MSc Politics

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Application deadline: August
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
  • Places on the course: 30

Study with us

  • gain advanced understanding of the study of politics 
  • learn to design and conduct research projects in political science
  • benefit from the input of guest lecturers and visiting academics
  • excellent preparation for PhD in politics or the social sciences
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Why this course?

If you're looking for work in the public sector, the third sector or with non-governmental organisations our MSc in Politics is the course for you. It's also excellent preparation for PhD work in politics or in the social sciences.

The School of Government & Public Policy has a number of research centres that relate to the topics covered and the content of the course. For example, the European Policies Research Centre is a leading hub for the study of regional development policy and collection of such data in Europe, a centre that is of increasing importance in the wake of Brexit. 

Specialised policy centres focused on health and energy – such as the Centre for Energy Policy – also add to the applied policy environment at Strathclyde. The Institute for Future Cities' City Observatory, located in Strathclyde’s award-winning Technology & Innovation Centre, uses data to understand and address urban problems. The University also has many centres and institutes with projects that incorporate European governance and political issues, such as the Fraser of Allander Institute.

Scottish Parliament building, Edinburgh

What you’ll study

You'll study a range of compulsory and elective classes which will give you an advanced understanding of the study of politics. You'll learn about the design and implementation of advanced research projects in political science and about social sciences more generally.

Work placement

You'll have the opportunity to complete a client-based project as a part of your dissertation research. On the advice of the School, you can contact host organisations including local, city, and national governmental organisations for project-based MSc dissertations.

These projects will normally be unpaid, however, all costs such as travel and accommodation will be covered by the host organisation, if out of town.

Facilities

The School of Government & