Home > Study > Graduate > Taught Programmes 2016 > MSc Comparative Politics

MSc Comparative Politics

About the MSc programme

This programme is based in the Department of Government. It is aimed at those holding a social science BA or equivalent, 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? How can social movements best be understood? 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 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.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Comparative Politics 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, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. 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 circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. 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.

Graduate destinations

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



Application code: M1I2 (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

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

Intake/applications in 2014: 80/299

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: £19,344

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

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions


John Chalcraft