Research Methods (Politics, International Relations, Security)
1 year full-time
This is a degree offered in collaboration with other departments in the Faculty of Social Sciences. It is designed to provide a strong all round training in research methods allied to further specialisation within the fields of politics, international relations and security for those intending to go on to register for a PhD. As such it implements the ESRC research training guidelines for '1+3' PhD students, and includes compulsory elements in a wide variety of techniques including statistics and quantitative methods, but contains less subject-specific content than the other MA courses.
- Empirical Research in Politics, International Relations and Security
- Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Practices across Social Science Research
- Quantitative Methods and Analysis
- Qualitative Methods and Analysis
In recent years, optional modules have included:
- Advanced Ethnographic Research
- Multilevel Modelling
- Simulating Data in R
- Systematic Review
- Advanced Statistics for Psychology and the Behavioural Sciences
- Computational Social Science
- Participatory Action Research
- Core Concepts in Political Science
- International Relations Theory
- International Organisations
- Defence, Development and Diplomacy in Conflict: Evolving Actors, Factors and Paradigms
- Conflict Prevention and Sustainable Peace
- Peace Processes and Everyday Political Negotiation
- Consolidating Peace After Violence.
At the beginning of the academic year, you will go through five-day induction events in which you are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc degrees and the facilities available for their learning.
The 180 credits one-year MA degree is divided into two core and two optional modules of 30 credits each. Furthermore, you will have to submit a dissertation of 60 credits of not more than 10,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and you will spend the remaining time writing your dissertation.
PGT modules involve a range of different modes of delivery, but are largely based around lectures, seminars and other forms of active learning activities. The School places great importance on research-led teaching, which integrates new and cutting-edge research into the curriculum. Each module is build around 300 hours of learning, a large portion of which is independent reading and preparation. Class contact hours are all above 20 hours per module, with the exception of the dissertation, and are spread across the 12 teaching weeks in the academic calendar. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations or other activities — the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.
Modules generally include a formative assessment to help you prepare for summative assignments by allowing you to identify what aspects of your work you are doing well on and which areas require improvement. You are encouraged to make appointments with the course lecturers to discuss module content, and after you have received it, any feedback on your work.
Typically summative assessments are around 3,000 words, but these vary based on learning outcomes, assessment type, and module design. Some modules may be assessed by examination. The majority of coursework involves independent reading and written assignments, but you will have the opportunity to discuss course material as well either through presentations or class discussions. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor, who will also act as your academic advisor, and is someone you can consult throughout the year for general academic support, in addition to dissertation supervision.
SGIA conducts regular seminars and organises lectures throughout the year which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide opportunities to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.
Towards the end of the course you can contact the Careers & Enterprise Centre of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.
Fees and funding
Full Time Fees
|Home students||£10,400 per year|
|EU students||£24,750 per year|
|Island students||£10,400 per year|
|International students||£24,750 per year|
The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and Bursaries
We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities.Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries
School of Government and International Affairs
Our courses focus on developing self-aware, thoughtful and ambitious global citizens with the skills and knowledge to secure rewarding and stimulating careers inside and outside of politics.
This is underpinned by additional employability support from the University through its careers programme, through employment-related events and by maintaining the alumni network which stretches across the globe.
Our postgraduates achieve successful careers in a wide range of fields including local and national government, diplomacy, newspaper and broadcast journalism, the charity sector, business and finance, publishing, law, manufacturing, teaching and academia, and the armed forces.
Former postgraduate students have taken up roles with leading employers including the House of Commons, Clifford Chance, Accenture, British Airways, Ernst and Young, British Telecom, Goldman Sachs, PwC, the Royal Navy, House of Fraser, Channel 4, HSBC, Teach First, Durham University, Black Rock and the Audit Commission.
For further information on career options and employability, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.
School of Government and International Affairs
Part of the School of Government and International Affairs, politics and international relations at Durham is centred around the areas of political theory, comparative politics, international relations and political economy. Our academic staff have a genuine passion for politics and are leading experts in the study of these areas, as they exist across Europe, East Asia, the Middle East and the wider Muslim world, Africa and America.
We are a research-led School offering high quality learning in essential quantitative and qualitative research methods alongside in-depth study of key areas of political and international theory. These include Comparative Institutions and Political Behaviour, Environmental Politics, Global Security and Peacebuilding, International Political Economy and International Relations.
The learning and research community is vibrant and active and is one of the biggest groups at the University comprising a postgraduate body of nearly 50 different nationalities. Our institutes and research centres support key research agendas by organising guest lectures, running regular paper presentations and acting as focal points for networking.
We believe that in a democracy, active citizenship requires awareness and participation and the ability to comprehend public debate. Our vision is to offer a study of politics that not only includes but goes beyond career preparation to consider how to be better human beings and good citizens.
For more information see our department pages.
- World Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
- 8th in The Complete University Guide 2024
Research Excellence Framework
- Over 80% of SGIA research outputs were rated 'Internationally Excellent' or 'World Leading' (REF 2021)
The School of Government and International Affairs is based in the modern Al Qasimi Building. The modern structure is set in its own grounds not far from the historic centre of Durham, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Facilities include spacious environments for both learning and socialising and the building is also home to the renowned Global Policy Institute, the Institute of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and the Durham Global Security Institute.
The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!