Programmes

MSc Comparative Politics

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of Government
  • Application code M1I2
  • Starting 2018

Comparative politics is the comparative study of political systems. The MSc Comparative Politics looks for sophisticated analytical answers to basic political questions: Why are some countries democratic while others are not? Why are some countries torn by ethnic conflict? Do constitutions matter?

The programme is methodologically eclectic yet rigorous, with an emphasis on historical approaches. It offers courses in the fields of democracy and democratisation, nationalism and ethnicity, comparative political economy and political institutions, popular politics, and politics of the developing world as well as a wide range of country- and area-specific options. Regional foci include Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, India, China and South-East Asia. You can choose a specialism allowing you to develop deeper expertise on any of these subject areas within comparative politics.

The programme is good preparation for further research work or for a career in media, political consultancy, international organisations, public administration or the private sector.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc Comparative Politics
Start date 27 September 2018
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Applications 2016 276
Intake 2016 66
Availability UK/EU: Open 
Overseas: Open 
Tuition fee UK/EU: £20,904
Overseas £20,904
Financial support Graduate support scheme (deadline 26 April 2018)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Standard (see 'assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Programme structure and courses

You will take assessed courses with a total value of four units, with most courses accounting for a half unit. All students are required to take the compulsory comparative politics course (half unit) and write a 10,000-word dissertation (one unit). You can choose a specialism, allowing you delve deeper into a particular subject area within comparative politics. The topic of your dissertation should broadly relate to the theme of your chosen specialism. Part-time students may take up to four courses in their first year.

(* denotes a half unit)

Introduction to Comparative Politics*
Examines the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of comparative politics.

Dissertation
An independent research project of 10,000 words on an approved topic of your choice.

Specialisms

In addition to the core course and the dissertation, you will take courses to the value of two and a half units. Your course choice will depend on your chosen specialism. If you choose not to specialise, you will take courses from any of the specialisms, or from an approved list.

  • Democracy and Democratisation
  • Nationalism and Ethnic Politics
  • Comparative Political Economy
  • Popular Politics
  • Comparative Political Institutions
  • Politics of the Developing World

 
You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

Teaching and assessment

Contact hours and independent study

Within your programme you will take a number of courses, often including half unit courses and full unit courses. In half unit courses, on average, you can expect 20-30 contact hours in total and for full unit courses, on average, you can expect 40-60 contact hours in total. This includes sessions such as lectures, classes, seminars or workshops. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

Teaching methods

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.

Assessment

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment may be conducted during the course or by final examination at the end of the course. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Academic support

You will also be assigned an academic adviser who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns.

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

 

Careers

Graduates from our MSc have gone on to successful careers in politics, media, NGOs, Foreign Service, finance and academia.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

David Carpy

MSc Comparative Politics
Mexico City, Mexico

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After more than 7 years outside the classroom, the experience of being at LSE has reignited my interest in academia. At the beginning I was afraid of studying Latin America outside the region, but the MSc Comparative Politics has demonstrated that coming here was the right choice. The freedom I had in choosing my courses has shown me that I can learn more about my home region and learn new tools to understand it without being there.

The two most important things I value about LSE are the academic staff and the multicultural student body. The lecturers supply us with in-depth information on our topics and are always available to provide help should we need it. After my studies I would like to return to my home country of Mexico. Returning will be hard, but I feel the experience of studying at LSE will allow me to enter into a career in consultancy either in the public or private sector.

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Student stories

Bernado Jurema

MSc Comparative Politics, 2011
Research Associate, Freie Universität Berlin

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I initially chose the LSE for academic purposes, because it is such a respected institution and also because of the programme of my degree. I soon came to realise that this was only part of it. Living in London, with all that it has to offer, was just as, if not more, important. It opened doors and new opportunities that I would never have had elsewhere. I would encourage students to take advantage of the fact that you are in London. Most organisations, NGOs, think-tanks and so on have some sort of office or representation there. And the LSE ‘label’ helps immensely, so make use of it. 

I am thankful for my time at the LSE. I have learned a great deal, both in terms of content as well as in research skills. It broadened my horizons, it greatly extended my network connections and I made great friends with whom I keep in contact to this day.


Amal Safi

MSc in Comparative Politics, 2011
Trade Finance Officer, Credit Suisse

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I chose LSE to have some credibility as a person passionate about political science. I chose my degree in Comparative Politics, Politics and Market stream, because I am very curious to analyse and understand the relationships between the state and the market and assess how it can be improved for more justice and sustainability. It was definitely the best year of my whole life because I learnt so much. Despite the fact that it was stressful, intense and scary when I used to think about the final exams, I miss it so much now and I wish I could go back.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- personal statement
- two academic references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, however to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details. 

Minimum entry requirements for MSc Comparative Politics

Upper second class honours degree (2:1) or equivalent in any discipline with a considered interest in the area covered by the MSc.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

See international entry requirements

Fees and funding

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2018/19 for MSc Comparative Politics

UK/EU students: £20,904
Overseas students: £20,904

Fee status

For this programme, the tuition fee is the same for all students regardless of their fee status. However any financial support you are eligible for will depend on whether you are classified as a Home (UK/EU) or Overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities 

Fee reductions and rewards

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Please refer to the Fees Office website for updates.

Scholarships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £11.5 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, EU and overseas.

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline. 
Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 26 April 2018.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. 

Check the latest information about scholarship opportunities

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans
Find out more about external funding opportunities

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