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Course Content

Course content

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.

About this degree

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).

Core modules

  • Meanings of Liberty: Applied Methods in Political Theory (30)
  • Seminars in Political Theory, Colloquium in Legal Philosophy and Peer Assisted Learning Sessions (30)

Optional modules

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

  • Contemporary Political Philosophy I: Authority, Obligation & Democracy (15)
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy II: Social Justice and Equality (15)
  • Equality, Justice and Difference (15)
  • Global Ethics (15)
  • Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition I and II (30)
  • Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition I (15)
  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory I & II (30)
  • Jurispudence and Legal Theory I (15)
  • The Ethics of Poverty (15)
  • Public Ethics (15)
  • Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights (15)
  • The Ethics of Counterterrorism (15)

Dissertation/report

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

Careers

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

  • Leadership Fellow, Princeton University
  • Research Assistant, Labour
  • MPhil in International Relations and Politics, University of Cambridge
  • Journalist, BBC
  • Policy Adviser, HM Treasury

Employability

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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.


Visit the Legal and Political Theory (MA) page on the University College London website for more details!

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