University of Cambridge: Programme Specifications

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1 University of Cambridge: Programme Specifications Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this programme specification. At the time of publication, the programme specification has been approved by the relevant teaching Faculty or Department. It is, however, natural for courses to develop and change over time and we reserve the right, without notice, to withdraw, update or amend this programme specification at any time. MASTER of PHILOSOPHY in INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS / CERTIFICATE OF POSTGRADUATE STUDY (1+1+2) 1 Awarding body University of Cambridge 2 Teaching Institution Centre of International Studies 3 Accreditation details None 4 Name of Final award Master of Philosophy / Certificate of Postgraduate Study 5 Programme Title International Relations International Relations (European Studies) 6 UCAS Code None 7 Benchmark Statement None 8 Qualifications Framework Level R 9a Date of revision 26 May b Last Reviewed 26 May 2009 Educational aims of the programme The M.Phil in International Relations (1+1+2) is a two-year full-time course offered by the Centre of International Studies. It is designed to meet the needs of all those who wish to enhance their understanding of IR at a graduate level. It is primarily aimed at those who wish to embark upon an academic career, in the first instance through pursuing doctoral research. The programme aims to: i) offer an overview of the academic study of International Relations; ii) provide a critical understanding of the international system and methods for studying it; iii) equip students with an understanding of the particular contributions offered by such diverse approaches as: International Theory International Politics (students choose between options that may include the Politics of European Integration, China in the international system and the Middle East and North Africa) International Economics Foreign Policy and Security Studies International Law and International Organisation International History Page 1 of 5

2 Programme Outcomes Knowledge and Understanding By the end of the course participants will have: 1. Developed a critical view of the contribution made by the subject of International Relations, and its related disciplines, to social science more broadly conceived and to practice. 2. Have become familiar with some of the main themes of the contemporary analysis of International Relations. 3. Have tested their ability to produce a piece of advanced scholarship in conformity with the scientific methods, research techniques, standards of argument and accepted style of presentation of an academic discipline. Teaching and Learning Methods 1-3 are developed through the lectures, and seminars associated with the various course options, of which students study four; and by writing four 3,000 word essays, one for each of their chosen course options, in preparation for the examination. Research training in Year 1 is provided by a special course on Thesis design and source materials in International Studies. In Year 2 it is provided by the Joint Schools Postgraduate Social Science Research Methods Course, and the Centre s course on Research Methods in International Studies (also followed by first year PhD students on a 1+3 track). Assessment The course-work is examined in one of two ways: either (i) one assessed essay of 5-6,000 words or (ii) a invigilated paper at the end of Lent term with candidates asked to answer two questions from each course they have taken. The courses have to be passed to a standard satisfying the degree committee before proceeding to the dissertation, which is of up to 30,000 words; an oral examination may also be required. Success in the taught courses, and the research proposal, qualifies a student for a Certificate of Postgraduate Study, but only in the event that they do not proceed to obtain the MPhil degree after Year 2. Skills and other attributes By the end of the course the students should: 4. have developed an informed critical approach to primary sources and/or existing debate or literature; 5. be able to write concise, analytical essays on key issues in International Relations. 6. be able to present a critical idea or argument to peers; 7. have produced an extended, clearly-written piece of scholarly work; Page 2 of 5

3 8. have advanced study skills such as critical reading, critical analysis, use of an academic reference library Teaching and Learning 4 and 5 are developed through individual supervision, lectures, seminars and occasional special seminars on particular study skills. 6 is developed through seminar presentations for the course options and in thesis presentation seminars. 7 is developed through thesis preparation Assessment 4 and 5 are assessed by the compulsory essay examination. 4, 7 and 8 are assessed by a 6000 word research proposal at the end of Year 1, and by the Joint Schools Research Methods course, and then the dissertation of up to 30,000 word in Year 2; 6 is assessed formatively by feedback from seminar presentations. Programme structure Michaelmas Term Week 0 Introductory Lectures Week 1 Lectures begin Weeks 2 to 8 Lectures and seminars for each course option Lent Term Weeks 0 to 3 Lectures and seminars continue Week 4 Seminars only Week 5 Revision Seminars Week 6 Independent revision week no class teaching to be scheduled Weeks 7 & 8 Examinations Easter Term Preliminary research for thesis Year 2 Michaelmas Term Students must attend: Joint Schools programme in generic social science research methods CIS course on Research Methods in International Studies Research Symposium in International Studies Page 3 of 5

4 Lent Term Students must attend: Joint Schools programme in generic social science research methods CIS course on Research Methods in International Studies Research Symposium in International Studies Easter Term Completion of final write-up of thesis 30 th June deadline for submission of thesis Requirements for the award of the degree There are two components for the successful award of the MPhil: i) The passing of examinations for the four course options. Candidates may also be selected at random for an oral examination. This has no bearing on the marks awarded but is carried out to verify that take home exams are the candidate s own work ii) a thesis of up to 30,000 words in length, for which an oral exam may also be required. Grades awarded are High Performance (First Class undergraduate standard extrapolated for a further two years study), Pass (2.1 extrapolated). Candidates must pass each part of the examination separately. A Certificate of Postgraduate Education will be awarded only if the candidate: Stops at the end of Year 1, which has been successfully completed Fails the MPhil but has successfully completed Year 1 Students taking at least three of the named European options will be deemed to have taken an MPhil in International Relations (European Studies). Learning Support All students are members of a College as well as the Centre and have access to learning support from both College and University. The College Tutor for Graduates will play a role in induction, support and guidance. Within the Centre each student is allocated an academic supervisor; students who have a supervisor whose primary affiliation is not the Centre also have a course advisor. The Director and Deputy Director are available to see students by appointment. There is also a Student Welfare Officer and a Computer Officer. Page 4 of 5

5 Evaluating and improving the quality and standards of learning The Degree Committee deals with registration of students and recommends supervisors, assessors and examiners to the Board of Graduate Studies. Each MPhil has a designated Course Director who is responsible for the overall management of the course. The Degree Committee delegates MPhil activities such as approval of change of thesis title, or changes in supervision arrangements to the Course Director and/or the Chief Examiner. Such matters are reported to the Degree Committee to note. Each MPhil programme elects a student representative, (there is also a PhD rep). As part of the course review students are asked to complete detailed questionnaires on both the taught courses and on thesis supervision, and attend a course review meeting at which they can talk to Centre staff about their experiences, positive and negative, of the course. Both forms of review are considered by the Course Director and Teaching and Learning Committee when they plan teaching for subsequent years. The Centre participates in the University s quality assurance and enhancement system: 1) External Examining the MPhil has an external examiner, who submits a report which is considered by the Degree Committee and its Teaching and Learning Committee. Action in response to reports includes, where appropriate, revisions or adjustments to the programme and its delivery. 2) Course approval: the Centre is required to obtain the approval of the Board of Graduate Studies and the General Board s Education Committee before any significant changes to courses are made. 3) General Board Internal Review: all the Centre s activities, including the MPhil are subject to review by the University s General Board. Employment Preparation for employment is provided in the opportunities for acquisition of relevant skills outlined above. See the University policy of employment skills: Students may be given Leave to Continue for a PhD if they achieve high marks in both the essay examinations and the dissertation, and a High Performance in at least on part, Each application to leave to continue will be considered on an invidual basis, although in practice competition for funding means that students with an average of less than 70% may well not be successful. General information: N/A Page 5 of 5

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