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Masters Degrees (Political Thought)

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The programme is designed for graduate students who wish to learn about the diverse strands of political thinking in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and the different approaches to comparison in political thought. Read more

Who is this programme for?:

The programme is designed for graduate students who wish to learn about the diverse strands of political thinking in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and the different approaches to comparison in political thought. It is highly relevant to students who wish to embark on doctoral studies in the area of non-Western political thought. It is also relevant for practitioners working in or intending to work in governments, international organizations, think tanks and advocacy groups who wish to acquire deeper knowledge of ideas and values that inform political practices in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The MSc in Comparative Political Thought builds on SOAS’s wealth of regional expertise to offer a new approach to cross-regional comparison of political thinking. It reframes the study of political thought in Africa, Asia and the Middle East as a study of political ideas and political practices. The programme introduces students to the key approaches, debates, and questions in the emerging sub-discipline of comparative political thought. Covering a range of thinkers, traditions and texts, in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, it provides learning opportunities for students to compare ideas and values across regions and historical periods. The MSc in Comparative Political Thought will enable graduate students to undertake further advanced study and research in political thought, as well as enhance skills suitable for employment in multicultural and international professional contexts

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/politics/programmes/msc-comparative-political-thought/

Programme Specification

Programme Specification (pdf; 126kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/politics/programmes/msc-comparative-political-thought/file79323.pdf

Teaching & Learning

The MSc in Comparative Political Thought has two core compulsory half-unit courses that all students registered for the degree will undertake. Approaches to Comparative Political Thought is taken in Term 1, and Comparative International Political Thought in Term 2. Students then choose courses equivalent to two units from a list of optional courses (outlined below), and complete a dissertation based on independent study and research (equivalent to a further unit).

- Knowledge

1. Familiarity with the main approaches in the emerging sub-field of comparative political thought, including different understandings of ‘comparison’ and ‘thought’;

2. Advanced understanding of some of the philosophical, historical, political and linguistic issues that arise in the study of non-Western political thought;

3. In-depth knowledge of some key political concepts (eg. state, authority, individual, community), as understood by political thinkers in Asia, Africa and the Middle East;

4. An understanding of political thought not simply as articulated by elite intellectuals, but also as ideas in action, manifested in political practices at different levels of society.

- Intellectual (thinking) skills

1. To analyse and evaluate competing approaches to comparative political thought;
2. To conceptualise the main issues and problems that arise in the comparative study of political thought;
3. To develop in-depth understanding of aspects of non-Western political thought;
4. To develop intellectual initiative and skills to compare political ideas across cultural and historical boundaries, identifying and evaluating similarities and differences;
5. To formulate research questions and hypotheses.

- Subject-based practical skills

1. To identify, analyse and evaluate core arguments in theoretical materials from a variety of sources;
2. To develop skills to work creatively and flexibly across different disciplines and regional traditions;
3. To organise information in a lucid, coherent, concise, and clear form in written as well as oral presentations;
4. To develop initiative and capacity to work independently on research questions and to adjust hypotheses and approach in the light of work undertaken for the dissertation.

- Transferable skills

1. To retrieve, select, digest and analyse complex information from a variety of sources.
2. To structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.
3. To work effectively in and contribute to meetings, by presenting, listening to and discussing ideas introduced during meetings.
4. To manage time effectively.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

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The MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History is aimed at students who have an interest in both the theory and history of political thought (including those wider intellectual idioms which provide the context for its development). Read more
The MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History is aimed at students who have an interest in both the theory and history of political thought (including those wider intellectual idioms which provide the context for its development). It also welcomes students whose previous study had a more specialised historical or theoretical (or philosophical) bent, provided that while doing this course they are willing to engage themselves with both approaches to research.The MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History is aimed at students who have an interest in both the theory and history of political thought (including those wider intellectual idioms which provide the context for its development). It also welcomes students whose previous study had a more specialised historical or theoretical (or philosophical) bent, provided that while doing this course they are willing to engage themselves with both approaches to research.

This MPhil attracts students from all over the world, and its training provides an ideal foundation from which to proceed to doctoral research, not only in the United Kingdom, but in North American, European, Asian and Southern Hemisphere university systems.

Priority is given to the pursuit of the individual student’s research: all examined work derives from this research. Classes are provided in Methodology, in the reading of selected texts, and in selected concepts: these are intended to be ‘exemplary’, offering opportunities to explore different methods used in the field, different approaches to reading texts, and a variety of political concepts. Work done in classes is not examined.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/hihimppth

Course detail

The MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History offers students a rounded and flexible Masters programme that provides them with an introduction to all three of the fields contained within its scope (History of Political Thought, Political Theory, Intellectual History), while allowing them to specialise in their own area of particular interest. It offers a thorough training in the key techniques of higher-level academic study and research.

The MPhil is inter-Faculty: History, Politics, and Classics are the participating departments. The teaching staff, and examiners, have diverse disciplinary backgrounds, as do students on the course.

