How does climate change reshape global politics? What will the world look like with the rise of China as a new superpower? Can regional conflicts shift the international power balance? How will a mainly urbanised world sustain itself? As the international scene becomes increasingly complex, understanding the fundamentals of how people, governments, international institutions and the environment interact is becoming increasingly important. If you are interested in understanding the intersections of space and politics then the MA in Geopolitics is specifically designed for you.

Contemporary issues require advanced analysis that recognises the intersections of space, power and politics. From security challenges to cultural practices or climate change; from the global to the everyday, the connections between politics and space are increasingly complex. Integrating historical, cultural and political perspectives, the MA Geopolitics at QUB is an innovative interdisciplinary programme that seeks to build the knowledge and skills needed to engage these challenges.

Taught by academic experts in Human Geography, Politics and International Relations, with a broad range of regional expertise and research perspectives, this new MA enables students to explore the questions which are shaping our lives. It is not just for geographers, international relations students, and political scientists but anyone with an interest in the core course themes. You will come to understand these intersections through a range of themes developed across the modules. These include nations, states, landscapes, mobilities, urban spaces, environmental change, sovereignty, identity, gender, empire and postcolonial relations, territory and bordering, the politics of human rights and others. You can either specialise or learn across a range of issues such as culture, media, ethics, security and conflict, environmental politics, and democratic participation. You will be taught by experts in regions including the East Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, and the UK and Ireland.

As you engage the intersections of space, power and politics you will develop advanced conceptual and analytic skills and subject knowledge needed to explore their intersections in a range of historic and contemporary issues. These skills will enable you to investigate problems shaping environments, places and landscapes and to challenge accepted wisdom. They are also particularly important skills for those pursuing careers in all sectors of government and the public sector, NGOs, international corporations, regional and international agencies, media and information industries.

Course Structure
The programme has three different components:
Core modules, Elective modules, and an MA dissertation.

Students undertake two core modules in each taught semester, and a further optional module.

The dissertation is completed over the summer.

Each taught module is worth 20 CATS points. The dissertation is worth 60 CATS points. The MA requires completion of 180 CATS.

1. Students will be taught a wide range of research methods in the field and would need to identify, critically evaluate and apply a range of methodologies
2. In their taught modules particular emphasis would be given to the study of theory. Students would then be required to reflect on their own theoretical approaches in their independent study.
3. Students would be exposed to these issues through their study of the scholarship in this field. Their selection and development of an independent research would allow them to demonstrate and be assessed on their understanding of such issues.

Course Content
The programme has three different components: Core modules, Elective modules, and an MA dissertation.

Students undertake two core modules in each taught semester, and a further optional module. The dissertation is completed over the summer.

Each taught module is worth 20 CATS points. The dissertation is worth 60 CATS points. The MA requires completion of 180 CATS.

In the Autumn Semester students undertake two required core modules and one optional module. Each module is worth 20 CATS.

Geopolitics Highlights
An interdisciplinary programme, taught across disciplines of Geography, Politics, International Relations this MA offers a unique opportunity to develop a grounding connected by shared concern with space, power, and politics.

Internationally Renowned Experts
• Research-led teaching by world leading experts who have been awarded grants by UK and EU funding bodies to undertake research on the intersections of geography and politics.

Student Experience
• The chance to apply theoretical insights to the real world through a range of assignments, field trips, engagements with practitioners, guest speakers and seminars.
• Queen's is ranked in the top 170 in the world for graduate prospects (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022)
• Queen's ranked 17 in the world for international outlook (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022)
• Queen's is ranked in the top 75 universities in Europe for Teaching Excellence (Times Higher Education, 2019)
• 15% of the Queen's student population are international students (Queen's Planning Office, 2022)

Learning and Teaching
Upon successful completion of this course students will have gained knowledge and understanding, subject specific skills, and transferable and cognitive skills.

Cognitive skills
Through this course students will develop an ability to:
• Retrieve, sift and select information from a range of sources
• Plan and execute a piece of independent research, including independent data collection, interpretation and argumentation;
• Comprehend and be able to deploy qualitative and quantitative research design.

General Skills
Class discussions and debates and their independent preparation and coursework will develop skills in constructively and critically engaging the work of others, as well as self-reflection on their own work.

Through independent study and class preparations, peer engagement in class, dissertation supervision etc.

Their independent study (e.g. writing a dissertation; module coursework) will require working to deadlines, effective written communication, locating, sifting and prioritizing information, and time management. Seminars will include collaborative working and discussion.

Their experience in applying qualitative and quantitative approaches to real world political puzzles will be of invaluable use for them - either in further research or in their careers - when they conduct research into any social phenomenon.

Students will be able to structure and communicate their ideas effectively both in oral and written form; through participation in all class activities and completion of the coursework.

Knowledge and Understanding
Students will be able to demonstrate:
• Comprehensive and systematic knowledge and understanding of the key issues in the study of Geopolitics
• Familiarity with the range of key thinkers in the field of Geopolitics;
• Awareness of different methodological approaches, and a conceptual grasp of current research and advances of scholarship in the study of Geopolitics;
• Awareness of theoretical debates, and an appreciation of analytical frameworks and historical evolution of the area.

