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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


MSc in International Relations

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This programme has multiple application deadlines - please see How to Apply section below.

Welcome from the Programme Director

Here in the Graduate School of Social and Political Science we are passionate about international relations and the pressing problems humanity faces in the international realm. Our staff and students are concerned with war, terrorism, power, diplomacy, climate change, trade, poverty, migration and international cooperation, but also what to do about them, how to understand them, and how to study them. Our MSc International Relations programme is for anyone who shares these passions and concerns. It offers intensive training in the theory and practice of international relations, and preparation for a diverse range of international careers or further research.

Our approach to international relations combines innovative research with creative and inspirational teaching. Together, our staff combine intricate working knowledge of the great international institutions with a deep appreciation of historical change and the most important ideas in international thought. Through our research at the cutting edge of the discipline we hope to inspire our students to a world of possibilities, from the sociology of the financial crisis to state survival in the Middle East and the social construction of security.

Recent graduates talk about their experiences here.

Both the city and University of Edinburgh are dynamic, cosmopolitan centres of international political engagement, culture and learning. They combine centuries of political, economic, military and intellectual history, including the legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment, with the modern institutions of a forward thinking capital city. Edinburgh itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the University is currently ranked 20th in the world in the Times Higher Education - QS World University Rankings.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any further queries,

- Shaina 

Dr. Shaina Western

Programme Director, MSc International Relations


How to Apply

There are eight application rounds for this programme. At the end of each round a number of offers will be issued on a competitive basis, with applicants being informed of a decision (successful, unsuccessful, or waiting list). The deadlines and response dates are as follows:

Round Deadline Response By
1 2nd November 2020 20th November 2020
2 23rd November 2020 11th December 2020
3 11th January 2021 12th February 2021
4 15th February 2021 12th March 2021
5 15th March 2021 9th April 2021
6 19th April 2021 7th May 2021
7 17th May 2021 4th June 2021
8 14th June 2021 9th July 2021
Please note: a non-refundable application fee of £50 is payable at the time of application submission, once a unique username (UUN) has been issued. Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee payment. Please click here for more information on how to pay the application fee. 

Please ensure that you have submitted all supporting documentation and paid the application fee before the deadline for the round in which you wish to be considered.

Successful applicants must accept their offer within 28 days of the response date in order to secure their place on the programme. As this programme is highly competitive, any applicants who have not responded within this time will lose their offer, and offers will be made to applicants on the waiting list as places become available.

If you have received an offer but are no longer able to take up your place, please decline your offer via your Applicant Hub portal, or contact so that your place may be offered to another applicant.  

Guidance on how to apply and entry requirements, etc. is available on the Graduate School website. Please feel free to contact the Programme Director with any further queries.

Applicants with an academic background not directly related to Politics and International Relations or the social sciences who have taken courses relevant to the programme will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Fees and Scholarships

  • Full fees information, including part time fees, is available here.
  • Information on how to pay is available here.
  • Information on funding and scholarships is here.

Bologna Compatibility

Like all University of Edinburgh Masters programmes, the degree is fully Bologna compatible, and is recognised across Europe and beyond under the principles of the Bologna framework. The programme comprises 180 Edinburgh credits, which are equivalent to 90 ECTS credits.


Edinburgh4Learning offers an intuitive and easy to use funding information tool which allows students to search using a series of handy drop-down lists. Students can access the Edinburgh4Learning portal direct from the Scholarships and Student Funding Services website. Registration requires a valid university of Edinburgh e-mail address and in a matter of moments students can access numerous funding opportunities to help them during their studies.