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University of Cambridge Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :31 Mar 
International :31 Mar 
EU :31 Mar 

MPhil International Relations and Politics

 Course Level
Masters / PG
Full Time

10 Months
 Start month

 Tuition fee

24000 GBP
15000 GBP
15000 GBP

Application fee

International 50 GBP
National 50 GBP
Department of Politics and International Studies
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)100

World University Ranking

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About this course

Among graduate courses in international relations and politics at British universities, the Cambridge MPhil in International Relations and Politics is distinctive in its multidisciplinary approach and breadth. Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminars in theory, politics, history, economics, law, security and various regional and area studies, as well as individual thesis supervision. The taught part of the course aims to familiarize you with the range and variety of disciplines required for a thorough critical understanding of the field in all its complexity and of the means and methods that have been devised to understand it better.

The programme is suitable both for students who have just completed their first degree and for mature students from, for example, industry, teaching, the civil service or the armed forces.

The fields of study for the one-year course of study in International Relations and Politics currently consist of the following:

  • Comparative Politics of Western Europe
  • Politics of Africa
  • Comparative Politics of Religion
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • International Relations Theory
  • International Organization 
  • International Security
  • International Political Economy
  • International Constitutional Law    
  • Globalization and Development (from the Centre of Development Studies)  
  • Urban Governance and Development (from the Centre of Development Studies)  
  • Research Methods

This list is subject to change.

Candidates take three courses without restriction as to field of study, and write a 20 -25,000 word dissertation over 10 months. In addition, there is a research-methods and thesis writing training element. Candidates may seek a special subject designation if the majority of their work has fallen within one field of study (e.g. European Studies, International Politics etc.)

The department is looking to attract between 60-70 highly qualified candidates for the MPhil programme each academic year.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course participants will have:

  • Developed a critical view of the contribution made by the subject of International Relations, and its related disciplines, to social science more broadly conceived and to practice.
  • An in-depth knowledge of specific subjects and themes in Politics
  • Have become familiar with some of the main themes of the contemporary analysis of International Relations and Politics.
  • Have tested their ability to produce a piece of advanced scholarship in conformity with the scientific methods, research techniques, standards of argument and accepted style of presentation of an academic discipline. They will thus be prepared to continue, if necessary, with research at the doctoral level.

Teaching and Learning Methods
Such knowledge and understanding are developed through the lectures and seminars associated with the various course options, of which students study three; and by writing three mandatory practice essays, one for each of their chosen taught course options, in preparation for the examinations or course essays. Research skills are developed through a research methods course offered by POLIS and quantitative methods modules taught through the Social Sciences Research Methods Course (SSRMC). These research skills are assessed through an essay in which students reflect on specific methods relevant to their dissertation research .

MPhil students are registered as ‘MPhil one-year only’. Those who hope to read for a PhD at Cambridge immediately after the MPhil will need to obtain support from a potential supervisor. This need not be the same person who supervises your MPhil thesis. However, in view of the early deadlines, you will need to work extra hard to let the potential PhD supervisor see substantial work that you have written, in addition to your draft thesis proposal, at an early stage in the academic year.

Once you have applied for the PhD a definite decision will only be taken once your performance in the MPhil can be fully assessed. That is to say, the Committee will set conditions for you related to the entry requirements of the PhD - one of which is a distinction in the MPhil. If you do not achieve these targets, it is unlikely that you can continue to read towards a PhD at POLIS.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Expected Academic Standard

  • Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK First class Honours Degree.
  • If your degree is not from the UK, please check International Qualifications to find the equivalent in your country.
  • A background in international relations, politics, law, economics, security or history is a definite asset but is not a requirement.
  • Applicants from the USA, Canada and Hong Kong will be expected to obtain/have obtained a GPA of 3.85.

IELTS: 7.5 ( 7 in each elemet.)

TOEFL: 110 (25 ine ach section.

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

Taught courses
During the Michaelmas and Lent terms candidates take three course options of their choice. In addition they follow a mandatory course in Methods and Research Design.

Individual course options differ in how they are taught. Some options are taught by a combination of lectures and seminars; others are taught by advanced seminar.

Research Methods Training
This mandatory module provides a graduate-level introduction to empirical research in politics and international studies.


  • One to one supervision- Circa 5 sessions per year.
  • Seminars & classes- 8 hours a week (6 for the courses, 2 for methods).

Feedback is currently provided for the courses assessed by long research paper (essay) only; in line with the HSPS Degree Committee policy, feedback is not provided for the courses assessed by invigilated examination.

For the dissertation, students will receive a joint report from their examiners.



The dissertation is an important element of the MPhil. The examination process and criteria for assessment are accordingly more stringent than on many Master’s programmes. In particular, there is a requirement for originality, which must be met either by research using primary sources (documents, interviews, official publications, or the like) and/or by developing a fresh approach to an existing debate or literature. This supports the general aim of the dissertation, which is to develop advanced skills of research and expression.

Each student is required to submit an original thesis on an approved topic of between 20,000 and 25,000 words in length.

Examination of individual course-options will be EITHER by a three-hour invigilated examination OR a 5000 word long research paper.

Written examination
Examination of individual course-options will be EITHER by a three-hour invigilated examination OR a 5000 word long research paper.

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

You should thoroughly research your prospective course, its requirements, deadlines and course costs before you think about completing and submitting the online application form.

Having fully researched the course you are interested in, make sure you now have the relevant information you need to apply:

  • Course name
  • Application and funding deadlines
  • The relevant required supporting documents (e.g. transcripts, CV, etc.) in pdf format to upload.
  • Email addresses for your academic referees. You should ensure you have theirconsent before you apply.
  • A choice of up to two colleges to consider your application.
  • Apply Online using the GRADSAF

When you have completed the necessary preparation, and you are ready to begin your online application, you should take note of the following important information.

  • There is an application charge of (GBP Sterling) £50 per application. You can make the payment by providing your credit card details to our secure server when you submit the online application.
  • Your application is not complete without the required supporting documentation which can be uploaded via your self service account after you submit the online application form.
  • You will need to submit a separate application, with separate supporting documents, for each course you wish you to apply for.

Upload Supporting Documentation

Once you have submitted your application, you will be given access to your Self-Service Account. You will have 14 days from submission of your application to upload all mandatory documents.

Please check your course's entry to see what supporting documents you will be required to submit. These will also be listed on your self-service account once you have submitted your application. For more information on what the specific requirements of each document are, and how to submit them, please see the section on Supporting Documentation.

Check further details on University website

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