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MA|Postgraduate Taught

Geopolitics

Entry year
2024/25
Entry requirements
2.1
Duration
1 year (Full-time)
3 years (Part-time)
Places available
30 (Full Time)
30 (Part Time)

How does climate change reshape global politics? What will the world look like with the rise of China as a new superpower? Are international conflicts shifting the international balance of power? Will technology save us? How will a mainly urbanised world sustain itself? As the international scene becomes increasingly complex, understanding the fundamentals of how people, governments, international institutions and the environment interact is becoming increasingly important. If you are interested in understanding the intersections of space and politics, then the MA in Geopolitics is specifically designed for you.

Contemporary issues require advanced analysis that recognises the intersections of space, power and politics. From security challenges to cultural practices or climate change; from the global to the everyday, the connections between politics and space are increasingly complex. Integrating historical, cultural and political perspectives, the MA Geopolitics at QUB is an innovative interdisciplinary programme that seeks to build the knowledge and skills needed to engage these challenges.

Taught by academic experts in Human Geography, Politics and International Relations, with a broad range of regional expertise and research perspectives, this new MA enables students to explore the questions which are shaping our lives. It is not just for geographers, international relations students, and political scientists but anyone with an interest in the core course themes. You will come to understand these intersections through a range of themes developed across the modules. These include nations, states, landscapes, mobilities, urban spaces, environmental change, sovereignty, identity, gender, empire and postcolonial relations, territory and bordering, the politics of human rights and others. You can either specialise or learn across a range of issues such as culture, media, ethics, security and conflict, environmental politics, and democratic participation. You will be taught by experts in regions including East Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, and the UK and Ireland.

As you engage the intersections of space, power and politics, you will develop advanced conceptual and analytic skills and subject knowledge needed to explore their intersections in a range of historic and contemporary issues. These skills will enable you to investigate problems shaping environments, places and landscapes and to challenge accepted wisdom. They are also particularly important skills for those pursuing careers in all sectors of government and the public sector, NGOs, international corporations, regional and international agencies, media and information industries.

An interdisciplinary programme, taught across disciplines of Geography, Politics, International Relations, this MA offers a unique opportunity to develop a grounding connected by shared concern with space, power, and politics.

Geopolitics highlights

Internationally Renowned Experts

Research-led teaching by world leading experts who have been awarded grants by UK and EU funding bodies to undertake research on the intersections of geography and politics.

Student Experience

The chance to apply theoretical insights to the real world through a range of assignments, field trips, engagements with practitioners, guest speakers and seminars.

Queen’s is ranked in the top 170 in the world for graduate prospects (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022).

Queen’s ranked 18 in the world for international outlook (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023).

Queen’s is ranked in the top 75 universities in Europe for Teaching Excellence (Times Higher Education, 2019).

16% of the Queen’s student population are international students (Queen’s Planning Office, 2023).

Course Structure

Students will develop an ability to engage the everyday and global geographies of power at work in a range of issues. They will enhance transferable and intellectual skills and employability skills through independent learning and the pursuit of originality in tackling and solving problems.

The programme has three different components: Core modules, Elective modules, and an MA dissertation.

Students undertake two core modules in each taught semester, and a further optional module.

The dissertation is completed over the summer.

Each taught module is worth 20 CATS points. The dissertation is worth 60 CATS points. The MA requires completion of 180 CATS.

1. Students will be taught a wide range of research methods in the field and would need to identify, critically evaluate and apply a range of methodologies.
2. In their taught modules particular emphasis would be given to the study of theory. Students would then be required to reflect on their own theoretical approaches in their independent study.
3. Students would be exposed to these issues through their study of the scholarship in this field. Their selection and development of an independent research would allow them to demonstrate and be assessed on their understanding of such issues.

Course Content

In the Autumn Semester students undertake two required core modules and one optional module.

CORE MODULES:
GGY7001: Critical Geopolitics
HAP7001: Approaches and Debates in Research Design

OPTIONAL MODULES, one of which is taken:
PAI7032: Gender, Peace and Security
PAI7051: Contemporary Security
PAI7098: Democratic Challenges
PAI7099: The UK and Europe
PAI7021: The politics of Northern Ireland
PAI7038: Theories of Comparative Politics
PAI7103 Global Development

In the Spring Semester students undertake two required core modules and one optional module.

