(MA) Master of Arts
University of Essex
University of Essex
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code
Rules of assessment
Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.
Dr Nicholas Walter Vivyan
Senior Lecturer University of Durham
External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment.
External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course.
They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards.
External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.
- To ensure that students have a thorough grounding in International Relations and its main schools of thought.
- To introduce students to the most advanced debates in the discipline of International Relations.
- To teach students the importance of testing hypotheses derived from International Relations theory empirically.
- To introduce students to a range of issues currently important in international politics, to familiarise them with the academic arguments about these issues and to make them aware of policy choices and their implications.
- To develop a capacity for independent study and research in the area of international relations.
What is the difference between the MA and the MSc variants?
The difference is determined by the methods module you take – Political Explanation (GV900) for the MA and Advanced Research Methods (GV903) for the MSc.
Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods
On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:
A: Knowledge and understanding
A1: Advanced knowledge of different modes of explanation and theoretical perspectives in international relations or related fields at an appropriate level.
A2: Understanding the main political science methods for using quantitative and qualitative evidence to support arguments.
A3: Critical awareness of the use of concepts and arguments in political science.
A4: Knowledge of the main research findings, and main developments and debates in one or more sub-fields of international relations or related fields.
A1-5 Lectures, participation in and presentations to seminars and classes, writing essays and dissertation, oral and written feedback on essays.
A1 specifically in GV902 Theories of International Relations and the optional modules.
A2 specifically in GV900 Political Explanation, GV903 Advanced Research Methods, GV902 Theories of International Relations, and option.
A3 specifically in GV902, GV958 and in supervision of individual dissertations.
A4 specifically in GV902 and options chosen in consultation with Scheme Director.
Taught modules assessed 50/50 by continuous assessment through written assignments and essays, and three-hour closed examinations at end of the modules.
B: Intellectual and cognitive skills
B1: To question received thinking.
B2: To develop independent thinking.
B3: To muster evidence.
B4: To evaluate and analyse evidence.
B5: To reason critically.
B6: To argue coherently and concisely.
B7: To communicate ideas effectively in writing.
B8: To carry out independent research.
B1-7 participation in and presentations to seminars and classes, individual guidance on researching and writing essays, oral and written feedback on essays, individual interviews and group sessions with Study Skills Officer
B4 especially in GV900 Political Explanation / GV903 Advanced Research Methods.
B8 especially in supervised dissertation.
B1-7 written assignments and essays, written examinations
C: Practical skills
C1: Organize and structure an extended argument.
C2: Use concepts correctly.
C3: Compile systematic bibliographies.
C4: Provide references according to accepted conventions.
C5: Use libraries and IT to access information and scholarly resources.
C6: Sift and synthesize complex information.
C1-6 participation in and presentations to seminars and classes, individual guidance for essays, individual supervision of dissertations, oral and written feedback on class presentations and essays.
C5 specifically in induction sessions for library use.
C1-6 written assignments and essays, closed examinations, supervised dissertation.
D: Key skills
D1: Clear, focused, relevant and effective expression and communication.
D2: Access and organise information from a variety of electronic sources.
D3: Understand the use of quantitative evidence.
D4: To manage projects and timetables. To find, understand and organise information. To work with ideas.
D5: Advanced knowledge of different modes of explanation and theoretical perspectives in political economy or related fields at an appropriate level.
D6: Positive response to feedback and criticism.
D1-5 participation in and presentations to seminars and classes, written assignments and essays, dissertation.
D3 specifically in GV900 Political Explanation, GV902 Theories of International Relations, GV903 Advanced Research Methods and the option.
D4 specifically in scheduling and balancing requirements for four courses taught in parallel.
D6 specifically in individual guidance on essays, oral and written feedback on essays.
D1-4 written assignments and essays, examinations, dissertation.
D6 classroom presentations, written assignments and essays.