Houses of Parliament, London, UK

MScPolitical Research

Why this course?

The MSc in Political Research provides you with focused training in research methods. It helps you to develop your professional skills in empirical political science.

The course explores different methodological approaches and their application to real-life political problems. It equips you with key transferable skills in:

  • research design
  • a range of research methods and their application
  • the management of different types of data

You’ll study

Along with giving you research skills, this course will enhance your ability to choose appropriate research methods and confront the issues of research design.

It's organised into core and optional classes. You’ll also complete a dissertation.

Study abroad

You can do a research placement through the Erasmus programme.

Options range from Finland to Italy, and from Portugal to Slovakia.

Facilities

Established in 2010, the School of Government and Public Policy integrates the Department of Government with three research centres:

Course content

Compulsory classes

Semester 1

Principles of Research Design

This class covers key research design issues and enables you to evaluate alternative research designs and create appropriate research proposals. The class is designed to help you decide a research topic and a design that you will use for your dissertation. Topics covered include formulating research questions, developing concepts, and how to select cases to study.

Quantitative Methods I

This class introduces participants to the use of quantitative methods in social research; in particular, the logic and language of empirical analysis, the principal types of quantitative data (official statistics and surveys), and the use of software packages for statistical analysis.

Semester 2

Quantitative Methods II

This class trains participants in the design, application, presentation, and critical evaluation of quantitative political research using relevant software packages for statistical analysis.

Qualitative Methods

This class provides an overview of the ever-expanding field of qualitative methods in Political Science, International Relations and Policy Studies. A variety of data collection/generation and analytical methods will be examined, and situated within different traditions/paradigms of social research.

Throughout this class, we'll examine how these methods can be applied in students’ own research projects.

Elective classes

Choose two classes.

Policy Analysis

Public policy is the study of how governments and other agencies acting in the name of the general public deliberate on and enact policy.

This class examines the theoretical, empirical and practical issues involved in conducting policy analysis. Included are discussions of major concepts, processes, and types of policy issues, all studied in comparative manner. Major classics in the field will be read.

Comparative Public Policy

This class revolves around the different aims for conducting comparative policy analysis such as explaining the variation of policy output and outcome across different institutional, economic, social and cultural settings, generalising a given theory of policy process in different geographical contexts and by taking time into consideration, as well as capturing the interdependence of countries. Units of analysis include countries, states/regions, local governments, and international organisations.

Students will be introduced to concepts, research design, and methods.

International Institutions & Regimes

The purpose of this class is to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the concepts and theoretical approaches central to understanding and analysing the role of international institutions and regimes in the contemporary world.

This class will survey a variety of international institutions and regimes, exploring how they shape global interactions in a number of cross-cutting issue areas such as security, trade, human rights and the environment. The overall analysis will contribute to the understanding of the theories, practices and processes through which global politics are organised and to an assessment of the future of international institutions and regimes in global governance. 

Contesting Global Governance

From NGOs at the United Nations to the occupy movement, collective organising across borders through which individuals participate in or protest against global governance processes has grown exponentially in recent decades and gained much academic attention.

Students taking this class will explore the rival theoretical frameworks which seek to make sense of such organising, then draw on these theories to structure their research into empirical cases of activism on international trade, climate change, nuclear proliferation and human rights.

European Governance

The evolution and the future of EU integration is of particular contemporary relevance. This class examines processes of decision making and policies at the European Union level. It also evaluates the quality of governance through the lenses of democratic principles such as representation, legitimacy and efficiency.

European Political Economy

Europe is currently at crossroads, economically, politically and socially. This class uses a political economy approach (ie the interaction between economics and politics) to engage core European debates, including the dilemmas of EU integration, the tension between economic efficiency and social cohesion, the future of the Euro, and the implications of Brexit. It also examines the challenges faced by European nations in an increasingly complex global environment.

Learning & teaching

The MSc in Political Research is designed not only to give you research skills, but also to enhance your ability to choose appropriate research methods and confront the issues of research design. The course is organised into core and optional classes. You'll also complete a dissertation.

You receive training with a strong empirical focus, and supervision in small-group seminars and in individual sessions You’ll receive considerable time and attention from our staff.

Classes average 20 contact hours, with additional computer laboratory sessions for some methods classes. 

Part-time students attend classes across two academic years. They then work on their dissertation over the course of 10 months.

Indicative readings
  • Berg, B.L. (2004).Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Pearson
  • Box-Steffensmeier, J.M., Brady, H.F. and Collier, D. (2008). The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology. Oxford University Press
  • Gerring, J. (2012). Social Science Methodology: A Unified Framework. Cambridge University Press
  • King, G., Keohane, R. and Verba, S. (1994). Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton University Press

Assessment

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways like essays, options papers and group projects.

These account for two thirds of the total assessment while your dissertation accounts for one third of the total assessment.

Entry requirements

First or upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in social science.

English language requirements

You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 5.5) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Vis and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

  • 2016/17 - £4,600 full-time
  • 2016/17 - £2,300 part-time

Rest of UK

  • 2016/17 - £4,600 full-time
  • 2016/17 - £2,300 part-time

International

  • 2016/17 - £13,000 full-time

How can I fund my course?

To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of up to £3,000 for entry onto a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Check our Scholarship Search for more help with fees and funding.

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English/EU students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs. Students resident in the EU may also apply.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

Careers

Where are they now?

Examples of organisations our graduates work for:

  • Audit Scotland
  • Centre for African Family Studies
  • Centre for Scottish Public Policy
  • Confederation of Passenger Transport
  • German Red Cross
  • Hall Aitken Associates
  • Health and Social Care Alliance
  • HMRC
  • Invicta Public Affairs
  • Ministry of Finance Iceland
  • Morgan Stanley
  • National Centre for Social Research
  • NHS
  • Ofgem
  • Santander Bank UK
  • Scottish Council for Development and Industry
  • Scottish Refugee Council
  • Serco Group
  • The Improvement Service
  • The Scottish Parliament
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • West and Central Voluntary Network

Contact us

Apply

Political Research

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Political Research

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

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