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Outstanding student verdict on meeting different cultures and being stimulated to excel in an international environment
Keuzegids Master’s Selection Guide 2021
No. 1
University in the Netherlands
Shanghai Ranking 2020
Our students & alumni share their experiences with the MA programme

Explore complex issues in modern international relations

Are we heading for a new Cold War with Russia? Will the international community solve the new challenges arising as a result of climate change? Have the Asian powers surpassed their former colonial rulers? How does cyberpower influence international politics? Does the current climate of increasing international competition and growing nationalism still allow enough space for ethical norms and values such as human rights?

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 also 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 questions. 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 MA in International Relations in Historical Perspective offers an in-depth insight into both worlds.

This emphasis on blending international history and international relations theory makes this Master’s programme unique in the Netherlands and beyond. Through this approach, you will learn to place recent international developments in a broader historical perspective. For it is only through an in depth knowledge of the past that the complexities of our times can be unravelled.

Build a strong foundation for understanding modern politics

The programme revolves around three core research themes that shed light on contemporary international politics, providing the students with analytical tools to engage with a wide range of topics:

  • 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, North-South relations, and  global health concerns and environmental issues.

These thematic pillars reflect the three research clusters on which lecturers and researchers focus at the history of international relations section within the department of history at the University of Utrecht. Within these clusters, researchers and teachers share the key findings of their ongoing research projects and translate these to the classroom. This notion of ‘research-led teaching’ connects the research done within our department directly to the students of our MA programme, not only guaranteeing a constant flow of new ideas and innovations into the classroom, but also giving students the possibility to actively contribute to these academic clusters with their own ideas.


As part of the MA programme, you can choose to participate in an internship of at least three months (‘Practice track’). 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.

Our MA programme offers a special ‘Practice Track’ that helps the students prepare for the world of international relations outside the walls of the university. A special course that emphasis hard skills like speech writing and analysing and writing policy memos will give students interested in doing an internship an edge by giving them the tools needed to translate their academic knowledge into practice by working in a field of their own choice.

Expanding your research skills

The Research Seminar (‘Research track’) offers a deeper exploration of international historical methods and is particularly suitable for an academic career. 

Understanding international relations is more than just absorbing information – actively getting hands-on experience, connecting to experts and stepping outside of the classroom is key to grasp our global challenges in contemporary and historical perspective
Profile picture Lorena de Vita

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 ability to carry out practical tasks, such as drafting policy drafts and memos;
  • 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 written and oral form;

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

Career prospects

Professionals with an International Relations in Historical Perspective degree can easily find their way 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 such as NGO’s and lobbying agencies. 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.

  • Profile picture Anneleen Mesker, student International Relations in Historical Perspective
    "My internship at the Dutch Ministry of Defense was a great educational experience."
  • Profile picture Mart Teunissen, International Relations in Historical Perspective
    "The Master’s programme was mostly helpful in developing analytical skills that are essential in the environment in which I work."


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
  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 April
Tuition fees:
Graduate school: