Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

EU International Relations and Diplomacy - MA, PDip


EU International Relations and Diplomacy provides students with invaluable knowledge for understanding and analysing contemporary policy practices of the European Union. This includes not only the theoretical accounts of the European Union’s contested roles in global politics, but also its practical implications in the ‘real world’.



The programme relies on modules that take a hands-on approach by engaging European policy practitioners which allows students to explore various elements of policy construction and its challenges, especially as they may inform new approaches to governance.

About the School of Politics and International Relations

The School of Politics and International Relations is one of the most dynamic places to study Politics and International Relations. We combine high-quality teaching with cutting-edge research in a supportive environment that welcomes students from all over the world.

All lectures and seminars on postgraduate modules are informed by the latest research and scholarship, and are delivered by full-time academic staff who have internationally recognised expertise in their field.

The School has grown significantly in the last few years and now has over 30 academic staff based at two locations, in Canterbury and Brussels. The School is cosmopolitan, with staff originating from eight different countries, and well over half of all postgraduate students come from outside the UK.

We pride ourselves on our global outlook, which is reflected in the wide range of international partnerships. We are the only politics and international relations school in the country with a postgraduate centre in Brussels, which allows students on some of our programmes to follow part, or their entire, programme in Brussels.


Fees for this and other Kent Postgraduate Politics programmes can be found on the Student Finance page.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Politics and International Relations was ranked 15th for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research impact.

An impressive 96% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.

Course structure

Full-time students complete the MA in EU International Relations and Diplomacy – worth 180 Kent credits (90 ECTS credits) – over 12 months. Study is divided between taught modules, which last for one term each, and dissertation work.

For full-time students, a total of six modules must be taken over the first two terms. Supervised dissertation work, on a relevant agreed subject, is then undertaken during the remainder of the academic year.

Full-time students complete the PDip in EU International Relations and Diplomacy – worth 120 Kent credits (60 ECTS credits) – over nine months. The PDip comprises six taught modules only – i.e. without a dissertation.

Both the MA and the PDip can be taken on a part-time basis, typically over two years but flexible arrangements are also possible. When taking it over two years, part-time students choose three modules in each academic year, and – in the case of the MA – write a supervised dissertation thereafter.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Modules may include Credits

Students of politics ‘have not been, in general, sufficiently reflective about the nature and scope of their discipline. They just do it rather than talk about it'’ (G.Stoker). Given that political scientists study people – individuals, groups, states, nations, cultures – rather than ‘things’, PO825 moves from the assumption that politics students ought to be reflective about their research. The module aims to provide an opportunity for reflection by presenting some of the key theoretical and methodological debates in politics and international relations. These debates deal with issues such as: the concept of ‘the political’ and the concept of power; the relationship between structure and agency; the causal and constitutive role of ideas and discourse; positivism and post-positivism; critical theory, emancipation, and the importance of normative questions; an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research, to research design and research ethics.

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This module focuses on the position of Europe and the EU in particular - what it does and how it does it - in the world, through the perceptions of the other. The first challenge of this broad approach is to tackle the question ‘what is Europe?’, by way of situating Europe between the regional and global change, and understanding its multifaceted, multi-actor and multi-level environment and associated with it challenges, in the increasingly inter-dependent and inter-polar world. As part of the exercise we will focus more specifically on EU actorness reiterated through the changing modes of governance – from disciplinary and hierarchical, to more adaptable and from a distance – and democracy promotion policies, to understand how it behaves vis-à-vis the outside world. Premised on this, we will examine EU actorness in practical terms by referring to EU interactions with ‘the other’ – from the neighbourhood, BRICS, to US, and Russia. The objective is to cross-compare ‘what the EU is’ and ‘what it does’ to enable wider generalisations of ‘what kind of transformative power the EU is?’ today, in this increasingly globalising world.

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The module aims to address topical events in the processes of European Integration and External Relations taking crises as a potential engine for change. Students are asked to engage in this process of change through scholarly investigation that uses primary textual and visual sources from multiple critical perspectives.

The module is intended to be both theoretically sophisticated and accessible to students, thus providing invaluable knowledge for understanding and analysing the contemporary policy practices of the European Union. This hands-on approach should prove both stimulating and pedagogically useful as students explore how policies create crises and crises may inform new approaches to governance.

The module assesses European policy themes in the light of the different interpretative and heuristic tools provided by the theories drawn from a variety of approaches in the social sciences. There is a core emphasis on locating the potential origins of crises and on identifying processes of change or transforming crises. The critical nature of the module allows for the exploration of competing theoretical perspectives and indeed practitioner interpretation of contemporary crises in the European context.

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The School of Politics and International Relations has a dedicated Employability, Internships, Placements and Alumni Manager who works with students to develop work-based placements in a range of organisations. Centrally, the Careers and Employability Service can help you plan for your future by providing one-to-one advice at any stage of your postgraduate studies.

Politics at Kent was ranked 6th in the UK for graduate prospects in The Guardian University Guide 2017. Our graduates have gone on to careers in academia, local and national government and public relations.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

Students have access to an excellent library and extensive computing facilities. You also have access to online resources; inter-library loans; video library; online book renewals and reservations; laptop and netbook loan facilities; more than 1,300 study spaces/seats; more than 27,500 books and 10,500 bound periodicals catalogued under politics and international relations and related class marks plus British Government Publications and 50,000 online journals also available off-campus.

The School’s resources include a European Documentation Centre, with all official publications of the EU institutions, and a specialised collection on international conflict and federal studies as well as the University’s collection of political cartoons. In addition, postgraduate research students have their own designated room with 12 computer terminals.

Dynamic research culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: Contemporary Political Theory; International Political Sociology; Journal of Human Rights; New Political Economy; Political Studies; Telos. Details of recently published books can be found within the staff research interests section.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

A first or upper-second class UK honours degree, or its equivalent, in a relevant subject.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

Our research interests span a broad spectrum of the discipline, with particular strengths in the fields of conflict analysis and resolution, political theory and European politics. The strength of the School’s research culture is reflected in the numerous books and articles published and in the existence of its three University-recognised research centres: the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC), the Global Europe Centre (GEC) and the Centre for Critical Thought (CCT).

All members of staff can supervise theses leading to research degrees. We encourage potential research students to refer to our postgraduate research handbook (pdf) for detailed information.

In 2011, the University successfully applied for ESRC recognition as a provider of doctoral training in political science and international studies (and other areas of the social sciences) as part of a consortium. As a result, we are now part of the South East ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, making us one of the key training outlets in our subject in the UK. Further details can be found on the South East DTC website.

Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC)

Kent has been at the forefront of conflict negotiation and resolution for almost 50 years. The Conflict Analysis Research Centre brings together academics working on different aspects of conflict and security as well as PhD and Master’s students studying International Conflict Analysis, International Law and International Relations. Current research includes an investigation into how migrant communities can support peacebuilding in their home society and how South Africa and the UK treat refugees and security. The Centre is also at the forefront of trying to resolve actual conflicts – for example, it played a role in the Moldova-Transnistria peace process and has supported reconciliation efforts in Africa.

Global Europe Centre (GEC)

The Global Europe Centre is a pioneering research-led learning centre focusing on the study of Europe and its relations with the outside world. The GEC’s research focus is on contemporary policy challenges to Europe and its nation states, the engagement with policy-makers and policy-shapers is at the core of its activities. The GEC mission is to promote excellence, through innovative research and knowledge exchange and to facilitate research-driven impact through its learning and teaching activities. The GEC’s activities include dissemination of policy-relevant research via publications, research-led knowledge transfer workshops, conferences and public lectures, and keynote addresses by leading public figures. The Centre has a strong commitment to the creation of the next generation of ideas innovators and policymakers and pursues these through its learning, teaching and knowledge exchange activities and via the Global Europe Student Forum. GEC is an interdisciplinary research centre aiming to develop synergies across Politics and International Relations, Economics, Law, Business, History, and European Languages and Culture.

Centre for Critical Thought (CCT)

The Centre for Critical Thought is an exciting multidisciplinary initiative across both the Social Sciences and Humanities Faculties, co-ordinated by staff in Politics and International Relations, Law and Italian Studies. It enables staff and students interested in cutting-edge critical thought to discuss their work together and to explore the insights of interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, it serves as a forum for distinguished lectures, seminars and an annual workshop. The Annual Kent Lecture in Political and Social Thought is the headline lecture series and recent speakers have included Professor Bernard Stiegler, Professor Chantal Mouffe and Professor William Outhwaite. All students interested in contemporary critical thought are encouraged to become members while at Kent.


Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Albena Azmanova: Reader in International Relations

Political traditions and democratisation; globalisation and political identities; European integration.

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Dr Ingvild Bode: Lecturer in International relations

United Nations peacekeeping; thematic mandates at the Security Council; US use-of-force policy; conflict narratives

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Dr Tom Casier: Senior Lecturer in International Relations

EU as an international actor; EU-Russian relations; Russian foreign policy.

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Professor Feargal Cochrane: Professor of International Conflict Analysis

Conflict studies; Northern Ireland conflict; Irish American diaspora. 

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Dr Philip Cunliffe: Senior Lecturer in International Conflict

IR theory; sovereignty; peacekeeping; liberal interventionism; Marxism and critical theory; political theory; social theory.