Learning Outcomes

After completion of the MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History, students should have:

1. acquired an enhanced understanding of the history of political thought as well as an appreciation of the broader theoretical approaches and intellectual idioms that inform its study.
2. acquired the analytical capacity to pursue independent study of primary texts in the history of political thought and to evaluate the findings of secondary commentators
3. acquired the ability to situate their own research findings within the context of previous and current interpretative scholarly debates in the field of political thought and intellectual history

Format

The course comprises two kinds of work: group study and individually tailored supervised research training. Both persist simultaneously throughout the year, so that students are expected to attend the course classes, research seminar, and lectures while at the same time researching their essays. While there are no fixed course classes in Easter Term when students will be concentrating on their dissertation, they will be required to present their work at a Dissertation Seminar and encouraged to continue attending lectures and the research seminar. Postgraduate students in Cambridge are expected to work continuously throughout the year with the exception of a few days’ break at a time, so that the ‘vacation periods’ are in fact periods in which required work must be completed.

Students will receive the following feedback:

- oral supervision feedback
- writen termly CGSRS reports
- written essay feedback
- oral dissertation workshop feedback
- formal written feedback from two examiners after the submission and examination of their dissertation.

Assessment

A thesis of 15,000 - 20,000 words is submitted at the end of the course. An oral examination will only be required in cases where one of the marks is a marginal fail.

Two essays of not more than 6,000 words each, one submitted at the end of Michaelmas Term, the second at the end of Lent Term. These essays constitute Part I of the MPhil, and contribute to the final overall mark.

Continuing

In order to be considered for continuation to the PhD, and always subject to satisfactory supervision arrangements being in place, students are expected to obtain an overall mark of 70 for the MPhil and a mark of at least 70 for their dissertation.

Please see the Faculty website for more information:

http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospective-graduates/apply/apply-mphil-phd
http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospective-graduates/apply/apply-ltc-home

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

Please see the History Faculty’s Funding Guide via the History Faculty’s weblink below:

http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospective-graduates/faculty-funding/funding-options

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

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The Cultural, Social, and Political Thought major in the Master of Arts (M.A.) program is interdisciplinary in nature and is based on a cohort learning model that fosters an environment of interdisciplinary engagement and exchange, research, peer mentoring, collaboration among a small group of students, within a team-based learning experience. Read more
The Cultural, Social, and Political Thought major in the Master of Arts (M.A.) program is interdisciplinary in nature and is based on a cohort learning model that fosters an environment of interdisciplinary engagement and exchange, research, peer mentoring, collaboration among a small group of students, within a team-based learning experience. The overall academic aims of the program are to emphasize social, cultural, and political thought and to instill the intellectual and practical tools to work successfully with community partners and agencies to facilitate social change. Students graduating from the Cultural, Social, and Political Thought major will demonstrate a range of professional skills (e.g., peer review, public presentations, critical thinking) and research competencies. Graduates are capable of producing novel, relevant, and rigorous research that make significant contributions to interdisciplinary knowledge.

Course detail

The Cultural, Social, and Political Thought major is thesis-based and requires students to complete 9.0 to 18.0 credit hours of graduate semester courses and a thesis. This program is highly theoretical and interdisciplinary in nature and intended to ground students in a body of cognate critical theories and methodologies. Across disciplinary boundaries, the Cultural, Social, and Political Thought major emphasizes the critical engagement of ideas and their manifestation in shifting cultural, social, and political contexts.

Aims of the programme

The program’s key learning outcomes are:

- Mastery of theoretical frameworks related to cultural, social and political thought such as Feminism, Poststructuralism, Postmodernism, Postcolonialism, and Critical Theory.

- Mastery of substantive knowledge in interdisciplinary area of cultural, social and political thought. Research topics are not constrained, but are likely to include such problems, issues, and concepts as gender, race, class, disability, sexuality, equality, citizenship, justice, power and resistance.

- Mastery of relevant methodological approaches pertinent to cultural, social and political thought, such as Historical Materialism, and mastery of relevant methods, such as Discourse Analysis, Ethnography, and Interviewing.

- Mastery of ability to propose, design, present, and disseminate novel and applicable research in the interdisciplinary area of cultural, social and political thought.

Why study at the University of Lethbridge?

As a graduate student at the University of Lethbridge, you’ll find yourself at the centre of a student-focused environment that nurtures innovation, critical thinking and creativity.

The University of Lethbridge is one of Canada’s top-ranked universities and leading research institutions.

At the foundation of our graduate programs is a multidisciplinary and personalized experience. A collaborative environment is encouraged between faculty and students. This means you have flexibility in decisions regarding the research and learning path you take.

At the U of L, we are committed to helping every one of our students thrive. From aiding with financial support to one-on-one mentorship to individualized career advice, you’ll find support every step of the way.

When you graduate, you will have the confidence you need to succeed in whatever you do, whether that means pursuing further education, teaching in an academic setting or establishing a professional career.

We’re here to help as you find the answers to your questions. As Alberta’s Destination University, the U of L gives you room to think, create and explore, providing a university experience unlike any other.

How to apply

In order to apply, you will need to provide the following documentation:

• Academic Transcripts
• Curriculum Vitae
• Three Letters of Reference
• Letter of Intent
• English Language Proficiency (ELP)

All applications and supporting documents must be provided through the online portal: https://www.uleth.ca/future-student/graduate-studies/apply

The Co-operative Education/Internship Option

The Co-operative Education/Internship Option is available to students for the Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MSc) programs. Co-operative education is an educational model that formally integrates academic study at the master’s level with relevant, paid work experience in appropriate employment fields such as government, institutions, and industry. The University, the employer, and the student are in partnership to ensure an enriching experience toward the student's professional development.

