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MA Political Theory

Learn to think in different ways about the deepest questions and problems of political life.

Year of entry: 2019

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

The MA in Political Theory addresses some of the most pressing questions in political life. What is politics for - to bring real freedom and equality for all human beings, to realise justice, or to prevent human beings from killing one another in large numbers? What do we owe the global poor? Can we close our borders? Where does power lie in democracies?

You’ll explore these topics in greater depth and from different perspectives in our MA Political Theory. The courses draws on our internationally recognized teaching and research strengths in analytical political philosophy, intellectual history and critical theory.

You'll be encouraged to attend regular research seminars, where the best current work in political theory is presented by staff and eminent guest speakers from all over the world.

Leading research

We're ranked eighth in the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework results

Spanning the discipline

From early modern political thought to contemporary international security, from post-conflict development to global financial governance, from the politics of gender to the politics of the environment, you can benefit from expertise on a huge range of topics

Course content

You'll study 180 credits in total. The course consists of:

  • one core module (20 credits)
  • five option modules (20 credits each)
  • independent research dissertation (60 credits)

Option modules cover a wide range of topics, including toleration, continental political theory, legal theory and political integrity.

Taught modules will run throughout the Autumn and Spring Terms, with the dissertation being completed during the Summer Term and vacation.

Modules

Core modules

Option modules

You will study at least three political theory modules from: 

You can also study up to two modules from: 

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Dissertation

A 10-12,000 word dissertation allows you to apply the relevant method to a problem of your choosing.

Examples of previous dissertation titles include:

  • An exploration of the philosophical arguments for and against same-sex marriage and a comparison of the political and legal underpinning of same-sex marriage laws in the United Kingdom and United States
  • Prohibition and Liberty: Is the prohibition of drugs compatible with a commitment to liberalism?
  • The Depoliticization of Unhappiness: Political Agency in the Age of Mental Depression
  • Muslims in The Sun: The representation of Islam in the UK's best-selling newspaper
  • Education for the liberal agent: A justification for comprehensive liberalism in education
  • Is global warming genocide?
  • Freedom, the market and citizenship: neo-Roman Republicanism and the prospect of a civic economy
  • Poverty and perception. How can ethics bring the global poor into view?
  • An open Marxist feminism: gendered identities and the gendered division of labour
  • What are young citizen's attitudes to gender norms in general and to masculinity in particular?
  • On legality and violence: reflections on Carl Schmitt and Walter Benjamin
  • On children's rights. Is it reasonable to extend human rights to children?
  • Toleration: An ethic of the passions. A discussion on love as a political virtue
  • Superfluous Men and Bare Life (A Dialogue between Hannah Arendt and Giorgio Agamben)

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • gain a critical understanding of problems and/or debates in political theory and its history
  • apply techniques in and approaches to political theory, critical, historical, and analytical
  • understand how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in political theory and the history of political thought
  • evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline
  • evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them
  • develop and evince the capacity for engaging in original research in the production of a dissertation

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
£3,905
year 1 fee
£8,685
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

You may incur some additional expenses for books. These costs are optional - our university library is well stocked. If the resources you need aren't available, you can borrow via inter-library loans and order new books to our library for free.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Departmental scholarships

We have a number of scholarships and funding opportunities available. Find out about postgraduate funding.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

You'll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and one-to-one supervision. We offer a personal approach to learning with much of our teaching conducted in small groups.

You'll be taught by academics at the forefront of research across a number of political areas such as conflict, security and development, political economy, international politics, political theory and public policy. As international experts in their field, our staff advise governments and organisations globally and regularly contribute to news and current affairs programmes. Our expertise and experience feed directly into our teaching.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Politics in Derwent College on Campus West. Over half of your teaching will take place in the Spring Lane building. The rest of your contact hours will be nearby on Campus West. 

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You submit six essays; three are submitted at the end of the Autumn term and three at the end of the Spring term (essays are usually around 4,000 words long).

Your final dissertation or policy report of between 10,000 - 12,000 words is submitted at the beginning of September.

We offer the opportunity to present your dissertation or policy research report at our research seminar presentation workshops. These are not formally assessed (not credit bearing), but they give you the chance to hone your presentation skills and to get verbal feedback from your tutors and peers.

 

Careers and skills

From political research to journalism, marketing and HR, a masters degree in Political Theory leads to a broad range of career opportunities.

Our students have found work in central or local government, non-governmental organisations, community and voluntary organisations, social enterprise, higher education, accountancy and banking organisations, law firms, media companies and international and global development bodies.

Career opportunities

Recent graduates from the department work as university lecturers, parliamentary assistants, librarians and television producers. Other popular employers include:

  • Local councils
  • UN
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • NHS
  • Professional services / Accountancy firms - notably PwC, EY, KPMG
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Oxfam
  • Barclays
  • IBM
  • Development charities including the International Committee of the Red Cross

Transferable skills

  • Reflective independent learning
  • The ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly
  • The capacity to critically analyse evidence and construct coherent arguments
  • Excellent written and oratory skills
  • Intellectual independence and autonomy
  • Teamworking skills
  • A flexible and open-minded approach to work.

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Degree

We typically ask for a degree at 2:1 or above. You must also include a written work sample with your application.

We are willing to consider applicants with lower qualifications, particularly if you have high marks in relevant modules and/or appropriate professional experience. Additional information may be requested.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want to enquire informally about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.

If you earned your Bachelors degree outside of the UK, you should check that it is equivalent to a 2:1. Our country-specific pages can help you to find out.

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English may need to satisfy language requirements:

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all requirements

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

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Department of Politics

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