Political Science and International Relations

Political Science and International Relations

Duration: 2 years
Languages of Instruction: Russian
Mode of study: Full-Time
Field of study: 41.04.04 Political Sciences
Programme name: Political Science and International Relations
Special conditions: tuition fee waivers available
- Master degree diploma “Political Sciences” (MSSES, Russia)
- Master of Arts in Political Science and International Relations (University of Manchester, UK)
The programme teaches students to understand present-day international relations from the point of view of current political theory. Students acquire academic knowledge and applied tools for their own political research based on regulatory grounds and available methods exercised by the contemporary political science.

The tools provided to the students help them understand current international events caused by globalization, cultural diversity, global inequality, by the crisis of multilateral regimes governing the world trade, international movement of capital, immigrants and refugees. The programme focus is on the human aspects of international relations: global migration, international civil society, world society, multiculturalism, identity communities, political conflicts.

The programme is delivered by leading experts in political theory and theory of international relations, and internationally recognized political analysts.

The programme students do their research by choosing topics for essays and dissertations that match their scientific and professional interests. In recent years, students have written Master Degree theses regarding the political function of humor in diplomacy, on international volunteer movement, the gender aspects of political processes, students' political values, the impact of political institutions on economic growth, and the migration policy of European states.

Students take part in international conferences and international summer schools. This gives them an opportunity to become a part of the professional community and engage in international research.

Target Audience of the Programme

  • Bachelors and graduates of humanitarian specialties (political sciences, philosophy, sociology, cultural studies, history) after completing a Bachelor Degree programme often possess general knowledge, while the programme helps to analyze and understand the present-day international agenda.
  • Language graduates who are fluent in English and are interested in international politics obtain a profession in which they can apply their knowledge of a foreign language and start an international research career.

  • Professional journalists, who lack knowledge in political science and who feel a need to understand present-day international relations, get an opportunity to become experts in international politics.
  • International private and public organizations employees expand their horizons, establish international contacts and receive promotions.
  • Embassy staff apply to the Program to improve their overall competence and understanding of international politics.

  • Researchers specializing in international regional studies and regional studies (specialists in Iranian, Japanese, Chinese studies) who have a profound knowledge of their region and want to understand how to fit this knowledge into a global picture. The programme helps students to see the global aspect of international politics.

Programme Peculiarities

  1. The relevant context of researches regarding contemporary international politics: students explore the same issues that are relevant today for the UK, USA, Germany, France and other Western countries.
  2. Programme lectures are practicing researchers, many of whom write articles for English-language professional publications. Lectures have established connections with international research centers, they help students expand their international network of contacts. Becoming a part of an academic community stimulates graduates to further develop their research careers.
  3. Training takes place in strict accordance with the UK educational standards. Students’ graduation papers are double-checked and further evaluated by an external assessor from the University of Manchester. This ensures academic integrity, criticality, and objectivity of the assessment.
  4. Students choose topics for their course and graduation papers according to their professional and academic interests. Students receive individual recommendations from lecturers, which allows them to immerse deeply in the topic of their research, communicating with the best experts in international relations.
  5. Students take part in summer schools in Manchester, where they study quality methods, work in archives, explore the UK experience in applied research and adapt it on their own research.
  6. Training is arranged in the evenings, which makes it possible to combine studies with work.
  7. The main form of reporting after each course is writing an academic essay. Upon completion of the Program, each student shall write and submit for defense a Master Degree dissertation on the relevant topic.
  8. Intensive speaking and writing practice in English, including the study of academic writing standards. Students can write their dissertations in English.
  9. Students attend conferences where they can meet experts and expand professional contacts network.
  10. The Shaninka library possesses unique information resources on political science and the theory of international relations, which no one will find elsewhere in Russia.
  11. Students undergo practical training at the RANEPA Center for Theoretical and Applied Political Science and attend seminars delivered by invited international researchers.
  12. Graduates of the program receive two diplomas - a UK degree of the Master of Arts in Political Science and International Relations and a Master Degree diploma in Political Science from the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences.

