Politics and International Relations at Leicester

Your learning experience


Required qualifications

We welcome those with enthusiasm and a dedication to postgraduate study in the discipline of International Relations. Your academic background will be taken into consideration but it is not absolutely necessary to have a first degree in International Relations or a related field. Whatever your academic background your application will be dealt with on its merits. 

While an undergraduate degree is often a precursor to postgraduate study, we will also consider candidates with professional qualifications and relevant work experience.

When to apply

We have two intakes per year commencing at the beginning of September and March. Our application deadlines are one week prior to the start date provided all supporting documentation is provided at the time of applying. Applications are accepted throughout the year and we recommend that you apply as early as possible. 

Teaching methods

Distance Learning with Politics and International Relations is an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Our supported distance learning courses are delivered online. The University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard, will be the primary mode of course delivery in terms of teaching facilities, provision of course materials and, importantly, student support. Establishing mutually understood working relationships is be a key aspect of this mode of teaching.

Distance learning requires commitment, time-management and self-motivation. Our dedicated team of tutors and staff will support you by email, Blackboard, discussion groups and telephone. You will be encouraged to contact other students to share views, ideas and issues and to create a virtual student community.

We also offer strong library provision for our distance learning students including use of the Leicester Digital Library. At every stage of your distance learning studies you will feel the benefit of Leicester’s expertise in this field and the friendly support of the course team.

All programmes are delivered solely online and assessment is 100% coursework. Therefore there is no requirement to attend campus for classes, residentials or examinations. However, if you'd like to visit the University we'd be pleased to welcome you to the campus.

Special materials

Because of the online nature of the course delivery through the use of Blackboard, distance learning students will require Information and Communication Technology facilities. You will also need to make sure that you have regular access to the internet in order that you can interact fully with Blackboard to access the online readings and contribute to online discussion forums and Wikis. Further, to make full use of Blackboard you may prefer to have a broadband connection.

Materials required to complete the course are available through Blackboard (including access to electronic journals and books) therefore there are no materials to be sent through the post - enabling you to move around freely during the course of your studies.

Study time

You will need to set aside approximately 12-15 hours per week for studying.

Course structure

All of our MA courses (with the exception of the MA in Intelligence and Security) follow the structure of one core and three optional taught modules and the dissertation.

The MA in Intelligence and Security has four core taught modules and the dissertation.

Taught modules for all programmes commence in March and September each year and are followed either by a six week part-dissertation module, or the final 12-week dissertation writing up stage for students on their final taught module. Each taught module, dissertation study period, reassessment periods (if required), and scheduled breaks cover approximately 26 weeks in total.


Each taught module requires the completion of a range of on-line activities (E-tivities) both formative and summative, these include literature reviews, critical analysis, journal article analysis, and essay planning.

The majority of the marks for each taught module will be awarded to a 5,000 word module essay. There is no examinable component.

The dissertation module is assessed by a 12-15,000 word dissertation which will be chosen by the student in consultation with an expert member of staff.


We have a committed distance learning team in the School. You will be supported by a dedicated Associate Tutor for each of the modules you study, and you will also find that your fellow students are a good source of support through the online forums. You will also be part of a wider university community and as such have full access to the University Library and the Careers and Employability Service.

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