[MUSIC PLAYING] Sam Softly: Can you introduce our online International Relations MA? I think the best person to do this would probably be you, Patrick. So I don't know. Are there any introductory remarks you would like to give for this?
Dr Patrick Holden: Yeah, sure, just to say, international relations is a broad field. It's about how different states and different cultures and peoples interact with each other. So it's applying politics, sociology, public administration, development studies to the specific issue of the international. And this course takes a broad look, though, at two key focal elements, two key dimensions of this. And that's security and development in a political economy.
Just to say, so there are four thematic modules and then the dissertation at the end, which is where you specialize in your own chosen topic. But what you'll do is global governance, which looks at the big questions about who is running the world, institutions like the UN, but also down to the state and NGOs and various forms of cooperation that work, or perhaps don't work, like in climate change and peace and security.
Then there's a module on economic diplomacy and development, which looks at things like trade relations, development politics, quite a bit from the perspective of developing countries.
So yeah, to answer the question, so yeah, my specialist field is a form of political economy and cooperation. I've been an academic for quite a few years. So it's varied. But my PhD was on the European Union's political aid to North Africa. And this was back in the early 21st century.
Since then, I've moved on a bit to look quite a bit at trade politics. I tend to be what you call a qualitative researcher rather than use statistics. Mostly, I interview people and look at that legal documents and that. But I suppose I'm also seen as an expert on the European Union and on international political economy.
I preempted this. But as I said, with the four thematic modules, you've got global governance, economic diplomacy, and development, security and strategy, and then regional geopolitics, looking at flash areas, flashpoints like the Middle East and Ukraine and South East Asia and so on. So we cover quite a broad canvas there. But students will have the capacity to specialize in a given area or theme.
For the assignments in both modules, we're not going to say, do an essay on e-commerce in West Africa. But you certainly can. You'll be able to bring that in if you want. So there'll be a fair element of choice there. And for the dissertation in particular, dissertation is your unique contribution to research, in which you go in really deep and become an expert. And you can do anything from the politics of sports.
And I can imagine lots of people are following Qatar and the hosting of the World Cup and all the political and cultural issues that have arisen from that, to more conventional ones about international security, international economic power, and so on, as well. So we offer a broad canvas. In our thematic modules, we'll be giving examples from different regions because that's what it's all about.
But, as I said, there's an overarching theme on security and development of a strong political economy. And within that, students can find their thing and specialize.
You know, well, I'll start by saying, I've often interviewed people working in foreign ministries and international organizations. And it often ends up more of a conversation because they're very interested in finding out more. And that's because while they're often the experts in a specific area, they don't always have the time or the space to really take time to learn about other aspects of the field, either countries or regions or other themes, like, say, energy, security, or gender and development, or whatever it might be.
So doing a course like this will give you, first of all, the space, but also, of course, the guidance and expertise to really broaden your knowledge and even to deepen it. Even if it's your own thing, even if you are working in security, you will be working, of course, with day-to-day pressures and with very short term objectives often in reality, whereas you'll have the chance to-- either doing the security and strategy module, or doing a dissertation on a security topic.
You're going really deeply for quite a long period of time and really become a kind of authority on the field, in the field. And more practically, as noted, then, if something for your CV and to help you get promotion and also apply for the more executive jobs, where you'll have this in your profile that will demonstrate that you've got broad knowledge and broad skills.
Sam Softly: What I will say is that a master's degree is a significant level up from your bachelor's degree that you might have taken. It involves a lot more independent thought and a little bit of independent research. And for that reason, it really is considered a significant step up to anybody who may look at your CV or anything like that. So studying the course at this level is important because it shows that you have the ability to think about these issues independently and originally. So I mean, in terms of things that are more particular to this course, is there anything you would like to say, Patrick?
Dr Patrick Holden: Well, I think you've explained that well. So I'll just say there's never been a more relevant time to study international relations. And it clearly affects not just security, but issues like health, energy, environment, and so on. And as you said, it can really take people to the next level in terms of their knowledge and their skills for researching, analyzing, and making a case and being an active player.
Sam Shepherd: First and foremost, obviously, come speak to your course advisors. That's me and Sam, obviously. We're here to help. We're here to take you from point a, all the way to point z-- make sure that application process is nice and smooth, and of course, answering any questions you may have beyond this little session we're having right now. And also, of course, ensure you manage the time commitment. So bare minimum on average is usually 20 hours per week.
So make sure you can obviously flex that around your working lifestyle and any other commitments that you're with. Of course, we can go into more detail with the kind of support we can provide. I mean, we've mentioned most of them today, from your career advice, talking about any learning resources that you may need from us. It's there for your assistance in your two years being with us. And last and foremost, apply early. Get your offer early. And you enroll early.