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Master of Arts (Honours) International Relations and Psychology

General information

Master of Arts (Honours)
Master of Arts (Honours) International Relations and Psychology
University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
Undergraduate Honours (Arts Faculty)
International Relations and Psychology
School of International Relations, School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Faculty of Arts
48 months (4 years)
See the School of International Relations website at

See the School of Psychology & Neuroscience website at

For further details about this programme contact
British Psychological Society (BPS)
For general QAA information on academic infrastructure see

For subject specific benchmarking see: (International Relations) (Psychology)

Educational aims

This programme will involve study of International Relations and Psychology at an advanced, research-led level in which students will gain an understanding of how knowledge is created, advanced and renewed. The programme will encourage in all students a desire to pursue independent learning with curiosity, integrity, accuracy and intellectual rigour.

Programme structure

This is a 48-month programme of study leading to the degree of Master of Arts (Honours). As with all St Andrews programmes, it is made up of credit bearing modules. Students must earn 480 credits over the duration of the programme, with 120 credits normally earned each academic year. Typically, the first two years of study include core modules specific to the programme as well as other modules chosen from a range of options (in some cases, including modules from a different Faculty). The remaining years offer advanced research-led learning through modules that provide a programme-specific curriculum.

Typically, the first two years of study include core modules specific to the programme as well as other modules chosen from a range of options (in some cases, including modules from a different Faculty). The remaining years offer advanced research-led learning through modules that provide a programme-specific curriculum. For information about core and optional modules for each programme, please consult the Course Catalogue, which can be found at

This catalogue describes the detailed structure of the course and the contents of all the modules that can be included in the programme. Teaching, learning and assessment are progressive, with both the content and methods of delivery changing to suit the increasing level of complexity in the material, and independence of students, as they work through the programme.

Distinctive features

Distinctive features of this programme include:

a) School of International Relations

Rather than rote learning a set of terms, instead grappling with contending interpretations of the same events and processes occurring in international affairs.

Students can expect to have the opportunity to engage with a number of specialist topics including both thematic and regional issues. Examples of the former include human rights; the various impacts of globalization; forms of contemporary political violence and conflict and conflict prevention and resolution. Examples of regional concentrations include Africa; Central, East and South Asia; Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.

b) School of Psychology

A broad foundation across the range of modern scientific psychology. The programme progresses from sub-honours modules providing solid grounding in each of the subject areas of psychology and their methodologies to a choice of advanced Honours modules that provide in depth training exploring the state of the art in specific areas connected to the research expertise of members of the School. Examples include social cognition and evolution, group processes, emotion, visual perception, or memory processes.

Programme outcomes/graduate attributes

In the course of this programme students will develop programme-specific skills. On completing the programme students should be able to demonstrate the graduate attributes outlined below.

Demonstrate original thought
Construct a coherent argument or debate by demonstrating logical processing of (complex) information and deductive reasoning
Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to solve complex problems
Test hypotheses, theories, methods and evidence within their proper contexts
Reason from the particular to the general
Identify relevant techniques and concepts to solve advanced and complex problems
Demonstrate use of an appropriate range of resources to the task at hand
Evaluate relevant best practices for the task at hand
Engage directly with current research, developments and skills in the discipline
Engage with primary and secondary material and differentiate between them
Demonstrate active learning
Demonstrate reflective learning, including the ability to engage with and learn from feedback
Demonstrate creativity and curiosity
Demonstrate independence of thought and reasoning
Demonstrate skills in time management, self-discipline and self-motivation
Demonstrate skills in close textual and comparative analysis
Demonstrate skills in close analysis of visual material
Demonstrate advanced IT skills
Demonstrate quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis
Demonstrate expertise in the use of statistical software packages for recording, manipulation and analysis of data
Convey statistical results and methods in a manner understandable to the lay-person via written or oral reports
Work independently
Work as part of a team
Communicate with clarity and accuracy, orally (including presentation) and in writing
Engage with the views and opinions of others
Present work and findings in a professional manner, with attention to detail
Learn and use research skills

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

a) Teaching and learning delivery

Students will engage with independent and group study in a supportive framework of teaching and learning. The strategy is to use methods of teaching and assessment that will facilitate learning appropriate to the aims of the degree programme. The following methods will be employed where appropriate to the level of study and the particular content of each module in the programme.

Small group discussions / tutorials
Problem solving workshops
Autonomous learning groups
Independent study activities (supervised and unsupervised)
Computer based teaching and analysis
Field Trips
One-to-one discussions / supervision
Project work
Practical work
Practice exercises
Study at a partner University / period of residence abroad
Larger group discussions / seminars
Technology enhanced learning
Group work
Reflective practice
Simulation/Role plays
Guided instruction/coaching
Video lectures
Laboratory based teaching and problem solving
Work placements

b) Material submitted for assessment

Assessment can be a blend of diagnostic work to determine student needs, formative work submitted for assessment and feedback (but not necessarily for academic credit) or summative work submitted for academic credit.

Dissertations / projects
Class tests
Unseen written examinations
Oral examinations
Literature reviews
Annotated Bibliographies
Portfolio of independent work
Learning diaries
Technology enhanced assessments
Take home examinations
Class tests/multiple choice questions
Close reading questions
Concept identifications
Short Answer Questions (SAQ)
Group assignments
Problem solving exercises
Policy Papers
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
Lab reports

c) Learning and teaching support

Students' scholarship skills (in, for example, academic writing, information gathering and academic conduct) will be supported and developed through this programme. The following will be available, where appropriate to the level of study and the particular content of each module in the programme.

Handouts/ handbooks
Web based and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) resources
Library support and resources
Reading lists
Training in Good Academic Practice
Office hours and staff availability
Access to computer classrooms
Reading parties
IT services support
Student services support (available on application. Individual support will be available for students with disabilities registered with the University)
Study skills support (CAPOD) (available on application)
Academic Skills Workshops
Mathematics and statistics support (available on application)
Student representation
Free WiFi