Funding

Find information on Scholarships here http://www.uleth.ca/graduate-studies/award-opportunities

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This intercollegiate programme draws on the expertise of academic staff in the fields of the history of political thought and intellectual history from across the Colleges and Institutes of the University of London. Read more
This intercollegiate programme draws on the expertise of academic staff in the fields of the history of political thought and intellectual history from across the Colleges and Institutes of the University of London. The programme is administered from Queen Mary, so you register as a Queen Mary student � once you complete the programme, your degree will be a joint University of London-UCL MA. The MA Programme as a whole offers advanced training in intellectual history, the history of political thought and the history of philosophy, spanning the period from the ancient world to the Twenty-First Century. You will also be provided with an essential grounding in the various methods and approaches associated with the study of the history of thought developed over the past quarter-century in Europe and the United States.

Programme outline
The MA consists of the core module: Method and Practice in the History of Political Thought and Intellectual History, a selection of modules chosen from the list below, and an individually supervised dissertation. Below is a typical sample of module options that may be offered in a given year:

Democracy: Ancient and Modern Richard Bourke (Queen Mary)
Propaganda and Ideology in Rome Valentina Arena (UCL) [please note: not running 2011-12]
Languages of politics: Italy 1250-1500 Serena Ferente (KCL)
Political Thought in Renaissance Europe Iain McDaniel (UCL)
Early-modern theories of the state Quentin Skinner (Queen Mary)
The Public Sphere in Britain, 1476 - 1800 Jason Peacey (UCL)
Signs, Mind, and Society: Early Modern Theories of Language Avi Lifschitz (UCL)
Enlightenment and Revolution: Political Ideas in the British Isles 1688-1800 Ian McBride (KCL)
Selfhood, Sensibility and the Politics of Difference in the European Enlightenment Adam Sutcliffe (KCL) [please note: not running 2011-12]
From Hume to Darwin God, Man and Nature in European Thought Niall O'Flaherty (KCL)
Visions of Capitalism Jeremy Jennings (Queen Mary) [please note: not running 2011-12]
In the Shadow of the French Revolution: Political Thought 1790-1890 Gareth Stedman Jones (Queen Mary)
Theories of Empire: from Enlightenment to Liberalism Maurizio Isabella (Queen Mary)
Crisis and Future in Nineteenth-Century European Thought Axel K�rner (UCL)
Nationalism, Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism in Political Thought, 19th�20th Centuries Georgios Varouxakis (Queen Mary)

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This wide-ranging programme explores key concepts, methods, debates and applications in social and political theory. Core modules will introduce you to social and political thought and its relation to economic, social, political and cultural problems in a fast-changing, globalised world. Read more

This wide-ranging programme explores key concepts, methods, debates and applications in social and political theory.

Core modules will introduce you to social and political thought and its relation to economic, social, political and cultural problems in a fast-changing, globalised world. From the seminal works of Karl Marx to contemporary thinkers such as Judith Butler and Slavoj Zizek, you’ll think about how these approaches can help us understand social change on the global stage.

Beyond this, you’ll choose modules that suit your own interests – you could specialise in gender, racism and ethnicity studies, social policy, globalisation, care, health or disability among others. You can also pursue research training to prepare for further study.

Research insight - the Bauman Institute

You’ll become part of the Bauman Institute, launched in honour of Emeritus Professor Zygmunt Bauman to analyse social change around the world. It’s an exciting and stimulating research environment where you’ll learn from experts in their fields.

The Bauman Institute is inspired by Bauman’s sociological imagination, and has earned an international reputation for teaching and research. Bringing together researchers from diverse disciplines, it investigates the ways in which societies continue to evolve in areas such as power and resistance and the sociology of capitalism.

Course content

You’ll take core modules during the year that introduce you to different areas of social, sociological and political thought, from Marx and Weber to the Frankfurt School and recent feminist and psychoanalytic thinkers. You’ll consider the positioning and relevance of critical theory in relation to contemporary social phenomena.

These modules lay the foundations of the programme; you’ll build on them through your choice of optional modules which give you the chance to specialise. You could focus on areas such as research methods and design, healthcare, disability theory, globalisation, gender, racism and ethnicity studies or policy analysis and evaluation. If you’re planning to progress to PhD study, we’ll recommend you take modules focusing on research and data analysis.

At the end of the programme, you’ll submit your dissertation – an independent piece of research on a related topic of your choice, which allows you to demonstrate and apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired during the year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Contemporary Social Thought 30 credits
  • Dissertation (Social and Political Thought) 60 credits
  • Researching Culture and Society 30 credits
  • Understanding Society and Culture 30 credits

Optional modules

  • 'Race', Identity and Culture in the Black Atlantic 15 credits
  • Disability and Development 15 credits
  • Social Policy, Politics and Disabled People 30 credits
  • Contested Bodies 15 credits
  • Que(e)rying Sexualities 15 credits
  • Social Policy Analysis 15 credits
  • Social Policy Debates 15 credits
  • Quantitative Research Methods 15 credits
  • Qualitative Research Methods 15 credits
  • Policy and Programme Evaluation 15 credits
  • Power, Critique & Global Transformations 15 credits
  • Sociology of Media and Culture 30 credits
  • Religion, Society and Public Life 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Social and Political Thought MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Social and Political Thought MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Most of our modules are taught using lectures, seminars and tutorials. Optional modules may also include workshops, online learning or other methods. However, independent study is still a crucial element of this programme, allowing you to develop your skills, pursue specific research interests and form your own ideas.

