MA International Relations and Global Communications

The Internet has transformed political behaviour, from voting and campaigning, to protest and revolution. Study fake news, digital diplomacy, hashtag activism, tweeting politicians and other developments that shape politics and international relations.

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The relationship between politics and communications has never been more dynamic or more important than it is today. Digital media, particularly social media, is fundamentally changing the terrain of politics.

This programme allows you to study those interactions within an interdisciplinary environment, drawing on research and expertise from the fields of politics, international relations, information and communications, journalism and linguistics.

You will study media and communications theory, plus the historical development of international relations and key issues in contemporary global politics, becoming an expert in how new communication technologies shape societies, politics and individual lives.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is offering scholarships worth £2,000 for graduates with a first class honours or upper second class degree. Excellence scholarships are available to full-time home and EU students for 20/21 entry. Find out more on our postgraduate funding pages.

Features and Benefits

An accessible Masters degree – Suitable for many educational and professional backgrounds.

Diverse and exciting coursework – Reports, debates, blog posts, presentations, simulations, reviews – you will never get bored doing your coursework. Real life communication skills combined with rigorous academic work is guided by tutors and supported by a team of experts in study skills.

Real world experience – Learn from professional guest speakers from NGOs with political or activist backgrounds, whilst developing your own portfolio of political communication tools.

Interdisciplinary - Study in an interdisciplinary environment, engaging with experts in politics, international relations, communication, journalism and linguistics.

Academic expertise – You’ll be taught by experienced academics with a wealth of expertise in the fields of research, analysis and publication. You will also have regular access to external workshops, seminars and talent days.

Public engagement – Explore opportunities to practice your academic knowledge in real-life scenarios, working with the public, including young people. This will allow you to gain employability experience in preparation for your graduate career.

Study in Manchester – one of the UK’s most exciting digital cities is packed with creative companies on the lookout for talented graduates.

"Studying at Manchester Met has had a major impact on my career development in my home country – Bulgaria. I’m a journalist and TV host, but after my MA I was promoted to host the stations highest rated programme where I have the opportunity to meet new people and interview foreign guests." Neda Ivanova Vasileva, MA International Relations and Global Communications

"You will work closely with your teaching team who have extensive expertise in international relations, foreign policy, social media and digital culture. Your coursework will support your academic growth and employability, and will equip you with the most up-to-date knowledge of politics and communications, which will open doors to a broad range of career opportunities."

Adi Kuntsman, Programme Leader

Career Prospects

Graduates may choose to go on to progress to higher research programmes or seek a wide range of roles in government, international political, social and economic organisations, journalism and globally oriented businesses.

Graduates have previously gone into roles including:

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

You will normally have at least an upper second class undergraduate UK honours degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject, or equivalent academic qualification. If you have a different background you may be admitted if you have proven experience in a relevant field.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

Course details

Students on the full-time campus course will study the core units listed below, plus three option units.

Students on the part-time distance learning course will study the full-time core units, plus:

  • Contemporary US Foreign Policy
  • Digital Living
  • The EU in Turmoil

You will decide which three units you want to study in year 1 and which three units you want to study in year 2. You will take the dissertation unit after you’ve completed the six taught units.

Recent dissertation topics have included:

  • Disinformation and Fake News in Myanmar
  • US War on Terror in Cinema and  Computer Games
  • Digital Diplomacy in Botswana and the UK
  • Smart cities and citizen rights in China and the UK
  • Brexit and the Twittersphere
  • EU discourse on the Ebola Crisis and International Aid in Africa
  • US government us of social media against ISIS

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Current Issues in Media and Communication

This unit presents key concepts and approaches in the field of media and communication, with particular emphasis on communication in political contexts. The unit presents key theoretical and disciplinary frameworks to equip the students with conceptual tools to understand and analyse the effects of the Internet and social media on international political arenas. Key topics discussed may include: platform society and platform politics; environmental communication; global protest and activism in the social media age; digital wars; digital rights; algorithmic governance; fake news.

Putting Communication into Practice

The unit further develops research competences in the field of political communication in a professional, rather than a purely academic, context. Putting theory into practice, students apply what they have learned to 'real world' briefs, developed with the guidance of experts such as MPs, public servants, NGO workers and activists.

History of International Relations

This unit examines the history of global politics since the 17th century up to the present day. It examines the links between the emergence and evolution of the ‘Westphalian’ system into today’s ‘globalised’ world politics, and the ways in which narratives and histories of the global south have been marginalised by this process.

Issues in Contemporary Global Politics

This unit is an examination of the key debates and problems in today’s global politics, allowing students to debate and tackle these dilemmas. Focussed on current geopolitics topics may include; Humanitarian Intervention; Humanitarian Law and the ICC; poverty, development and international economics; the politics of climate change; global institutional governance; the politics of migration; the rise of nationalist protest; the failures of US foreign policy.


