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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. 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.

Programme structure

The programme comprises 180 credits in total: taught modules worth 135 credits in total, and a supervised dissertation worth 45 credits.

Each taught module is normally taught through seminars, underpinned by reading and essay assignments.

Learning and teaching

With the exception of the dissertation, each module on this programme is normally taught through academic lectures expanded through seminar discussion, presentations, group work, reading and essay assignments.

You will have an individual supervisor for your dissertation, which is a 16,000-20,000 word extended political theory essay on a topic of your choice (following discussion and approval from your supervisor).

The teaching and assessment on this programme should enable you to develop insight into recent critiques of modern Western societies and their values, and the ways in which these form crucial theoretical elements in debates across the social sciences.

As a graduate of the MA Political Thought you should be able to:

  • Synthesise and comment critically on a body of academic writing relating to contemporary social and political philosophy.
  • Appreciate, analyse, interpret and evaluate international socio-political issues, ideas and institutions.
  • Construct and defend a rigorous argument, both in written form and orally, using primary and secondary materials.


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.

Consequently, University of Exeter Politics postgraduates have been highly successful in securing interesting career opportunities and progressing to PhD level study.

Employment and professional development

Our excellent Employability and Graduate Development Service provides invaluable support, advice and access to graduate employers. Visit the employment and professional development pages for more information, including podcasts and profiles, about the range of support available.

Research areas

Students can take advantage of our seminar series and its long-running and highly successful annual postgraduate conference which brings together researchers from across all humanities and social sciences disciplines.

Our research is funded by leading research councils and is used by governments and networks around the world.

The Centre of Political Thought 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.

We have a long-standing reputation as a centre of expertise in the history of political ideas and we are the home of the discipline's leading journal History of Political Thought.

Visit the MA Political Thought page on the University of Exeter website for more details!





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