1 year full time, 2 years part time
Starts September 2017

Conflict, Security and Development

This course analyses the complex relationships that lie at the heart of the development-security relationship in the Global South.

You'll explore:

  • how cycles of insecurity and violence affect development
  • difficulties faced by various organisations negotiating spirals of violence and insecurity (for example during armed intervention, aid provision, peace-building processes or postconflict reconstruction)
  • whether underdevelopment in the Global South facilitates the international spread of terrorist and criminal networks.

We have an interdisciplinary perspective on questions of peace, vulnerability and insecurity, giving you a distinctive grounding in concepts of conflict, security and development.

Sussex has broadened my horizons to not just passing exams but seeing myself as a solution provider to contemporary global issues.”Felix Okenarhe
Conflict, Security and Development MA

Key facts

  • Benefit from our interdisciplinary approach, cutting-edge research, international faculty and distinctive programme of events.
  • Study at the centre of theoretical innovation on international politics. We host the Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research, the Centre for Advanced International Theory and the Centre for Global Political Economy.
  • Network and make use of our strong working relationships with many alumni, collaborators and partner organisations around the world.

How will I study?

You’ll learn through taught modules and options. There is also a research module – taught as a series of workshops – that gives you professional skills training and prepares you for dissertation research. You may also do a research placement. 

You'll be assessed by term papers. You also write a supervised 10,000-word dissertation, or undertake a dissertation with placement.

Field trip

This course offers an optional field trip to Brussels, Belgium or Geneva, Switzerland.


You can apply to take a placement with this course. On placement, you gain work experience related to your subject and practical skills in preparation for a professional career. Research placements run for up to 12 weeks in the summer term and vacation. You can also write your dissertation based on your experience.

The School of Global Studies and the Careers and Employability Centre will help you with your applications.

Find out more about Global Studies postgraduate placements

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to study this course full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. Modules for the full-time course are listed below.

For details about the part-time course, contact us at

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Conflict, Security and Development

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module analyses the complex relationships that lie at the heart of the development-security nexus in the Global South, especially Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.

      The module focuses on three key areas. First you will explore the extent to which cycles of insecurity and violence affect the possibility of development for large sections of the world's population. Second you will consider the difficulties that aid agencies, nongovernmental organisations, governments, and international organisations encounter when trying to negotiate these spirals of violence and insecurity – be it through armed intervention, the provision of aid, the sponsoring of peace-building processes, or assisting states in postconflict reconstruction. Finally you will conclude by considering whether underdevelopment can be said to constitute a security threat; some Western governments, for example, claim that underdevelopment in the Global South could threaten their national security by facilitating the international spread of terrorist and criminal networks.

      The module will provide you with the necessary theoretical tools to approach this subject, grounded in applied examples and cases.

    • New Security Challenges

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      For much of the 20th century, security was defined in terms of the management of armed conflict between sovereign states, either alone or in alliance. With the end of the Cold War, new sources of insecurity were identified and a 'new agenda' for security policy emerged. Links have been drawn between security and previously unrelated phenomenon such as climate change and the spread of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS. For some moreover, new policy approaches centering upon 'human security' rather than international and national security deepened linkages between security and development. 9/11, subsequent al-Qaeda type terrorism, coalition operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere and insurgent action against them further highlighted the relation between non-state actors, transnational networks, 'weak' or 'failed' states and the pursuit of security.

      This wider agenda has seen an expansion of the kind of organisations and forms of expertise involved in security policy and practice, traditionally understood to be the preserve of state governments. Growing awareness of the dependence of conflict resolution and post-conflict stabilisation on local development and capacity building, for example, has meant increased emphasis on the role of humanitarian and development agencies. 9/11 and subsequent terrorism have also served to highlight the vulnerability of businesses and civilians, raising questions about where responsibility for security provision resides. The potential vulnerability of these actors and agencies meanwhile, has meant an expansion in private-sector security providers, whose services extend from intelligence analysis through to close protection.

      Engaging this wide and constantly changing field, New Security Challenges offers an advanced overview of ten contemporary security topics. Each week, the course focuses on a particular issue, the form of threat involved and how institutions and policy makers have sought to respond.

    • Research Methods and Professional Skills (IR)

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module provides you with training in social science research methods (generic as well as specific to their dissertation research) as well as with a set of professional skills that prepare you for a professional career. The module is run as a series of half-day workshops from which you select three workshops to match your specific needs, depending on disciplinary orientation, previous training and experience, future employment plans and personal interests. The workshops will cover a wide range of topics. The social research methods workshops will include interviewing, ethnographic methods, participatory research techniques, and questionnaire design. The professional skills workshops will include, for example, stakeholder engagement, sustainable livelihoods analysis, environmental impact assessment, project planning, and private sector consulting. The professional skills will also help to prepare those students planning to take a work placement over summer. As part of the module, you will also receive a workshop on dissertation planning and design.

    • Dissertation (Conflict, Security & Development)

      45 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1

      This module provides you taking the programme with the opportunity to complete under expert supervision a dissertation on a topic of your choosing relevant to the course themes. The subject will be chosen in consultation with the Programme Convenor. You will embark on preparation of the dissertation following completion of the Research Methods and Professional Skills module and submission of a research outline. A desk-based or original empirical study will be undertaken, enabling you to pursue in-depth research on an aspect of conflict, security and development.


    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • America in the World: Race, Coloniality and Knowledge

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module explores transnational, postcolonial and decolonial approaches in international political theory with a focus on American politics. We will examine (ongoing) histories of US state-formation and the operations of US politics across a wide range of sites, actors, processes and institutions.

      Tracing the making of the American nation within a complex array of transnational relations and circuits of social power, the module offers students a sustained engagement with a range of theoretical perspectives that foreground the coloniality and raciality of power. These works challenge the neat division of the world into ‘the West and the Rest’ (Hall 1992) and emphasize the mutually constitutive relations between metropoles/colonies in the formation of modernity both materially and ideationally.

      Central to these approaches are the ‘geopolitics of knowledge’ (Dussel 1977) and the concomitant question how to ‘decolonize’ our epistemological frameworks.

      You will be introduced to a range of decolonial thinkers, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Aimée Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Sylvia Wynter, Hortense Spillers, Enrique Dussel, Aníbal Quijano, Andrea Smith, Frank Wilderson III and Saidiya Hartman.

    • East Asia and the International System

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module enables you to gain an understanding of the rise of East Asia in the international political economy from the early 20th century until the present. You will critically examine East Asian development from within the context of broader geopolitical rivalries, and seek to explore how these rivaliries have shaped the transformations taking place in the region.

      We will begin by historicising the recent transformations in East Asia and contextualising them within the longer purview of world history. We will examine the legacies of both European and Japanese imperialisms, followed by the role of the Cold War and of US hegemony in the region. As part of this historical survey, varying analytical frameworks and debates concerning late development and the rise of capitalism in the region will be examined and contextualised, including neoclassical economics, structural institutionalism, neo-Marxist theories of development such as dependency theory, and debates surrounding international versus comparative political economy.

      We will also examine the post-war emergence of 'developmental state' forms in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and the developmental and geopolitical context of the these states will be contrasted with those of Southeast Asia. The question of the so-called 'rise of China' and its implications for the regional and international political economy will be addressed, and one session will be devoted to the transformations of labour-capital relations in the region. We will also examine the causes and consequences of the East Asian economic and financial crisis, and will be end by exploring whether the centre of power in the international political is shifting from the West to Asia.

    • Environment, Resources, Security

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Foreign Policy Analysis

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      What is foreign policy and what is 'foreign' about it? Does foreign policy still matter in an age of globalization? Who acts in foreign policy, for what purpose and in whose name? In this module we will analyse foreign policy as a crucial political site of agency and choice in today's international relations. The module will draw on classical and critical foreign policy analysis literature to locate the study of foreign policy firmly within the domain of international relations and redefine its political, strategic and normative boundaries. The theoretical study of how and why foreign policy is made will be complemented with an analysis of historical and contemporary foreign policy case studies and an in-class practical simulation exercise.

    • Global Politics of Disease and Biosecurity

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The importance of global health issues has traditionally been overlooked in the discipline of international relations. Today, however, globalisation processes are fanning the emergence of a host of pervasive diseases - ranging from infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS through to lifestyle diseases including cancer and obesity - that states, international institutions, and non-governmental organisations are urgently trying to come to grips with. The AIDS pandemic alone continues to kill three times more people every day than died as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.

      You will begin to theorise the ways in which diseases and globalisation are becoming increasingly linked, and analyses the various economic, political, social, legal, and security challenges that diseases pose for contemporary world politics. You will then evaluate the competing mainstream and critical approaches to global governance, paying particular attention to how they conceptualise health issues. Important questions you woll address include: how can global diseases be effectively governed in an international system divided into sovereign states? What are the political processes and economic interests driving the global governance of disease? And what, finally, are the complex ethical issues involved in responding to global health crises?

    • Global Queer

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module seeks to provide you with a comprehensive and sophisticated appreciation of the importance of queer work and queer practices in world politics. These include knowledge of different approaches to queer theory and sexuality studies and how these bear on understandings of international relations theory and practices in world politics. The kinds of questions to be investigated are: What is 'queer' and how has 'queer' been understood and explained by the discipline of IR? How and in what ways are 'sexuality' and 'queer' constituted as domains of international political practice and mobilised so that they bear on questions of state and nation formation, war and peace, and global political economy? And how does the discipline of IR grapple with 'queer' and 'sexuality studies' work? Topics to be investigated include analysing how 'heteronormativity' and 'homonormativity' function in relation to questions of hegemony, nationalism, migration, military recruiting, military intervention and its justifications, and neoliberal development projects. We will also consider how 'queer trouble-making' - as a political practice in world politics and as a scholarly practice within the discipline of international relations - might begin to change the relationships amongst queer work, sexuality studies, and international relations.

    • Human Rights in International Relations

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      On this module you will examine the process of internationalisation of human rights and the main factors that underpin that process, including the nature of the international order, the relationship between human rights and sovereignty of states, and the problematic of intervention and redistribution. You will contrast the use of human rights as instruments of foreign policy with the involvement of international non-governmental organisations. You will examine both the global and the regional legal, and contrast questions of cultural hegemony with those that claim legitimate cultural autonomy.

    • Imagining America in the World

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      As the 21st century begins, the United States is still the world's only superpower: no other nation possesses comparable military and economic power or has interests that span the entire globe. To understand the place and power of the US in the contemporary world, it is vital to understand how its geopolitical strategies function, militarily and economically. Yet because US power is also secured through cultural and discursive strategies, it is equally important to analyse how US cultural and discursive products and processes participate in the construction of the US in all the varied ways it imagines itself.

      The aim of this course is to analyse how US cultural/discursive strategies participate in imagining the US in the world, either by being embedded within traditional geopolitical strategies or by sitting alongside them. Rather than taking an historical approach, the course is organised around specific theoretical and cultural/discursive themes and practices. These include: architectural theory and the building of embassies abroad; design theory and designing the nation through everyday objects; film theory and screening the nation through popular film; remediation theory and virtually remediating the nation; entertainmentality theory and exhibiting the nation in museums; performance/performativity theory and re-enacting the nation though historical re-enactments as well as song; advertising theory and advertising the nation to US citizens.

      Along the way, you'll consider significant foreign and domestic policy debates from Cold War politics to the War on Terror and the US domestic War on Immigrants through political, cultural, and discursive theories such as Said's notion of orientalism, Foucault's notion of governmentality, Butler's notion of performativity, and Ranciere's notion of the birth of the nation.

    • Irregular Warfare

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module aims to provide you with a strong foundation in the conceptual, strategic and ethical issues related to irregular warfare. While looking at in-depth historical case studies of irregular warfare, the module will reveal how varieties of irregular warfare have risen to prominence during the 20th century. This module will, in particular, trace the evolutionary phases of insurgency and counter-insurgency from the Maoist version of the 'people's war' in China to the development of global jihad.

      The module will particularly focus on the dilemmas and problems that conventional militaries have faced in trying to adapt to irregular warfare and explore the issue of whether or not the military is the ideal instrument in defeating insurgencies. This module, furthermore, aims to familiarise you with the sub-types of irregular warfare. It is useful to have a basic knowledge of 20th-century history, as this will comprise some of the case study subject matter discussed in this seminar, but this is not indispensable as background readings will be provided for any of the cases examined.

    • Liberal peace, liberal war?

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The relationship between liberalism and contemporary peace and war is multifaceted and highly disputed. While some argue that the current practices of peace and war are born out of the defense of fundamental liberties, others will argue that they are, on the contrary, profoundly illiberal and undermining freedom, either by liberalism’s inherent violence (the dialectics of enlightenment) or because it has muted into an aberration, neoliberalism or neo-conservatism. This debate is on the one hand fashioned by the large diversity of liberal thought and the even larger diversity of its critique, and on the other by the highly ambiguous and complex character of contemporary practices of peace and war, where traditional inside/outside boundaries and liberal/illiberal distinction have been seriously blurred. The aim of the module is to explore these debates and to critically think about the liberal/illiberal character of contemporary practices of war and peace.

