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MA in Political Philosophy (The Idea of Toleration)

Course Description

Since 1980 the Politics Department at the University of York has been home to the Morrell Studies in Toleration Programme, which is funded by the C and JB Morrell Trust. The Trust supports a wide range of activities in political philosophy, including an annual Address on Toleration, regular conferences on the philosophical foundations of toleration, and funding for students who wish to register for the MA in Political Philosophy (The Idea of Toleration). Morrell Lecturers include: Professor Bernard Williams, Professor Christopher Hill, Professor Maurice Cranston, Professor Karl Popper, Professor Hayek, Lord Scarman, Baroness Warnock, Helena Kennedy QC, Professor Alasdair MacIntyre, Mark Tully, and Professor Will Kymlicka. All students registered for the MA in Toleration are invited to the annual Address and to the Conference.

The Department has an excellent rating for research and in November 2000 was awarded a perfect score (24) in the Subject Review exercise carried out by the Quality Assurance Agency. We aim to provide a stimulating environment for the study of political philosophy generally, and of toleration in particular. Political philosophy is a major area of research strength in the Department and seven members of staff are regularly involved in teaching on the MA course. In recent years the two MA courses in Political Philosophy have regularly attracted over twenty students per year.

Course Structure


The MA consists of four taught modules plus a dissertation on a topic of the student's own choice. Students must take History of the Idea of Toleration in the Autumn term and Contemporary Issues in Toleration in the Spring term. In addition, students must take one of Contemporary Political Philosophy (Autumn term) or Approaches to the Study of the History of Political Thought (Spring term). Students who do not choose to take both of these modules must select an Option Module. Options available vary slightly from year to year, but will normally include some or all of the following: Political Integrity, Legal Philosophy, Marxist Theory, and Post-Modernism and Political Theory. The dissertation is written in the Summer (third) term and the Summer vacation, and must be submitted by 30th September.

Students are also required to undertake various research training programmes throughout their degree.


Both the MA courses may be taken on a part-time basis and are taken over two years (24 months). Instead of taking two taught modules in the first two terms, as is the case with full-time students, part-time students will normally take one module per term over four terms (the first two terms of Years One and Two), and will then spend the rest of the time working on their dissertation, which must be submitted by 30th September of Year Two.

Entry Requirements

2:1, relevant discipline

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