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Dr Paolo Dardanelli: Senior Lecturer in European and Comparative Politics

Federalism, devolution, secession; nationalism; democracy; state formation and dissolution; European politics.

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Dr Andrea den Boer: Senior Lecturer in International Relations

Human rights and ethics; international political theory; continental political philosophy; feminism.

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Dr Charles Devellennes: Lecturer in Political and Social Thought

Political theory; history of political thought; international relations theory.

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Professor Trine Flockhart: Professor of International Relations

International order; European security and transatlantic relations; constructivist theory

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Professor Matthew Goodwin: Professor of Politics and International Relations

Political parties; electoral behaviour; Euroscepticism and immigration.

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Dr Frank Grundig: Lecturer in International Relations

Power, interests and institutions; regime and rational actor theory; international environmental politics; hegemonic leadership.

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Dr Yvan Guichaoua: Lecturer in international Conflict Analysis (Brussels)

The dynamics of insurgency formation; rebel governance and state responses in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger since 2004.

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Dr Toni Haastrup: Lecturer in International Security

Human security discourses; gender and feminist international relations; regional security; EU external relations and African peace and security architecture. Recent publications include: Charting Transformation through Security: Contemporary EU-Africa Relations (2013).

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Professor Elena Korosteleva: Professor of International Politics

European politics; EU as a global actor and EU foreign policies studies; Eastern partnership and the new eastern Europe; the concept of democracy and democracy promotion.

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Dr Pak K Lee: Senior Lecturer in Chinese Politics and International Relations

Chinese politics; non-traditional security threats in China (especially energy security and public health security); China’s engagement with global governance.

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Professor Neophytos Loizides: Professor of International Conflict Analysis

Federalism; ethnic conflict; international politics; conflict analysis; negotiation and mediation; referendums.

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Dr Iain MacKenzie: Senior Lecturer in Politics

Critical political theory and philosophy.

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Dr Luca Mavelli: Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations

International relations theory, social theory; security and political violence.

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Dr Sean Molloy: Reader in International Relations

Realism; international ethics; democratic peace theory; cosmopolitanism.

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Dr Edward Morgan-Jones: Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics

Parliamentary and semi-presidential regimes; Cabinet composition and termination; West and East European Politics.

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Dr Jane O'Mahony: Senior Lecturer in European Politics

European integration; EU policymaking; Europeanisation; Irish politics.

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Dr Adrian Pabst: Reader in Politics

Political theory and political economy; political philosophy and history of ideas; European thought; religion, politics and ethics, with a special focus on Christian social teaching.

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Dr Stefan Rossbach: Senior Lecturer in Politics

Political theory and methodology; history of political philosophy; religion and politics.

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Professor Richard Sakwa: Professor of Russian and European Politics

Russian government and politics; communism and postcommunism; democratisation. 

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Dr Bojan Savic: Lecturer in International Relations (Brussels)

Game theory; qualitative and quantitative research strategies in relation to conflict and development.

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Dr Ben Seyd: Senior Lecturer in British and Comparative Politics

Political institutions; electoral systems; public attitudes to the state and trust; British politics.

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Dr Laura Sudulich: Senior Lecturer in Politics

Effects of new media on electoral behaviour; electoral campaigns; election forecasting and processes of politicisation.

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Dr Harmonie Toros: Senior Lecturer in International Conflict Analysis

Conflict resolution, conflict transformation, terrorism studies.

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Dr Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels: Senior Lecturer in Migration and Politics

Dr. Klekowski von Koppenfels' current research interests focus on the concept of diaspora and transnational engagement of migrants, in particular with respect to Global North migrants, although she remains interested in the phenomena more broadly.

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Professor Richard G Whitman: Professor of Politics

European studies; international relations; international role of the European Union.

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Dr Andrew Wroe: Senior Lecturer in American Politics

Direct democracy; trust in politics; immigration; race/ethnicity; American politics and government.

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Dr Nadine Ansorg: Lecturer in International Conflict Analysis

Post-conflict transformation and institutional reform, Security sector reform, Regional dynamics of conflict and violence and Conflict analysis.

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Dr Yaniv Voller: Lecturer in Politics of the Middle East

The geopolitics of the Middle East, the foreign policies of Middle Eastern states, ideology and practices in shaping international politics

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Dr M. Malksoo: Senior Lecturer in International Security (Brussles)

Main research interests: The intersection of security, memory and identity politics, and critical IR theory. Previous research has covered social theoretic perspectives of the EU and NATO’s eastern enlargements, liminality in IR, and the conflicts over historical memory between Russia and its former Soviet/East European dependants. Current research focuses on (i) the nexus between transitional justice and foreign policies on the example of post-communist Russia and (ii) NATO’s ‘back to the roots’-policy in re-strengthening its collective defence arm and its eastern flank.

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