MA Political Theory

Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Department of Politics, Faculty of Social Sciences

Renowned academics and an exceptional range of options make Sheffield one of the best places in the world for this subject.

Our style of teaching encourages originality and independence of mind. You will learn how to express complex ideas clearly, how to argue persuasively for those ideas and you will also learn to understand other points of view.

Our international teaching team includes Jennifer Saul, Eric Olson and Angie Hobbs, the UK's first Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy.

You'll be part of a large group of students from all over the world. You'll socialise together, share ideas and inspire each other.

About the course

This course is taught jointly by the Departments of Philosophy and Politics. It's designed to help you develop advanced knowledge and understanding of political philosophy.

The MA teaches you the research skills you need for a PhD in political theory or a related subject.

Through close critical reading, you will familiarise yourself with important works of contemporary political and moral philosophy. We'll teach you how to reason and argue with your peers through difficult and sometimes controversial ideas.

You'll write a long essay for each module and a dissertation. If you’re going on to a PhD, you may choose to write a PhD proposal.

Core modules

  • Political Philosophy Research Seminar
  • Dissertation

Optional modules

Other modules include research seminars in:

  • History of Philosophy
  • Morals and Other Values
  • Mind and Language
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology
  • Cognitive Studies

And modules including:

  • Human Rights, Politics and Global Migration, The Politics of
    International Law


  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials


You'll be assessed continuously through essays.

Briana Toole, postgraduate student in the Department of Philosophy

Key facts

Course duration

  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time

Entry requirements

You’ll need a first-class or strong 2:1 honours degree.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

Fees and funding

If you qualify, you may be able to get financial support through the University's studentships and fee waivers, and the AHRC Block Grant Partnership.

Department of Philosophy postgraduate funding opportunities

Financial information for postgraduate taught courses

Your career

A masters from Sheffield will set you apart and is excellent preparation for a PhD at any leading university, or for a wide range of careers, including teaching, law, publishing, civil service, charities, and NGOs, among others.

Our postgraduate students have gone on to academic posts at Aberdeen, UC Berkeley, Birkbeck, Cambridge, Essex, Keele, Kent, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Manitoba, Newcastle, Nottingham, the Open University, Oxford, Sheffield, Stirling and Zurich.

Our graduates have the confidence and the focus to tackle big projects. And they know how to carry out their own research.

We also offer more specific training. For example, many of the modules on this course are relevant to careers in politics, public service and NGOs.

A lively study environment

You'll be part of a large group of students from all over the world. You'll socialise together, share ideas and inspire each other.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) ranks us 2nd in the UK for the quality of our published work.

We have expertise in almost every area of the subject, particularly philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, philosophical logic, philosophy of psychology, history of philosophy, political philosophy, metaethics and feminist philosophy.

The department is also home to The Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies and a number of major research projects.

Apply now

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It is a quick and easy process.

Postgraduate Online Application Form

Any questions?

If you'd like to know more about any aspect of our courses, contact us:

Joanne Renshaw
T: +44 (0)114 222 0587