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MSc Political Sociology

About the MSc programme

Political sociology is a subject with a long and distinguished history and a thriving contemporary debate. LSE has been home to some of the leading thinkers in the subject, and the MSc will give you the chance to study political sociology at graduate level, with teachers who are both active researchers and renowned in their fields. It will also give you the opportunity to learn and work with students from all over the world, some of whom will bring first-hand experience of politics in their own countries.

The programme 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. It 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. The programme combines a strong core curriculum with the flexibility to develop individual interests. 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 which 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.

We will consider applicants who have good first degrees in any relevant discipline, and a considered interest in the area covered by the MSc. We are looking for bright students, with an interest in political sociology, who enjoy engaging in argument and debate.

Programme details

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. The course is organised around a two-hour seminar each week during teaching terms. Special additional seminars cover some key theoretical approaches and methods in the social sciences, and provide a forum for exploring the use of these in your own work.

Students on the programme also choose two further full-unit courses (or up to four further half-unit courses) 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. It also enables you to draw on the expertise of academic staff in different departments throughout LSE.

Finally, all students on the degree write 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.

Compulsory courses

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

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

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.


Application code: L3U4 (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

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

Intake/applications in 2014: 26/115

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

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: UK/EU £12,504; overseas £19,344

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

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions

A photo of Tom McClean, an LSE student