MSc Global Politics

An exciting and specialised programme aimed at preparing you for doctoral study in a sub-field of political science.

Global Politics

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September 2024
  • Duration 12 months full time; 24 months part time
  • Mode of study full time, part time
  • Delivery on campus


This Masters course will allow you to focus on themes in political science including international studies. You will acquire skills in political science approaches and can take additional discipline-specific modules and options appropriate to your field of study.

It provides a pathway towards doctoral training, equipping you with essential training and skills to enable you to undertake an original and significant doctorial project.   

This course is designed to be interdisciplinary, which means that you can take modules from across other faculties to tailor it to fit your interests. You will undertake a piece of original research utilising the skills and methodologies that you have gained, feeding into a doctoral research agenda. You will establish your own personalised curriculum in discussion with the Course Director. This will provide you with a solid foundation for your progression onto PhD study.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

On successful completion of this programme, you should be able to:

  • Analyse the role of different actors and decision-makers in responding to variety of policy challenges.
  • Identify and deepen specialisms within the broad fields of international studies.
  • Articulate the various concepts involved in critical and traditional approaches and the various theoretical and methodological approaches deployed by social scientists to study these.
  • Develop effective and persuasive communication skills and fluency for a wide audience, both lay and academic.
  • Understand and use the basic principles of research design, and evaluate how these principles shape the investigation, analysis and reporting of research problems and data.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the range of qualitative and quantitative research methods and techniques used in social science research.
  • Develop project management and IT skills for information retrieval and research management.

Flexible learning

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Research overview

REF 2021 results

  • 87% of the University's research has an outstanding or very considerable impact on society.
  • More than 80% of Stirling research is world leading or internationally excellent.
  • Joint 4th in Scotland and joint 43rd in the UK for research impact (Times Higher Education REF 2021: Impact Scores rankings).

Research environment at Stirling commended for enabling excellence and delivering impact.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree (2:1 preferred) in a relevant subject or equivalent is required. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

A research proposal is required along with your application. It should be a maximum of 1,500 words.

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 61 overall with 56 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

Teaching will be delivered via blended learning/face-to-face on campus/online depending on circumstances and what is appropriate. The taught options will focus largely on the development of discipline-specific and social science skills of analysis, critical thinking and interpretation, including quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis and perspectives on social science research. These modules are key as they will teach you data analysis. Teaching and learning will therefore involve computer sessions focusing on the analysis of different forms of data.

This core skills provision will be enhanced by the opportunity for further interdisciplinarity as you will be able to choose further taught options agreed on with your supervisor and Course Director. In addition, you will be appointed a principal supervisor and a second supervisor and will be required to meet regularly with your supervisor (at least once a month) to discuss your research and progress. 


The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the academic year that starts in September 2024. Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details


Lectures, seminars, group work, student-led discussion, reading of a range of academic articles and policy documents, use of films and documentaries and discussion of these in groups will be part of the teaching approach.

The annual postgraduate symposium that takes place in spring affords you the experience of presenting your own work to a wider academic audience that includes other postgraduate and postgraduate research students as well as academic staff. Transferable skills tend to be incorporated into the modules at the MSc level through teaching, both in lectures and seminars, through one-to-one discussion between you and tutors, and through the various means of assessment like policy briefs or reviews. The MSc dissertation is the primary means by which your research skills will be evaluated.


You will experience a range of different forms of assessment, including student presentations, policy briefs, critical reviews, literature reviews, methods and analytical essays. Methods-focused essays may ask you to evaluate and utilise quantitative and qualitative approaches to their topic.

You are also assessed on research proposals as well as the research thesis. You must research, write and submit a dissertation on an approved topic under the supervision of one or two members of staff. The dissertation provides an opportunity for independent work, under supervision from academic staff, enabling you to design and carry out a research project.

Classroom hours

Learning is primarily through directed reading, consolidated through group discussion in weekly seminars for each of your modules alongside one-to-one meetings with your supervisor.

Course director

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

Students from the UK and Republic of Ireland £8,000

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our  Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course. 

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees. 

If you are studying part-time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry. 

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding


Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

The degree programme is a gateway to PhD study, research (including think-tanks) and academia as well as into employment in government agencies, the NGO sector, international organisations, trade unions, and journalism.

The course provides a background in a variety of security and global policy challenges, the role of political institutions at the local, national, and international levels, and a breadth of thematic and geographical foci as well as frameworks to evaluate these challenges and develop and/or assess solutions. The academic skills aspects of the course also provide a background to undertake further research.

Employability skills


  • with interdisciplinary knowledge, understanding and skills with a range of complex real-world issues.
  • with contributions from alumni, private, public and third sector to develop your employability skills.
  • with knowledge, experiences and people providing different perspectives, to understand different cultures, beliefs and traditions in both local and global contexts.
  • work with one another as an inclusive learning community and with the wider community.
  • and communicate effectively through digital and other media.


  • through active and ethical research.
  • through using the latest global research and new technologies to develop new understandings and creative solutions.
  • through independent critical and reflective thinking.
  • through identifying opportunities to improve what you do and take action.


  • through your intellectual and cultural passion and excellence.
  • through sharing new perspectives and broadening your horizons.
  • through being professional, adaptable and resilient and equipped to succeed in the global marketplace.
  • through being active global citizens who are politically, socially, culturally and environmentally aware.

Which course would you like to apply for?

MSc Global Politics

Search for another course