      The module will first look at the diversity of liberalism(s) and how liberalism is articulated in our globalised world. We will then consider three different cases of liberal/illiberal practices of peace and war such as military interventions to save lives (eg Kosovo, Libya, Mali), the discourse and defense of human rights, notably the introduction of international criminal law, and the war on terror with particular attention paid to its newest avatar, the war against ISIS. In all three cases we will explore the liberal arguments and its discontents. In the end, we will try to draw conclusions on the state of freedom(s) in this world.

    • Militarism and its Discontents

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Peace Processes and Post-Conflict Reconstruction

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module examines peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction within the context of transformations and continuities in international politics. This involves:

      • Analysing a number of individual peace processes and post-war reconstruction efforts, in each case examining them in their full local specificity, as well as within the context of international (or global) political, economic and social transformations;
      • Undertaking some comparative analysis of these individual peace processes and post-war reconstruction efforts, again within the context of international (or global) change;
      • Considering, at a more general level, how and why practices of peacemaking have changed over time, and been structured by broader patterns of politics and society, ie.undertaking an international historical sociology of peacemaking;
      • Considering, conversely, how practices and experiences of peacemaking have contributed to the shaping and reshaping of international orders;
      • Analysing peace processes and reconstruction through the lens of theoretical debates in peace studies, conflict resolution, international relations and global political economy.
    • Political Economy of Global Finance

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The main aim of this module is to help you build a systematic understanding of the political and social foundations of global financial markets, their operations and impacts on the world economy. You focuse on the problem of speculation, examining the various ways in which it has evolved and contributed to the development of finance. The module addresses questions such as: why do financial bubbles emerge? What type of practices sustains them? What are the different forms of speculative finance? This focus on speculation will serve to highlight the specificity of American finance and its role in redefining the political economy of advanced capitalist countries. After a theoretical and historical review, the module discusses various aspects of the process of financialisation and its social consequences. This provides an opportunity for familiarising you with various financial markets such as stock markets, derivative markets, housing markets, consumer credit, etc.

    • Religions, Cultures and Civilisations in International Relations

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module explores the implications of the `return' of religions, cultures and civilisations for world politics and for thinking about international relations. Many sociologists and philosophers have interpreted this return as the end of modernity or the de-secularisation of the world. For our purpose, the module will primarily focus on the renewed centrality of cultural, religious and civilisational identities as strategic frames of reference for politics in the post-Cold War world.

      Against the background of the growing multicultural nature of contemporary international society resulting from what Hedley Bull has aptly termed the 'revolt against the West', we will try to problematise the implicit and predominant reading of religion in international relations as the ultimate threat to international order and stability, especially in the forms of the identity politics of the `new wars' and the terrorist attacks of religious fundamentalists. We will engage critically with Huntington's thesis of the 'clash of civilisations' by providing a more in depth discussion of the possible meaning and role of civilisations, civilizational identities and civilizational analysis in international relations. Finally, we will discuss the implications of this return for the future of the normative structure and world order of contemporary international society.

    • Rethinking Imperialism

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module examines the historical practices and theoretical debates on imperialism. You set out the problems and issues raised in the current revival of the term imperialism in relation to contemporary world politics. You discuss classical conceptions of imperialism drawing on Marx, Weber, Schumpeter, Lenin, Luxemburg, Kautsky, etc whose writings informed the evolution, past and present, of the debate. This establishes the fundamental theoretical parameters of the topic. We study different practices of imperialism in historical context from the early modern colonial empires, via British free trade imperialism, to fascist imperial autarchy. Each session combines historical survey readings with influential contemporaneous and contemporary interpretations of the period we study. This will establish the intellectual resources, empirical and theoretical, towards an assessment of the current debates and forms of neo-imperialism, notably in relation to US policy. What can the history of imperialism and its rich theoretical discourse teach us about the causes, nature, and consequences of neo-imperialism in current world politics?