Learning and Teaching
You will be part of a community of learners situated across two academic Schools and will be able to avail of research activities and seminar series in both.

Vibrant debate and discussion form a core part of class time. You will gain experience in applying qualitative and quantitative approaches to real world political concerns.

All teaching staff are at the forefront of contemporary research and debate in their fields.

Subject specific skills
Students will be able to
• Show evidence of understanding of the range of methodological approaches available to engage geopolitical issues; and be able to select appropriate techniques relative to overall research design;
• Locate political problems in particular spatial contexts and critically reflect on their production and possibilities for intervention.
• Apply conceptually informed forms of analysis to contemporary geopolitical problems and identify their practical political implications.

Transferable skills
A wide range of transferable skills are developed through this course including an ability to:
• Constructively and critically engage the work of others
• Find, analyse, synthesise and evaluation information from a range of sources
• Work independently and in groups
• Problem solving
• Communication skills.
• Problem solving: applying research to real world political issues
• Communication skills: structure and communicate ideas and arguments effectively in oral and written forms.

Subjects taught

Core Modules:
• GGY7001: Critical Geopolitics – this is an introductory module, covering key thinkers and core issues in contemporary geopolitics.
• HAP7001: Approaches and Debates in Research Design – this workshop-based module provides you with the methodological tools for conducting independent research covering a range of methods used across humanities and social sciences.

Optional Modules, one of which is taken:
• PAI7032: Gender, Peace and Security
• PAI7051: Contemporary Security
• PAI7098: Democratic Challenges
• PAI7099: The UK and Europe
• PAI7021: The politics of Northern Ireland
• PAI7038: Theories of Comparative Politics
• PAI7103 Global Development

Semester 2 (Spring)
In the Spring Semester students undertake two required core modules and one optional module. Each module is worth 20 CATS.

Core Modules:
• GGY7002: Geo-power: States, Sovereignty, Territory
• GGY7003: Culture and the Geopolitics of the Everyday

Optional Modules, one of which is taken:
• PAI7007: Global Terrorism
• PAI7027: Conflict Intervention
• PAI7030: International Political Economy
• PAI7032: Gender and politics
• PAI7036: Low Carbon Economies
• PAI7050: Ethnic Conflict and Consensus: the Power of Institutions
• PAI7052: Institutions and Politics of the EU
• PAI7100: Engaging Citizens in Democratic Institutions

Students will:
• Attend one two-hour seminar each week;
• Submit two pieces of coursework (one essay and one case study report);
• Deliver a presentation during one seminar.

• PAI7058: From Cold War to Cold Peace: The Transformation of International Order (1979-1999)
• PAI7102: Global Ireland
• PHL7057: Social Injustice
• CSJ7005 Religion and Peacebuilding
• ANT7023 Anthropology of Conflict: Ireland and Beyond

Summer: Dissertation
Students complete their dissertation over the summer months. While you will begin work on their dissertations in the Autumn and Spring Semesters, but most intensive research and analysis is over the summer months.

A dissertation (GGY7099) of up to 15,000 words will be produced through an independent research project. This is worth 60 CATS points.

Students are guided in this by an academic expert supervisor. Supervisors for GGY7099 may be drawn from experts in either the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, or from Geography in the School of Natural and Built Environment.

If you wish to take the programme on part time basis you will be required to complete 3 taught modules each year (one in first semester and two in second semester or vice versus). It is advised you should complete the core modules in your first year. Please note, all modules run at the same time for full time and part time students. Please contact the programme convenor for further information.

Entry requirements

Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a Social Sciences, Humanities or Arts subject, or a 2.1 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject with relevant professional experience.

Applicants with qualifications below 2.1 Honours degree standard may be considered on a case-by-case basis if they can demonstrate appropriate relevant experience.

International Students
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

• Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level

• Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Application dates

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 11th August 2023 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

How to Apply
Applications should be submitted online via the Postgraduate Applications Portal for admission to the vast majority of postgraduate programmes.

New applicants will need to register via the Portal to create an application account. If you are already a Queen's student with an active Qsis account, you can log in using your student number and Qsis password. Guidance on how to complete an application is provided within the Portal and it is possible to save application data and return to complete it at a later date, if you wish. After core details about yourself and your academic background have been provided, you can submit an application, or multiple applications, if required.

If you applied in a previous cycle through the Portal and are re-applying, you should use your previous log in details. Please review and update your personal and contact details, academic and professional qualifications before submitting a new application.

Important – please ensure that the email address you provide is correct and active, as this will be used by us to communicate the progress of your application to you.


1 year (Full Time)
3 years (Part Time)

Teaching Times
Teaching takes place at a variety of times from 9-8pm Monday – Friday.

Post Course Info

Career Prospects
The MA in Geopolitics was launched in September 2021.

MA Geopolitics can lead to a PhD in Geography, Politics, International Studies or environmental studies. It would also train you for employment in all sectors of government and the public sector, international agencies, NGOs, international corporations, media and information industries.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

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    Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

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