Are you fascinated by international relations? Do you want to become a specialist in this field? Then this Master's degree is what you are looking for.
Within the one-year Master's degree in International Relations, you choose one of the following six Master's tracks:
Internship at the Centre for European Security Studies (CESS)
The experience of doing a placement demonstrated my ability to adapt to different demands and environments, and produce quality output even when under pressure. In addition to this, I was able to learn more about the intellectual element of CESS itself – namely SSR (Security Sector Reform)..
By also being able to visit these countries, I was further inundated with some of the security challenges faced by the surrounding regions and what measures were being taken to alleviate the issues. The internship also allowed me to explore a different strand of an area of familiarity (Burundi), ultimately assisting my thesis-writing process. On a side note, during the internship itself, a letter I submitted to The Economist (on what constituted a “state”, whilst mentioning Burundi) was published on their website and in that week’s print edition.
Without a doubt, I enjoyed traveling abroad to two different countries and representing CESS at two High-Level events. It gave me an unparalleled insight into the lifestyle of a “high-flyer”, proven by my having to work on the train to Schiphol and even on the aircraft itself! But aside from the trips, I enjoyed working as part of an accepted member of a close-knit group of people. This allowed me to contribute constructively to the teams ideas and objectives. Read more
The master degree at the University of Groningen is fun and challenging.
The reason why I applied for the master in International Relations, Security track at the University of Groningen is because it aligned with my interests and it had a system that allowed students who had BA degrees from Universities outside Europe to apply. The master degree at the University of Groningen is fun and challenging. It is made up of research seminars, lectures about IR theory as well as a 20.000 to 25.000-word thesis and an internship at an international institution like the European Union, a Government Ministry or Embassy.
If I was to summarize the programme in three words they would be challenging exciting and intense. With good time management I can complete all my work for the week by 4 to 5 hours per day, including weekends, but this depends on the spread of your assignments because some students are given two assignments to complete in one week so naturally they spend more time on their work in that given week.
Over all this masters at the University of Groningen is the best fit for me and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is passionate about studying International Relations.
"The master is challenging, deepening and multidisciplinary.”
My name is Janna Bots and I am a 22-year-old master's student International Relations and International Organizations (IRIO) with a specialization in International Political Economy (IPE). The reason I chose this master is because I have always been interested in the relationship between politics and economics and how politics is affected by and affects the economy.
To summarize the master in three words; challenging, deepening and multidisciplinary. The master broadens your knowledge about the theories and topics related to IR and especially teaches you to think critically. The specialisation in IPE offers me the right combination of global issues seen from an economic as well as political perspective and teaches you the interconnectivity that exists between the economic realm and the political realm in International Affairs.
The reason I would recommend the master IRIO at the University of Groningen is because it gives you the possibility to broaden your knowledge and explore yourself as a researcher in IR, while at the same time spending time abroad or at a ministry, doing an internship. Besides, Groningen is a wonderful student city and the best if you want to study in the Netherlands!
Project Assistant at the International Organization for Migration
After finalizing his Master in International Relations, RUG alumnus Sander IJmker moved to The Hague and now works as Project Assistant at the International Organization for Migration (IOM – the UN Migration Agency) country office in the Netherlands. He talks about his work and how his studies and time at the University of Groningen contributed to his current position.
The programme forces you to critically think about the role the economy plays in international as well as local politics
My name is Iris Staalman and I study International Relations with a Master's track in International Political Economy (IPE). I previously obtained my bachelor in Psychology, with a focus on social and cultural psychology. Curiously I was never very interested in politics when I was younger. During my bachelor however, I went on exchange to Uppsala, Sweden, and took a course in development theory and colonial legacy. Here my interest grew, particularly concerning colonial history and its effects on international politics today. Career-wise I am looking to play a role in the development of the African continent, through improving the international trade relations of its countries.
The IR master is a good programme for those with strong opinions as well as those who are still looking for their voice. Debate is constantly present in our classes and in the discipline in general. The programme highlights many different perspectives, none of which you necessarily need to agree with. This is one of the things I enjoy most in our programme, because I believe interacting with different opinions can teach you a lot more than only encountering similar-mindedness.
Due to my previous education it was necessary for me to follow the pre-master programme before starting the masters. Initially I had intended to specialise in International Security, but during the pre-masters it became clear to me that if I wanted to focus on development in ways other than foreign aid, I needed to look at international trade. Therefore I decided to specialise in IPE. This track does not merely teach you about the economic system that is in place, it also shows the various perspectives on IPE that are present, it questions the morality of it and forces you to critically think about the role the economy plays in international as well as local politics.
I wrote my thesis on visual securitization
After gaining my Bachelor's degree in International Relations in Groningen, I decided to continue on to the Master's degree programme in International Relations at the same University. I was really interested in the programme, which includes two research seminars that students can choose themselves, as well as the option of doing a placement.
During my Master’s programme, I’ve focused on international security issues, as well as Dutch foreign policy. This combination enabled me to do a placement in the policy department of the Dutch embassy in Rome, in the Politics & Press cluster. This instructive and exciting placement allowed me to apply in practice the knowledge I acquired in both my Bachelor’s and my Master’s programmes in International Relations.
The expertise present in the Groningen degree programme, in terms of national as well as international security studies, was very helpful during the process of writing my Master’s thesis. I wrote my thesis on ‘visual securitization’, the way images can be used to define something as an existential threat. I’ve never regretted choosing Groningen to study for my Master’s in International Relations with a track in International Security. The combination of content-rich, small-scale research seminars and the opportunity to apply the knowledge I’ve acquired during a placement was exactly what I was looking for.
Junior Consultant at Hiemstra & de Vries
My interest in social and political issues led me to pursue the track International Political Economy of the Master International Relations. Specifically, the role of a changing government in its interaction with society and the private sector is something that fascinates me. This has been a focus during my studies at global and European levels. It is also something I find back in my work. This time at the local level.
An advantage of the Master's track in International Political Economy is that you can put together your own programme. The programme is interdisciplinary, which has taught me to approach issues from a legal, political and economic angle. You learn in a relatively short time to find your feet in all sorts of topics. In my case ranging from the European Union to international political economy, political power and democracy. You also have the opportunity to gain practical experience. I did an internship at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok. Working at an Embassy gave me insight into the daily issues in international affairs and the role of various players in the field.
I currently work at Hiemstra & De Vries. This is a consultancy agency that carries out assignments in the public sector. Mostly, for municipalities and provinces, but also for health-care and educational organizations. This year, I was involved in projects with quite a diverse character. Ranging from projects with a retrenchment character to projects assisting governmental organizations with the transition of care to municipalities.
I really enjoy this job. For me, the dynamic of different projects, focus on social and political issues, and being in contact with people, is a perfect combination.
Junior Policy Officer at the Dutch House of Representatives
I work as a junior policy officer for the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands. I support different MPs in the areas of development aid and foreign affairs. I like the fact that I work on current issues that you hear in the news and get to meet interesting people with various different jobs. I also like the fact that development aid is the main focus of my work, as it was during my studies.
I chose the Master’s track in International Relations and International Organization because it offered a good combination of international relations and politics, as well as paying plenty of attention to development aid, which I am very interested in. Furthermore, the track covers very diverse topics, and it is very useful to be able to learn another language alongside English.
During the track I learned most from my placement, which taught me how to put the theory into practice. I also learned practical skills like writing reports, which I still use in my current job.
I hope to continue working in development aid, maybe at a non-governmental organization. I also hope to work abroad for a while.
Child Protection Officer at UNICEF Indonesia
I have always been interested in international relations, since I was exposed to people from various backgrounds from a young age. When I was 17, I was chosen to study as an exchange student in the USA for one year. There, I was involved in events in the fields of international politics and development. While discussing various topics with people from all over the world, I realized that if we want to solve the world's problems, we have to act together.
Placement at the United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone
I choose to do a placement in support of the Transition Support Team (TST) of the United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone. My task was to support the TST in the daily management of the Transition Initiative Fund (TIF). The main objective of the Transition Initiative Fund (TIF) is to support the implementation of the Local Government Act (2004) and in particular build the capacity of the Local Councils to deliver their broad mandate of decentralized service delivery.
Personally I wanted to find out if I was equipped to working and living in a developing country, which is why I ended up in Sierra Leone. The mayor lesson I learned was that you are the only person who can create the circumstances wherein your internship will be rewarding.
Diversity can be difficult; I attended a workshop with all our program officers; when asked who believed it wasn’t possible for a women to be raped within marriage, half of the participants raised their hands. And this is just one example of the cultural differences that I faced. But it was also amazing to be living in an entirely different country and culture, working in such a diverse environment and learning that I could actually be an asset to an organization. I learned so much from the people I met, both through work and personally. Read more
The courses are challenging, but at the same time give you the opportunity to delve deeper into your topic of interest."
The Master International Relations offers six different tracks, and I chose East Asian Studies. This means that my Master is focused on International Relations in East Asia, but also that we look at East Asia from an Asian perspective instead of a Western perspective. I find it very interesting and I am enthusiastic about my Master: it is challenging and it forces you to look critically toward your own perspective..
The courses are challenging, but at the same time give you the
opportunity to delve deeper into your topic of interest. Also, the
courses are a preparation for your thesis, which I find really
Within the Master’s programme, there is a lot of freedom of choice: in the second semester we have the option to study abroad in East Asia, to do an internship or to follow another research seminar. You are supposed to work hard for the Master: besides taking part in the intensive classes, it takes a lot of time to prepare the seminars and study the theories of International Relations as well. Nonetheless, I do not find the study load is too heavy: due to good time management it is possible to do something extra besides the study.
I have chosen for the University of Groningen because their Master’s programme allows me to expand my knowledge about the Asian region in general, in addition to my knowledge about China. Also, I am really interested in International Relations, so for me this programme brings together the best of both worlds. I am originally not from Groningen, but I feel at home here. It is a friendly, cozy city, “gezellig” as we call it in Dutch. The city centre is small, which allows you to bike around and get to know the city very easily. I am very happy to study here, and I would definitely recommend the Master if you are interested in International Relations and East Asia!
Are you a non-EU/EEA student from Mexico, Russia, China, India, or Indonesia, starting a Master's programme at the Faculty of Arts? If so, you could qualify for the University of Groningen OTS/Talent Grant, Faculty of Arts, a partial scholarship which helps you to finance your studies.
Read more about the OTS/Talent Grant Faculty of Arts
Are you interested in a research oriented career? Please also check our Research Master's Programme of International Relations.