International Relations

Oxford is one of the leading centres in Europe for graduate work and advanced research in International Relations.

Why study International Relations at Oxford?

Career success. Oxford has a distinguished tradition of training university teachers and academic researchers. In the past 20 years around 90 Oxford students have gone on to teach the subject in universities across the world. Of the 19 IR doctoral students who have finished since October 2012, 13 have already gone on to post-doctoral or academic positions, 5 into the policy world, and one to law school. Oxford IR allows you to bring depth and distance to the analysis of many current problems of global public policy. The heads of many think-tanks, including the Council on Foreign Relations, Chatham House and the International Institute for Strategic Studies are former IR doctoral students, as are many high-level figures in government, diplomacy and international organisations across the world. A complete list of successful theses in International Relations since 1971 may be found here.

A strong commitment to masters teaching and supervision. The small and highly selective two-year MPhil provides high-quality advanced training in the academic study of International Relations. It is taught in small classes, supported by supervision. It includes a 20-week first-year course combining international history and IR theory; broad research training; two chosen optional subjects studied in the second year; and a thesis of up to 30,000 words. The MPhil is both a route to the doctorate and a qualification in its own right.

A vibrant research community. Oxford IR organises regular colloquia and workshops for its graduate students, visiting researchers and academic staff. Doctoral students are encouraged to present their work regularly and support is also given on getting published, presenting at conferences and applying for jobs. Doctoral students also meet weekly amongst themselves and share their work in progress with their peers. Visiting academics are fully integrated into these events. Recent and current visitors include Amitav Acharya, Martha Finnemore, John Ikenberry and Deborah Larson.

A global perspective. Oxford IR brings together high-quality training in political science approaches with a commitment to the rigorous use of a plurality of methods and to understanding different national and intellectual traditions of thought. There are extensive opportunities for study of major regions and areas of the world, and the global study of political ideas and of IR theory beyond the West is an expanding research theme.

Top-quality teachers and cutting-edge researchers. There are twenty core IR faculty: Richard Caplan, Martin Ceadel, Anne Deighton, Louise Fawcett, Rosemary Foot, Todd Hall, Sudhir Hazareesingh, Andrew Hurrell, Dominic Johnson, Edward Keene, Yuen Foong Khong, Neil MacFarlane, Walter Mattli, Karolina Milewicz, Karma Nabulsi, Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Derek Penslar, Philip Robins, Duncan Snidal and Jennifer Welsh. All of the major sub-fields and a very wide range of substantive topics are covered. The ‘English School’ concern with international and global order is strongly represented, increasingly combined with institutionalist analysis of governance and institutions and international political economy. There is a long-standing focus on global justice and we encourage research at the intersection of international law, international relations and political theory. An emphasis on history has been a distinguishing feature of IR in Oxford, and Oxford has recently created a Centre for the Study of Global History.