CORE MODULES:
GGY7002: Geo-power: States, Sovereignty, Territory
GGY7003: Culture and the Geopolitics of the Everyday

OPTIONAL MODULES, one of which is taken:

PAI7007: Global Terrorism
PAI7027: Conflict Intervention
PAI7030: International Political Economy
PAI7032: Gender and politics
PAI7036: Low Carbon Economies
PAI7050: Ethnic Conflict and Consensus: the Power of Institutions
PAI7052: Institutions and Politics of the EU
PAI7100: Engaging Citizens in Democratic Institutions

Students will:
• Attend one two-hour seminar each week;
• Submit two pieces of coursework (one essay and one case study report);
• Deliver a presentation during one seminar.

PAI7058: From Cold War to Cold Peace: The Transformation of International Order (1979-1999)
PAI7102: Global Ireland
PHL7057: Social Injustice
CSJ7005 Religion and Peacebuilding

ANT7023 Anthropology of Conflict: Ireland and Beyond

Students complete their dissertation over the summer months. You will begin work on your dissertations in the Autumn and Spring Semesters, but most intensive research and analysis is over the summer months.

A dissertation (GGY7099) of up to 15,000 words will be produced through an independent research project.

Students are guided in this by an academic expert supervisor. Supervisors for GGY7099 may be drawn from experts in either the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, or from Geography in the School of Natural and Built Environment.

If you wish to take the programme on a part time basis, you will be required to complete 3 taught modules each year (one in first semester and two in second semester or vice versa). It is advised you should complete the core modules in your first year. Please note, all modules run at the same time for full time and part time students. Please contact the programme convenor for further information.

People teaching you

Senior Lecturer

School of HAPP
Dr Heather Johnson’s research focuses on irregular migration and asylum seekers, border security, and the practices of resistance, solidarity and protest of non-citizens. She is interested in developing new understandings of mobility and non-citizenship, and particularly in new methods for engaging with these issues. Email: h.johnson@qub.ac.uk

Lecturer

School of HAPP
Dr Jamie Hagen's research is at the intersection of gender, security studies and queer theory. She researches LGBTQ inclusion in Women, Peace and Security practices as well as queer analysis of security studies more broadly. She is Co-Director of the Centre for Gender in Politics. Email: j.hagen@qub.ac.uk

Lecturer

School of HAPP
Dr Maria Deiana's research deploys feminist and other critical perspectives to examine the interrelated issues of war, peace, security. Her monograph titled 'Gender and Citizenship: Promises of Peace in Post-Dayton Bosnia & Herzegovina' was published by Palgrave in 2018. She is Co-Director of the Centre for Gender in Politics. Email: m.deiana@qub.ac.uk

Senior Lecturer

Natural and Built Environment
A cultural and political geographer with particular interest in critical perspectives on security, processes of border making, geographies of embodiment, critical cultural analysis and feminist and queer theory. Dr Amir’s research examined the use of border making technologies in the Israeli control over the occupied Palestinian territory. Dr Amir also researches political activism and the securitization of public spaces. Email: m.amir@qub.ac.uk

Programme Convenor

School of HAPP
Dr Mike Bourne’s research focuses on a wide range of security issues. He is interested in critical security theories, and the relations of materiality, technology, and violence. His work has engaged issues of arms control (from small arms to nuclear weapons), illicit trafficking, border control, and technology development. Email: m.bourne@qub.ac.uk

Lecturer

Natural and Built Environment
As a cultural, historical and political geographer, Dr Dunnett’s research interests focus on the ways in which cultures of outer space, science and technology are connected to questions of place, landscape and identity in a variety of local, regional and national contexts. He has explored these ideas through research on the British Interplanetary Society, as part of a wider research project that explores cultures of outer space in Britain from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Dr Dunnett has further developed these themes in 'geographies of outer space' to examine topics including the moral geographies of light pollution in Britain, the ethics of space exploration in the writings of C S Lewis and the geopolitics of outer space in the works of Arthur C Clarke. Email: o.dunnett@qub.ac.uk

Senior Lecturer

School of HAPP
Dr Shane Brighton researches the field of relations between armed conflict, identity and society. He has written on the philosophy and sociology of war, terrorism and counterterrorism and contemporary strategic debates. This work has particular relevance for understanding how societal dynamics relate to armed forces and foreign, defence and security policy. Email: s.brighton@qub.ac.uk

Programme Convenor

Natural and Built Environment
Dr Tristan Sturm is currently interested in critical public health geographies. He just finished an ethnographic DRILL funded project on spaces of empowerment for people with dementia. Since 2016 he has been researching lead drinking water pipes and the historical and present health impacts of lead in Belfast, the UK, and Ireland. Email: t.sturm@qub.ac.uk

Teaching Times

Teaching takes place at a variety of times from 9-8pm Monday – Friday.

