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

International Politics

Develop your understanding of the interplay between the domestic, regional and international levels of politics and decision-making.

You’ll examine the political context of different countries and how this influences their foreign policies. You have the opportunity to specialise in the regional politics of South Asia, East Asia or Europe. 

The MA covers:

  • political science methods
  • international politics
  • comparative governance.

Our MA is for you if you wish to gain an analytical understanding of real-world decision-making in international politics in different world regions.

Key facts

  • We were ranked in the top 5 UK institutions for research output in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) and in the top 100 in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.
  • We're proud to count three winners of national teaching awards among our faculty. Our research expertise covers political theory, comparative and party politics, corruption, and the spectrum of UK, European and international issues.
  • Sussex was rated one of the top UK universities for its political scene (Which? University Student Survey 2016).

How will I study?

You’ll study core modules and options in the spring and autumn terms. In the summer, you work on your dissertation.

Modules are assessed by a combination of:

  • essays
  • portfolios
  • unseen exams.

You also write a 15,000-word dissertation.


You have the opportunity to take up an internship to put the theories and concepts learned in the seminar room in to practice.

Specialist facilities

To complement the international orientation of our degrees, the Sussex Centre for Language Studies provides taught modules and self-study facilities for a wide range of languages including Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

The University Library is a European Documentation Centre, and Library holdings in the fields of European institutions, economics and politics are particularly strong.

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 Dr Kai Oppermann 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.

    • Comparative Governance

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module will take you through some of the key topics and concepts in comparative politics. The focus is on concepts and not on particular regions. This means that it will cover issues such as regime types including non-democracies, parliamentary-presidential regimes, electoral behaviour, political opportunity structures, state-society relations and policy-making models. This means that each week you will take a classic article/book extract and, for the seminars, write a short one-page paper applying the week’s reading to a region, or comparing regions using the concepts, or offering a critical reflection on the concept. These papers will build into a portfolio that will be used to assess the module.

    • International Politics

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      You are provided with an advanced knowledge of key approaches and issues in international politics.

      The module is particularly focused on the interplay between politics at the domestic, regional and international levels.

      You develop analytical skills to investigate the interaction between these different realms of politics across countries and regions. 

      The module is taught by a one-hour lecture and a two-hour seminar per week. The module is organised in three blocks.

      • the first block will take a comparative perspective on the politics of different world regions and on regional integration in world politics
      • the second set of sessions will introduce the main approaches to the comparative analysis of foreign policy with a special emphasis on what are sometimes termed the rising powers
      • the third block will discuss theories and concepts in international politics and explore their contribution to analysing contemporary issues in the field. Like in the first two blocks, a special focus will be put on understanding the interaction across different levels of politics.

      The aim of the module is to prepare you for the specialist options you take in the Spring Term, and for the research you do for your dissertation.

    • Research Methods and Approaches

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module will cover the range of qualitative and quantitative methods in social science and will provide the skills to develop a research outline. It will equip you with the ability to come up with an interesting and workable research question and testable empirical hypotheses, an ability to select cases/sample and appropriate methods for analysis, a focus on how to find appropriate data sources and conduct data analysis (either quantitative or qualitative), and how to interpret the results in relation to the available literature.

    • International Politics Dissertation

      60 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1

      As part of the MA in International Politics, you design and carry out a substantial postgraduate research project in the area of international politics under individual supervision. The specific topic of the dissertation will be discusssed and agreed between you and the course convenor. You will be encouraged to critically employ qualitative or quantitative research methods in social science to address focused and relevant theoretical or empirical research questions in the field. To this purpose, you will critically appreciate and apply appropriate concepts and analytical frameworks in international politics.

      There is no formal teaching for the dissertation, but a dissertation workshop will be held early in the summer term to provide you with the necessary skills for researching and writing a long dissertation and to give feedback on draft research outlines. Each dissertation will be supervised by a dedicated member of faculty as appropriate to the research topic. The supervision will involve regular personal meetings between you and the supervisor starting early on the summer term. The expectation is that there will be at least three such supervision meetings to focus on the planning, structure and implementation of the research project.


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

    • 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.

    • Internship

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The internship option enables you to spend three months working on a project within an NGO, regulatory body, business or other suitable organisation that has an active interest in analysing and tackling corruption. You will be expected to spend a minimum of three and a maximum of four days per week working with the organisation. You will be expected to write a 5,000 word report based on what you did and how it links in to the theoretical analysis of corruption introduced in the term 1 modules.

    • Politics and Government in India

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The study of Indian politics and government offers powerful insights into the challenges faced by, and the achievements of, a young and vibrant democracy in an often challenging regional environment. This module will examine and evaluate how key constitutional features have functioned in India to support its governance and democracy. Indian democracy is an important area of research for political science scholars, especially with regard to its ability to survive and function amidst high social heterogeneity, widespread poverty and illiteracy.

      Indian politics, society and economy have undergone substantial changes since the country's independence in 1947. Today, India is an important emerging economy with a well-developed party system, and has a good record of holding regular elections. It is an interesting case to further our insights into the dynamics of political change in a large complex country with significant intra-country differences and an evolving party system. This module will provide you with a detailed understanding of major political, social and economic changes in India, beginning from its independence in 1947 to contemporary times, and of how these changes interact with the incentives and pressures India faces on the regional and international level. It will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the ability of institutions such as parliament, political executive, bureaucracy and party system to adapt to and deal with the ongoing pressures of social and economic development in India.

      The key themes which are analysed in the module are:

      1. understanding Indian democracy and the institutional set up,
      2. the transformation of Indian party system from single party dominated system to a multi-party competitive system, and the emergence of coalition politics,
      3. identity politics and rise of ethnic parties,
      4. the growing influence of civil society and mass movements and the need for political parties to respond to demands from these organised interests,
      5. the political economy of public policy making and economic reforms in India, including the influence of international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF,
      6. analysis of how domestic politics, in terms of ideology, party positions and institutions impact India's international politics, and
      7. the key challenges facing the Indian nation both domestically and in the international arena.

      The module primarily uses an empirical approach but also presents relevant theoretical constructs and comparative analysis to provide students a rich insight into the politics and government in India.

    • The International Politics of Public Policy

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module aims to understand how public policy-making at the national level is influenced by the international context. The relationship between the state, the private sector and civil society is in flux, in both developed and developing countries. At the same time, national policies are increasingly shaped by international norms and actors, whether international organisations, international donors and lenders, transnational NGO networks, or multinational businesses. The module will explore these emerging new horizontal and vertical forms of governance in international politics, focusing on three overall themes:

      • interactions between the domestic and international levels of politics
      • the relationship between politics and business
      • comparisons of governance models among developed and developing countries.

      The module will have three parts:

      1. Theoretical debates – here we will analyse relevant theoretical debates relating to conditionality, norm diffusion, voluntary private regulation and new public management.
      2. Actors – here we will focus on different institutional actors, including international organisations, transnational civil society networks, international donors and lenders, and multinational businesses.
      3. Policy – here we will focus on how these new forms of governance are applied in different areas of public policy, including environmental standards, labour markets, human rights and anti-corruption. Students will be encouraged to evaluate these emerging forms of governance in terms of effectiveness, representation, social impact and accountability.
    • The Politics of Brexit

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in a social science or humanities discipline.

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.

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

Lady Monica Cockfield Scholarship (2017)

Two full UK/EU fee waivers for students who hold an offer of a place on the MA in European Governance and Policy.

Application deadline:

31 July 2017

Find out more about the Lady Monica Cockfield 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

    Prof Claire Annesley
    Head of Department

    Research interests: comparative politics, executives, gender equality, political representation, public policy

    View profile

    Dr Sabina Avdagic
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: comparative politics, Labour economics, Labour relations, Political economy, public policy, Research design and methodology, social welfare reform

    View profile

    Dr Susan Collard
    Senior Lecturer in French Politics & Contemporary European Studies

    Research interests: History

    View profile

    Dr Elizabeth David-Barrett
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: Anti-corruption, Balkans, british politics, Corruption, International aid, International business, International Development, lobbying, Parliament, public policy, Public Procurement

    View profile

    Dr Rekha Diwakar
    Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: comparative politics, electoral politics, Indian politics and public policy, party politics, Politics, Research methods in political science

    View profile

    Dr James Hampshire
    Reader in Politics

    Research interests: british politics, citizenship, comparative politics, european union, governance, Immigration, immigration policy, liberalism, Migration, political theory, Politics of asylum and migration, race and racism

    View profile

    Dr Olli Hellmann
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: Corruption, democratisation, electoral politics, party politics, State building

    View profile

    Prof Dan Hough
    Professor of Politics

    Research interests: Corruption, Devolution, Germany, Political Parties, The GDR/east Germany

    View profile

    Prof Alan Mayhew
    Jean Monnet Professor & Honorary Research Professor

    Research interests: Wider Europe research programme

    View profile

    Mr Francis Mcgowan
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: Energy, EU Policy, Regulatory Politics

    View profile

    Prof Susan Millns
    Professor of Law

    Research interests: citizenship, Comparative Law, Constitutional Law, European Union Law, Feminist Legal Studies, Human Rights

    View profile

    Dr Kai Oppermann
    Reader in Politics

    Research interests: British Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy Analysis, German Foreign Policy, Referendums in European integration

    View profile

    Dr Emily Robinson
    Senior Lecturer in Politics

    Research interests: British party politics, Memory, Modern British history, Nostalgia, Political identities, Progressivism, Temporality

    View profile

    Prof Jim Rollo
    Emeritus Professor

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    Prof Paul Statham
    Professor of Migration

    Research interests: ageing care and migration, Comparative Studies, Domestic Politics of European Integration, Immigration, Islam, Media & Communication Studies, Multiculturalism, Public sphere theory, Social movements, Sociology

    View profile

    Prof Aleks Szczerbiak
    Professor of Politics & Contemporary European Studies

    Research interests: East European politics, Euroscepticism, party politics, Poland, Transitional justice

    View profile

    Prof Paul Taggart
    Professor of Politics

    Research interests: Domestic Politics of European Integration, Euroscepticism, Political Parties, Populism

    View profile

    Dr Adrian Treacher
    Lecturer in European Studies

    Research interests: International security

    View profile

    Prof Paul Webb
    Professor of Politics

    Research interests: British party politics, democracy, Political participation, Voting & elections

    View profile


Our MA provides the skills for a career in a broad variety of different fields at the intersection between the domestic and the international.

In particular, you are well placed to work in:

  • government
  • international institutions
  • NGOs
  • think tanks
  • journalism.

The course also prepares you for further academic studies or a research course in politics or international relations.

Graduate destinations

89% of students from the Department of Politics were in work or further study six months after graduating. Our graduates have gone on to jobs including:

  • coordinator, Fundacion Poder Ciudadano, Argentina
  • officer at the Committee of European Affairs, The Office of Government of the Czech Republic
  • research intern, British Beekeepers Association.

(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