Programmes

MSc Political Sociology

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of Sociology
  • Application code L3U4
  • Starting 2018

Political sociology is a subject with a long and distinguished history and a thriving contemporary debate. The MSc Political Sociology is designed to look beneath the day-to-day controversies of politics in order to explore the underlying forces that either promote or retard political and social change.

The programme will provide you with the analytical tools and the empirical knowledge to understand some of the fundamental forces that have shaped, and are shaping, the world in which we live. It combines a strong core course that explores classic empirical and historical puzzles about the relationship between politics and society, with the flexibility to develop individual interests in a wide range of different areas. It will give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge of politics and society, and to build up special expertise in particular areas.

It will also give you the opportunity to develop your capacity for rigorous oral and written argument. Seminar discussion and essay writing will foster a critical approach that will encourage you to re-evaluate commonly accepted ideas, to consider alternative explanations for important social and political developments, and to support your own conclusions with carefully deployed evidence.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc Political Sociology
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 83
Intake 2016 16
Availability UK/EU: Open 
Overseas: Open 
Tuition fee UK/EU: £13,536
Overseas: £20,904
Financial support Graduate support scheme (deadline 26 April 2018)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline with considered interest in the area covered by the MSc 
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Higher (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

The compulsory course, Politics and Society, explores a series of fundamental questions about the social bases of politics and the relationship between states and societies. It examines the interaction between economic interests, political institutions, and ideological norms. It has a strong empirical and historical component, which provides an opportunity to engage with some of the classic puzzles that have defined the field, to expand your knowledge of a number of countries and to systematically compare their experiences. Special additional seminars cover some key theoretical approaches and methods in the social sciences and provide a forum for exploring their use in your own work.

You will also choose optional courses up to the value of two units from a particularly wide range of options. This choice of options enables you to engage with either empirical or theoretical topics, or a mixture of both.

Finally, you will complete a 10,000-word dissertation. This gives you a chance to develop your thinking in an area that is of particular interest to you, and to produce an extended piece of individual research.

Politics and Society
Explores some of the great debates about the relationship between politics and society.

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

Optional courses to the value of two units from an approved list.

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, and will advise on your dissertation topic.

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.

Preliminary reading

B Anderson Imagined Communities (Verso Books, 2012)

R Archer Why is There No Labour Party in the United States? (Princeton University Press, 2010)

M McQuarrie et al Democratizing Inequalities (Princeton University Press, 2015)

P Evans et al Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge Press, 1985)

S M Lipset 'The Social Requisites of Democracy Revisited', American Sociological Review, vol 59 (Springer, 1995)

S Lukes Power: A Radical View (Palgrave McMillian, 2004)

D McAdam Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements (Cambridge University Press, 1996) 

M Mann The Sources of Social Power (Cambridge University Press, 1986)

M Olson The Logic of Collective Action (Harvard University Press, 1974)

T Skocpol Protecting Soldiers and Mothers (Harvard University Press, 1995)

C Tilly Coercion, Capital and European States (Wiley-Blackwell, 1993)

Careers

Students go into a wide range of professions including academic research, teaching, politics, diplomacy, government policy-making, public administration, journalism, the media, law, publishing, industry, and management, as well as working for think tanks, activist groups, international bodies, and non-governmental organisations.

 Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Tom McClean

Marrickville, NSW, Australia

tomMcClean.170x230jpg

I’m interested in politics in the broadest sense: what are the bases of power in our society, how are they negotiated, and how is power exercised? The Political Sociology course covers exactly this field, rigorously and in a lot of depth. It's a lot of work, but I'll come out knowing a lot more than I did, and with a much clearer idea how to analyse and argue these sorts of questions. This focus makes it easy to delve right into individual subjects, while also ensuring a coherent programme of study which matches your own interests, even if the individual subjects come from different departments.

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.

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 Political Sociology 

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree in any discipline with 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 Political Sociology 

UK/EU students: £13,536
Overseas students: £20,904

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and 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 reduction

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 further information.

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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