    • Russia and Eurasia in International Politics

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module explores the international politics of post-Soviet Russia, in its interaction with the former Soviet space and the wider world. After a period of relative decline in the 1990s, Russia has more recently been described as ‘rising Great Power’ and developments involving Russia have returned to the news – from ‘gas wars’ to the conflict between Russia and Georgia, to the ‘democratic revolutions’ in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and the repercussions these had for relations between Russia, the EU and NATO.

      At the same time, there continue to be dramatic swings in the relationship between Russia and the West. While the last few years have seen talk of a ‘new Cold War’ between Russia and the West, Obama’s re-orientation towards Russia means relations are once again in flux. And Russia has now re-gained the confidence to act beyond its immediate sphere of influence – expressed in its quest for a ‘multipolar world order’, its engagement with China, and the influence it exerts in the Iran issue.

      All these are developments with implications for Western Europe and beyond, touching on traditional and new security issues alike, and shedding light on the implications of Western democracy promotion and the role of norms and identity in contemporary global politics.

      This module will investigate the background for and current issues in Russia’s foreign and security policy, in relation to the Near and the Far abroad – and of course, the way in which these spheres are increasingly intertwined. Among other things, we will discuss Russia’s status as Great Power, the ‘colour revolutions’ in Ukraine and Georgia and the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, relations with NATO and the US, the question of Europe’s ‘energy security’ and its relations with Russia, and what has been called the ‘new Great Game’ between Russia, China and the US in Central Asia.

    • Science, Technology and War

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module examines the relationship between science, technology and war from an interdisciplinary perspective drawing on aspects of international security, international relations, science and technology studies and science and technology policy. It will begin with an overview of the key themes and topics running through the module before using a number of different case studies such as nuclear weapons, cyberwarfare, chemical and biological weapons to illustrate some of the complexity behind technological systems, the role of social agencies in shaping technology and the role of technology in shaping warfare.

      The module is designed around weekly themed topics:

      • Week 1: Introduction to science , technology and war
      • Week 2: Does technological progress determine military technology? 
      • Week 3: Is military techology value neutral?
      • Week 4: The nuclear revolution
      • Week 5: Cyber technology
      • Week 6: Biological weapons - the problem of dual-use technology
      • Week 7: Tutorial week
      • Week 8: Chemical weapons - the case of lethal weapons
      • Week 9: Terrorism and WMD
      • Week 10: Patriot or dissident - what is the role of the scientist?
      • Week 11: The role of science and technology in 'new wars'
      • Week 12: Course overview and essay workshop
    • Sex and Violence

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Sex and Death in Global Politics  explores the multiple connections between gender and violence in contemporary international politics in historical and theoretical perspective. War and other forms of collective violence seem to be everywhere in world affairs, but it has often been commented that the many manifestations of gender are less visible. At times aspects of gender violence (such as war rape) seem to enter into the realm of academic International
      Relations, whilst other questions (such as the inclusion of homosexuals in the military) have relevance for public policy and national culture. But many other issues (such as media representations of gender violence, the continuum between 'peace' and 'war' violence, or the connection between armies and prostitution) are more commonly discussed within sociology, political theory and history. This module will examine a broad range of such questions from an inter-disciplinary angle, with a particular stress on theoretical perspectives and academicpolitical controversies.

      Topics will include:

      gender in war and society; the intersection of race, class, and gender in collective violence; military masculinity; women at war and the question of the 'feminine' in the perpetration of violence; wartime sexual violence; genocide and 'gendercide'; sex industries and violence; homosexuality and military culture (including queer theory perspectives and recent debates about 'pink-washing' and 'homonationalism'); feminism, anti-feminism and gender studies in the academy; gender and the ethics of war; and gender violence in popular culture.

    • Terror, Security and the State in Global Politics

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module offers an advanced level introduction to terrorism, state terror and security in global political context. Attending to case studies, academic literatures and primary sources the curriculum is divided into two sections. The first, 'Studying Terror: Conceptual Issues', offers a thematic exploration of terrorism and state terror, considering their historical development in modern societies; relation to other forms of organised violence; some of the animating ideas historically associated with the use of terror for political purposes; the phenomenon of `suicide terrorism' and the ideas, organisations and practices used by states in their efforts to counter terrorism. The second section, 'Cases and Contexts', situates terrorism and state terror within the changing context of state power, international and global politics, exploring the historical and contemporary relations between them.

    • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Is the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict one of conflicting national and religious ideologies, good and bad intentions, missed opportunities and cultural misunderstanding, or are there structural logics to its evolution after the 1880s?

