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Geopolitics (PGDip)

PgDip|Postgraduate Taught


Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
3 years (Part Time)
Places available
30 (Full Time)
30 (Part Time)
This course is now closed to applications for September 2021. If you are interested in September 2022 entry, please register your interest.
  • Overview

    How does climate change reshape global politics? What will the world look like with the rise of China as a new superpower? Can regional conflicts shift the international power balance? 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 the 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.

    Geopolitics highlights

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

    World Class Facilities

    • • Politics was ranked joint 1st in the UK for Research Intensity (Complete University Guide 2021). • Queen’s is ranked 14th in the UK for research quality (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020). • Queen’s is ranked 22nd in the world for international outlook (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020) • Queen’s is ranked in the top 140 in the world for graduate prospects (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020) • Queen’s currently has over 3,000 international students from 85 different countries. 11% of the Queen’s student population are international students. • Queen’s is ranked in the top 75 universities in Europe for Teaching Excellent (Times Higher Education, 2019 • Queen’s was ranked 3rd out of 199 universities worldwide and 2nd out of 44 UK universities for our Graduate School.

    Student Experience

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

    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 two different components: Core modules and Elective modules.

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

    Each taught module is worth 20 CATS points. The Postgraduate Diploma requires successful completion of 120 CATS points.

    Upon passing all taught modules, students enrolled on the Postgraduate Diploma in Geopolitics may opt to transfer to the MA in Geopolitics and complete a 60CATS Dissertation over the summer.

    Course ContentThe programme has two different components: Core modules and Elective modules

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

    Each taught module is worth 20 CATS points. The PgDip requires completion of 120 CATS.
    Semester 1 (Autumn)In the Autumn Semester students undertake two required core modules and one optional module. Each module is worth 20 CATS.


    • GGY7001 Critical Geopolitics – this is an introductory module, covering key thinkers and core issues in contemporary geopolitics.
    • HAP7001: Approaches and Debates in Research Design – this workshop-based module provides you with the methodological tools for conducting independent research covering a range of methods used across humanities and social sciences.

    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
    Semester 2CORE MODULES:

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

    OPTIONAL MODULES, one of which is taken:

    • CSJ7009: Conflict Mediation and Transformation
    • 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
    • PAI7058: From Cold War to Cold Peace: The Transformation of International Order (1979-1999)
    ��� PAI7102: Global Ireland
    • PHL7057: Social Injustice
    • ANT7023: Anthropology of Conflict: Ireland and Beyond

    People teaching you


    School of HAPP
    Dr Chenchen Zhang’s research interests lie broadly within social and political theory, political geography, and international relations. Her publications have been focused on citizenship theory, migration and border politics, human rights, and more recently on popular geopolitics and the global influence of “new right” ideas. Her regional expertise is Europe and China. Email:

    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:


    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:


    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:

    Senior Lecturer

    Natural and Built Enviroment
    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:


    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:


    Natural and Built Enviroment
    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:

    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:

    Senior Lecturer

    Culture and Society
    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:


    School of HAPP
    Professor Debbie Lisle’s research in critical International Relations and International Political Sociology explores issues of difference, mobility, security, travel, visuality, governmentality, biopolitics, materiality, technology, borders, practice and power. Email:

    Career Prospects

    This Postgraduate Diploma was launched in September 2021.

    PGDip Geopolitics can lead to a PhD in Geography, Politics, International Studies or environmental studies. It would also train you for employment in all sectors of government and the public sector, international agencies, NGOs, international corporations, media and information industries.

    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
    • Comprehend and be able to deploy qualitative and quantitative research design.

    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 evaluation information from a range of sources
    • Work independently and in groups
    • Problem solving
    • Communication skills.
    • Problem solving: applying research to real world political issues
    • Communication skills: structure and communicate ideas and arguments effectively in oral and written forms.


    Assessment associated with this course are outlined as below:

    Continuous assessment will across a range of various outputs.

    Written feedback is provided on all assessed work. Students also receive oral feedback in the classroom and in one-to-one meetings with lecturers

    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 forms 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.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    Normally a 2.2 Honours degree (minimum 57%) or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a Social Sciences, Humanities or Arts subject or a 2.2 Honours degree (minimum 57%) or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject with relevant professional experience.

    Applicants who do not meet these entry requirements may, at the discretion of the relevant programme convenor, be considered for admission on the basis of relevant work experience and/or an assessed piece of work.

    The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL).

    Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 12th August 2022 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:

    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.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £4,433
    Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,433
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £4,980
    EU Other 3 12,133
    International £12,133

    1 EU 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, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.

    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 are for the academic year 2022-23, and 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.

    Geopolitics costs

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    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 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 £10,609 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.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • 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.

    Download a prospectus