In-service Masters degrees?


I would be grateful for information from anyone on what options there are for undertaking Masters degrees in International Relations (IR). My, highly-tenous, understanding is that something like the following options exist:
  • - Part-time privately-funded study. Nice idea, but very difficult to combine with a full-time job. Lots of respect to those who manage it. (I've just completed a couple of years of low-level Open University IT & Computing courses and the idea of attempting a part-time Masters fills me with horror...)

    - Full-time privately-funded study. CGS's Briefing Team came visited last year and mentioned that the introduction of "sabbatical" 'career breaks' is being considered. This might, for example, allow you to effectively take a year's unpaid leave, do a Masters and return to service. Worth considering, but a) this 'sabbatical' concept is still just a concept, and b) I'm still curious what in-service options there are.

    - Pre-Staff College Masters. I gather there's some sort of Masters involved in the first year of the two-year Staff College course (is that "ACSC"?) I thought that was defence science-related though, not IR?

    - MPhil at Cambridge. I attended a three-day IR course at Cambridge uni, and one of the professors there mentioned that every year 2 RN, 2 Army and 2 RAF officers are sponsored to undertake an MPhil in International Relations. I asked for further information, and read up a little, and it looks fascinating. I thought that it was something only available to really senior officers (Brig, Col, or Lt Cols post-unit command, at least), but he said that there have been Majors on the course in the past. Does anyone know more about this course, please?
I'm sure that whatever is available will be highly-competitive, and only available to über-high flyers, but it would be nice to know what there is to aspire to out there! Thanks for any information you can provide.
This may or may not be entirely useless, but you might be interested to know that in September, the Department of War Studies at King's College London will be starting an e-Postgraduate degree, entitled "War in the Modern World."
Not exactly IR, I know, but it's done entirely over the internet and you get an MA out of it at the end.
Macks - thanks for heads-up re the e-programme...

DM - I'm with you on the p/t MA looking fiendish when combined with f/t career... I'm not in the Forces so I don't know what's open to you regarding in-service sponsorship but if you're considering the MPhil it's worth remembering that this qualification is occasionally viewed as a 'failed' PhD.
First, the pre-staff college (ACSC) master comes to an end this year, as the last of the old system go through to ACSC9 (next year).

Some genius in attempting to save money has decided that majors can instead undertake 'masters' in their own time (whilst doing their initial SO2 / OC / subs SO2....Bn Comd...and on and on). As I suggest, this is not, unfortunately, about opening up the opportunity to everyone, but is about saving cash.

That said, people do do part-time masters at the moment, and get the same qualification as full-timers. The problem is, they lack the added value from constant interaction / being submerged in the subject.

As for highly competitive, it's open to anyone who beiges now.

Hope this helps.
- Part-time privately-funded study. This has always been open, and opportunities have expanded massively with the very well delivered ELC scheme last year. The key here is to 'shop around', which I appreciate isn't quite the answer you were looking for! Don't forget that the Modular Masters Programme (MMP) could be used for this purpose as well.

- Full-time privately-funded study. 'Career breaks' are an option, but they must be very carefully considered - the potential pitfalls in terms of your career are enormous. That said, when General Mike was DPS(A), he always maintained that your main aim in Army service was 'to train to leave' so maybe this is a good route. When you're 55, you still have many good years left in you!

- Pre-Staff College Masters. The old array of DTC/MSc etc are being largely phased out, due to the demise of ACSC. A chunk of the DTC course (science for morons) is being embedded in the ICSC(L) syllabus, and will expand next year, in order to allow officers to take up posts in DPA/DLO/DSTL etc. There is no clear detail on what happens after that, however, although I am assured that this will be promulgated this year. There is a great deal of talk around the bazaars in APC about a significant u-turn in the way we approach formal staff this might change.

- MPhil at Cambridge. You're right - you can do it as a relatively junior officer; however, you don't necessarily need to be the uber-flyer; what you do need is CGS' backing as the right man for the job! Incidentally, it is also in CGS' gift to award the only US War College MPhil place - unfortunately, you must be a full Colonel!

Sorry I can't be more helpful - as ever with this great enterprise we are part of, find a solution, present it and keep your fingers crossed! :D

There has never been a better time to learn in HMF!

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