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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.



International Relations MA (Hons)
International Relations BA (International Hons)

Joint degree options

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

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.


Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2017.

  • Wednesday 27 September 2017
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017



  • November 2017 - date to be confirmed.

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Latest in International Relations at St Andrews

Professor Chris Brown from the London School of Economics will give a public lecture and two seminars.


Professor Nancy Fraser of the New School in New York will deliver the Mark Imber lecture in international institutionalisation.


John Tsukayama's doctoral dissertation on torture and detainee abuse in Iraq transformed into new collaborative, interactive art project.


International Relations research areas

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

Conflict, peace and security

A central theme in the field of International Relations has always been how we should understand and think about conflict, peace and security.

At St Andrews, this includes research on political violence and terrorism, international security, conflict between (and within) state and non-state actors, institutional responses to conflict, post-war reconstruction, normative theories of war and peace, human rights, regional tensions, the social construction of conflict, and the political economy of peace and violence.

Research staff: 

  • Dr Javier Argomaniz: terrorism and political violence in Europe with a focus on international cooperation against terrorism and the European Union's response to transnational threats.
  • Dr Ryan Beasley: the foreign policies of coalition governments, problem representation in foreign policy decision making, and cognitive consistency theories and foreign policy.
  • Dr Roddy Brett:  international, regional and national socio-political, legal and cultural factors determining and shaping armed conflict, war and authoritarian regimes, and the transformation and resolution of said contexts.
  • Dr Hazel Cameronstate crime, global elite bystanders, state and corporate complicity in political violence, torture, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
  • Professor Rick Fawninternational security, with a geographic concentration on the former communist space.
  • Dr Caron Gentry: feminist theory and gender studies, political violence, women as agents of political violence, feminist political theology, aesthetics.
  • Dr Peter Lehr: maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific, political violence and terrorism in South and Southeast Asia, organised crime in South and Southeast Asia, and critical infrastructure protection with a focus on air and seaport security.
  • Dr Jaremey McMullin: internal conflict and the process of post-conflict transition, particularly in relation to the states in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Dr Jeffrey Murer: the psycho-social processes associated with collective and individual identity formation in the context of conflict and through violence.
  • Dr Gilbert Ramsaythe notion of so-called ‘violent extremism’ and online communities.
  • Dr Gurchathen Sanghera: international relations and UN peace support operations, the politics of race and ethnicity in contemporary Britain, and critical theory, human rights, and globalisation.
  • Dr Sibylle Scheipers: irregular fighters, Clausewitz and irregular warfare, military auxiliaries, law of armed conflict, and prisoners in war.
  • Professor Ali Watson: activism and resistance in international relations, critiques of the liberal peace, and (neo)colonialism and oppression of non-Western spaces and peoples.
  • Professor Andrew Williams: the evolution of global order over the past century, the ways in which the international community deals with the aftermath of major wars, international conflict resolution and transformation, France's relation to 'Anglo-Saxon' powers since 1900, and the relationship between international relations and international history.
  • Dr Timothy Wilsonthe differing effects political violence can have across different contexts, including terrorism committed by governments and by their opponents.

Global and supra-national institutions

Research into the evolving character of global and supra-national institutions encompasses work on formal international institutions (for example, the UN or regional associations), on regimes (environment and non-proliferation), on ideas about and practices of global order (the rise of great powers, the possibilities of global constitutionalism and global justice), and the interface between international relations and international law.

Research staff:

  • Professor John Anderson: religion and politics, including conservative religious politics in the USA and Russia, and religion and public affairs in Britain.
  • Professor Sally Cummings: culture and security; the politics of identity; nation-and state-building in Eastern Europe; international politics with geographic specialisation of Central Asia.
  • Dr Marc DeVore: the political economy of the arms trade, civil-military relations and violent non-state actors.
  • Dr Jasmine Gani: international relations of the Middle East; Syrian foreign policy and contentious politics; United States foreign policy in the Middle East; ideology; postcolonialism and decoloniality; and religion and politics.
  • Dr Kristen Harknessthe intersection of ethnic politics and conflict studies, with a regional focus on Africa.
  • Professor Raymond Hinnebusch: Middle East international relations and foreign policy; rural politics and agrarian development, elites, authoritarian regimes political parties; and economic liberalisation in the Middle East.
  • Dr Fiona McCallumthe political role of Christian communities in the contemporary Middle East, including identity, minority rights, church-state-societal relations, Christian-Muslim conflict, interfaith dialogue and diaspora politics.
  • Dr Chris Ogdenthe relationship between national identity, security and domestic politics in South Asia and East Asia, as well as the analytical uses of social psychology in international relations.
  • Dr Adham Saouli: historical sociology, state formation, and social movements; politics and international relations of the Middle East; politics and foreign policy of divided states (Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq) and non-state actors (especially Hizbullah); and political violence.
  • Dr William Vlcek: offshore financial centres, small states, money laundering, terrorist finance, international political economy, governmentality, casinos, accumulation by dispossession.
  • Dr Frederic Volpithe interaction between Islamism, democratisation and civility, including the construction of political Islam in pseudo-democratic contexts in North Africa and the implication for European foreign and multicultural policy.

Civil societies and international relations

The theme of interpenetration of civil societies and international relations encompasses work on religion and politics, debates around trauma and memorialisation, work on the ways in which ‘hidden actors’ are represented and understood in international relations (for example, children), ideas and practices revolving around human rights politics, and the politics of resistance in the global south.

Research staff:

  • Professor Karin Fierke: the development and application of constructivist methodology; the analysis of change relating to security and conflict; the role of emotion and trauma in international politics; the relationship between memory and violence in international politics; and political self sacrifice.
  • Professor Patrick Haydenexploring and developing central conceptual elements of contemporary political thought; transnational politics spanning human rights; cosmopolitanism; social justice; international and global ethics; political evil, violence and 'harm'; vulnerability and the politics of recognition; dissent and disobedience; and genocide studies.
  • Professor Anthony Lang: international political theory; global constitutionalism; international ethics; international law; international organisations; Middle East politics and law; and the just war tradition.
  • Dr Vassilios Paipais: approaches to ontology and the political in international political thought; political-theological dimension in world politics; and the politics of public discourses around the European crisis across Eurozone countries.
  • Professor Nicholas Rengger: international relations, politics, theology, philosophy, social thought and history.
  • Dr Gabriella Slomp: political theory, political philosophy, history of political thought, and Thomas Hobbes.

International Relations research centres and institutes

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

Centre for Global Constitutionalism (CGC)
The Centre provides an institutional home for the exploration of constitutionalism at the national, regional, and global levels.

Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS)
The Centre focuses on interventions that are informed by critical analyses and are tailored to the needs of stakeholders within their conflict contexts.

Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (CSRP)
The Centre conducts research on the relations of religion and its political context.

Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies (CRSCEES)
The Centre promotes Russian, post-Soviet and East European research and teaching.

Centre for Syrian Studies (CSS)
The Centre fosters scholarship and dialogue about Syria and exchanges between Syrian and British scholars and others.

Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV)
The Centre is dedicated to the study of the causes, dynamics, characteristics and consequences of terrorism and related forms of political violence.

Institute of Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Studies (MECACS)
The Institute promotes cross-disciplinary education and research of Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Caucasus locales.


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 and 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 £5,000 scholarships on the basis of academic merit for 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 2017, and second in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2017 and The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017 for student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects.


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