The programme is a joint offering of the Schools of Politics and International Relations and Law. It provides a rare opportunity to study the nature of international law and its application within the field of global politics. You gain a detailed understanding of the theory and practice of public international law and of how those principles and practices apply to relations between states.Postgraduate study in Politics and International Relations at Kent
One year full-time, two years part-time
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- historical and theoretical issues at the forefront of the disciplines of international relations and law, together with familiarity with appropriate bibliographical sources
- the epistemological and methodological principles in their application to the study of international relations and law
- key ontological, theoretical, and methodological problems of international relations and law
- current challenges to international order, co-operation, identity, social formations, and global issues, and possible strategies to address them
- the changing role of the state in the context of globalisation and regional integration and the implications for international peace and security
- the institutions and structures of public international law, and the inter-relationships between these
- the theoretical perspectives and academic debates that underlie the substantive areas of public international law
- the relationship and inter-relationship between public international law theory and practice, and international relations theory and practice.
- how to carry out an independent research project and write in a scholarly manner, demonstrate familiarity with academic conventions, deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate your conclusions clearly.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- general research skills, especially bibliographic and computing skills
- gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources
- identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
- develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
- reflect on, and manage, your own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback from your peers and staff to enhance your performance and personal skills
- manage your own learning self-critically.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- effectively applying the knowledge of public international law and international relations theory to a wide range of situations where relevant practical or theoretical issues are under consideration and interpretations of political issues and events
- describing, evaluating and applying different approaches to collecting, analysing and presenting political information
- developing a good understanding of the main epistemological issues relative to research in the social sciences, including some major theoretical and epistemological debates in the social sciences, such as explanation of, and understanding the differences between, positivist, realist and other accounts of social science and the practical implications of the major alternative philosophical positions in the social sciences for research.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- communication: the ability to communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing (including, where appropriate, the use of IT), organise information clearly and coherently, use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information, including, where appropriate, statistical or numerical information
- information technology: produce written documents, undertake online research, communicate using email, process information using databases
- working with others: define and review the work of others, work co-operatively on group tasks, understand how groups function, collaborate with others and contribute effectively to the achievement of common goals
- improving your own learning: explore your strengths and weaknesses, time-management skills, review your working environment (especially the student-staff relationship), develop autonomy in learning, work independently, demonstrating initiative and self-organisation
- important research management skills include the setting of appropriate timescales for different stages of the research, with clear starting and finishing dates (through a dissertation), presentation of a clear statement of the purposes and expected results of the research, and developing appropriate means of estimating and monitoring resources and use of time
- problem-solving: identify and define problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.
This programme aims to:
- provide a programme that will attract, and meet the needs of, those seeking advanced training in the disciplines of international relations and law
- provide you with a research-active teaching environment which gives you a good grounding in the study of international relations, including its political, social, and economic aspects
- examine how state, non-state and supra-national actors behave and interact through a dynamic appreciation of different levels of analysis
- ensure that you acquire advanced knowledge of the theories of international relations, the heritage and development of the discipline, its major debates, its inherent nature as an interdisciplinary study, and a critical appreciation of the essentially contested nature of politics in general and international relations in particular
- provide a sound knowledge and systematic understanding of the institutional structures, key legal principles and particular contexts of international law and international relations
- encourage you to develop a critical awareness of the operation of public international law, particularly in contexts which are perceived to be controversial or in a state of evolution
- ensure that you acquire an advanced understanding of the relationship between theoretical, methodological, and empirical content of the issue-areas studied.
- develop your general research skills and personal skills (transferable skills), in particular through a substantial dissertation.