Learning and Teaching

Upon successful completion of this course students will have gained knowledge and understanding, subject specific skills, and transferable and cognitive skills.

  • Cognitive skills

    Through this course students will develop an ability to:
    • Retrieve, sift and select information from a range of sources;
    • Plan and execute a piece of independent research, including independent data collection, interpretation and argumentation;
    • Comprehend and be able to deploy qualitative and quantitative research design.

  • General Skills

    Class discussions and debates and their independent preparation and coursework will develop skills in constructively and critically engaging the work of others, as well as self-reflection on their own work.

    Through independent study and class preparations, peer engagement in class, dissertation supervision, etc.

    Their independent study (e.g. writing a dissertation; module coursework) will require working to deadlines, effective written communication, locating, sifting and prioritizing information, and time management. Seminars will include collaborative working and discussion.

    Their experience in applying qualitative and quantitative approaches to real world political puzzles will be of invaluable use for them - either in further research or in their careers - when they conduct research into any social phenomenon.

    Students will be able to structure and communicate their ideas effectively both in oral and written form; through participation in all class activities and completion of the coursework.

  • Knowledge and Understanding

    Students will be able to demonstrate:
    • Comprehensive and systematic knowledge and understanding of the key issues in the study of Geopolitics;
    • Familiarity with the range of key thinkers in the field of Geopolitics;
    • Awareness of different methodological approaches, and a conceptual grasp of current research and advances of scholarship in the study of Geopolitics;
    • Awareness of theoretical debates, and an appreciation of analytical frameworks and historical evolution of the area.

  • Learning and Teaching

    You will be part of a community of learners situated across two academic Schools and will be able to avail of research activities and seminar series in both.

    Vibrant debate and discussion form a core part of class time. You will gain experience in applying qualitative and quantitative approaches to real world political concerns.

    All teaching staff are at the forefront of contemporary research and debate in their fields.

  • Subject specific skills

    Students will be able to
    • Show evidence of understanding of the range of methodological approaches available to engage geopolitical issues; and be able to select appropriate techniques relative to overall research design.
    • Locate political problems in particular spatial contexts and critically reflect on their production and possibilities for intervention.
    • Apply conceptually informed forms of analysis to contemporary geopolitical problems and identify their practical political implications.

  • Transferable skills

    A wide range of transferable skills are developed through this course including an ability to:
    • Constructively and critically engage the work of others
    • Find, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information from a range of sources
    • Work independently and in groups
    • Problem solving: applying research to real world political issues
    • Communication skills: structure and communicate ideas and arguments effectively in oral and written forms.

Assessment

You will be part of a community of learners situated across two academic Schools and will be able to avail of research activities and seminar series in both.

Vibrant debate and discussion form a core part of class time. You will gain experience in applying qualitative and quantitative approaches to real world political concerns. All teaching staff are at the forefront of contemporary research and debate in their fields.

  • Continuous assessment across a range of various outputs.

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Modules

Modules

The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Dissertation (60 credits)

    Optional Modules

    Global Ireland (20 credits)
    Global Development (20 credits)
    Social Injustice (20 credits)
    Global Terrorism (20 credits)
    Gender and Politics (20 credits)
    The UK and Europe (20 credits)

Entrance requirements

Graduate

Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a Social Sciences, Humanities or Arts subject, or a 2.1 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject with relevant professional experience.

Applicants with qualifications below 2.1 Honours degree standard may be considered on a case-by-case basis if they can demonstrate appropriate relevant experience.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 16th August 2024 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

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Careers

Career Prospects

Introduction

The MA in Geopolitics was launched in September 2021.

MA Geopolitics can train you for employment in all sectors of government and the public sector, international agencies, NGOs, international corporations, media and information industries.

It can also lead to further research for PhD in Geography, Politics, International Studies or environmental studies.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,300
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,300
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £21,500
International £21,500

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/Study/international-students/international-scholarships.

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Apply

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

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