The MA (Hons) in International Relations will teach you to explore issues such as the origins of war and peace, the making of foreign policy, trade regimes, international terrorism, human rights, international law, and the interaction of political and economic development.
Students will develop the skills to assess developments in the international system and specific geographical regions; analyse the ways in which states relate to other international actors; and develop normative theories that relate the world as it is to the world as it might be.
More information for 2020 entry will be available in September 2019. For information on the current year of entry for this course see the 2019 page.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
Standard entry grades: AAAAB
Minimum entry grades: AABB
Gateway entry grades: BBBB
Standard entry grades: AAA
Minimum entry grades: ABB
Standard entry grades: 38 (HL 6,6,6)
Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5)
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.
No previous knowledge of this subject is required.
Faculty entry requirements
You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.
SQA National 5 (B) or equivalent in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
GCSE (B or 5) in English, English Language or English Literature, and one GCSE (B or 5) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.
St Andrews students meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.
The School of International Relations has been placed among the very best in the UK for the quality of its research.
The School was ranked second in Scotland for research by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, with 72% of its research rated world-leading and internationally excellent.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2018 as 94% of St Andrews final year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
You can take International Relations as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first named subject. St Andrews offers the following "with" degree in International Relations:
International Relations graduates are dynamic, globally aware, and self-motivated. They can transfer their critical reading, writing and communication skills, as well as advanced analytical abilities, to a variety of professional and internationally-orientated environments. They possess invaluable reasoning and questioning skills attained by completing a highly competitive degree.
International Relations graduates go on to a very diverse range of careers. In recent years, these have included:
the United Nations
the Red Cross
the International Atomic Energy Agency
the Carter Center
The Scotsman newspaper
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.
International Relations students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the Study Abroad site.
From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.
Students of International Relations may be interested in joining the following student societies:
Model United Nations runs a programme of events throughout the year, culminating in a conference with nearly 700 international delegates.
The Foreign Affairs Society is a diverse and dynamic society that encourages the St Andrews community to explore global politics and current affairs.
International Relations is housed in the Arts Building, which is centrally located right next to the University library. Students will primarily attend lectures here, but may go to other buildings around St Andrews for larger lectures.
The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.
“I chose to study International Relations because I find it genuinely fascinating. Moreover, international relations will always remain important because politics is ever-changing and keeps moving forward. The topics covered, especially as you specialise, are very interesting and are all taught by experts in the field.”
Michaela (Kuching, Malaysia)
School of International Relations University of St Andrews Arts Faculty Building St Andrews KY16 9BA
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).