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International Relations and Security Studies

Studying International Relations and Security Studies at Waikato includes aspects of international law and trade, and focuses on particular regions of concern (notably, the Middle-East and South-East Asia). A wide range of different length dissertations and theses can be undertaken allowing you to focus on an area of special interest.

Joanna Clarke

Bachelor of Arts with Honours
Joanna grew up in the Waikato and knew that the University had a great reputation, so her decision to study political science there was an easy one.


Like most states, New Zealand depends for its security and prosperity on regional and international stability. Its political, economic and societal well-being can be affected by, for example, major power relations; global financial crisis; and the rise of violent extremist non-state actors and the responses to them. As a good international citizen, New Zealand seeks to play a role in the international institutions which try to uphold international law and order and to contribute to international stabilisation operations in various countries.

Given the significance of such issues, International Relations and Security Studies is available as a specialisation within the Political Science major.

 Career opportunities

  • Diplomat
  • Foreign Policy Analyst
  • International Defence Relations Officer
  • National Assessments Bureau
  • National and International NGOs
  • New Zealand Defence Force Officer
  • Security and Intelligence Officer

Level 1

Level 2

The US and the WorldIRSST22915.0 Points
Terrorism, Violence and the StatePOLSC22415.0 Points

Level 3

Prescriptions for the PGCert(IRSSt), PGDip(IRSSt) and MA

To complete the Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations and Security Studies, students must complete at least 120 points from the following papers, including at least two of LAWS576, POLS502, POLS506 or POLS527.

To be eligible to be considered for enrolment in the MA in International Relations and Security Studies, a student should have completed either:

a) a BA or BSocSc in Political Science (or equivalent) and have gained at least a B+ average in either the best three of their 300 level Political Science papers or all of their undergraduate Political Science papers, or

b) a Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations and Security Studies or a bachelors degree with Honours in Political Science (or equivalent) and have gained at least a B+ average across all 500 level papers.

Completion requirements for the MA in International Relations and Security Studies vary according to admission criteria:

All students must take at least two of LAWS576, POLS502, POLS506 or POLS527 (unless these have already been taken as part of an earlier qualification) and complete either a dissertation or a thesis.

Students admitted under a) above must complete 180 points from approved 500 level papers, including either a 120 point thesis, or a 90 point thesis or a 60 point dissertation.

Students admitted under b) above must complete a 120 point thesis, a 90 point thesis and a further 30 points from approved 500 level papers, or a 60 point dissertation and a further 60 points from approved 500 level papers.

To be considered for enrolment in a dissertation or thesis, all students must have completed at least 60 points from approved 500 level papers and have gained at least a B average to be admitted to POLS592, at least a B+ average to be admitted to POLS593 and at least an A- average to be admitted to POLS594.

Contacts

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

General & Undergraduate Enquiries:
Phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4702
Email: irss-fass@waikato.ac.nz

Graduate Enquiries:
Email: irss-grad@waikato.ac.nz