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MA International Political Economy: Critical Theories, Issues and Conflicts

Tackle today's international political challenges, drawing on theories and ideas from history's great thinkers.

2018/19 entry


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

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At the heart of this course are passionate discussions on contemporary issues such as international development, global financial regulation and the organisation of production and trade.

Our expertise in the field of international political economy spans the full breadth of the discipline - from classic thinkers to debates over contemporary trade policy and trans-national financial regulation. You'll also be encouraged to look beyond your discipline, with option modules delivered by departments across the university to give you a fresh, interdisciplinary perspective on the issues you'll face.

By standing on the shoulders of history's intellectual giants, including Karl Marx and Adam Smith, you'll find new ways of exploring ideas and gain a deeper understanding of today's most pressing issues.

Leading research

The Department of Politics ranked 8th overall in the UK in Times Higher Education's ranking of the the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

International experts

Our staff advise governments and organisations globally and regularly contribute to news and current affairs programmes.

Course content

You'll take 180 credits overall, made up of core and option modules which culminate in an independent research dissertation.

Our modules cover a wide range of topics, from policy-making to public finances, and international trade to migration. You'll learn about the different approaches to the study of international political economy, from traditional state-centred models focusing on competition over resources to works that encourage critical reflection on these approaches and why global poverty and inequaliry persists.

Several option modules are offered across departments, including the Department of History and York Management School, giving you the chance to tackle problems from new and diverse perspectives.

Taught modules will run throughout the Autumn and Spring terms, with one core and two option modules each term. You'll complete your dissertation during the Summer term and vacation, supported by dissertation workshops in the early stages of writing.


Core modules

You'll study two core modules:

Option modules

You'll also choose four option modules to develop your particular research interests. Recent modules have included:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


During the summer term and vacation you'll consolidate your interests in a 12,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice. The dissertation is worth 60 credits.

Regular meetings with your assigned dissertation adviser will help guide you through the dissertation process, and support you in the exploration of your chosen topic. You'll also have the opportunity to present your dissertation at our research seminar presentation workshops.

Previous dissertation titles have included:

  • The effectiveness of coalitions in the WTO: leadership, tactics and strategies
  • What role have grassroots movements played in the rise of Podemos in Spain and what role can they play towards electoral success
  • The North American Free Trade Agreement: The social dynamic within the political and economic integration of North America
  • "Who don't listen, does fool" The impact of promised oil on Guyanese institutions: Lessons from Nigeria
  • Kazakhstan and the WTO: exploring the foundations of effective trade intergration
  • A critique of the Keynesian use of the state for resolving the economic crisis of 2008
  • Constructing the crisis differently. Why we need a new economics: a gendered analysis
  • Organised labour and neoliberalism in Mexico: clash of ideas or fusion of interests?

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • engage, understand and identify the philosophical, normative and practical origins, evolution and contemporary dynamics of international political economy at a masters level, taking account of both classic political economy literatures and more recent contributions within the sub-field of international political economy.
  • apply different theoretical perspectives, methods and concepts to specific aspects of international political economy, and use masters level intellectual reasoning and systematic empirical testing to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
  • undertake independent research relating to the field of international political economy by conceiving and operationalising research questions, by selecting and justifying the use of appropriate theories and concepts, gathering and interpreting data, and arriving at appropriate and justified conclusions.
  • construct and clearly present written reflections.
  • demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of literature within a sub-field of international political economy and establish the foundations of an empirical and/or conceptual contribution to the sub-field through substantial original work.
  • communicate as an academic citizen in ways that helps to foster the inclusive sharing of ideas.
I enjoyed the excellent learning environment and thought-provoking debates with my peers and teachers.
Marc, MA International Political Economy

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2018/19

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,580£16,780
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

You'll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and one-to-one supervision, with much of your teaching conducted in small groups. The number of contact hours varies depending on your chosen option modules, but most modules are delivered via one two-hour seminar per week. Contact hours should be supplemented by eight to ten hours of independent study per module per week.

Teaching location

The Department of Politics is located in Derwent College, on Campus West. Most teaching takes place in Derwent College seminar rooms and in other locations across Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll submit six essays of around 4,000 words: three at the beginning of Spring term and three at the beginning of Summer term. Your final 12,000 word dissertation will be submitted at the beginning of September.

Careers and skills

The skills you'll acquire through the study of international political economy will leave you well prepared for further study or work in a wide range of sectors, from social and political research to journalism, marketing and HR.

Career opportunities

Recent graduates have gone on to work in a large variety of sectors and organisations including:

  • Civil Service / Home Office / House of Commons
  • United Nations
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • NHS
  • Professional services / Accountancy firms - notably PwC, EY, KPMG
  • Oxfam
  • Barclays
  • Higher education
  • IBM
  • Development charities including the International Committee of the Red Cross

Transferable skills

  • Independent research skills
  • Evidence analysis
  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade

Applicants should have, or be expected to obtain, a 2:1 BA degree or international equivalent. We are willing to consider applications from students with lower qualifications, particularly when the student has high marks in relevant modules and/or appropriate professional experience. If you are applying with a lower qualification, you must include a written work sample with your application.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability:

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all requirements


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Department of Politics

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