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Legal and Political Theory - MA

Course Description

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.

Degree information

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).
-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)

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.


This MA provides an excellent foundation for further research in political theory, or a wide variety of careers in this field.

First destinations of recent graduates include:
-UK Parliament: Researcher for MP
-Nacro: Resettlement Plus Helpline Information Officer
-Medway Council: Political Assistant
-English Speaking Union: Publicity Officer
-London Sustainable Business Forum: Research
-Vault Europe: Business Journalist
-Centre Forum: Research Intern
-Stephen Rimmer and Co Solicitors: Trainee Solicitor
-Legal & Constituency Ltd: Underwriter
-City University: Graduate Diploma in Law

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Journalist, BBC
-Political Analyst, DeHavilland
-Policy Adviser, HM Treasury
-Politician, The Labour Party
-DPhil Politics, University of Oxford

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.

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 School of Public Policy, as well as from the participation of UCL Philosophy and UCL Laws.

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

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

As a minimum, a strong upper second-class (65%) Bachelor's degree in political theory or a related discipline from a UK university; a CPGA of 3.45; or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant practical or work experience in a related field may also be taken into account.

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