Normative issues - questions of right and wrong, of just and injust, of good and bad - often arise in, indeed often motivate, the study of social, legal and political institutions and policy. How should those institutions be arranged? By what moral criteria should we assess policy options? How should we act as individuals, citizens, politicians or judges? The MA in Political and Legal Theory is a fully and genuinely interdisciplinary course designed for students wanting to study political, legal and moral philosophy to an advanced level and to consider how normative analysis might be applied to address matters of public concern. It enables students to acquire knowledge and understanding of the central normative conceptions, the debates they have generated, and their implications of different approaches for public policy, institutional design and the law.
If you want to study political, legal and moral philosophy to an advanced level and to consider how normative analysis might be applied to address matters of public concern, then this programme is for you. It will enable you to acquire knowledge and understanding of central normative conceptions, the debates they have generated, and their implications for different approaches to public policy, institutional design and the law.
Our MA in Political and Legal Theory is a fully interdisciplinary course. Unlike other programmes of this kind that offer a range of modules taught within various contributing departments, the core module for Political and Legal Theory will be taught in our department in collaboration with the School of Law and the Department of Philosophy. This interdisciplinary approach is supported by the close cooperation fostered by the Centre for Ethics, Law and Public Affairs, which is situated in our department
and which includes members from Law, Philosophy and Sociology.
This programme also provides an advanced education in normative issues that will prepare you for doctoral study that includes normative inquiry, giving you a wide range of experience that will be attractive to employers.
Students on the MA in Political and Legal Theory are taught in small group seminars and have the opportunity to mix with PhD students and staff in the Political Theory research cluster as well as attend weekly meetings of the Centre for Ethics, Law and Public Affairs (CELPA). The MA in PLT also provides an advanced education in normative issues that will prepare students for doctoral study that includes normative inquiry and give them a wide range of experience that will be attractive to employers.
Combine a year of study in the heart of England and a year studying by the sea in Cataluña at two of Europe's leading politics departments through two exciting pathways offered jointly by Warwick and the Political and Social Sciences Department at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona.
Studying in two different countries is inherently beneficial: in addition to exploring your subject from two different starting points, you will develop your intercultural skills and experience and enhance your ability to adapt to new situations. Furthermore, you will be able to improve your prospects beyond the MA course as employers and reputable universities worldwide recognise the academic excellence of Warwick and UPF graduates.
If you want to really specialise in the theoretical and philosophical aspects of politics, then you have the opportunity to follow a double theory-philosophy programme by taking the MA in Political & Legal Theory at Warwick as well as the Masters in Political Philosophy at UPF. As with the custom route, you can further specialise through choosing optional modules, allowing you to enrich your strongly philosophical dissertation with viewpoints from other areas of politics studies.
You will be able to start your studies either at Warwick or at UPF. You will follow the taught component of your first year before moving on to your second year university; the summer in between is a great opportunity to take advantage of internship opportunities in the UK, Spain, or further afield. During the second year, you will follow a second round of taught modules before moving on to a joint 15,000 word dissertation, allowing you to combine the knowledge and insight gained from both institutions into one jointly-marked piece of academic research.
It is sometimes said that political theory concerns the questions of “who gets what and who says?”. In modern pluralistic societies an additional question arises: how can we live together peacefully in circumstances in which we disagree about how best to live? These issues are both political and legal. States, and increasingly the international domain, regulate citizens’ lives through law. The LLM in Legal and Political Theory – a unique collaboration between the Departments of Politics and Philosophy and the York Law School offers students the opportunity to study the core issues and approaches of political and legal theory and to consider the relations between them.
The LLM in Legal and Political Theory aims to provide:
-Opportunities to study some of the enduring questions of political life including: By what right do some people rule over others?; What is the relationship of law and morality?; Do citizens have an obligation to obey the law?; and, What is the just distribution of rights and socio-economic goods and opportunities within states and globally?
-Opportunities to choose from a wide range of Option Modules in Law, Politics, and Philosophy
-The opportunity to write an independent dissertation on a topic of your choosing supervised by a member of the academic staff
At the end of the course students will:
-Have a critical understanding of the central questions of legal and political theory and of the works of the great legal and political theorists both past and present who have examined these questions
-Have knowledge of the fundamental questions of jurisprudence and of how these connect to issues of political theory
-Understand the distinctive methodologies of the study of legal and political theory
The taught programme, which can also be taken Part Time over two years, is organised around three Core modules that run through the first two Terms and provide the foundations of the study of legal and political theory. In addition, students take Option modules in subjects of their choosing. In the third Term and over the summer, students write a Dissertation.
Each student is allocated a Personal Advisor who will help you to tailor the programme to suit your individual interests. Teaching is done through small groups led by members of the academic staff.
The LLM in Legal and Political Theory is a taught programme of one year (or two years if taken part time). The LLM is made up of 180 credits. 120 credits are studied through a mix of compulsory and optional taught modules. The remaining 60 credits are obtained through undertaking a 15,000 word dissertation. For example, a student may follow a course structured in the following way:
York Law School has developed a reputation for offering academically rigorous, innovative, practical and stimulating programmes of study. We offer a rounded student experience – reflecting the best of academic and professional practice – and have a friendly and dynamic team of experienced academics, committed to the best methods of legal education.
In addition, we enjoy a close relationship with the legal profession, with practitioners involved in the design and delivery of key aspects of all our programmes, and have forged collaborative links in teaching and research across the University as a whole. You'll find studying here a stimulating and rewarding experience which will equip you for your chosen career.
On the LLM programme you will be taught using a wide variety of modern teaching and learning methods. Through rigorous academic study you will engage with theoretical, applied and practical studies, ensuring that you develop a deep understanding of legal political theory.
This MA provides students with key analytical skills to study the ethical dimensions of public policy. The programme, drawing on three areas of excellence at UCL, is a unique mix of politics, law and philosophy, centred on the normative evaluation of public policy at both the domestic and international levels.
The programme explores the moral quality of the decisions citizens and professionals take, and the justice of the legal and political structures within which they operate. Students develop the ability to analyse important modern political theories, and justify their position on issues concerning the relationship between politics, law and society.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
Students choose modules worth a total of 45 credits from the list below (the others remain available as options).
They also choose one further 15-credit module from a list available at: the programme website
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
Teaching for all modules takes the form of seminars where time is dedicated both to introducing knowledge and materials, and allowing students to test their understanding, knowledge and evaluative skills, through discussion, criticism and debate. Assessment is primarily through long essays, coursework and the dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Legal and Political Theory MA
This MA provides an excellent foundation for further research in political theory, or a wide variety of careers in this field.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Students of the Legal and Political Theory MA acquire advanced analytical transferable skills and exposure to cutting-edge legal and philosophical work - problem-solving, logical skills - combined with deep understanding of challenges of the contemporary world. As a result our students have an excellent record of employability in leading professions - law, consultancy, politics, journalism and academic careers.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of legal and political theory.
Weekly interactive seminars offer students an unrivalled opportunity to meet and engage with some of the leading figures in the field.
The Legal and Political Theory MA benefits from the interdisciplinary research culture of the Department of Political Science, as well as from the participation of UCL Philosophy and UCL Laws.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Political Science
89% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.