Master of Philosophy in International Relations

Differences from 2014/15 to 2022/23

(See also the general notice at the commencement of these regulations.)

The regulations made by the International Relations Graduate Studies Committee are as follows:

First-Year Examination

Every candidate must pass a first-year examination before the end of the third term from commencement of the course unless given exemption by the International Relations Graduate Studies Committee. The first-year examination shall be set and administered by the examiners appointed to examine for the M.Phil. in International Relations. This test shall consist of threetwo parts, as follows:

  • 1. A formally assessed Research Design Proposal of 4,000 words, excluding bibliography, on the subject of the student's proposed M.Phil. thesis. Two hard copies, together with a copy on CD, must be submitted to the Examination Schools by noon on the Monday of sixth week of Trinity Term. It must be accompanied by a separate signed declaration that it is the candidate's own work except where otherwise indicated and that it has not previously been submitted for assessment, either at Oxford or at another institution. The scope and the format are as stated in the Student Handbook.

  • 2. A single, three-hour examination paper covering material from the core papers as taught in the first year, namely:

    • The Development of the International System: The history of the relations between states in peace and war, and the development of the international system. It will include such topics as: major traditions of thought on International Relations; 19th century imperialism and euro-centrism; the concert system, the balance of power and the causes of the First World War; the peace settlement, collective security and the League of Nations; political and economic co-operation in the interwar period; the USA, Soviet Union, Middle East and Far East in the inter-war years; the impact of revolution, domestic politics and ideology on foreign policy; the causes of the Second World War; post-war reconstruction and the origins of the Cold War; the nuclear revolution and the impact of technological change; the evolution of the Cold war; decolonization, nationalism and self-determination; déétente, arms control and regional conflicts; the end of the Cold War; the evolution of international economic institutions; the evolution of security institutions; and international relations in the post-Cold War world.

    • Contemporary Debates in International Relations Theory: Ideas about, and explanations of, international relations, concentrating mainly (but not exclusively) on the major theoretical approaches in the academic study of international relations since 1945. The key theories and approaches to be examined include: realism and neo-realism; theories about war, security, and the use of force in international relations; classical liberalism, globalization, and transformation in world politics; theories about inter-state co-operation and transnationalism; the concept of international society; constructivism and the impact of law and norms in international relations; neo-Marxist and critical theory approaches to international relations; normative theory and international ethics.

  • Details of the scope and coverage are given in the StudentCourse Handbook

  • 2. A designated course of research methods training covering material from the programme as taught in the first year, including written work and/or tests in statistics and in Research Design and Methods in International Relations. The details of these requirements are set out in the Course Handbook. The examination shall take place on the Friday of eighth week of Trinity Term, the exact time to be set by the examiners.

  • 3. The examiners must also be satisfied that candidates have satisfactorily completed their designated course of research training, and candidates must submit to the examiners all coursework completed as a part of their research methods training. The coursework requirements, including administrative arrangements and dates of submission, are set out in the Student Handbook. Candidates should note that the Student Handbook will set dates for the submission (and, where necessary resubmission) of work for individual research modules.

  • 4. Candidates who fail theeither writtenor examination partboth of the first-year examinationwritten examinations will normally be allowed to retake itthe failed paper(s) before the beginning of the next academic year. Candidates who fail the Research Design Proposal or the coursework submitted for the research modules may resubmit their work by the last Friday of August following the end of Trinity Full Term .

Final Examination

No candidate shall enter the final examination unless hethey or she hashave already passed the first-year examination or has been granted exemption by the Graduate Studies Committee as stated above. In the final examination every candidate must offer:

  • 1.  A thesis of not more than 30,000 words, excluding bibliography, to be deliveredsubmitted to the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford,electronically by noon on Monday in the first week of the Trinity Full Term in which the examination is to be taken. TwoOn hardsubmitting copiesthe thesis, candidates will also be required to submit an online declaration of authorship. The examiners shall exclude from consideration any part of the thesis, together with a copy on CD, must be accompanied by a separate signed declaration that itwhich is not the candidate's own work exceptor wherewhich otherwisehas indicatedbeen or will be submitted to satisfy the requirements of another course, and thatthe itexaminers hasshall nothave previouslypower beento require the candidate to produce for their inspection the work so submitted for assessment, either at Oxford or atto anotherbe institutionsubmitted. After the examination process is complete, each successful candidate must deposit one hardbound copy of their thesis in the Bodleian Library.

  • 2. Two subject papers taken from the approved list of optionaloption subjects in International Relations, as published in the Student Handbook by the International Relations Graduate Studies Committee on Monday of first week of Michaelmas Term each academic year to apply to candidates being examined in the Trinity Term of thatthe first year. Candidates should note that the International Relations subjects available in any particular year will depend on the availability of teaching resources. Not all subjects will be available in every year and restrictions may be placed on the number of candidates permitted to offer certain subjects in any particular year. CandidatesIn exceptional circumstances, candidates may, with the special permission of the International Relations Graduate Studies Committee, offertake subjects beyond the approved list of International Relations subjects. Applications must be made by the last Friday of the Trinity Term preceding that in which the examination is to be taken, and must be supported by the student’s supervisor. Supervisors should ensure that applications are submitted as early as possible so that if approval is not given, the candidate has sufficient time to choose an alternative.

  • 3. Candidates must present themselves for viva voce examination when requested by the examiners. The examiners shall not normally fail any candidate without inviting him or herthem to attend such an examination. However, in the case of a failing mark in threetwo or more of a candidate's final examination papers, the examiners shall not be obliged to ask the candidate for a viva.

    The examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination.