Online Microcredential in Politics & Society

International Relations: Politics in Turbulent Times

Explore key political challenges confronting diplomacy in the 21st century and enhance your knowledge of modern global politics.

Created by

The University of KentThe University of Kent

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Master the cutting-edge issues in modern international relations

Guided by thought-leaders in international relations at the University of Kent, this microcredential will provide you with a vital understanding of the complexities and nuances of international politics in the 21st century.

As well as gaining a cutting-edge understanding of modern international relations, you’ll also be armed with the tools to disentangle real information from fake news.

Expand your knowledge of modern international relations and today’s political challenges

From the coronavirus pandemic, to culture wars between liberals and conservatives, trade wars between the US and China, and an avalanche of ‘fake news’ on social media – global politics is currently going through an unprecedented state of upheaval.

Being able to navigate and master this political maze is now recognised as a key skill by employers in governance, finance, and any organisation with international connections and operations.

Explore the global issues that matter

You’ll get in-depth academic insight into pressing international issues, including the crisis of neoliberalism, climate change, culture wars, the realities of modern warfare, and the issues posed by ‘analogue’ governance in a ‘digital’ age.

This microcredential is designed to give you core training in deconstructing, assessing, and analysing the global trends that will define politics and business in the 2020s and beyond.

Moreover, it’s made to be taken part time, 100% online – meaning you can upskill alongside your work and at your own pace.

Examine key cybersecurity threats and the challenges of internet governance

As the United States’ control over the international order wanes and the post-Cold War order crumbles in the face of multiple crises, you’ll get a comprehensive overview of the sociopolitical challenges arising from cyber security and technological change.

You’ll learn about the politics of cyberspace and consider how states can respond to these present cyber threats, and how diplomacy can best function in the digital age.

Why study politics and international relations?

As business and politics become ever-more global, there is increasing demand for employees with a grasp of global issues, and a deep understanding of contemporary debates in politics and economics.

What careers can this course lead to?

This course would benefit anyone working or looking to work in sectors where an understanding of international relations matters. This includes governance, NGOs, PR and media, marketing, finance, diplomacy, civil service, thinktanks, or consultancy.

Will I earn a politics qualification?

Yes. You’ll come away with a politics and international relations qualification from the University of Kent, certified by their world-leading research centre.

What skills will you learn?

  • Undertake research and analysis
  • Make arguments and advocate solutions
  • Learn to be self-critical and reflective
  • Professional and academic communication
  • Good written fluency
  • Understand the politics of cyberspace

What you will achieve

By the end of the microcredential, you’ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate a keen critical understanding of core contemporary debates regarding a post-Cold War international order and its future direction.
  • Identify the means by which states can conduct diplomacy in an integrated, globalised international environment.
  • Assess the significant challenges facing the international community.
  • Evaluate the challenges of regulating global issues.

Are you eligible for this microcredential?

To join this microcredential you will require an existing undergraduate degree (which does not need to be subject related), and fluency in writing and speaking English.

Is this microcredential right for you?

This microcredential will appeal to anyone interested in studying international relations, or working in a field where a detailed, accredited knowledge of contemporary politics will give you a competitive advantage.

This would include careers in NGOs, local and international media, PR, marketing, civil service, diplomatic corps, thinktanks, and consultancy.


What happens before, during, and after your microcredential

  • Before learning

    You’ll have access to our online welcome area where you’ll be able to start conversations with your fellow learners and read any announcements or information relating to your microcredential.

  • Course 1

    From 4 Oct 2021

    Geopolitical Rivalry

    This course investigates tectonic shifts in geopolitical tensions.

    4 weeks

    10 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Geopolitical Rivalry
      • Welcome
      • Setting the Scene
      • Expand your learning experience
      • Case study: traditional politics vs noisy politics
      • Weekly wrap up
    • Week 2

      Understand the World We Live In
      • Welcome to week 2: understand the world we live in
      • Expand your learning experience
      • Case study: Fukuyama and "The End of History"
      • The successes, limitations, and caveats to the "End of History"
      • A new world order post-11th September 2001?
      • Weekly wrap up
    • Week 3

      Considering the Others
      • Welcome to Week 3: Considering the Others
      • Expand your learning experience
      • The role of self-interest in global politics
      • The role of identity in constructing world affairs
      • Case Study: Huntington's "Clash of Civilisations"
      • Weekly wrap up
    • Week 4

      A Fragmented World
      • Welcome to week 4: A fragmented world
      • Expand your learning experience
      • Building the world order through supranational institutions
      • A fragmented world order
      • The other fragmented world order
      • Weekly wrap up and end of course
  • Course 2

    From 11 Oct 2021

    Diffusion of Power

    This course critiques the manner in which the form and function of power has changed since 1945 to today.

    4 weeks

    10 hours per week

    • Week 1

      • Welcome
      • Expand your Learning Experience
      • Exercising Power in International Relations
      • State Actors
      • Non-state Actors
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 2

      The Use of Soft Power
      • Introduction
      • Expand your Learning Experience
      • Soft Power
      • State Actors and Soft Power
      • Non-state Actors and Soft Power
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 3

      The Use of Hard Power
      • Introduction
      • Expand Your Learning Experience
      • Hard Power
      • State Actors and Hard Power
      • Non-state Actors and Hard Power
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 4

      International Organisations and the Exercise of Power
      • Introduction
      • Expand Your Learning Experience
      • International Organisations and International Relations
      • International Organisations and Hard Power
      • International Organisations and Soft Power
      • Weekly Wrap Up
  • Course 3

    From 18 Oct 2021

    The Periphery of Governance

    This course considers the spaces at the boundaries of global governance.

    4 weeks

    10 hours per week

    • Week 1

      New Centres of Power
      • Welcome
      • Expand your Learning Experience
      • The Rise of New World Centres of Power
      • BRICS
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 2

      The Rise of China and Russia
      • Introduction
      • Expand your Learning Experience
      • China
      • Russia
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 3

      Other Important Geopolitical Movements
      • Introduction
      • Expand your Learning Experience
      • Post-Brexit Britain
      • Southeast Asia
      • Weekly Wrap Up
    • Week 4

      Other Alternatives
      • Introduction
      • Africa
      • Ibero-America
      • Asia-Pacific
      • Assignment
      • Final Weekly Wrap Up
  • After learning

    Once you’ve successfully completed the microcredential, you’ll receive your academic credits from the University of Kent. You’ll have ongoing, unlimited access to the course materials.

What you will receive

15 UK credits at Postgraduate level from The University of Kent

Find out how credits work and where you can use them in our FAQs.

What is a microcredential?

Microcredentials are designed to upskill you for work in rapidly-growing industries, without the time and cost commitment of a full degree. Your microcredential can stand alone as an independent credential, and some also offer academic credit to use towards a degree.

Learn online with expert instructors

Complete online courses led by experts over multiple weeks with a dedicated group of professionals.

Complete project-based assessments

Test your understanding with online tutor-marked assessments and exercises.

Earn a professional credential

Finish your learning and pass your assessments to gain an accredited credential.

Advance further in your career

Use your microcredential as evidence of your specialised skills and progress further in your industry.

Career-focused learning by The University of Kent

The University of Kent, the UK’s European university, is one of the country’s most dynamic universities. Established in 1965, it now has 19,850 students studying at its various campuses.

Delivered by experts

I'm a current and proud member of the School of Politics and international Relations at the University of Kent. My research focus ranges from political parties to the centre-periphery cleavage.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

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  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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When would you like to start?

Enrolment for this microcredential is closed. We aim to run our microcredentials every few months. Register to find out more about this microcredential and future start dates.

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    We can accept payments made by card (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) or PayPal via our online system.

    You will have 14 days from the day the course starts to apply for a refund. If this Microcredential has any non-refundable costs they will be stated in the ‘Overview’ section above. You can find more information in our cancellation and refund policy.

    Microcredentials are designed to fit around your life and timezone.

    There may be live events as part of your studies, but these will be recorded and can be watched afterwards if you aren’t online for the live broadcast.

    No, microcredentials are designed to be taken anywhere in the world. You won’t need the right to study in the country where the university offering the microcredential is based.

    Want to know more? Read the microcredential FAQs, or contact us.