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MSc Political Science and Political Economy

About the MSc programme

The MSc Political Science and Political Economy provides a sound professional training in formal political science and in quantitative oriented approaches to political economy. Students will acquire the knowledge and techniques to analyse political processes, institutional design and public policy making in liberal democracies. It should be of particular interest for students who intend to take courses in political economy, elections, legislature, executive governments, public policy, development, and international political economy within the framework of a political science oriented programme. This MSc will provide a set of skills which are highly requested in public policy making, policy analysis, business, political consultancy and public affairs.

Programme details

All students study the compulsory courses in Political Science and Political Economy, Game Theory for Political Science, Applied Quantitative Methods for Political Science and Applied Regression Analysis and write a 10,000 word dissertation. In addition, students will be expected to choose courses to the value of one unit from a range of options, including from other programmes in the Department and School, with the approval of the MSc course convener.

Each student is assigned a personal tutor who is a member of the PSPE Group. The personal tutor provides support for personal and academic well-being during the programme.

Students write a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with their supervisor. Previous dissertations reflect a wide variety of subject areas, including political institutions, political behaviour such as elections, public policy, and political economy. Dissertations should reflect the training that students have acquired by applying methods such as formal theory, quantitative methods or textual analysis.

Half unit courses are taught in the format of lectures (usually of one or two hours) and seminars (usually one to two hours), summing to about three total hours per week over the ten week term. These take place in the first and second terms with two weeks of revision scheduled for the third term. Methods of assessment differ from course to course, and may include unseen written exams in the summer term and/or assessed essays. In addition you will meet with your supervisor and work on your dissertation.

The PSPE programme relies significantly on the use of mathematical concepts (eg, statistics, game theory) and their applications to modern political science. As a result, we expect students to have either (a) previous exposure to key mathematical concepts (intermediary level or above in algebra and real analysis, some exposure to probabilities), or (b) to be willing to invest some additional time in developing those skills (for instance through the "maths camp" offered prior to the beginning of the Michaelmas term).

Compulsory courses

(* half unit)

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of one unit (if full unit analysis course taken) or one and a half units (if half unit analysis course is taken) from a range of options.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Political Science and Political Economy 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

This programme is an excellent preparation for further research work or for a career in education, public administration or the private sector. It will also equip the students with the skills needed to pursue a PhD or conduct research in quantitative political science.


Application code: L2U9 (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

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

Intake/applications in 2014: 40/244

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 or equivalent in any discipline (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