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  1. Postgraduate
    1. 2021
Study at City

MA International Politics and Human Rights

Entry Year:
Study International Politics and Human Rights at City, and discover why you will never read international news in the same way again.

Key information

Start date

September 2021

Academic year dates


Full-time: 12 months
Part-time: 24 months (with an additional 3 months to submit dissertation if required)


Full-time: £10,080

Part-time: £5,040 per year


Full-time: £15,920

Part-time: £7,960 per year


Full-time: £15,920

Part-time: £7,960 per year


Northampton Square

Who is it for?

The International Politics and Human Rights programme is for students who want to explore international politics and human rights more widely and then drill down to specialise their knowledge. The MA is designed to give you the chance to create your own questions about the way the world works – and to shape arguments where you feel it doesn’t. These are some of the questions the course poses:

  • Do human rights offer universal protections, or do they provide ideological cover for neo-imperialist powers?
  • Can human rights provide protection to individuals in a way that supersedes the nation-state, or do they serve the interests of powerful states?
  • Should human rights be concerned with the minimalist needs of security and subsistence, or should they aspire to grander visions of global justice?


This is a course where you will challenge your own point of view. We unpick the ideas that structure the way we understand the world, so we can identify how those understandings shape global events. We then focus on how the way we view things may, in itself, be ethically problematic.

International Politics and Human Rights is an evolving subject so you explore unique specialisms backed by real-world research. The department’s academics are actively shaping policy, sitting on the advisory board for the Corbyn shadow cabinet, hosting talks on the human right to housing in London, and engaging in study groups around the Obama presidency. This keeps the content of the course effective and current, giving you a contemporary lens from which to view rapid political change.

From human rights organisations to NGOs and government agencies, the course gives you the perfect foundation to prepare for a career in a wide range of fields. You will graduate with the ability to undertake in-depth research, challenge received explanations of topics in social and political life and to examine and critically evaluate the complex structure of relationships between governments, transnational actors, transnational networks and intergovernmental or governmental organisations.

Requirements and how to apply

Entry requirements

You should have a first or upper second-class honours (or equivalent) degree in politics, the social sciences, humanities or law. However, we also welcome applications from those with substantial experience in human rights organisations, NGOs, social services, journalism and other related sectors.

INTO City, University of London

Don’t meet the entry requirements? INTO City, University of London offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare you for study at City, University of London. You’ll learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry. To prepare for this degree course, learn more about the Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences and the Arts programme.

Kaplan International College London

City works in partnership with Kaplan International College (KIC) London to provide preparatory courses for international students. Pre Masters courses at KIC London offer comprehensive support to students wishing to complete their postgraduate study at City. Progression to this degree is guaranteed if you complete the KIC London Pre-Masters course at the required level.

International Equivalences

If you are applying with an overseas degree, the following is an indication of international equivalents of an upper second class degree from a UK institution. Please note these figures are intended as a guide only and individual applications will be assessed on a case by case basis.

  • China: Bachelor degree (Xueshi) in a suitable subject with an overall grade of 75 – 85% (depending on the standing of the awarding institution)
  • USA: Bachelor degree in a suitable subject with CGPA 3.2
  • India: Bachelor degree in a suitable subject with CGPA 6.5 / overall 65% / 1st Division classification
  • Turkey: Lisans Diplomasi or a Műhendis Diplomasi with a minimum CGPA 3.0 or 65%
  • Italy: Diploma di Laurea in a suitable subject with a minimum score of 104.

English requirements

If English is not your first language you will need the following qualification:

  • IELTS: an overall score of 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 for each sub-test).

INTO English language programmes

Don’t meet the English language requirements? INTO City, University of London offers English language programmes to help prepare you for study at university. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to degree courses.

Visa requirements

International Students (EEA and Non EEA) coming to study in the UK, may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study. The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:

  • EEA nationals joining the programme in 2020 and EEA nationals joining from January 2021
  • Students on courses of more than six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

Apply now:

MA International Politics and Human Rights (full time) 2021/2

MA International Politics and Human Rights (part time)2021/2

If you have any enquiries about the course or application process please contact:

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom
Tel: +44(1)20 7040 0249/3721

core modules give you a theoretical toolkit to develop your own focus.
Professional insight
From the UN to The Refugee Council, you gain professional insight from our Practitioner Series.
of graduates responding to the 14/15 DLHE survey were in employment six months after graduation.
During your course

More about fees

Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study (where applicable).

