International Relations

This programme is designed to analyse various aspects of International Relations in a scholarly, critical and methodologically sophisticated manner. Having introduced the theoretical and methodological components which facilitate our study of the field, the aim is to use these tools to examine, explain and understand the issues, topics and processes that make up our world, from security and terrorism, migration and mobility, to global financial crises.

The programme offers a balance between providing core content in the field of International Relations while allowing students to actively choose their area of specialism.

The Diploma is constructed around the coursework elements of the MA programmes with no dissertation required. On successful completion of the coursework, however, it is possible to complete the dissertation for an award of MA.

International Relations highlights

Industry Links

•You will be studying timely, relevant and pressing issues that will be 'live' throughout the programme (e.g. BREXIT & EU negotiations; migration and refugees; conflict and war; climate change developments).

World Class Facilities

•We also often host guest lectures and are closely affiliated with the The Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen's. This Institute aims to tackle major global problems by bringing world-leading academics and experts together. The Institute has welcomed a number of high profile speakers from the political arena to the University over the past year, including President Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Hilary Clinton (who was awarded an honorary degree by the University), and Speaker of the UK House of Commons, John Bercow MP.

Internationally Renowned Experts

•Taught by world-leading experts in areas such as migration and asylum, border security, visual culture and international ethics. An opportunity to study international relations in a location where communal conflicts have a clear international aspect in both their perpetuation and resolution. Benefits from a vibrant interdisciplinary research culture within the School, including insights from History, Anthropology and Philosophy.

•Belfast is a location where communal conflict has had significant international aspects in both its perpetuation and resolution. Northern Ireland remains a model of conflict resolution and peace building across the world and students benefit from the School and University's wider expertise in terrorism and political violence, conflict resolution, security studies, border studies and Irish and Northern Irish politics.

Student Experience

•All of the modules on our programme are taught by research-active academics who are world leaders in their specific fields of International Relations. For example, members of staff are currently conducting research on war, trade, security, diplomacy, conflict, migration, intervention, terrorism, violence, climate change, human rights and international institutions.

•International Relations at Queen's benefits from a vibrant interdisciplinary research culture within the School, including insights from History, Anthropology and Philosophy as well as engagement with academics across the wider University in fields such law, sociology and social policy, management and computing (for example, in collaboration for the study of cybersecurity threats).

Entry requirements

Entrance requirements


Normally a 2.2 Honours degree (minimum 57%) or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a Social Sciences, Humanities or Arts related discipline, or a 2.2 Honours degree (minimum 57%) or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject with relevant professional experience.

Applicants who do not meet this entry requirement may, at the discretion of the relevant programme convenor be considered for admission on the basis of relevant work experience and/ or an assessed piece of work.

The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). Please visit for more information.

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.

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects


All of the PgDip programmes offered in the School provide our graduates with the skills to pursue a wide range of careers in the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Subjects taught

Course Structure

Core Modules

To acquire foundational knowledge and understanding in International Relations, students will take four core modules covering the evolution of International Relations as a discipline, issues of order, conflict and governance, and the trends toward globalisation, regionalisation and devolution.

Core Modules students currently must take:

PAI7030 - International Political Economy (Semester 2)

HAP7001 - Approaches to Research Design (Semester 1)

PAI7026 - Theories and Issues in International Relations (Semester 1)

Course Details

The programme has two different components: Core modules and Elective modules.

Elective Modules

The programme provides students with a number of elective modules that will enable them to specialise in areas of interest, build on foundational knowledge, and develop focused expertise.

Elective Modules students must take one of:

PAI7007 - Global Terrorism (Semester 2)

PAI7051 – Contemporary Security (Semester 1)

Student who take PAI7007 – Global Terrorism should choose one course from the list below in Semester 1:

PAI7021 – The Politics of Northern Ireland

PAI7036 – The Politics and Political Economy

PAI7100 – Engaging citizens in Democrati

PHL7056 – Global Ethics


Student who take PAI7007 – Global Terrorism should choose one course from the list below in Semester 2:

PAI7022 – The Politics of the Republic of Ireland

PAI7027 - Conflict Intervention

PAI7050 - Ethnic Conflict and Consensus: The Power of Institutions

PAI7032 - Gender, Politics and Democracy

PAI7052 - Institutions and Politics of the EU

PHL7038 - Philosophy of Conflict and War

*This list of elective modules may vary from year to year.

Teaching Times

Afternoon / Evening

Assessment method


Assessment and Feedback are continuous throughout the course of study.

Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:


Seminar Presentations

Learning journals

Literature reviews


Written essays

Application date

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year 2020

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