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Course Profile

Contemporary capitalism is fraught by growing inequalities, environmental degradation, and technological change. These challenges are not the result of economic laws of motion, but rather of human activity. Only by viewing the economy through a political lens we can start to understand and tackle them. On this degree you will engage in fresh thinking and cutting edge research on how contemporary economies work – and how to achieve more equal and sustainable societies.

Our approach to studying Global Political Economy is centred on human lives. It differs considerably from economics; rather than focusing solely on numbers and abstract modelling, it typically starts with these foundational questions:

  • To what extent is everyone given an equal chance to live and prosper in the global economy?
  • How and why are these opportunities to live and prosper unequal across the globe?
  • Who, if anyone, gets to design and shape the global economy to operate in this way?
  • What ideas and identities are used to justify this system?

On this degree you will have the opportunity to study themes that include:

  • Inequalities in income and wealth, both within nations and across the globe.
  • How the economy interacts with and reproduces power imbalances in gender, race, and sexuality.
  • The extent to which capitalism is a driver and/or a solution to global environmental change.
  • The implications of tech platforms, data, and automation for how we live our lives.
  • The possibility for creating a stable, fair, and purposeful global financial system.
  • Which models of capitalist development are best suited to tackling and eradicating poverty.

The MA in Global Political Economy explores how we produce, exchange and distribute goods and services that sustain our lives, and questions the ideas and decisions that shape those processes. It is suited for those who are interested in envisioning and actively designing sustainable solutions to the major socio-economic and political problems of our time.


Other course information 

  • Standard duration is one year full-time
  • Can be studied part-time over two years
  • Find the tuition fee for this course here
  • Comprises a mixture of course-specific modules and optional modules
  • Culminates with a Dissertation in Global Political Economy

We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.


On the MA Global Political Economy, you will study two core modules:

You will have a choice of two modules:

Your studies will culminate with your postgraduate dissertation:

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.

In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Global and Career Experience

The Faculty of Social Sciences (of which the Department of Politics is a member) has many exciting opportunities specifically for postgraduate students to develop their careers and gain valuable global experience.

Postgraduate Advantage Scheme

This provides internship bursaries for postgraduate students to gain graduate-level work experience whilst studying. Through this scheme, our students have engaged with over one hundred community organisations, charities and small-medium enterprises, with internships taking place around the world, from Sheffield to South Africa.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Advantage Scheme

Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences (GLOSS)

This exciting programme provides you with unique opportunities to understand your course in an international context, to actively engage with international policymakers, stakeholders and partners, and to become involved in the international research undertaken within the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Find out more about GLOSS

Global Leadership Initiative

This gives you the chance to attend major international summits taking place during the academic year. You will have the opportunity for you to gain first-hand experience of international policy debates at the highest level, to attend press conferences and produce outputs visible to an international audience, thereby enhancing your research skills and employability.

Find out more about the Global Leadership Initiative

Entry Requirements

We are looking for inquiring students who have a strong academic track record and will enthusiastically take part in our research community.

Academic Qualifications
  • We require a good degree (first-class or strong 2:1 honours degree) in a relevant social science, arts and humanities or related subject.
  • We require equivalent attainment in an overseas qualification.
English Language
  • We require a good standard of English so you can fully take part in our course.
  • If you speak English as a second language, the requirements for IELTS are 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in all components.
  • You can find out more here.
Application Requirements
  • You will submit a good personal statement (at least 300 words) and receive two good academic references.

More information about applying