Assessment

Core modules are assessed using essays, as well as your final dissertation. Depending on the optional modules you choose, you may also be assessed using research reports, project work, presentations, literature and book reviews among other methods. If you select research methods modules, you’ll also be expected to engage with some data analysis in your essays.

Career opportunities

This programme will enable you to think critically with an ethical awareness and to understand how a consumer society has transformed social and political realities.

These qualities are crucially important for a wide range of potential careers from policy research to local authority and government roles, campaigning and political lobbying, work with development agencies and NGOs, and even entry to the academic profession and research-based employment.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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Our MA brings together social theory, political theory and philosophy. You learn about the history of social and political thought, and study political and social movements. Read more

Our MA brings together social theory, political theory and philosophy. You learn about the history of social and political thought, and study political and social movements. Our course covers both historical traditions and contemporary developments.

Our research strengths include: 

  • social theory (especially Marxism, Hegel, hermeneutics and critical theory) 
  • recent democratic, socialist and environmentalist thought and practice 
  • the history of political, social and economic thought 
  • the philosophy of social science and the sociology of knowledge 
  • contemporary political philosophy 
  • cosmopolitanism.

Why choose this course?

  • Philosophy at Sussex is ranked 5th in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2018).
  • Study on a genuinely interdisciplinary course that bridges subject boundaries, and uses both empirical and normative analysis, while benefiting from our specialised knowledge of selected areas in contemporary thought and the major European historical tradition.
  • Take the opportunity to get involved with our in-house journal Studies in Social and Political Thought.

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to study this course full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. 

For details about the part-time course, contact Philosophy Postgraduate Convener Dr Gordon Finlayson at 

How will I study?

There are core modules taught in the autumn term, and in the spring term you choose from a list of options.

The largest assessed element in the MA is the 15,000-word dissertation. In addition, the core modules and options are assessed by 5,000-word term papers.

Scholarships

Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Careers

Many of our graduates have gone on to have successful careers in:

  • law
  • the media
  • non-governmental organisations
  • government and administration
  • teaching.

Others have gone on to research degrees. Over the last 30 years, a substantial number of leading academics in the UK and elsewhere have graduated from the course. Among our alumni we count professors of sociology, philosophy and politics, working at universities in the UK and beyond.

Graduate destinations

90% of students from the School of History, Art History and Philosophy were in work or further study six months after graduating. Our Philosophy students have gone on to jobs including:

  • editorial assistant, Pavilion Books
  • media officer, Wickham Youth Action
  • assistant, Gareth Thomas MP.

(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates)



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The MA Political Thought gives you the opportunity to study the thinkers who have shaped the modern world – Locke, Hegel, Marx and others – as well as more recent debates in social and political theory. Read more
The MA Political Thought gives you the opportunity to study the thinkers who have shaped the modern world – Locke, Hegel, Marx and others – as well as more recent debates in social and political theory. It draws upon the diverse interests of our lecturers; refers to both Anglo-American and ‘Continental’ literatures; and employs analytic and institutional approaches.

As a graduate of this programme you will have a broad knowledge of classic debates in the history of political ideas and of changing perceptions of money, work and commerce. You will also have the opportunity to take a wide range of options in subjects including philosophy of social science, science and technology studies, and theories of revolution.

The Centre of Political Thought ( http://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/politics/research/centres/cpt/) is an active research community distinguished by its diversity, collegiality and engagement between different approaches. Exeter has one of the largest and most diverse groups of political theorists of any Politics department in the UK.

Careers

You will develop a number of skills that are valued in professional and managerial careers: the ability to research and analyse information from a variety of sources along with written and verbal skills needed to present and discuss your opinions. The understanding you will gain of complex political and cultural issues, often in continually changing environments, can also be relevant to both business and public sector appointments.

For further information on this programme please visit our website: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/politics/polthoughtma

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This MA programme provides you with a thorough grounding in the classics of Social and Political Thought and a deep and varied engagement with their 20th and 21st Century offshoots. Read more

This MA programme provides you with a thorough grounding in the classics of Social and Political Thought and a deep and varied engagement with their 20th and 21st Century offshoots. This course addresses a range of key concepts and ideas that are central to the analysis of contemporary society, politics and culture, including debates over the basis of contemporary capitalism, neoliberalism, biopolitics, ideology, and the fundamental question of what it means to be ‘social’ and/or ‘human’.

Programme content

The degree is structured around two core modules. The first of these is State, Capitalism and Market (convened by Professor Nicholas Gane), which uses theoretical resources such as Michel Foucault’s writings on biopolitics to think analytically and critically about capitalism and its recurrent crises. This module looks in particular at the recent financial crisis and the role this crisis has played in the reconfiguration of structural relations between the market and the state. A key part of this module is the critical analysis of political-economic discourses of neoliberalism that argue for the sovereignty of markets and economics over all things ‘social’. The second core module is Politics and Social Theory (convened by Dr Charles Turner) uses the work a wide-range of classical thinkers (for example, de Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim and Weber) and Twentieth Century writers (Arendt, Schmitt and Rorty) to consider the possibility of developing a sociological understanding of politics.

Beyond these two core modules, you can pursue your own research interests and specialisms by choosing four modules from a wide range of options, and then progressing to research and write their own 15,000 word dissertation.



