IS KCL or UCL better for International Relations Master's programmes? Watch

nkmatrix
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I have offers from UCL in International Public Policy MSc and Democracy & Comparative Politics MSc...and from KCL in International Relations MA. I am not sure which I should take (I would probably take the IPP at UCL over the Comparative Politics), because though UCL is highly ranked I don't see it talked about much in relation to International Politics/Relations-type degrees. I have heard of King's War Department, but am worried that the school overall is less well-known and well-respected within the UK and abroad. Can anyone offer me advice as to which programmes are most well-regarded?
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kt1993
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Hello! My name is Kate and I currently attend KCL for the MA in Terrorism Security and Society. First of all, congratulations on your offers - both KCL and UCL are great schools! I also received offers from both schools, but settled on KCL because of the programme and the international reputation of the War Studies department. In terms of the degrees you are considering, the IR MA at King's is relatively unmatched in terms of providing a superior education. I have many friends in the IR programme, as well as friends from past years who did this programme, and the vast majority are either continuing their education via PhD programmes at KCL, or are well situated in a 'dream job' atmosphere, which tells you a lot about the education provided at KCL.

However, something to definitely consider is the type of programme you are looking for. An IPP is inherently different than an IR degree. IR at KCL is heavily focused on international theory (realism, liberalism, etc.) whereas an IPP may be more focused on policy formation and implementation (I don't know this programme, but I would recommend knowing the differences!). You may be able to take policy-driven optional courses at King's, but the IR core course is essentially IR theory (we all get to take 2 optional modules alongside our core, so there is definitely possibility here).

In terms of what programme is most well-regarded, I don't know that you can go wrong. I chose KCL specifically for the design of the Terrorism/Counterterrorism programme and for the international reputation of the War Studies department and as a student from the United States, I wanted to make sure people from back home would know the type of education I was receiving (KCL is one of the most well known in the US for anything intelligence/IR related). I would suggest choosing the programme that interests you most! I hope this was helpful.
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fzbe
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Hey nkmatrix I am a current MA International Relations student at KCL. I can only speak from my experience about KCL and not UCL. The International Relations course is a one yearlong core course within which there is a compulsory module on the theories methods and concepts related to IR that you can then apply to your dissertation research. Alongside this module you are able to take a variety of courses from the War Studies department and a variety of institutes such as: China, Brazil, North America and the African Leadership Centre. For me the diversity and range of courses on offer was very appealing I have studied: insurgencies and counterinsurgencies, migration and conflict and African civil wars in the 1990s.

With regards to the reputation and recognition of KCL’s War Studies department it is highly respected in terms of employment and it's academic research and teaching is internationally recognised. The professors are excellent and incredibly well read. Within the department there is a dedicated career advisor that sends us a weekly newsletters of all the upcoming career events and guest lectures that the department hosts alongside this we are informed of the latest internships and job openings in fields such as: development, security, defence and think tanks. From the networking events and career talks I have attended employers have respected the KCL degree and I have often found that they themselves undertook an MA in the War Studies department. This is a testament to the fact that the degree is well regarded in their respective fields. The high number of international students makes classes incredibly interesting as you gain new insights and understandings as well as challenging your misconceptions.This mix of international and British students gives the course a truly international feel. I think it also affirms this sense that the course is internationally respected as many of my peers will return to their respective home countries and seek employment.

While prestige and respect is a measure to decide your postgraduate degree I would also say that it is important to consider your areas of interest, look over the departmental teaching staff and the opportunities that the War Studies department has to offer in order to help make an informed decision. Perhaps attend an open day or email the department if you want to know more as they will be happy to answer your questions. Good luck deciding!
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nkmatrix
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Thank you to both of you for your suggestions. I was already aware of the prestige of the War Studies department in particular and of UCL in general worldwide. I guess that I was also hoping to hear from someone at UCL about the IPP programme and what advantages it might have in comarison to KCL. In any case, the information and advice you both have provided is invaluable. I greatly appreciate your taking out your time to write thoughtful and detailed answers that go beyond what I can read online in summaries of King's and its War Studies department.
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Prebbington
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Hi, thanks for your insights from KCL. I applied for the MA in Intelligence & Security Studies at KCL and for the Mlitt in International Security Studies at St. Andrews. Right now I´m hesitating which one I´d chose. Did you guys hear anything about the two programmes? The atmoshphere in St. Andrews is amazing but KCL is probably better in terms of employability due to the location in London. Could you offer me some advice?
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