This unit gives students the opportunity to engage closely and intensely with selected case studies of current research in the field of politics and communication, as well as to work side by side with an experienced researcher. Guided by research experts from the programme team, students learn about key theoretical approaches and possible methods for each selected case study; evaluate the state of the field; and gain some experience in carrying out a small research project of their own.


The dissertation involves extended independent research into a topic chosen by the student, with guidance and advice from the unit co-ordinator and from a dissertation supervisor chosen from appropriate members of staff. The subject matter can cover any issue within the field of contemporary global politics and communications. In preparation for the dissertation there is a taught element focusing on research methods training. Students are introduced to a range of social science methods, and learn about key stages of doing a research project, such as framing a research problem, formulating a research question, setting aims and objectives, doing a literature review, choosing methods of data collection and data analysis, time management and research ethics.

Likely Optional Units

Language, Culture and Communication

This unit introduces concepts and issues in intercultural communication. The unit makes use of both established and in-house research, using approaches and analytical frameworks from pragmatics, discourse analysis and the ethnography of communication. You will reflect on how context may influence negotiation of meaning in a variety of cultural contexts. The unit equips you with a comprehensive set of tools for the analysis of intercultural communication from a language perspective and develops the resources needed to identify features of effective communication with people from diverse contexts. The unit prepares you for carrying out empirical research in the field of intercultural communication, critically evaluating empirical data and presenting research findings

Critical Discourse Analysis

The unit focuses on the relationship between language, power and ideology. It equips you to use a wide range of analytic techniques, and shows how these can be applied to political, institutional and other persuasive discourses addressing established areas of social conflict such as race, gender and politics. The unit adopts a problem-oriented perspective and encourages students to apply Critical Discourse Analysis approaches and techniques to current data from the immediate social context. It draws on texts from newspapers, television, advertising and other media with the aim of developing a critical perspective on the use of language in society.

The Policymaking Process and Comparative Public Policy

This unit  offers an introduction to the field of comparative public policy. The course material will  consider the aims and methods of comparative inquiry. It will  survey a range of theoretical approaches used to make sense of policy processes and outcomes and  it  will consider the  important issues confronting policymakers, with an eye to making sense of variation and convergence in states policies in these areas. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to consider how theories of policy-making fare in explaining real world outcomes and the degree to which comparison yields insights beyond what might be expected from single country studies. Students will be encouraged to consider how they could apply lessons from the case studies to future careers as policymakers.

Contemporary US Foreign Policy

This unit examines two dimensions of contemporary US foreign policy. In the first half of the course we look at the process of policy-making and the roles of different actors and institutions, including the president, Congress, interest groups and the media. In the second half of the course we examine the output of that process in the shape of US foreign policy towards different parts of the world in the early 21st century.

The EU in Turmoil

The unit examines both internal and external contexts of European integration. The content is divided into smaller thematic blocks designed to cover the following key topics: the structure of European integration (including institutional architecture, major treaties and decision-making structure), the policy portfolio of the European Union (internal and external policies). Among other things the unit evaluates how effectively the EU responds to such issues as global terrorism, climate change, financial crisis and immigration.

Disasters and Emergency Planning

The unit will explore in detail the Cycle of Emergency and Disaster Planning and management. This will include how governments, agencies, businesses and individuals can prepare for this type of situation, how they can mitigate the effects of emergencies and disasters and how they can recover from them. You will be able to identify and describe what is meant by disasters, hazards, emergencies,  vulnerability and risk. You will also be able to identify and describe the types of natural and non-natural disasters and emergencies and the implications for those on the areas in which they work. You will also be able to identify the different groups that may be vulnerable in this type of situation and develop plans to assist each of those groups and reduce the effects of the emergency situation on them.

Digital Living

The unit uses a range of thematic frameworks and draws on a broad spectrum of case studies of social and mobile media use in areas such as literacy, citizenship, community, culture, health and wellbeing, and everyday life. Topics include: digital identity from self to selfie; social media in health care, citizenship, family and community; digital engagement and disengagement; digital archives and memory; new cultures of readership; and cultural studies of digital technologies.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:


Placement options

You will also have the opportunity to undertake a voluntary placement as part of this course. This will be with a local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and we will help you to arrange this.

Department of History, Politics and Philosophy

Our Department of History, Politics and Philosophy offers programmes of study alongside a thriving research culture, emphasising a student-centred approach to learning.

With interdisciplinary strengths in many areas, the department takes pride in its approach to research-led teaching and being able to provide opportunities for students to work with academics at the forefront of their disciplines.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £8,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £945 per 20 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Distance learning fee: £2,834 studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £16,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £1778 per 20 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Distance learning fee: £5,334 studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing.

Placement Costs

The programme contains a voluntary work placement. This does not normally require attendance for more than half a day/week over a six-month period. The only cost involved will be travel and all placements are in Manchester.

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

Find out more

Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.