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This programme will provide you with a firm grounding in political analysis and a critical insight into the real politics behind the headlines. Read more

This programme will provide you with a firm grounding in political analysis and a critical insight into the real politics behind the headlines.

You will explore the variety, dynamism and relevance of political theory in the modern world, gaining an insight into political thought and practical application of political ideas.

You will consider the various ways in which theory is vital to understanding a range of urgent and pressing problems (such as terrorism, global poverty, social cohesion, immigration, censorship, war and the environment) in contemporary politics and address the practical implications of these ideas.

Throughout the course you will build a portfolio of in-depth study of many of the defining events and dynamics of modern society, across Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, providing an understanding of the world that will prove invaluable in further academic study or a range of postgraduate careers.

The Political Theory and Cultural Values Research Group is an active team of enthusiastic academics, pursuing cutting-edge research into a wide variety of strands of political thought.

The Political Theory Centre is part of the White Rose Association for Political Philosophy, linking you into the complementary political theory teams at York and Sheffield Universities.

Links with the Leeds Centre for Democratisation afford excellent opportunities for discussing the application of many of the ideas studied on the programme. Political theorists form part of a large department of political studies, including International Relations and Development, which additionally provide an auspicious context for the study of applied theory.

Course content

Through compulsory and optional modules, this programme will offer you:

  • the chance to engage in in-depth critical analysis of political thought
  • the opportunity to examine the nature of freedom, justice and equality
  • a firm grounding in political analysis
  • a critical insight into the defining events and dynamics of modern society
  • a rigorous grounding in the dominant paradigms of political science
  • the chance to personalise your programme.

You will also be able to hone your research and writing skills in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.

The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.

If you are a part-time student, you will study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Political Theory in Action 30 credits
  • Advanced Political Analysis 30 credits
  • POLIS MA Dissertation 60 credits

Optional modules

  • The Global Politics of Health: Power and Inequity 30 credits
  • Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance 30 credits
  • Political Economy of Resources and Development 30 credits
  • European Defence and Security Analysis 30 credits
  • The Rise of China 30 credits
  • American Foreign Policy 30 credits
  • Contemporary Politics of the Middle East 30 credits
  • The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 30 credits
  • International Political Economy 30 credits
  • International Relations and the Environment 30 credits
  • Global Justice 30 credits
  • Research Methods 30 credits
  • Political Theory in Action 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Politics (Political Theory) MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Politics (Political Theory) MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Teaching is tailored for interactive small-group work, and uses a combination of lecture and seminar-discussion modes.

Teaching on political theory modules is predominantly seminar discussion-based, while other modules include more lecture-oriented material.

You will be expected to do a significant amount of preparatory reading before each session, and emphasis will be on student-led discussion to build critical and reflective confidence in a group environment.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by varying combinations of exam and coursework, depending on the module.

Career opportunities

The emphasis on applied use of political thought, particularly from a transformative perspective, means the critical analytical skills learnt here are of use in a wide range of employment sectors, including the civil service, public sector organisations and the third sector.

Many graduates go on to complete PhDs in Political Theory, having had the opportunity to strengthen their command of a certain area of political thought during their Masters studies.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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At the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, we conduct research and offer MPhil supervision in all major fields of politics, including. Read more
At the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, we conduct research and offer MPhil supervision in all major fields of politics, including: international and global politics, governance and political organisations, and political theory.

We can offer you excellent supervision for your Politics MPhil, in a vibrant and supportive research environment.

We have a Politics Postgraduate Society, which organises:
-The 'New Voices' seminar series, with both internal and external presenters
-Round table discussions on topical issues
-Professional development workshops led by politics staff

You are encouraged to attend conferences to present papers, partial funding for this is available from the School.

Our main research themes are:

The politics of difference

We examine the issues thrown up by the social and political differences of humanity from a variety of perspectives including: analytical and continental political philosophy; comparative politics and international politics; post-colonialism. Our work includes research on:
-Multiculturalism and issues of identity
-Inequality and social justice
-Disability
-Competing discourses of national identity
-Ethnic-nationalism
-Political violence
-Socio-political exclusion and discrimination
-Global norms and cultural difference
-Free speech - toleration and recognition

Popular culture and political communication

Our research addresses various key issues including:
-Representation
-Aesthetics
-Identity
-Cultural political economy
-Memory
-Control

We also assess the processes and depiction of political struggles, such as:
-Armed conflict
-Everyday life
-Political organising and identity formation
-Elections

Political participation and elections

We examine the differing forms of political participation that link society to the political systems of the world. We look at both the formal electoral process and non-electoral politics (social movements, protest groups etc). Our research on the emergence of virtual political participation means that some of our work intersects with popular culture and political communication. We investigate:
-Citizen involvement and (dis)engagement
-Social capital
-Non-participation
-The role of civil society

Political ideologies and political thought

We focus on the history of political thought as well as how these ideas are embedded in programmes for political action. Our research incorporates both historical and contemporary political thought prominent in the Western tradition as well as Asian philosophy and post-colonial thinking. This is an interdisciplinary theme, serving as a bridge between empirical political science and political theory.

Global economic and environmental challenges

We study the importance of political ideas such as sustainable development and globalisation, as well as the struggle to define the core problems that society faces. These challenges pose questions to the nature and reform of global governance, and generate tensions between the state and transnationalising forces in global politics and political economy. Our work has already led to findings on:
-The implications for global justice
-The policy challenge for governments and non-governmental actors
-The empowerment of various actors

Democracy, the modern state and political organisations

Our work examines the role of interest groups, social movements, political parties, third-sector actors and charities, community organisations and postcolonial nationalism in relation to the modern state. We draw from ancient and modern political thought to understand the interpretation of democracy (including democratic rights and the foundations of democracy). Our research interrogates the forms democracy takes, including:
-Elite theories of democracy
-Deliberative democracy
-Cosmopolitan democracy
-Democracy in divided societies

Political economy of development

Our research focuses on the interaction of economic forces and principles with political power in the development of societal economics and welfare, as well as on theories of development and post-development. We cover a range of geographic areas in Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia. We explore questions such as:
-The impact of the ongoing financial and economic crisis
-The role of communities and individuals in the face of global political economic forces
-The impact of the emerging economies (for example Brazil and China) on the global political economy

Critical geopolitics and security

Our research focuses on thinking critically about the political dynamics, consequences and discourses of historical and contemporary geopolitics. We cover both historical and contemporary questions of security, including:
-The territorialisation/de-territorialisation of identity and political agency
-Political cartography
-The role of fear and identity in shaping geopolitics
-Sovereignty and nationalism - the role and impact of the military
-Notions of terrorism and the war on terror
-The geographies of international boundaries
-The war on the trade in illegal substances
-The city and security
-The threat of biological weapons and infectious disease
-The vertical dimension in geopolitical and security studies
-Visual culture and world politics
-Technologies and architectures of security and insecurity
-The human body and security

Theory of international relations

We take an active role in the global debate on the units, actors and structures that shape the dynamics of international politics. Our research covers the political consequences of the constitution of the international as a distinct kind of relation. We examine political concepts including:
-The world system
-International diplomacy
-Networks
-Notions of empire
-Regional integration
-Non-governmental actors
-The (nation) state

Governance in Britain and wider Europe

Our research investigates the dynamics driving public policy-making at national, EU and international levels. We focus on the challenges multi-level governance offers for concerns about legitimacy and accountability. This includes the changing relationship between the governing and the governed over matters of politics and policy. Our geographic scope includes the United Kingdom, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia, and the Mediterranean

Global justice and human rights

Our work in political philosophy reflects the increasing need to tackle issues at a global rather than a state-only level. We cover issues such as:
-The formulation and justification of human rights
-The competing claims of relativism, particularism, and cultural diversity
-The extension of ideas of distributive justice from states to humanity as a whole
-Proposals to secure global democracy
-The application of just war theory to modern conflicts and to humanitarian intervention
-Environmental justice, especially climate change

We tackle questions of justice from an issue perspective as well as surveys of nationalism, statism, and various non-cosmopolitan theories of global justice.

Political research and methods

We conduct qualitative and quantitative research reflecting both empirical and critical political methodologies. We use quantitative methods, including rational choice theory and experiments, to make sense of topics as diverse as party systems and transitional justice. Our aim is to push innovation in research methods in ethnography, hermeneutics and discourse analysis. We use concepts that challenge traditional notions of politics to investigate methods for research into new challenges, including:
-The rise of life sciences
-The focus on the relationship between the human body and security
-Emergent forms of subjectivity and politics

Research skills development

The University's Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate School provides a full range of research training in the social sciences, which meets the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This training includes:
-Bibliographical techniques
-Philosophy of social science
-Quantitative and qualitative methods

The Graduate School also hosts postgraduate events, including open days, and supports personal development.

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The School of Government and International Affairs has a vibrant research environment. All SGIA Masters students are welcome to the numerous events organised by the School's research centres. Read more
The School of Government and International Affairs has a vibrant research environment. All SGIA Masters students are welcome to the numerous events organised by the School's research centres. MA Politics & International Relations (Political Theory) students will particularly benefit from the activities of the Centre for Political Thought. The centre runs seminar series, workshops and reading group and actively involves Masters and PhD students in its work.

Student Profiles

Not only has the MA Politics and International Relations (Political Theory) programme allowed me to further pursue what I find to be the most interesting aspect of politics, but working so closely with such knowledgeable tutors on a weekly basis has truly opened my eyes and allowed me to delve into and examine the most fundamental concepts behind political theory. That along with the fascinating debates that I had with my classmates and the thought-provoking essays have contributed to what has been the most important step in my career in politics.” Tarek Abou-Jaoude, 2014/15

“Participating in the Politics and International Relations program at Durham University is the best academic decision I have ever made for two reasons. First, is the engaging learning environment created in the classroom by the professors who lead students in civic discussion and debate. The second reason is what makes Durham University so special, being an international student from the U.S going to school at Durham allowed me to learn international relations in the classroom, and its convenient location allowed me to travel to most places in Europe to gain practical application that cannot be taught by reading a book. You make lifelong friends from all over the world who share your core interests, and that is tailor made attribute of Durham University.” Nicholas Lennox, 2014/15

“Durham has been one of the best experiences of my life. This University teaches the meaning of community and friendship, in an environment that combines historic heritage with the latest trends. The MA in Politics and International Relations (Political Theory) was all I expected. A flexible programme that allowed me to interact both with our lecturers and fellow students of the School of Government and International Affairs. This open environment promoted what it felt a very complete learning experience.” Maria Lleras, 2014/15

Course Content

This programme provides students with systematic knowledge and the tools to critically review the complex relationships between government and society at a variety of levels and in different contexts. It also enables students to evaluate in a sophisticated and critical fashion, theories and paradigms within the broad field of politics and international relations, and to draw lessons from empirical studies involving both quantitative and qualitative investigations. It also aims to develop students' ability to deploy research strategies and methods in an appropriately advanced fashion to critically evaluate research at the current limits of theoretical understanding, and to equip students so that they have the ability to master complex political concepts and evaluate the significance of major developments in political thought in general as well as international relations theory.

