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MSc Comparative Politics

About the MSc programme

This programme is based in the Department of Government and is a good preparation for further research work or for a career in media, political consultancy, international organisations, public administration or the private sector.

Comparative politics is the comparative study of political systems. In the MSc Comparative Politics we look for sophisticated analytical answers to such basic political questions as: 'why are some countries democratic while others are not?'; 'why are some countries torn by ethnic conflict?'; 'do constitutions matter?'; 'what is the impact of global capitalism on state sovereignty?' Addressing these and similar questions, the programme 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. The latter include Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, India, China and South-East Asia. Our programme is methodologically eclectic yet rigorous, with an emphasis on historical approaches.  

Programme details

Students 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 core comparative politics course (half unit) and write a 10,000 word dissertation (one unit). Students can – but are not obliged to – choose a specialism allowing the acquisition of deeper expertise on a particular subject area within comparative politics. Specialisms require either:

  • an obligatory compulsory specialism course and another course from a restricted list of subjects related to the specialism, or
  • the choice of two courses from a restricted list of subjects related to the specialism.

The topic of the dissertation (GV499) should also broadly relate to the theme of the specialism chosen. Part-time students may take up to four courses in their first year.

Compulsory courses

(* half unit)


Democracy and Democratisation
Nationalism and Ethnic Politics
Comparative Political Economy
Popular Politics
Comparative Political Institutions

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of two and a half units from a range of options.

Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

Graduate destinations

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



Application code: M1I2

Start date: 24 September 2015

Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time  

Intake/applications in 2013: 64/293

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 in any discipline with a considered interest in the area covered by the MSc (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: £18,600

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme
(see Fees and financial support)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions


John Chalcraft