura Diploms

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/10

Lebanon: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree / Licence

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or Grade B-/C+ or GPA 2.8/4.0 or 14/20

Information for prospective students from Lebanon

Liberia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or 2.8/4.0

Libya: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor Degree from selected institution

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Lithuania: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelors / Bakalauro (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7.5/10

Information for prospective students from Lithuania

Malawi: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Malaysia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/4.0 or B (Class 2 Division 2)

Information for prospective students from Malaysia

Malta: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class with 65% or Category IIB

Mexico: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Titulo de Licenciado

Equivalent to 2:ii: 8/10 or 80%

Information for prospective students from Mexico

Morocco: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licence / Licence d'Etudes Fondamentales / Licence Professionnelle

Equivalent to 2:ii: 13/20

Information for prospective students from Morocco

Nepal: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree / Bachelor degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70%

Information for prospective students from Nepal

Netherlands: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.5/10 or GPA 3.0

Information for prospective students from the Netherlands

New Zealand: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Majority of credited modules B- or above

Nigeria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class or 55% or GPA 3.0/5.0 or 2.5/4.0 or 4.0/7.0

Information for prospective students from Nigeria

Norway: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelors / Bachelorgrad (180 ECTS) or Candidatus /a magisterii

Equivalent to 2:ii: Grade C (with at least 80 ECTS) at grade B or 3.2

Information for prospective students from Norway

Oman: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Oman

Pakistan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (4-year) / Master's from HEC recognised institution

Equivalent to 2:ii: CGPA 2.7 or 65%

Information for prospective students from Pakistan

Philippines: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master’s from recognised institution or Centre of Excellence / Bachelor from prestigious institution or Centre of Excellence

Equivalent to 2:ii:
Prestigous Universities: GPA 3.3/4.0 or 1.75/5.0 or Grade B or 83%
Recognised Universities: GPA 3.5/4.0 or 2.0/5.0 or Grade B or 87%

Poland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licencjat or Inżynier (3-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 4.25/5

Information for prospective students from Poland

Portugal: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licenciado (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 15/20

Qatar: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/5.0 or 70% or 7/10

Information for prospective students from Qatar

Romania: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplomă de Licenţă / Diplomă de Inginer / Diplomă de Urbanist Diplomat

Equivalent to 2:ii: 8/10

Information for prospective students from Romania

Russia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplom Bakalavra or Specialist Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.8/5.0

Information for prospective students from Russia

Rwanda: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class Honours or 65-69% or 14/20

Saudi Arabia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA of 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/5.0 or overall 70%

Information for prospective students from Saudi Arabia

Singapore: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: CAP 3.5/5.0 or 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Singapore

Slovakia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bakalár / Bachelor

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or 2.0 overall or C

South Africa: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 60%

Information for prospective students from South Africa

South Korea: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 2.7/4.0 or 3.0/4.3 or 3.3/4.5

Information for prospective students from South Korea

Spain: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Título de Grado / Título de Licenciado / Título de Ingeniero / Titulo de Arquitecto

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.5/10 or GPA 1.75/4.0

Information for prospective students from Spain

Sri Lanka: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor Special Degree or Professional Degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 55% or 2:2 or GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Sri Lanka

Sudan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (5-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 65%+ or B

Sweden: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree / Kandidatexamen / Yrkesexamen

Equivalent to 2:ii: B (90 credits) and C (90 credits) or Very Good (70 credits) and Good (110 Credits) or C (180 credits)

Information for prospective students from Sweden

Switzerland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplom / Diplôme / Lizentiat / Staatsdiplom / Diplôme d’Etat

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall 4.5/6 or 7/10 or 2.5/5

Information for prospective students from Switzerland

Syria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licence / al-ijaza-fi / Bachelor

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70%+ or 'Good'

Taiwan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 68-70% or GPA 2.8/4.0-3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Taiwan

Thailand: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Thailand

Tunisia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplôme National d'Ingénieur / Diplôme National d'Architecture / Licence / Maîtrise

Equivalent to 2:ii: 12 out of 20

Turkey: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Lisans Diplomasi

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 2.6/4 from the top universities and 3.0/4 from all others

Information for prospective students from Turkey

Uganda: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 (Lower Second) or B or GPA 3.0/5.0

