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International Relations Thesis Seminar


Admission requirements

Compulsory course for all MA International Relations students.


How do I write a literature review and design a research project? How do I add to the literature of my academic discipline? These are the kinds of questions MA students often pose regarding their MA thesis. This course is designed to provide answers to these questions.
This course begins by considering the key elements of research design including formulating research questions and planning research. Throughout the course, students will develop their own MA thesis research projects by learning how to write a literature review, research proposals and deliver professional ‘conference’ presentations. The course concludes with a hands-on session in which students present and discuss their theses.

Course objectives

The purpose of the course is to prepare the student academically for being able to engage in self-directed research towards their MA thesis in International Relations (International Studies and European Union Studies). In particular, students will:

  • Design, write, and present effective research projects that add to the International Studies and European Studies literature.

  • Critically assess literature relevant to their thesis topic and identify a ‘gap’ to be filled.

  • Construct a thesis proposal and deliver a professional presentation of the topic at the end of the term.



Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • 5*1 hour Seminars (5 hours)

  • Complete readings and contribute to web posts, and seminar discussions every week (70 hours)

  • Presentation on the research proposal (30 hours)

  • Research proposal (35 hours)

Assessment method

  • Participation and attendance – 30%

  • Presentation on the literature review and discussant response – 30%

  • Research proposal (including literature review) – 2,500 words (excluding bibliography) – 40%

The resit for the final examined element is only available to students whose mark of the final examined element is insufficient.


A handbook denoting weekly readings will be posted on Blackboard the week before the start of the semester. Additional information (powerpoints, useful websites, etc.) will also be found on Blackboard over the course of the semester.

Reading list

  • Hart, Christopher 1998, Doing a literature review – Releasing the Social Science Imagination, London: Sage.

  • Trachtenberg, Marc 2006, The Craft of International History – a guide to method, Princeton and Oxford: PUP.


Via uSis.


The co-ordinator of studies or your seminar professor.