      This is the central question the module addresses.

      To do so, we explore early Jewish migration, Zionism and its outcomes for the indigenous Palestinian population and then analyse the effects of the World Wars and international diplomacy, Israel’s creation and further occupation of Palestine.

      We conclude by assessing the impacts of globalisation and economic liberalisation, where the conflict stands now and the prospects for the future.

    • The Middle East in Global Order

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The Middle East is almost constantly in the news. From Israel and the West Bank to Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the region is at once a byword for political instability, and a recurring site of Western political and military interventions. This module explores some of the political, economic and cultural dynamics that lie behind the crisis-ridden headlines. You examine the emergence of the Middle East from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire and the specificities of the modern state-formation processes in the Middle East. You study the interplay of the international and domestic factors in the Middle Eastern states and societies looking at their political economies and patterns of development. You critically investigate the problems of authoritarianism and democratic change in the Middle East. The module also engages in more in depth analysis of some important contemporary phenomena in the Middle East such as political Islam, The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq War, and the 'Arab Spring'.

      We start by examining some key methodological and theoretical debates in the study of the Middle East. We then move on to consider the processes of modern state formation and the legacies of (neo)colonialism and imperialism. We then consider the impacts of neo-liberalism on Middle Eastern polities and economies, international (geo)political economy of the region with special reference to oil, and the theme of human development including gender issues in the Middle East. We then examine some key political forms and forces, including the authoritarian 'rentier' state, processes of democratisation and liberalisation, and political Islam. The final part of the course concentrates on three particularly important issues in contemporary Middle East: the causes and consequences of the Iranian Revolution and the 'Arab Spring', Arab-Israeli conflicts, and the Iraq War.

    • The Political Economy of Development

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module examines the political economy of development, focusing on how changes at the international level affect developing countries' national-level strategies for interaction with and integration into the global economy. You will focus on the performance of the world economy as a whole, and on international systems for production, trade, finance, including the principles and rules upon which interaction on a world scale is based. You will consider how countries and firms are integrated into the world system and the barriers and opportunities they face in upgrading and moving up the global income ladder. You will examine how labour has been affected by, and affects, the process of globalisation, and in contrast to most thinking in international political economy, address these issues from the perspective of the low and middle-income countries.

      You will gain an understanding of how less developed countries (LDC) have been, and are being integrated into the world system, consider how the nature of the world system influences the form of integration, and discuss alternative forms of integration that lead to more favourable developmental outcomes for LDC's.

    • Dissertation with Placement (Global Studies)

      45 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1

      This module is designed to allow you to apply theories and concepts, as well as practical and research skills learned during the MA programme, to a work context in the UK or internationally. It takes the form of a 12-week work placement with an organisation working in a field relevant to the degree programme, normally undertaken from May-July after assessments on other courses are completed.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above, preferably in a humanities or social sciences subject. Relevant degrees include political science, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, sociology, and area studies. A degree in the social sciences or humanities does not constitute a strict requirement and applicants with degrees in other disciplines will be given due consideration. Relevant work and voluntary experience will also be considered, particularly in cases where candidates fall short of the academic requirement

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Pre-Masters in International Relations and International Development

Need to boost your academic skills for your taught course? Find out more about our Pre-Masters in International Relations and International Development.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £7,700 per year

EU: £7,700 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £7,700 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Meet the people teaching and supervising on your course.

  • Faculty profiles

    Dr Andreas Antoniades
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: debt, discourse theory, Emerging Markets, emerging powers, european political economy, eurozone, Everyday Life, global economic crisis, globalisation, Greece, hegemony, International political economy, Ireland, Michel Foucault, varieties of capitalism

    View profile

    Dr Shane Brighton
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations

    Research interests: Diplomacy & International Relations, International theory, Political Philosophy, political sociology, Post-Colonial Studies, Terrorism and political violence, War Studies

    View profile

    Dr Lara Montesinos Coleman
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations and International Development

    Research interests: Continental Philosophy, corporate social responsibility, Critical Legal Theory, Critical Theory and Marxism, Ethics, Gender Studies, Human Rights, International Business and Human Rights, Labour & trade union politics, Michel Foucault, Philosophy of Science, Postcolonial/Decolonial theory, Resistance (political), Sociology of knowledge

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    Dr Synne Dyvik
    Lecturer In International Relations

    Research interests: Conflict and violence, Counterinsurgency, Critical Military Studies, Feminist theory, Gender and Sexuality, International security, masculinity, militarisation, Post-structuralist thought, Security studies, War Studies

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    Prof Stefan Elbe
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: Biosecurity, Bioterrorism, Global health, Infection, International security, Pandemic Preparedness

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    Dr Matthew Ford
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations

    Research interests: Counterinsurgency, Military Innovation, Military-Technical Change, Organisational Change, Revolution in Military Affairs, Science And Technology Studies, Security studies, Utility of Force, War and Society, War Studies

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    Dr Earl Gammon
    Lecturer in Global Political Economy

    Research interests: Political-economic behaviour

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    Dr Julian Germann
    Lecturer In International Relations

    Research interests: Finance, global economic crisis, Global Governance, Historical Sociology of IR, International political economy, neoliberalism, Trade, varieties of capitalism

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    Dr Kevin Gray
    Reader in International Relations

    Research interests: International political economy

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    Prof Beate Jahn
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: Liberal internationalism

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    Dr David Karp
    Senior Lecturer In International Relations

    Research interests: Ethics, Human Rights, International Business and Human Rights, International human rights, International Political Theory, International theory, Law and Responsibility, non-state actors, Political Philosophy, political theory, Security studies, Transnational corporations

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    Dr Paul Kirby
    Lecturer in International Security

    Research interests: Conflict and violence, Feminist theory, gender, gender-based violence, International Political Theory, International security, Philosophy of science & social science, War and violence in international politics, War Studies, Wartime sexual violence

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    Dr Samuel Knafo
    Senior Lecturer In International Relations

    Research interests: Critical Theory, Finance, historical and political sociology, neoliberalism, Political economy

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    Dr Kamran Matin
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: Diplomacy & International Relations, Eurocentrism, International historical sociology, International theory, Iranian Studies, Kurdish Studies, Marxism, Middle East and African history, Nationalism, political Islam

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    Prof Peter Newell
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: Climate change, Energy, Finance

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    Dr Louiza Odysseos
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations

    Research interests: Carl Schmitt, Continental Philosophy, Ethics, Human Rights, International theory, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, Post-structuralist thought, Resistance (political), Theories of Gender

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    Dr Stefanie Ortmann
    Lecturer in International Relations

    Research interests: Territoriality in the FSU

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    Prof Patricia Owens
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: Disciplinary History, History and Theory of War, History of International Thought, International theory, Social and political theory, Thought of Hannah Arendt, War Studies, Women's intellectual history

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    Dr Fabio Petito
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations

    Research interests: civilizational analysis, comparative political theory, Contemporary Religion, Geopolitics, Italian Studies, Mediterranean Politics, religion and international relations

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    Prof Justin Rosenberg
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: International Relations, Marxism, Social Theory, Uneven and Combined Development

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    Prof Jan Selby
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: environmental security, Israel-Palestine, Peace processes

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    Prof Benjamin Selwyn
    Professor of International Relations and International Development

    Research interests: Theories of development

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    Dr Anna Stavrianakis
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations

    Research interests: arms control, arms trade, militarisation, militarism, War and violence in international politics

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    Dr Benno Teschke
    Reader In International Relations

    Research interests: Critical Theory and Marxism, Geopolitics, German Political Thought, Historical Sociology of IR, History and Theory of War, IR Theory, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, The History of Capitalism

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    Prof Cynthia Weber
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: American Studies, citizenship, Critical Gender Studies, Feminist International Relations, Film and International Relations, Intervention, Poststructuralist International Relations, Queer International Relations, Sovereignty

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    Prof Rorden Wilkinson
    Professor of Global Political Economy

    Research interests: Development, Global Governance, International Relations, World trade

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Our MA is ideal for you if you wish to pursue a career in development, peace-building, international affairs, journalism or academic research. Or if you have a general interest in insecurity in the Global South. 

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

  • government foreign, defence or development ministries
  • international organisations (for example the United Nations, NATO)
  • NGOs (for example Oxfam, CAFOD, Amnesty International, the Red Cross)
  • international development (for example the World Bank)
  • international media or journalism
  • academia and research institutes.

Graduate destinations

95% of students from the Department of International Relations were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent students have gone on to roles including:

  • intern, International Rescue Committee
  • public international assistant, United Nations Environmental Programme
  • interpreting service administrator, Freedom From Torture.

(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates)

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Contact us