Information for prospective students from Uganda

Ukraine: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree or Specialist Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: 8/12 or 3.8/5

United Arab Emirates: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or 3.2/5.0

Information for prospective students from the United Arab Emirates

United States of America: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from the USA

Vietnam: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall score of 6.5/10

Information for prospective students from Vietnam

Yemen: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall 'Good' (71-77%) or Aden University 80-83% (or 3.0/4.0)

Zambia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 65% or B or Credit or GPA 1.7/2.5 or 3.3/5.0

Zimbabwe: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 or 65%

Information for prospective students from Zimbabwe

In addition to degree classification in a relevant subject we take into account other elements of the application such as supporting statement. References are optional, but can help build a stronger application if you fall below the 2:2 requirement or have non-traditional qualifications. 

See international entry requirements and English language requirements

Course overview

The MSc Politics and International Relations examines the global, international, regional, and local politics of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, providing theoretical frameworks and practical tools to support rigorous forms of analysis and cutting-edge careers in a complex and fast-changing world.

From geopolitical strategy and human rights advocacy to international economic policies and deeply embedded forms of local political expertise, the degree offers specialized tracks to enhance your professional goals. Students also have an opportunity to join international study tours curated by academic colleagues with leading practitioners across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

The degree is designed for those working—or intending to work—in government and diplomacy, international organisations and NGOs, think tanks and advocacy groups, print and online media, global business, policy and risk analysis, or the academy.

Specialist pathways

Within the MSc, specialist pathways cater to a wide range of academic and professional interests. From geopolitical strategy and human rights advocacy to international economic policies and deeply embedded forms of expertise focused on key regions, there is a specialised track designed to enhance your career.

This customization allows students to delve into their areas of interest while, at the same time, equipping them with specialized skills to set them apart in a competitive global job market. Through a blend of seminars, workshops, real-world simulations, and intensive networking, you are invited to join the next generation of thought leaders, policy influencers, and change-makers around the world.

Political Thought

The Political Thought pathway offers a new approach to the study of political thinking and the ideas that underpin political life. Linked to the SOAS Centre for Comparative Political Thought, this pathway considers political theory as it emerges from everyday political thought, philosophical texts, and cultural production.

Beyond the regions and traditions that have conventionally framed European political theory, this pathway is unique in teaching students to see how concepts ‘travel’ across the world (as a means to examine both political thought and political practice in different times and spaces).

Drawing on SOAS’s unrivalled expertise in the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the pathway introduces students to the key approaches, debates, and questions in the field of Comparative Political Thought. Graduates of this pathway are well placed for careers in media, think tanks, advocacy, international organisations, diplomacy, and the academy. 

Study Tour: ANY (options based on space available)

International Politics and Security

The International Politics pathway considers a number of important questions: Why do wars happen? Is global peace possible? How is power exercised in international politics? What are the conditions for cooperation among states? How does migration challenge and change the international political order?

Students examine orthodox answers to such questions and, drawing on SOAS’s unrivalled expertise in the politics of the Global South, interrogate them through a variety of critical and non-Western lenses. Students also utilise different theoretical lenses in combination with SOAS’s rich empirical expertise, exploring the dynamics of world politics from the distinctive perspectives of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. We also interrogate how the study and practice of international politics is informed by questions of empire, colonialism, race, gender, and class.

Study tour: ANY (options based on space available)

Conflict, Rights, and Justice

The Conflict, Rights and Justice pathway is designed for students working, or intending to work, in the field of rights, humanitarian assistance, and transitional justice. It considers the future of global human rights in a world where, many claim, the influence of the West is declining.

It asks critical questions about the legitimacy and effectiveness of transitional justice mechanisms and humanitarian intervention. Students on this pathway also participate in the activities of the SOAS Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice, including closed and public seminars, workshops, expert briefings and professional trainings, a student-led blog, regular social events, and the Centre’s key internship scheme (for a small group selected through a competitive application process).

Study tour: The Hague

Politics of Asia (South Asia)

SOAS has the largest network of South Asian Studies scholars in the UK and Europe: it is a global leader in the field. Together with the SOAS South Asia Institute, the South Asia pathway provides an in-depth exploration of a pivotal world region from four interdisciplinary perspectives: political economy, political sociology, political thought, and international relations.