Course Structure
Two core modules worth 30 credits, plus a Dissertation worth 75 credits, plus 5 optional modules to the value of 75 credits - 60 of which must be from the list A.

Core Modules:
-Methodology in the Social Sciences
-Research Methods and Dissertation Production

List A - In previous years these have included:
-Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
-Issues in the Politics of Military Occupations
-International Relations Theory
-Political Ideology
-Human Rights
-Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain since 1850
-Just War in Political Theory and Practice

List B
-European Institutions and the Policy Process
-European Security
-German Foreign Policy
-International Relations and Security in the Middle East
-Nationalism, Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
-Political Economy and Development in Chinese Business
-The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
-Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
-The European Union as a Global Actor
-The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
-Model United Nations
-Region, Nation and Citizen in South East Asia
-A module offered by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into two core and five optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 75 credits of not more than 15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

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The Master’s programme in Political Theory will teach you political theory and applied philosophy in a theoretical, practical and analytical way. Read more

The Master’s programme in Political Theory will teach you political theory and applied philosophy in a theoretical, practical and analytical way. You are challenged to critically analyse and reflect on current political contexts and social and political thought.

The Political Theory track provides students with the conceptual tool-kits to analyse the complex normative and methodological issues of contemporary political life. Students are encouraged to take an active role in critical reflection on political practices, institutional arrangements, and social science methods by building on a solid foundation in social and political thought. The track combines analytical rigor with policy relevance.

  • How should public policy develop when there is moral and religious disagreement or confusion?
  • What are the proper norms to guide the ethics of war or immigration and refugee policy?
  • How should political and economic institutions be reformed to deal with the global financial crisis, international inequality or the democratic deficit in the EU?

Three reasons to study Political Theory at the University of Amsterdam

The Political Theory track provides a unique opportunity to study analytically rigorous political theory and applied philosophy in a political science programme; we apply political theory as a guide to public policy and pressing social problems.

We have an international student body and an international faculty.

The Department of Political Science is consistently ranked among the World’s top-50, and is the largest in the Netherlands. This provides students with a broad foundation in political theory and opportunities for electives and thesis research in a wide variety of related areas of study, from international relations to political economy, from electoral politics to public administration.

Student profile 

The track is designed for independent students that wish to gain a rigorous foundation in political theory and moral philosophy in order to apply these to pressing social problems. It is aimed at students that aim to develop normative and methodological tools that they can apply to complex domestic and international challenges. The programme is writing intensive; students are expected to develop a capacity to work independently and in group settings.

Career prospects

This programme prepares students for careers in government, global business, think-tanks, non-profits, and journalism with a focus on public policy, analysis, and advocacy at the local, national, and international level. The programme also provides a strong foundation for a career in academia. For more information, see the webpage on career prospects.

Degree certificate

Political Theory is a track of the accredited degree programme Political Science. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in Political Science and the title Master of Science (MSc).



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How are we to understand political life – as the expression of violence, tradition, domination, the search for freedom, the struggle for equality? How should… Read more
How are we to understand political life – as the expression of violence, tradition, domination, the search for freedom, the struggle for equality? How should we think about democracy – as the participation of citizens, the contest of representatives or the search for a common good through deliberation? What is justice – equality for all human beings, solidarity among some human beings or the free play of personal choice?

These questions have exercised minds since ancient Athens and, in recent years, they have received new interpretations in political theory, one of the most intellectually fertile sub-disciplines of politics.

Our MA Political Theory will help you secure a solid grasp of key debates in social and political thought, give you a strong foundation in theoretical principles. You explore topics including:
-Research methods in critical political theory and analysis
-Classical and contemporary texts of political theory
-Democratic theory and social justice
-Philosophy of social science
-Ethics and public policy

Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and have consistently been the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began. Ranked top 10 in the world for political science and international relations according to the Centre for World University Rankings (2017)

Our expert staff

Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics. Our staff are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on political events in national and international media.

The key member of our academic staff for this course is Professor David Howarth, who works on faith, politics and public space in democracies.

You join an active and prolific research team, with the opportunity to work alongside a member of staff on their research instead of completing a dissertation; some of these projects have even resulted in joint staff/student publications.

Specialist facilities

Laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political analysis
The ESSEXLab provides opportunities for experimental lab research
Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN
We organise the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis
A programme of seminars and events run by the department
Your future
All Essex politics graduates have the distinction of a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments.

This course will instil a wide range of analytical, critical, and communication skills that will enable you to pursue the career of your choice, whether in the public, private, or third sector, whether with a domestic or international focus.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for the following high-profile organisations:
-The Civil Service
-Local government
-The World Bank
-The United Nations
-NATO
-YouGov and YouGov America

We also offer supervision for PhD and MPhil in the following fields: government; ideology and discourse analysis; international relations; political behaviour; and politics.

