Research in the Social Sciences (International Politics) MSc

Course overview

  • Course level
  • Course type
  • Duration
    1 year
  • Course options
    No placement
  • School

Entry requirements

  • One of the following:
    A good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class), or an equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University.
  • For International students:
    An official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date. Students whose native language is not English will also need to satisfy our English Language requirements.
More information

Key dates

Course Summary

This postgraduate taught programme brings together broad-based training in social science research methods and advanced discipline specific development within the field of international politics. As such, it will equip you with the critical knowledge and skills required for effective social scientific research, while providing you with the opportunity to engage, through advanced research, with field of international politics.

Entry Requirements

One of the following:

  • A good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class)
  • Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University.

As well as:

  • Two professional references – at least one must be from an academic referee
  • An official academic transcript of your university grades to date
  • A completed application form.

For International students:

  • An official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date
  • Students whose native language is not English will also need to satisfy our English Language requirements.  Pre-sessional English language programmes are available for good applicants whose English qualification falls just short of these requirements. Find out more about our English language requirements
  • Postgraduate Masters students enrolling with Aston Business School with a 5.5 in one of the four IELTS sections will be required to engage with English language tuition as part of the Professional Development Programme (PDP).  There will be no extra cost to the student.
  • For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country

Applicants with extensive work experience:

We recognise the value of extensive professional experience. If you do not have the academic qualifications, but have extensive and relevant professional experience and a proven ability to succeed, we would welcome your application.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Why Choose Us

Our postgraduate programmes benefit from the disciplinary expertise of research active staff on Politics, International Relations and European Studies and from the interdisciplinary character of the School of Languages and Social Sciences.

Our postgraduate programmes are linked to the Aston Centre for Europe (ACE), one of the UK’s leading research facilities on Europe. ACE engages in a programme of rigorous, policy-relevant research on Western and Eastern Europe. The centre regularly hosts high-profile speakers through a series of major academic conferences, masterclasses and lectures which are open to our students. ACE works closely together with the prestigious Aston Business School.

We’ve received a Gold Award, the highest possible accolade, from the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). TEF stated that our students achieved ‘consistently outstanding outcomes’, with very high proportions of students going into highly skilled employment or further study.

Course outline

This programme is ideal for those individuals currently holding an undergraduate and/or postgraduate degree who want to follow a research-related career in either the academic or non-academic sectors. The MSc Research in the Social Sciences is also an ideal ‘stepping stone’ onto the Aston School of Languages and Social Sciences PhD Programme, with graduates exempted from the PhD Programme training requirements in year 1. 

Fees and Scholarships

Fees 2020/21

UK/EU:          £ 10,600
International:  £18,800

Find out about our scholarships here.  

Subject guide and modules

Core Modules (90 credits)

  • Philosophy of Research in the Social Sciences
  • Research Strategy, Design & Practice
  • Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences
  • Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences
  • International Relations Theory
  • EU as a Global Actor

Elective Modules (30 credits)

Any TWO 15 Credit Discipline Specific Modules from LSS’s post-graduate level modules in international politics (subject to timetabling and availability)

Dissertation (60 credits)

All participants will be required to carry out a piece of academic research in their discipline of choice. This research will be supported by a dissertation supervisor and will culminate in a 15,000 words thesis.

Learning teaching and assessment

Our experienced teaching team deliver modules in innovative and adaptable ways, thus meeting the needs of all learners and learning styles. This means we use a range of teaching methods, from lectures and tutorials to practical workshops and group work. All sessions are delivered in an open and supportive atmosphere, helping you to get the most out of your studies. 

Importantly, staff contributing to this programme are experienced researchers, allowing them to enrich modules with their own research knowledge, skills and perspectives gained “in the field”.

We use a variety of assessment methods as part of this course, and there is a mix of exams, coursework, presentations and group work.

Our online learning platform will also support you with your studies. It has all the digital resources you need when revising, including lecture slides, access to e-books and online journals, as well as video recordings of teaching sessions.

Career Prospects

The knowledge and skills garnered from studying the MSc Research in the Social Sciences will equip you to pursue a range of careers, including managerial, analytical and research roles within private, public and non-governmental organisations. This course also provides an excellent route into further academic study, with students going on to complete doctoral research before pursuing an academic career.

The careers pursued by our postgraduate students vary greatly, but typical careers include:

  • Employment in international organisations (EU, WTO, UN and many other)
  • Research in policy-oriented domestic or international think tanks
  • Careers in government administration
  • Further postgraduate research at PhD level
  • Journalism
  • International marketing or business