How have nationalist ideas, patterns of rural and urban development, debates about religion, caste, and gender, and the dynamics of nuclear rivalry and security shaped and reshaped South Asia? How might an understanding of politics within South Asia inform an understanding of politics around the world? The South Asia pathway leverages in-depth expertise on India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives to unpack key issues in the study of politics across South Asia. Highlighting an enduring demand for professionals with deep regional knowledge and expertise, the pathway is designed for students seeking careers in government, the NGO sector, international organisations, global business, media, think tanks, and the academy.

Study tour: New Delhi / Lahore

Politics of Asia (East Asia)

SOAS is a global leader in East Asian Studies, housing several prestigious research centers, including the London Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Science as well as the SOAS China Institute, the Centre of Taiwan Studies, the Centre of Korean Studies, and the Japan Research Centre. SOAS also hosts the world-leading China Quarterly.

The East Asia pathway encourages an in-depth examination of the region’s political landscape, considering both domestic and international dimensions. How do globalisation, nationalism, nuclear competition, and urban development shape the politics of East? What are the underlying factors that influence the politics of ethnicity, religion, and gender in the region?

The East Asia pathway allows students to explore the formal and informal politics of China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, as well as the broader region and, indeed, the wider world. It is designed for those with an interest in a wide range of public and private-sector careers focused on economic, political, social, strategic, and global trends associated with the politics of East Asia.

Study tour: Seoul

Politics of Asia (Southeast Asia)

The Southeast Asia pathway offers a multi-faceted exploration of politics in a dynamic and crucial global region. In conjunction with the SOAS Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, the pathway encourages a detailed analysis of Southeast Asian domestic and international politics, not just from a macro-level perspective, but also with reference to the intricacies that shape political life in individual states.

The interplay of historical experience, cultural ethos, and evolving social and global paradigms is highlighted to show particular nations have charted their own unique political journeys. Special attention is paid to the effect of increasing global interconnectivity on local political dynamics, from nationalism and urban development to the politics of ethnicity, culture, gender, and religion. Pulling away from a broad-brush approach, the curriculum delves deeply into the experiences of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Timor Leste.

This ensures that learners gain a holistic understanding of social and political practice, policy formulation, and international affairs across the region, as well as a nuanced appreciation for key political trends, both formal and informal, within individual states.

Study tour: Chiang Mai

Politics of Asia (Central Asia)

SOAS is uniquely positioned to support high-level research and teaching focused on Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Central Asia pathway enables students to acquire a comprehensive understanding of domestic and international politics in a region standing at the crossroads of both Asia and the Middle East, including an appreciation for the role of key external actors such as China, Russia, Turkey, India, and several Western states.

From an inquiry into the nature of Soviet and Russian institutional, economic, and ideological legacies to ongoing debates about modernization, political transition, decolonization, and development, this pathway features a wide range of themes including geopolitics, regional security, energy politics, and forms of authoritarian rule, as well as resistance/protest, ethnic and religious identities, migration, and shifting conceptions of “Eurasianism”.

This broad coverage enables students to understand the specificities of individual states alongside an up-to-date appreciation for the role of Central Asia and the Caucasus within the wider world.

Study tour: Almaty / Bishkek

Politics of Africa

The Africa pathway explores contemporary debates regarding ideology, power, and political relationships across the African continent: from philosophies of liberation and race to forms of state-building and social protest, from the politics of gender to new forms of global influence and diplomatic power.

These themes are not only central to the continent’s politics, but to understanding how the world works and how political ideas are shaped more broadly. From negotiations over the structure of the international economic system to the politics of international justice, human rights, military intervention, and the climate emergency, the politics of Africa cannot be seen as separate from, or peripheral to, politics in the rest of the world.

Placing Africa at the very centre of global politics, the African Politics pathway sees African dynamics as essential to any adequate understanding of the most important political ideas and forces shaping the world today.

Study tour: Kigali

Politics of the Middle East

SOAS has been a leading institution for the study of the Middle East for decades, and the Department of Politics and International Studies is world-renowned for its scholars’ combination of regional and disciplinary expertise focused on this dynamic and influential region. The Middle East pathway is distinguished by the critical perspective of its scholars and tutors, balancing historical and theoretical rigour with coverage of up-to-the-minute regional and global developments.