Alumni views

City, University of London, MA International Politics and Human Rights alumna Maria Peiró Mir explains how her experience at City helped her find a career in International Political Development.


You have the opportunity to undertake a placement, but it is not a formal requirement of the course. We encourage you to create your own, by fostering connections offered by the Careers Service. There is also the International Politics Careers Day, which explores career opportunities with international politics degrees and includes:

  • Talks by speakers within the field (including alumni now working within the UK Department for International Development, the UK Ministry of Justice), UNESCO and the EU Commission
  • Talks by careers consultants and volunteering coordinators
  • Drop-in sessions with careers professionals focusing on CV writing, applications and volunteering.

Academic facilities

As part of the University of London you can also become a member of Senate House Library for free with your student ID card.


We offer a variety of accommodation options and support services for postgraduate students.

Read more about our postgraduate halls.

Our Accommodation Service can also help you find private accommodation.

Find out more about private accommodation.

Learn a language for free

We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.

Find out how to apply


Course timetables are normally available from July and can be accessed from our timetabling pages. These pages also provide timetables for the current academic year, though this information should be viewed as indicative and details may vary from year to year.

View academic timetables

Please note that all academic timetables are subject to change.

Student support

We offer an extensive support network during your time here at City, University of London – from Learning Support (including disability support) and counselling to financial and career advice – leaving you free to enjoy every opportunity campus life has to offer.

Find out more about the different types of student support available.

Ask a student

Chat to our current students and read their blogs to gain an insight into studying at City and learn more about our undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Course content and assessment

To make sure that you can begin or continue your studies with us during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reviewed and adapted our courses to ensure a safe learning environment for our students and staff. We have modified the way some of our courses are delivered, with many programmes being made available online.

Contact us to find out more about how our programmes will be delivered.

Teaching and learning

The course is taught by academics within the department with industry professionals offering insight in the form of talks for the Practitioner Series. This is a programme of talks from visiting speakers and alumni working within organisations such as The Refugee Council and Amnesty International.

Academic staff

The staff within our Department of International Politics are research active, enthusiastic and passionate about their work. Often this research and influence leads to policy change and many media appearances. Find out more about International Politics staff.

You can follow our staff’s activity through their Twitter feed: @cityintpolitics


Each taught module is assessed by an essay, either a 5,000-word essay for 30 credit modules or a 3,000-word essay for 15 credit modules. Your final MA marks are derived from a combination of your essay and dissertation grades.

You are required to submit a dissertation of 15,000 words in an area linked to the MA degree. Your dissertation topic will be agreed with your personal tutor/supervisor.

Your work will be assessed by coursework alone, there are no exams. Many students develop their key interest first when they choose their elective modules, then when they write their essays, and finally when they write their dissertation over the summer term.


The structure of this MA means you can design your own degree. The first core module Human Rights and the Transformation of World Politics l is taught in the first term and Global Ethics: Principles, Power and Politics, is taught in the second term. Throughout the year you can choose elective modules that suit your interests. You can also opt to study across departments with optional modules from the Department of Sociology and The City Law School.

You take two 30-credit core modules, one in each term, totalling 60 credits. You will then take elective modules totalling 60 credits, which include 15 and 30 credit options, and complete your 60 credit dissertation in the third term as a student on the full-time programme (with submission in September of that year). You must also attend the dissertation workshops that are offered by the department, as it is a compulsory and important part of the MA programme.

Core modules

Human Rights and the Transformation of World Politics IPM118 (30 credits)

This module provides you with an advanced overview of the theory, history and practice of human rights, with a focus on how the development of human rights has changed the nature of world politics in the 20th and 21st centuries. Specifically, you will look at the key intellectual advances and political events that have shaped the idea of universal human rights, while focusing on the way in which the meaning of human rights is contested and how the idea of human rights has been shaped by existing power structures. Through a detailed study of the theory, history and practice of human rights you will explore key controversies in the field and develop critical thinking and writing skills, as well as a detailed knowledge of the place of human rights in contemporary world politics.

