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Course Content

Course content

This Masters degree explores problems crucial to current politics domestically and in the global sphere. It promotes the study of those problems through theoretical, ethical and practical inquiry, drawing on the expertise of a large and diverse team of political theorists. It is designed for students who are either familiar with the study of political ideas and issues at undergraduate level or who are enthusiastic to focus on this area of study at the postgraduate level.

This degree is designed for flexibility, allowing you to choose over half of the MA content from a wide range of optional modules.

In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.

Course details

This programme explores problems crucial to current politics domestically and in the global sphere. It promotes the study of those problems through theoretical, ethical and practical inquiry.

The degree draws on the expertise of a large and diverse team of political theorists. It is designed for students either familiar with the study of political ideas and issues at undergraduate level or who are enthusiastic to focus on this area of study at the postgraduate level.

Issues and questions examined include:

  • Is globalisation a threat to democracy or an opportunity to promote it?
  • Can diverse cultures co-exist harmoniously? Should illiberal religious practices be tolerated?
  • What makes political ideas revolutionary? Can ideas cause revolutions?
  • How should societies respond to state violence and ideological extremism?
  • What is terrorism? Is terrorism ever acceptable?
  • How should we conceive of global justice?
  • Is the current states system an impediment to global justice, or the best institutional hope of achieving it?

Who is the programme for?

The degree will be of interest and benefit to those interested in pursuing careers in law, education, the public sector, and international agencies and NGOs, as well as those interested in undertaking doctoral work in political theory and applied ethics. In all cases, students are encouraged to work closely with staff in a supportive and intellectually-committed environment.

One of the real strengths of our masters programmes is the wide range of available modules, giving students the ability to tailor their course of study to their own academic interests.

Learning and teaching

We advocate an enquiry-based approach to learning, which means that we encourage you to become an independent and self-motivated learner. Through the programme of study we offer, we will develop the qualities that employers value in today's university graduates - qualities that will set you apart in your future career.

To help you develop the above-mentioned skills, we adopt a range of teaching methods. They may include:

  • Lectures - listening to experts sharing their knowledge and discoveries in challenging and provocative ways. Students are expected to 'read-around' the subject matter of their lectures, adding to their understanding and developing their critical faculties and analytical skills.
  • Seminars - where you present and discuss your ideas and knowledge in smaller groups and debate interpretations and opinions with other students.
  • Tutorials - are your opportunity to discuss your work with your tutor, usually in small groups.
  • Workshops - are problem solving sessions facilitated by a member of academic staff; these sessions usually involve students working in groups.

Our lecturers and tutors will ensure you have all the resources you need to make the transition from A levels to the more rigorous demands of a degree.

More about teaching and learning at the University of Birmingham.

Enhancing your student experience

In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.

Some of these are targeted to help you build skills and experience for your CV, others are more open events designed to expose you to high-level speakers on current debates relevant to all Government and Society students.

Employability

Graduates from the School have gone on to work in a range of careers, with recent graduates working with organisations such as the United Nations, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, local authorities in the UK and overseas and the Department for International Development.

The School takes employability very seriously and as well as linking students to the central careers services, also incorporates opportunities to enhance their employment prospects, including highlighting work experience opportunities, encouraging volunteering in extra-curricular projects (such as student seminars and events) and by inviting backgrounds for students to meet.

More information about careers and employability

Careers Network

The Careers Network provides a dedicated service to help you find work experience or internship opportunities outside of your studies, either part-time during term-time, or over the summer vacation. Right from the start of your degree you will have access to our interactive careers service, through which many regional, national and international employers advertise their vacancies, and your college internship officers will go out and about to find vacancies that will be a useful addition to your CV. 

Find out more about support for work experience and internships, bursaries, or mentoring.


Visit the Political Theory - MA/PGDip page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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