Students choose from modules covering the politics of resistance, religion, and solidarity, alongside urban politics, infrastructure, migration, human security, and technology (e.g. AI). The programme trains students in several disciplinary approaches — political sociology, political economy, and international relations — whilst encouraging them to think and write across these disciplinary boundaries.

Study tour: Amman

Study tours

Students on the MSc Politics and International Relations also have an opportunity to join one of several international study tours led by academic staff in collaboration with academic colleagues and leading practitioners in key cities: Almaty and Bishkek, Amman, Chiang Mai, Geneva, The Hague, Kigali, Lahore and New Delhi, Paris, and Seoul.

The degree and its pathways are highly relevant for anyone working—or intending to work—in government and diplomacy, international organisations and NGOs, think tanks and advocacy groups, print and online media, global business, policy analysis, and the academy.

Why study MSc Politics and International Relations at SOAS?

  • We’re ranked 5th in the UK and 18th worldwide for Politics (QS World University Rankings 2024)
  • 4th globally for academic reputation (QS World University Rankings 2024)
  • You will be eligible to apply for internships, such as the two paid internships at Amnesty International and Chatham House available to SOAS Politics students this year.
  • SOAS is unique - our global student body, multi-disciplinary approach, critical and questioning attitude contribute to a vibrant learning environment that stretches students beyond the focus on basic ‘skills training’.  

Structure

Students take taught modules to the value of 120 credits PLUS a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits. 

Important notice

The information on the website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes. However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. 

Specialist Pathway - International Politics and Security - Core

All pathways - Dissertation

Specialist Pathway - Middle East - Core

Specialist Pathway - Southeast Asia - Core

Specialist Pathway - East Asia - Core

Specialist Pathway - Political Thought - Core

Approaches to Comparative Political Thought ... and Political Theory Race and Empire

All pathways - Core

Methodology in the Social Sciences, Politics and International Relations Practicum

Specialist Pathway - South Asia - Core

Pathway not running 2024-25

Specialist Pathway - Conflict, Rights, and Justice - Core

Students must take 15PPOH018 plus EITHER 15PPOH019 Violence, Justice and the Politics of Memory OR 15PPOH026 International Politics of Human Rights

Specialist Pathway - Africa - Guided Options

Specialist Pathway - Middle East - Guided Options

Generalist Pathway - Guided Options

Generalist pathway students must choose a minimum of ONE of seven 15-credit modules from the following list - Introduction to Quantitative Methods, Approaches to Comparative Political Thought, Political Theory Race and Empire, International Relations Theory, International Political Economy, Conflict Rights and Justice, Frameworks of Political Analysis

Specialist Pathway - International Politics and Security - Guided Options

Minimum of 45 credits from International Politics and Security Guided Options.

Specialist Pathway - Political Thought - Guided Options

Minimum of 45 credits from Political Thought Guided Options.

Specialist Pathway - South Asia - Guided Options

Pathway not running 2024-25

Teaching and learning

Modules are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars and supervised individual study projects. The MSc programme consists of three taught modules (corresponding to three examination papers) and a dissertation.

Lectures

Most modules involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.

Seminars

At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work taking place in two-hour sessions. Students make full-scale presentations for each unit that they take, and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.

Dissertation

A quarter of the work for the degree is given over to the writing of an adequately researched 10,000-word dissertation. Students are encouraged to take up topics which relate the study of a particular region to a body of theory.

Learning resources

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Employment

SOAS Politics and International Relations students leave SOAS not only with a knowledge and understanding of the complex political and cultural issues of our time, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers.

Recent graduates have been hired by:

  • BBC World Service
  • Bloomberg
  • British Red Cross
  • British Council
  • Center for International Peace Operations
  • Channel 4
  • Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA)
  • Department for International Development (DfID)
  • Eversheds LLP
  • Financial Times
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)
  • Global Policy Institute
  • Go East Consulting
  • Grassroot Diplomat
  • Palestine Red Crescent Association
  • Save the Children
  • UNICEF Ethiopia
  • United Nations

Find out about our Careers Service