International Relations’ Students Learn from the Very Best
The team of International Relations is, in terms of student feedback, one of the highest rated at Tallinn University. They have won the best lecturer in social sciences award for two consecutive years.
Matthew Crandall, head of the master’s programme International Relations, won the award in 2012/2013 and Catlyn Kirna, the head of the bachelor’s programme Liberal Arts in Social Sciences, won the award in 2013/2014. In general, the International Relations master’s programme has a great team of professors and great academic staff. „What catches my eye about the staff is the diversity that we can offer – both in terms of backgrounds, as well as academic competences and specialties,” says Matthew Crandall.
„The curriculum of International Relations reflects very well the competences of our staff. So you’ll see courses on the same competences that our teachers have, whether it’s energy security or cyber security or a wide range of other topics such as, Global governance and Global politics”.
„And what that means for the students – they are learning from the experts, which is a different model from some of the cosmopolitan universities where teachers are expected to teach everything without being experts on anything. Our students can be sure that they are learning from the very best of the best,“ says Crandall.
When we get to the specifics of different people’s research interests – we focus on cyber issues and security. We are interested in economics, specifically currency mobility. We have developed, competences in topics related to Russia: its international ambitions, hybrid warfare and some of the military related issues in the region. The programme also covers various soft security aspects, not only cyber security issues, but societal security issues –problems that may arise due to the lack of cohesion within society or due to some domestic issues spilling over into the international realm. Global governance and the changing world order is in the IR lecturers’ competences as well.
„If you look at some experiences that our faculty have, you will be very impressed and happy since we are welcoming a new world-class professor – professor Bradley Thayer. He has gained extensive policy and academic experience since receiving his PhD at the University of Chicago,“ says Matthew Crandall.
Professor Thayer has a broad background and has taught at Universities in the United States, UK, and in Europe. His research centers upon international relations theory and international security, including United States grand strategy, foreign and defense policy, and nuclear and cyber deterrence. Some of his most recent research is on small state alliance behavior. This is a very good focus for the IR programme at Tallinn University. We aim to have our programme reflect Estonia’s international experiences in terms of cyber, energy, national and societal security as well as economic volatility. Professor Thayer and his expertise on cyber and small state security is a welcome addition to the programme and compliments its existing expertise.
The staff members of International Relations come from various countries such as Canada, Finland, USA and Estonia. This includes professor Mika Aaltola, who also is the Global Security programme director at the Finnish Institute of Foreign Affairs (FIIA). Sometimes we have guest lecturers from other countries in the region, for example, Latvia. The programme offers different competences in terms of specialisations and strategies between globalisation and international security issues.
The International Relations programme was established by Finnish professor Jyrki Käkonen. He designed and started the programme at Tallinn University. Before coming to Estonia, professor Käkonen had a prestigious academic career in Finland. He was the Head of the Peace Research Institute at Tampere University. Jyrki Käkonen had much valuable insight. He designed the programme with two modules: one focusing on conflict and security issues and the other focusing on regionalism and globalisation. This basic framework is still in place today.
Interview by Katre Pilvinski (Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society, Communication Specialist).
Read more about the International Relations programme and admission requirements from our webpage.
Ask our student ambassadors what they think about the programme: tlu.ee/ambassadors.