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Course content

How do political scientists explain political outcomes? How does normative theory inform the way researchers approach their work? How do political science approaches differ from historical accounts of political phenomenon? How can political science be used to analyse the real world?

Our MSc Political Science gives a general overview of such topics, and as our most flexible postgraduate course offers you a very wide choice of optional modules. You explore the main theoretical approaches to the study of politics and look at what the basic theoretical framework required to conduct research in political science is.

Your optional modules may cover topics including:
-Survey measurement and research methods
-The economy and the state
-Democracies in Europe
-Theories of justice
-Conflict resolution

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
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 graduates from this course can expect to find jobs in market research, the media and central or local government. It also provides a foundation for further research in political science. You will gain key employability skills such as analytical reasoning, research design, and report writing.

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
-Advanced Research Methods
-Theory and Explanation in Political Science
-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)
-Political Theory (optional)
-Public Opinion and Political Behaviour (optional)
-Research Design (optional)
-Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods (optional)
-Survey Measurement and Question Design
-Theories of International Relations (optional)

Visit the Political Science - MSc page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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