Structure of the Training

Programme Structure

The programme rests on academic theory and research practice. In the first and second semesters, students study the general theory of political science and philosophy, move on to the theory of international relations, in the third semester they study courses on nationalism and cultural diversity and write their Master Degree dissertation.

Some courses are compulsory, and students choose the remaining courses independently. The compulsory courses embrace “Political Philosophy of the 20th century”, “Theory of International Relations”, “Fundamentals of Political Analysis”, and “Comparative Politics”. The first two courses focus on problems and standardization of academic theory of political science. The other two focus on tools that can be used to explore specific cases, countries and regions.

1st  year of studies

1st  semester. Introduction to political science, its theoretical foundations and methods:
  • Political Philosophy of the 20th Century
  • Policy Research Methodology

2nd semester. The major program-related disciplines regarding theory, evolution of international relations and the fundamentals of political analysis:
  • International Relations Theories
  • History of International Relations
  • Contemporary Political Analysis

2nd year of studies

3rd  semester. Optional disciplines focused on one of the humanitarian aspects of international relations:
  • Cultural Diversity as a Subject of Contemporary Political Science
  • Political Problems of European Integration
  • The Nation State in Globalization
  • Nationalism as a Political Ideology
  • Marxism and Theories of International Relations
  • Orientalism and Postcolonial Studies
  • Authoritarianism and Democracy in Comparative Political Studies
  • Mass media and World Politics
  • Historical Memory and Politics

4th semester. Writing a dissertation, consultations with a scientific supervisor, defending a dissertation synopsis

The English Language

Particular attention is paid to intensive speaking and writing practice in English, including the study of UK standards of academic writing.

Written Reports

For each course, students shall pass a written exam and write an essay. The scope of the written examination answer is 1 000 words, the scope of the essay is 3 500 words. Students choose a topic on the course subject, based on their own interests, coordinate it with the lecturer. An essay in English practice is an independent authentic academic text, which is based on a sufficient range of sources, primarily in English. Ideally, this should be a scientific article ready for publication in a scientific journal.

To write an essay, the following activities are arranged:
- Offline group interactive classes, where the lecturer shares with students his/her own research experience, provides guidance in relevant research topics, informs about research methods, discusses the most important problems of the course with students.
- Individual offline and online consultations with the lecturer.
- Independent work of students in the library.
At the end of the training program, all students write dissertations. They choose a topic based on their interests and career plans. The dissertation synopsis is preliminary discussed at a general meeting of lecturers and students. Unlike the usual practice in Russia, this discussion is lively and informal, yet at the same time it is a work-related discourse. During these discussions you get constructive feedback. The purpose of such meetings is to help student write a really valuable text, rather than a formal paper.

Dissertations are defended in absentia. The dissertation is read and assessed by the academic supervisor adviser. Then other program lecturers and an external examiner check it. As a result of this review, the dissertation rating may change; it may be accepted or rejected. The final result is approved by the University of Manchester.

All submitted written graduation papers are checked for plagiarism. If plagiarism is detected, the work will be rejected. In case of repeated plagiarism, the student may be sent down from the School.
Studying at MSSES makes you do your best. I have never read so many books in my specialty as during this year. And most importantly, the lists of literature contained exactly those books that I wanted to read. And the wonderful lectures heighten your interest. At Shaninka, my academic interests have finally taken shape and were systemized. Also, the “International Politics” program has become truly international for me - Great Britain, Belgium, the USA, and Moldova accepted me as a Master Degree holder from Shaninka. It was cool in MSSES. I found everything I was looking for: an interesting team of lecturers, an amazing library, excellent classmates. Shaninka gave me the opportunity to see the world.
Ivan Kochedykov, 2015 graduate

Summer School   in Manchester

Based on the training progress, students attend a summer school at the University of Manchester, UK. There they take a course on qualitative methods, work in archives, study methods how to take interviews, familiarize themselves with the UK experience related to the applied research practices, draft a Dissertation Research Design.
Shaninka became a revelation for me that changed my perception of scientific and analytical work. After graduation, I realized that I became much more difficult on the inside. To feel differently in the end is the primary and most important result of my road taken jointly with the MSSES.
Nikita Smagin, graduate of 2018, TASS correspondent in Iran

