2020 start

Political Theory

Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Department of Politics and International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences

Co-run with the Department of Politics, this course gives you the opportunity to explore contemporary political philosophy and its historical underpinnings. You’ll study topics such as global justice, the environment, feminism, capitalism, equality, democracy and international political theory, delving into the debates that are shaping current political discourse and developing your understanding of the cultural, historical and philosophical contexts that surround them.
Postgraduate philosophy students sitting around coffee table

Course description

This course is taught jointly by the Departments of Philosophy and Politics and International Relations. 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.

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Core modules

  • Political Philosophy Research Seminar (taught by the Department of Philosophy)
  • Dissertation in Political Theory

Optional modules

Examples include:

  • Moral and Other Values Research Seminar
  • Feminism
  • Global Justice
  • Philosophy of Law
  • The Political Philosophy of Climate Change
  • The Political Economy of Poverty and Inequality
  • Freedom
  • Capitalism and Crisis
  • Democratic Governance in the 21st Century


You’ll learn through lectures, seminars and tutorials. 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.


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

Entry requirements

You’ll need a first-class or 2:1 honours degree from a UK university, or an equivalent grade from overseas.

A degree in philosophy, politics or a related subject is preferred, though we will consider applicants from a wide range of disciplines, particularly if they can demonstrate other experience relevant to the programme.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Fees and funding

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

Department's postgraduate funding opportunities page

Dr Alasdair Cochrane

Our masters courses are so exciting because you’ll have the opportunity to develop a genuine specialism in your area of study. As researchers it’s a real pleasure to share your latest work—in my case, on the political theory of animal rights—with students who are eager to learn and challenge!

Dr Alasdair Cochrane
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics


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

Apply now


+44 114 222 0587

+44 114 222 1641

The course information set out here may change before you begin, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the start date.