Global Ethics: Principles, Power and Politics IPM117 (30 credits)

International politics raises distinctive ethical concerns - of violence, hospitality and solidarity across borders - and has been seen as different from domestic politics, such that it requires its own ethics. This module seeks to introduce you to the traditions of ethical thought in international politics by looking at pressing issues faced in today's world. The course takes the transformation of world politics in the mid-20th century as a key moment to critically examine both the degree to which international politics has become more ethical and the ways that our understanding of global ethics influences our practical responses to issues like the development of human rights, new practices of humanitarian intervention, global poverty, the development of international criminal law and the creation of new forms of transnational and supranational political authority. The module aims to balance philosophical reflection on the nature of global ethics with practical engagement in contemporary political events.

International Politics dissertation IPM111 (60 credits)

You are required to submit a dissertation of 15,000 words. The dissertation is worth 60 credits (one-third of your overall mark).

You will start work on the project in the second term, with a research workshop, which will help you develop the necessary skills for undertaking independent research. In the summer term, you will work full time on completing the final dissertation, which will be due by the end of September. The dissertation offers you the opportunity to reflect on and communicate knowledge gained through research and allows you to complement your module work by writing on a topic relevant to your specific interests.

International politics research workshops will help you to develop a research proposal for your international politics dissertation. You will examine issues related to the 'what' and 'how' of research: what kinds of questions can we ask and how should we pursue our research? You will also explore issues such as how to design a research project and examine the role of case studies, different methods of evidence collection (interviewing, archives, surveys), and the relationship between theory and the practice of research.

Elective modules

Choose 60 credits from:

Typical modules offered by the Department of International Politics

  • Understanding Security in the 21st Century (15 credits)
  • International Organisations in Global Politics (15 credits)
  • Theories of International Politics (30 credits)
  • Cultural Logics of Contemporary Capitalism (15 credits)
  • Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future (30 credits)
  • Political Economy of Global Finance (15 credits)
  • The Politics of Forced Migration (15 credits)
  • Global Governance (15 credits)
  • International Politics of the Middle East (15 credits)
  • Strategy, Diplomacy and Decision-making (30 credits)
  • Foreign Policy Analysis (15 credits)
  • Economic Diplomacy (15 credits)
  • Global Political Economy: Contemporary Approaches (30 credits)
  • Russian Foreign Policy from Stalin to Putin (15 credits)
  • History of East Asia (15 credits)
  • Revolutions in Modern History (15 credits)
  • Visions of World Order: Ideas and Concepts in the History of International Thought (15 credits).

Typical modules offered by the Department of Sociology

  • Developments in Communication Policy (30 credits)
  • Transnational Media and Communication (30 credits)
  • Criminal Minds (15 credits)

Typical modules offered by The City Law School

  • International Human Rights in Law and Practice (30 credits)
  • International Criminal Law: Crimes & Institutions (30 credits)
  • Law and War (30 credits)
  • Minorities and Indigenous People in International Law (30 credits)

* MA International Politics and Human Rights students have access to additional LLM options with The City Law School – a full list is available in the programme specification.

The programme specification contains more information on how the course is organised, the requirements for progression for each part and credits required for awards.

Recommended reading

To get the most out of this course, it is best not to read too much beforehand, but if you are new to the subject, these titles may be a useful starting point:

  • Brooke Ackerly, Universal Human Rights in a World of Difference (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
  • Tim Dunne and Nicholas J. Wheeler (eds.), Human Rights in Global Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
  • Mark Goodale and Sally Merry Engle (eds.), The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law Between the Global and the Local (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • Paul Gordon Lauren, The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003)
  • Samuel Moyn, The Last Utopia (Harvard University Press, 2010)
  • Makau Mutua, Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002).
  • Maria Peiro Mir
    Student profile
    Completing the International Politics and Human Rights MA programme at City helped me broaden my horizons..
  • Sreya Panuganti
    Student profile
    I've been exposed to a variety of disciplines touching on international politics and human rights, which helped make myself a competitive candidate for a job in the field I wanted to go in..
After you graduate

Career prospects

The skills you will take away from this programme – those of research, analysis and presentation – are highly valued by employers. In 2016 70%  of City's International Politics graduates were in employment or further study six months after graduation. Current graduates now work within the following organisations:

  • Amnesty International
  • The Open Rights Group
  • The Grass Roots Group
  • The United Nations
  • US Embassy
  • International Crisis Group
  • Ministry of Economy and Finance
  • European External Action Service.

Apply now:

MA International Politics and Human Rights (full time) 2021/2

MA International Politics and Human Rights (part time)2021/2

If you have any enquiries about the course or application process please contact:

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom
Tel: +44(1)20 7040 0249/3721

Contact details

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