School of Social and Political Science

MSc International and European Politics

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The deadline to apply for September 2024 entry is Monday 1 July 2024.

Explore the enormous political challenges facing our changing societies

Developed in response to the enormous political challenges facing our changing societies, this programme offers an advanced understanding of the contemporary world, drawing on insights from International Relations as well as European Studies, Comparative Politics and Regional Studies.

You will delve deeply into key theories, issues, and controversies. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary studies and nurture your interests within a vibrant and intellectually stimulating community.


Teaching will be by:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • group work
  • guided independent study

You will complete two compulsory courses and four optional courses, after which you will work towards an independently researched dissertation.

European Practitioner Pathway

As an alternative to a classic dissertation, you’ll have the option – subject to performance – of embarking on the European Practitioner Pathway within the programme, i.e., pursue a 6-8 week work-based project and write a practice-related report on your placement instead.

Visit to Brussels

Another highlight of the academic year will be our study trip to Brussels, where we visit multiple international organisations as well as non-governmental stakeholders and meet with practitioners. 

The trip includes our very popular career event at which you will have the opportunity to network with alumni of the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh University Brussels Society) who have built successful careers in Brussels.

Career opportunities

While many graduates of this programme have gone on to further studies and academic careers, many have taken up positions in a wide range of institutions and companies.

These include NATO and the United Nations, the European Commission and Parliament, regional and national government institutions, development organisations, educational, research and think-tank organisations, banking, media, lobbying, and commercial organisations.

The transferable skills you gain in areas such as communication and research will give you an edge in the employment market, whatever your eventual career.

How to apply

Application fee

A non-refundable application fee of £50 must be paid after you submit your application. Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee.

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode 
MSc 1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc 2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

The MSc Programme is taken over twelve months of full-time study (part-time candidates normally fulfil the requirements of the degree in 24 months). It consists of two parts. Part I comprises a programme of six courses; Part II consists of the Dissertation. A student must pass Part I in order to proceed to Part II.

Please see the Programme Handbook for more information.

Course options

Please consult the degree programme table (DPT) of the programme on the Degree Programme Builder (PATH) for an overview of available optional courses. Note that the records will be updated by the end of August for each academic year. Some courses might not run some years due to staff availability.


The dissertation is an extended piece of scholarship of a maximum 15,000 words in which students have the opportunity to pursue a topic largely of their choosing. Academically it is the most advanced element of the degree. It is also the point where students progress from structured study in courses to independent study. For this programme, there is also the option of doing a work-based dissertation. For details, please consult the programme handbook.

All students are assigned a supervisor for their dissertation. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to engage critically and analytically with the literature, building upon relevant concepts and theory covered in the taught element of the degree. The dissertation is normally made up of a balance of empirical and theoretical work. However, students are not required to conduct primary field research.

Examples of dissertation topics in previous years include International Security, Comparative Regionalism, Modern Peacekeeping, Middle Eastern Politics, African Foreign Policy, EU Environmental Politics, Humanitarian Intervention, International Terrorism, Gender Politics, American Foreign Policy, Cosmopolitanism, International Trade, European Security and Defence Policy, Enlargement of the European Union, Turkish membership of the EU.

Additional information
Europa Institute

You’ll have access to the University’s Europa Institute established in 1968 to specialise in the law and politics of the European Union; its library is considered one of the best of its kind. Finally, there is also a vibrant community of students interested in international and European Politics, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to network with your peers, organise events and even work on publications in the Leviathan - the University’s own journal of Politics and International Relations.

Reading recommendations
Reading List
  • Bradford, A. (2020). The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Cini, M., & Pérez-Solórzano Borragán, N. (2022). European Union Politics (7th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Jones, E., Menon, A., & Weatherill, S. (Eds.). (2012). The Oxford Handbook of the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Lelieveldt, H., & Princen, S. (2015). The Politics of the European Union. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • McCormick, J. (2020). The European Union: Politics and Policies (3rd edition). London: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Mazey, S., & Richardson, J. (2015). European Union: Power and Policymaking (4th edition). New York: Routledge.
  • Van Middelaar, L. (2013). The Passage to Europe. London: Yale University Press. 
  • Leviathan – the University’s own journal of Politics and International Relations