International Relations

International Relations is a distinct discipline which draws on diplomatic history, political theory, political economy, political science and international law to provide its own theoretical perspectives to explain conflict and cooperation in the modern world.

Students with a degree in International Relations from the University of St Andrews are able to assess developments in the international system and specific geographical regions. They explore issues such as the origins of war and peace, the making of foreign policy, trade regimes, international terrorism, military alliances, and the interaction of political and economic development.


Undergraduate - 2020 entry

International Relations MA (Hons)
International Relations  BA (International Hons)
Gateway to Arts Pathway to MA (Hons)
FE-HE Pathway to Arts Pathway to MA (Hons)

Joint degree options

You can take International Relations MA (Hons) with another subject as part of a joint degree or a "with" degree.

International Foundation programmes - 2020 entry

International Foundation programmes prepare international students for undergraduate study in the UK and at the University of St Andrews in particular.

Social Sciences and Humanities September Foundation
Social Sciences and Humanities January Foundation 

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If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day or talk and tour to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 1 April 2020
  • Wednesday 8 April 2020
  • Wednesday 15 April 2020

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Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 11 March 2020

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International Relations research areas

At St Andrews, research in International Relations is focused around three broad themes:

International Relations research centres and institutes

There are nine research centres and institutes at St Andrews related to International Relations.

The Centre conducts research on the relations of religion and its political context.

The Centre promotes Russian, post-Soviet and East European research and teaching.

The Centre focuses on interventions that are informed by critical analyses and are tailored to the needs of stakeholders within their conflict contexts.

The Centre is dedicated to the study of the causes, dynamics, characteristics and consequences of terrorism and related forms of political violence.

The Centre fosters scholarship and dialogue about Syria and exchanges between Syrian and British scholars and others.

The Centre provides an institutional home for the exploration of constitutionalism at the national, regional, and global levels.

The Institute promotes cross-disciplinary education and research of Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Caucasus locales.

The Third Generation Project is an independent research and advocacy organisation that aims to prioritise collective rights and identify collective responsibilities.

The Institute's mission is to conduct and facilitate research and public debate on issues of war and strategy broadly conceived.

Careers for graduates in International Relations

International Relations graduates have expertise in area studies including Africa, Europe and the Middle East; foreign policy; international organisations and regimes; peace and conflict studies; political theory; and terrorism and political violence. Therefore, they are well equipped for careers in:

  • foreign services
  • armed services
  • public services (civil service, local governments, public corporations, hospital management)
  • social services (child care, youth employment, probation)
  • international business
  • media, radio and television
  • accountancy
  • banking and insurance
  • law
  • research.

See recent graduate employment case studies.


Joining a society, and particularly taking on a role of responsibility, can impress future employers and also enhance employability skills such as:

  • team working
  • negotiation
  • event management
  • controlling budgets
  • leadership.

Opportunities to join an International Relations society at St Andrews include:

Funding opportunities

There is a range of funding opportunities available to prospective undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD students.


There is a range of undergraduate funding opportunities offered by the University of St Andrews.

Undergraduate scholarships


ILCR MLitt scholarship
The Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research (ILCR) is offering a number of scholarships to students applying for the MLitt in Legal and Constitutional Studies.

MLitt Bursary in Terrorism and Political Violence
Those who have been offered a place on the MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence can apply for the bursary which covers all fees for one full-time student on the programme.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

Find out more about funding at PhD level.

Funding for PhD students


REF 2014

International Relations at St Andrews was ranked second in Scotland for research quality in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

University league tables

International Relations at St Andrews was ranked first in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2020 and first in Scotland by the Complete University Guide 2020.


School of International Relations
University of St Andrews
Arts Building
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AX

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2938

International Relations website

International Relations research portal