International relations studies the complex relations between and among states, societies, individuals, identities and cultures, theoretically and empirically. The discipline covers such areas as economics, law, politics and security. It considers deeper questions relating to how we understand and conceptualise contemporary global transformations. Throughout the programme, you will approach the subject from several different perspectives: from a state-centric approach; from the perspective of complex interdependence; and from a globalisation perspective. The degree is open to students of any discipline or career background, but is popular for people working in or wishing to work in government or diplomatic service, international organisations and the media.

International relations (IR) studies the complex relations between and among states, societies, individuals, identities and cultures theoretically and empirically. The discipline of IR covers such areas as politics, security, economics and law. It considers some of the most burning questions of the day:

How power and resources are allocated on the international stage?
How, where and when is power exercised and justified, who is it exercised for, and why is it exercised in the way it is?
And deeper questions relating to how we understand and conceptualise contemporary global transformations?

These issues are critical at the international level where the apparent monopoly of the nation state is increasingly being challenged by other actors such as international organisations, social movements, terrorist groups and multinational corporations.

Throughout the MA in International Relations you will approach the subject from a number of different perspectives: from a state-centric approach, exploring the strategic interaction of states on issues such as war, peace, conflict and cooperation; from the perspective of complex interdependence, which considers the totality of cross-border transactions; and from a ‘globalisation’ perspective, which focuses attention on the increasingly integrated global system of economic, social, technological and political processes.

The degree is open to students of any discipline or career background, and you will benefit from the diversity of our students’ experience and education, which adds to the breadth of our classroom discussions. This degree attracts applicants from across the world – ensuring that the issues debated are rarely arid or inconsequential, but bear directly on the lives of those in the class.

This course is taught through evening classes at our Teaching Centre in central Kuala Lumpur and therefore appropriate for individuals living and working in the city.  

Course structure

You will be required to complete 180 credits over the period of your studies: 120 credits of taught modules and a 60-credit dissertation, based on your own original research. The full-time and part-time evening class variant of the degree is taught at our city centre facility, The Kuala Lumpur Teaching Centre, at the Chulan Tower, Jalan Conlay – a great option for those based in Kuala Lumpur and in full-time employment.


Typical core modules:

  • Dissertation
  • Global Perspectives on International Relations
  • Research Methods and Design

Typical optional modules:

  • Civil Society and Global Development
  • Contemporary Public Policy
  • Contemporary Security Challenges
  • Development and Governance: Building Democracy in the Developing World
  • Field Technologies
  • Global Political Economy
  • International Business
  • International Development
  • Modern Languages (currently French, German, Japanese, Korea, Mandarin, Spanish)
  • Postgraduate internship
  • Terrorism in South and South East Asia
  • The International Relations of South East Asia

Entry requirements

A relevant second class honours degree (or international equivalent). Mature applicants without any standard entry requirements but are holders of approved professional qualifications equivalent to first degrees; or have gained prior learning or experience at an appropriate level may be considered.

Applicants must have graduated from an approved university. Other equivalent qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in each element)
  • TOEFL (iBT): 87 (minimum 20 in Speaking and 19 in all other elements)
  • PTE (Academic): 62 (with no less than 55 in each element)

IELTS and TOEFL test results must be less than 2 years old and all IELTS must be the academic version of the test.

Career prospects

Postgraduate study in international relations will equip you for careers in a wide range of fields. We currently have graduates working in:

  • foreign ministries
  • international organisations
  • international businesses and finance
  • non-governmental and aid sectors
  • international media and journalism
  • local and national government
  • think-tanks, policy advice, lobbying
  • teaching and academic research