Training Programme

Compulsory Courses

  • Political Philosophy of the 20th Century
  • International Relations Theory
  • Fundamentals of Political Analysis
  • History of International Relations

Elective Courses

  • Cultural Diversity as a Subject of Contemporary Political Science
  • Political Problems of European Integration
  • The Nation State in Globalization
  • Nationalism as a Political Ideology
  • Marxism and Theories of International Relations
  • Orientalism and Postcolonial Studies
  • Authoritarianism and Democracy in Comparative Political Studies
  • Mass Media and World Politics
  • Historical Memory and Politics

Foreign Language

English for General Academic Purposes

What we do is science. Since the times of Aristotle and Thucydides, efforts to arrange relations between people regarding power and public wellbeing in a better way, how to ensure equality and justice in these relations have been understood as a science. Referring to international politics, achieving and maintaining peace can be called a global general wellbeing.

First of all, everything is real here, in MSSES. It means, they deliver education, and not just award diplomas for money. Our lecturers prepare for each class, and also carefully read all student papers. Moreover, students’ papers are read by another lecturers from the faculty and by an external examiner in England. They read them meticulously and agree on the final grade. This is a primary process in our work. There are no such strict norms and rules for assessment elsewhere, at least in Moscow you will surely not find anything similar.

The programme does not provide for a large number of on-campus classes. Unlike most Soviet universities, the primary task of the student here is not to write down a lecture, word for word, and then retell it at the exam. The key result by which your personal work is assessed is your own essay, which you write while sitting in the library, asking questions and arguing with colleagues in group sessions. In fact, it is much more difficult than writing down every word of a lecture and then reproducing other people's thoughts. But it's worth it. After all, this is the only way to become a real expert in your field.
Vasily Zharkov, Academic Supervisor of the Political Science and International Relations Program

Alumni Career Paths

Graduates receive a UK degree of the Master of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Manchester (UK) and a Russian Master Degree diploma in Political Science. A UK Master Degree is an essential step for those who are willing to obtain a PhD degree abroad and to work in Western universities and international organizations. Already during the training our students get promoted or find a new job in a higher position.

The Political Science and International Relations program provides students with professional research and analysis skills, making them valuable contributors to large international companies, civil society organizations, and government agencies.

Students develop their English proficiency to a level sufficient for work in large international organizations.

Researchers get the opportunity to reach the international level in their own research. Throughout the training, students release 8 essays and a dissertation, which can later be published as articles in academic journals or become the basis for their future dissertation in Russia or abroad.

Graduates’ careers:

  • Researchers continue their scientific career in Russia or abroad.
  • Many graduates start teaching at universities and
  • Work in international organizations where analysis and writing skills are on demand
  • Some graduates continue their diplomatic careers and work in embassies
  • They become political experts

They work as international journalists and provide in depth analysis of the world's events. Reputable Western publishers are willing to cooperate with trained specialists who, in addition to journalistic experience, are also well-versed in international politics.
Shaninka has not just given me a good qualification. It has become an important part of my life. Here I found like-minded people, learned a lot in addition to the curriculum and, in the end, even came to a rather radical change in the scope of my studies - I started teaching at a University.

I was lucky to meet many people who became my instructors and friends here. And the peculiarity of MSSES is, perhaps, that learning never ends - it teaches you to learn and this process can no longer be stopped. But even more important is that Shaninka teaches us to think and learn freely. I learned quite a lot about modern international relations and political philosophy. This added well to the educational tracks I already had. It is also essential that I saw how the British higher education system works in Russia and gained experience of studying in it. In practice, I have lived the principles that underlie it. This is now a crucial academic experience for me as an instructor. It is very important that I also learned how to bring the theoretical ideas to practical use.

Denis Grekov, 2016 graduate, senior lecturer of the Department of Humanities in the Institute for Social Sciences of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA).


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