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Judged best in the field

The highly regarded Keuzegids Master’s Selection Guide 2019 ranked Utrecht University’s International Relations in Historical Perspective programme as the best in the field in the Netherlands.

In the last edition of Elsevier Best Studies Survey, students have also rated International Relations as the best programme.

Explore complex issues in modern international relations

Will the EU become an ever-closer union under German leadership or will it collapse? Are we heading for a new Cold War with Russia? Have the Asian powers surpassed their former colonial rulers? Does the current climate of increasing international competition and growing nationalism still allow enough space for ethical norms and values such as human rights? How can terrorist violence be countered? Is it possible to control such violence with warfare and the optimal use of ‘intelligence’?

The international political stage is much like a game of chess between multiple players. During the course of this Master's programme you will gain a greater understanding of the parties involved and of their political agendas and prepare yourself for a future as a participant in the game of global politics.

Bridging history and political science

Political theory is an important tool in the analysis of international issues. In order to fully understand those issues, however, we strongly believe in the importance of adopting a broader historical perspective - and while history never repeats itself (or at least not exactly), one can learn a great deal from it. By bridging the fields of history and international relations, the M.A. in International Relations in Historical Perspective (IRHP) offers in-depth insight into both worlds.

Build a strong foundation for understanding modern politics

The program revolves around core research themes that shed light on contemporary international politics and it aims to provide the students with analytical tools to engage with a wide range of topics. The core thematic pillars of our MA program include:

  • The history of security and conflict, including wars, terrorism, humanitarian interventions, and the role of the intelligence services in international politics.
  • The history of European international relations, including the European integration process.
  • The history of global processes including colonialism, decolonization, and North-South relations.


As part of the MA programme, you can choose to participate in an internship of at least three months. With an internship, you will put your knowledge and skills into practice, and this experience will form an important part of your resume. Recent studies show that 80% of students who took part in an internship found employment within a year of graduating.

Teaching and studying history, for example the history of security measures, terrorism and counter terrorism helps us to put current day fears and anxieties in perspective. Security always has this aura of the immediate, the urgency, and necessity of any measure. History shows us that there are alternative scenarios, that there is always another way to a solution.
Professor Beatrice de Graaf

After graduation

After graduating from the Master of International Relations in Historical Perspective programme, you will have:

  • Gained insight into the history of international relations, especially of the 20th and 21st.
  • Become an expert in at least one of the thematic areas central to the MA program.
  • Learned to discuss relevant issues in modern politics and to research them independently.
  • Gained research skills, including the ability to work with historical primary sources and using theories drawn from the fields of political theory and international relations.
  • Learned to report research clearly and understandably, in both written and oral form.

Throughout the programme, you will have the opportunity to actively work on your career development.

Career prospects

Professionals with an IR/HP degree find their way easily in the world of international politics, and their career options extend beyond foreign affairs, the EU, and the UN. Graduates will have the skills to create effective policy, and such expertise can be employed in other areas as well. Read more about your possible career prospects.


International Relations in Historical Perspective is a selective Master’s programme. Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master? Check the entry requirements.

  • Roos Barends, International Relations in Historal Perspective
    "I am very happy that I got the opportunity to do two internships during this master. It has already payed of in a job and many valuable experiences."
  • "This Master’s programme offers students not only a high standing academic community but also a very social one!"


Degree: This Master's programme is officially registered under its name in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes
  • Title: MA
  • Master's degree in: International Relations
  • Programme: International Relations in Historical Perspective
Accredited by the NVAO
Croho code:
Language of instruction:
Part- or full-time status:
1 year
Credits: 60 credits equals one year full-time study load (European Credit Transfer System, ECTS)
Start of studies:
Application deadline:
  • Dutch & EU/EER students: 1 April 2019
  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 April 2019
Tuition fees:
Graduate school: