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International Relations & Contemporary War MA

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Our International Relations & Contemporary War MA offers you an opportunity to study international relations in a multi-disciplinary department devoted to the study of all aspects of contemporary war. You will study this course online, meaning that you can access our high standard of teaching and expert staff from anywhere in the world without disrupting your personal and professional life.

Key Benefits:

  • An entirely web-delivered degree course that is available anytime, anywhere.
  • Be part of a world-leading department, a vibrant research community and an international student body, drawn from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds.
  • An academically rigorous course on which lecturers provide support and guidance.
  • You will develop the skills of in-depth and critical analysis, and become familiar with the latest research in the discipline.
  • Course materials include specially-written content, video, audio, images, maps, intensively used discussion forums and full access to the resources of our library’s extensive electronic holdings.
  • Maximum flexibility for you: access content and respond to discussion postings in your own time for each study unit.

Key information

Study mode Online/Distance learning,Part-time

Course code TMAR2STICW


For further information, please see War Studies Online website.

Dr Rachel Kerr

MA International Relations and Contemporary War

Watch video of the Programme Director, Dr Rachel Kerr describing how the online MA works.

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Course detail


Our International Relations & Contemporary War MA will give you an advanced and comprehensive understanding of the historical evolution of the international system and of contemporary war, including changes that are currently taking place. Processes of globalisation, including the movement of monies and peoples, the impact of new technologies, the rise of identity politics, the rise of transnational or nonstate actors and transformations in the character of contemporary war all pose direct challenges to the state, the international system and global politics. These themes are considered in depth.

Applications Procedure: 

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk.

All applications are assessed by a committee of academic tutors. We aim to process all complete applications within four weeks; during February and March and over holiday periods, applications may take longer to process.

Personal Statement and Supporting Information:

IR&Cont War checklist
Personal Statement Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages).

Please explain your motivation behind choosing this particular programme; giving evidence of your relevant experience, knowledge and experience. If there are any anomalies in your academic record, please use the personal statement to explain related extenuating circumstances.
 Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
 References Yes One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago. In some cases, we may request an additional reference from you.
 Other Optional You may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.

Application Closing Date:

For September 2020 entry, the deadline for complete applications is open until 31st July 2020. We do advise you to submit a full application with supporting documents as early as possible to avoid disappointment as May to July we get many late applications and is then subject to availability. Programmes will be closed as soon as places are filled and those programmes with remaining places will only accept applications until 30th August 2020 at the very latest.



Course Structure

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 180 credits. All year 1 students are required to participate in the online induction course. 

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.


Course Format and Assessment


The course is delivered online, via the King’s College London Virtual Learning Environment (KEATS). You will study through lively online seminars, where everyone will participate in their own time, guided by one of our expert staff.

The following table will give you an idea of what a typical academic workload might look like as you progress through your studies:

Module Lectures, seminars and feedbackSelf-study 
 Per 20-credit module Typically 5 hours per week of ‘seminars’ (asynchronous online discussions) per week for 10 weeks.  160 hours
 Dissertation Typically 2 hours per week online discussion time for 4 weeks.    592 hours for dissertation

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.


All 20-credit modules will be assessed by one 1,500 word short essay (25%), one 3,000 word long essay (70%) and student participation in the seminar discussions (5%). The dissertation module assessment will be on the 15,000-word dissertation. 

Regulatory Body 

King's College London is regulated by the Office for Students. 




Optional Modules

 In addition, students take 80 credits from a range of optional modules that may typically include:

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.


Entry requirements

IR&Cont War entry requirements
Minimum requirements 2:1 2:1 Undergraduate honours degree in history, international relations, political science, economics or other appropriate subject. 
Degrees in other subjects, or candidates with lower awards than those above, may be considered: strong references and personal statements are an important part of the application, as is relevant working experience. An alternative professional or other qualification obtained by a formal examination may be approved. Prior experiential learning can also be taken into consideration by the admissions panel. Where alternative professional or other qualifications are not available, evidence will be required that you can undertake academic study to the level required. If necessary, you will be asked to submit a sample of written work.
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language Requirement Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.
Other requirements  

You will also require regular access to a high-specification computer with unbroken broadband internet connection, good time-management skills and confidence in using computers.

A note on online access: The online learning environment through which all War Studies Online programmes are delivered is open twenty-four hours and 365 days a year, excluding notified maintenance downtime.

The structure of the programme of study requires that you have reliable and excellent connectivity and bandwidth to enable you to log in frequently. This is to enable you to participate in the required online seminar discussions, but also to access the learning materials 

Fees and funding

This programme is only available two years’ part-time. There is no full-time option. Fees are the same for home/EU and overseas students.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Students are generally self-funded. We regret that there are currently no forms of student subsidy or scholarship available for this programme.

Students pay fees for each of the two years. Fees for next year's enrolment are:

War Studies Online (WSO) fees for 2020/21 intake

Year 1: 2020/21 fee


Year 2: 2021/22 fee


Fees payable each year:
50% on 31 October and 50% on 31 January

Fee payment terms and conditions

Deposit of £1000

When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

Special fee

All WSO Programmes and accreditation: King’s College London is the academic provider for the following courses taught at the Defence Academy at Shrivenham in the UK:

  • Intermediate Officers Development 4/5 - (IOD 4/5)
  • Intermediate Command and Staff Course - Land (ICSC(L))
    If you passed ICSC(L) pre-September 2014 then there will be a requirement to submit a 4000-word essay due to a different programme structure at that time.
  • Intermediate Command and Staff Course - Maritime (ICSC(M))

Graduates of these courses may be eligible for 20 credits to be applied to the War Studies Online programmes if the necessary conditions are met. If you are claiming this accreditation, you must email a copy of your certificate as evidence of passing, in an email to Menisha Gor the Programme Co-ordinator. This is to ensure the 20 credits are added to your student records and verified. This would also mean a reduced fee is applied for year 1 only associated with this accreditation. NOTE: the mark for the programme is not included in calculating the final MA award, only credits are used. You will therefore require only 160 further credits, meaning that you are required to take three option modules in place of the normal four.

No other forms of accreditation are applicable to War Studies Online programmes.

For further information, please contact menisha.gor@kcl.ac.uk

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to your tuition fees, you can also expect to pay for:

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies
  • Library fees and fines
  • Personal photocopies
  • Printing course materials
  • travel and accommodation, should you visit
  • Graduation costs

 Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Career prospects

We are very proud of our graduates. After completing our programmes, some of them have gone on to work in the following sectors:

  • Civil and foreign services, UN and NATO
  • Defence, security and strategic consultancies
  • Armed forces
  • International law organizations
  • Organizations operating in conflict zones, such as charities, NGOs and aid agencies
  • Commercial organizations in investment, the financial or oil and resources sectors
  • Media and publishing
  • Teaching

A number of our students have had articles published in peer-reviewed journals and undertaken further academic research. Several students have gone on to complete a PhD, one teaches part-time at King’s.

Our graduates have kept in touch and informed us of their achievements which have been provided as student testimonials.

The King's College London Careers Service actively assists students who would like advice on possible employment options.


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