University of Oxford International Relations

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University of Oxford International Relations

The MPhil in International Relations is a two-year (21-month) course which offers intellectually rigorous training in the recent history of world politics, and in the theoretical or conceptual study of international relations, as well as the appropriate research methods.

The MPhil International Relations course equips you with the skills you require to undertake research and study at an advanced level and also to undertake many forms of professional work in the field. This MPhil is a very popular course, attracting students from the world’s leading institutions. Entry is competitive and students come from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities.

The department is internationally recognised as a leader in research in the field of international relations and is home to the Centre for International Studies.

The objective of the course is to give you, in your first-year, a thorough mastery of the major facts, methodologies and perspectives in the field, as well as to develop research skills. This is supplemented in the second year by specialised course work on two optional subjects and a 30,000-word thesis.

In the first year as an MPhil in International Relations student, you must complete core classes in the development of the international system and contemporary debates in international relations theory, and a course on research design and methods in international relations, which includes the writing of a research design proposal in preparation for the MPhil thesis.

At the end of your first year, you have to sit two three-hour written examinations, with questions in the first drawn from the compulsory subject and questions in the second from the research design and methods course. Progression to the second year is conditional on satisfactory performance in these examinations.

In your second year you will write a thesis and complete two specialist optional papers. Options offered in recent years have covered European international history since 1945, strategic studies, the international relations of the Middle East, and Classical theories of international relations.

At the end of the course, you are required to sit two three-hour written examinations in the optional papers of your choice and submit a thesis of not more than 30,000 words.

Graduate destinations

Graduate work in international relations will prepare you for an academic career in the field, either in Oxford or elsewhere, but the department also celebrates the substantial number of its graduates working in government, in diplomatic services, and in senior positions in the private sector.

The department is committed to engaging with its alumni community. The alumni programme is now underway and includes an annual publication (‘Inspires’), a website forum, alumni networks and tailored events.