Our academic reputation is illustrated by the fact that many of our graduates now teach or research at universities, colleges of higher education and schools. For example, recent graduates are now research fellows and academic staff at: Mannheim, Germany; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Duke University, USA; NATO/SHAPE, Belgium; and University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

-MA Dissertation
-Political Theory
-Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods
-Advanced Research Methods (optional)
-Comparative European Politics (optional)
-Conflict Resolution (optional)
-Contemporary Theories of Justice (optional)
-Ideology and Political Discourse (optional)
-Environmental Politics (optional)
-International Security Studies (optional)
-Political Economy (optional)
-Political Explanation (optional)
-Political Parties in Britain and Europe (optional)
-Public Opinion and Political Behaviour (optional)
-Research Design (optional)
-Theories of International Relations (optional)
-Theory and Explanation in Political Science (optional)
-Survey Measurement and Question Design

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Learn to think in different ways about the deepest questions and problems of political life. The MA in Political Theory addresses some of the most pressing questions in political life. Read more
Learn to think in different ways about the deepest questions and problems of political life.

Overview

The MA in Political Theory addresses some of the most pressing questions in political life. What is politics for - to bring real freedom and equality for all human beings, to realise justice, or to prevent human beings from killing one another in large numbers? What do we owe the global poor? Can we close our borders? Where does power lie in democracies?

Course Content

You’ll be encouraged to explore these topics, and others, in greater depth and from different perspectives across a variety of optional modules which draw on our internationally recognized teaching and research strengths in analytical political philosophy, intellectual history and critical theory.

The MA also features a regular research seminar, where the best current work in political theory is presented by staff and eminent guest speakers from all over the world.

Modules
You'll study one core module:
-Approaches to Political Theory

Plus, five optional modules from a range of subjects:
-Analytical Political Philosophy
-Contemporary Issues in International Political Economy
-Critical Theory
-Critical Theories of International Political Economy
-Ethics and World Politics
-New Security Challenges
-State, Space and Globalisation
-Topics in the History of Political Thought
-PhD Proposal in Political Theory module

Our range of modules allow you to study issues connected with toleration, continental political theory, legal theory and political integrity.

A 10-12,000 word dissertation allows you to apply the relevant method to a problem of your choosing.

Careers

From political research to journalism, marketing and HR, a masters degree in Political Theory leads to a broad range of career opportunities. You might find yourself working for:
-Central or local government
-Non-governmental organisations
-Community and voluntary organisations
-A Social enterprise
-A university
-Accountancy and banking orgs
-Law firms
-Media companies
-International and global development bodies / organisations

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How do ideologies form and sustain political identities and interests? What are the main ideologies and political discourses that frame and organise our lives today? How do theories of ideology and discourse inform contemporary political analysis? How can these theories help us to explain and evaluate key political processes?. Read more
How do ideologies form and sustain political identities and interests? What are the main ideologies and political discourses that frame and organise our lives today? How do theories of ideology and discourse inform contemporary political analysis? How can these theories help us to explain and evaluate key political processes?

Questions concerning the impact of ideological and symbolic processes on the formation of political discourses, identities and communities are of crucial importance. All of these are covered within our MA Ideology and Discourse Analysis.

You explore topics including:
-Poststructuralist, post-Marxist and psychoanalytic theories of ideology and discourse
-Research methods in critical political theory and analysis
-Key concepts for political analysis
-Mass media and democracy
-Philosophy of social science

Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and have consistently been the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began. Ranked top 10 in the world for political science and international relations according to the Centre for World University Rankings (2017)

Our expert staff

Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics. Our staff are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on political events in national and international media.

Our academic staff work on topics ranging from international conflict and violence to British elections, and from the obligations of the younger generation to why authoritarian leaders welcome natural disasters.

You join an active and prolific research team, with the opportunity to work alongside a member of staff on their research instead of completing a dissertation; some of these projects have even resulted in joint staff/student publications.

Specialist facilities

-Laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political analysis
-The ESSEXLab provides opportunities for experimental lab research
-Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN
-We organise the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis
-A programme of seminars and events run by the department

Your future

All Essex politics graduates have the distinction of a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments.

Our MA Ideology and Discourse Analysis will help you secure a solid grasp of key debates in social and political thought, give you a strong foundation in theoretical principles whose relevance and application goes well beyond politics, and instil a wide range of analytical, critical, and communication skills that will enable you to pursue the career of your choice, whether in the public, private, or third sector, whether with a domestic or international focus.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for the following high-profile organisations:
-The Civil Service
-Local government
-The World Bank
-The United Nations
-NATO
-YouGov and YouGov America

We also offer supervision for PhD and MPhil in the following fields: government; ideology and discourse analysis; international relations; political behaviour; and politics.

Our academic reputation is illustrated by the fact that many of our graduates now teach or research at universities, colleges of higher education and schools. For example, recent graduates are now research fellows and academic staff at: Mannheim, Germany; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Duke University, USA; NATO/SHAPE, Belgium; and University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

-Ideology and Political Discourse
-MA Dissertation
-Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods
-Advanced Research Methods (optional)
-Comparative European Politics (optional)
-Conflict Resolution (optional)
-Contemporary Theories of Justice (optional)
-International Security Studies (optional)
-Political Economy (optional)
-Political Explanation (optional)
-Political Parties in Britain and Europe (optional)
-Political Theory (optional)
-Public Opinion and Political Behaviour (optional)
-Research Design (optional)
-Theories of International Relations (optional)
-Theory and Explanation in Political Science (optional)
-Environmental Politics (optional)
-Survey Measurement and Question Design

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