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MSc Comparative Politics

Course Description

About the MSc programme

Comparative politics is the comparative study of political systems. The MSc Comparative Politics looks for sophisticated analytical answers to basic political questions: Why are some countries democratic while others are not? Why are some countries torn by ethnic conflict? Do constitutions matter?

The programme is methodologically eclectic yet rigorous, with an emphasis on historical approaches. It offers courses in the fields of democracy and democratisation, nationalism and ethnicity, comparative political economy and political institutions, popular politics, and politics of the developing world as well as a wide range of country and area specific options. Regional focuses include Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, India, China and South-East Asia. You can choose a specialism allowing you to develop deeper expertise on any of these subject areas within comparative politics.

The programme is good preparation for further research work or for a career in media, political consultancy, international organisations, public administration or the private sector.

Programme details

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Comparative Politics in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. You should visit the School's Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the Updated graduate course and programme information page.

Graduate destinations

Graduates from our MSc have gone on to successful careers in politics, media, NGOs, foreign service, finance and academia.

Visit the MSc Comparative Politics page on the London School of Economics and Political Science website for more details!

(Student Profile)

David Carpy

1819.jpg LSE is one of the most reputable schools in the world and I decided to study a master's programme here because I wanted to learn from the best of the best. After more than 7 years outside the classroom, the experience of being at LSE has reignited my interest in academia.

At the beginning I was afraid of studying Latin America outside the region, but the MSc Comparative Politics has demonstrated that coming here was the right choice. The freedom I had in choosing my courses has shown me that I can learn more about my home region and learn new tools to understand it without being there.

The two most important things I value about LSE are the academic staff and the multicultural student body.

The lecturers supply us with in-depth information on our topics and are always available to provide help should we need it. I once read that 80 per cent of the School's graduate students come from overseas, and this says a lot about LSE's reputation all over the world as a leading institution.

I have had the opportunity to participate in the Mexican Society, and have attended public lectures given by Bolivian vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera, as well as the former president of Bolivia, Carlos Mesa. I have also attended presentations by LSE Ideas, a centre for the study of international affairs, diplomacy and grand strategy. These talks have provided me with further information about current academic debates.

After my studies I would like to return to my home country of Mexico. Returning will be hard, but I feel the experience of studying at LSE will allow me to enter into a career in consultancy either in the public or private sector.

(Student Profile)

Niamh Gallagher

Part of my rationale for moving to London to do a master's was not just to develop academically, but also to gather some more practical policy experience in a new, vibrant environment. When I learned of the LSE Internships Scheme, I was immediately keen to take part. I interned at the New Local Government Network (NLGN), a think tank which focuses on local government policy and issues in the UK. NLGN was a small but very active organisation, and a lot was expected of me from the outset. Like many of the students who interned in Parliament, my experience gave me the chance to apply theoretical knowledge gleaned at LSE to the real world. I got a sense of how politics and policy works in the UK from day to day – what's the best way to influence policy, where do the best ideas come from, and who's who in politics – there's no way I could have learned half of what I did from a book. The experience proved invaluable to me in getting my next job as a researcher at Demos, where I worked for almost three years, working on projects focused on designing more tailored public services for citizens. Demos gave me a real sense of how policy affects people's daily lives, and taught me how to develop and frame policy ideas in a way that appeals to politicians, civil servants and voters. I left Demos two years ago and moved back to Dublin to work as a policy analyst at the Children's Rights Alliance, an umbrella body representing over 90 NGOs working with and for children in Ireland. The Alliance produces the Irish NGO Shadow Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and an annual Report Card on Government policy as it is impacting on children's lives, as well as representing children at national level through Social Partnership. Alongside this, I have stayed active in politics, and last year co-founded Women for Europe – a pro-European civil society group – to campaign for a Yes vote in the Lisbon treaty referendum in October 2009.


Entry Requirements

2:1 or equivalent in any discipline with a considered interest in the area covered by the MSc; English standard level

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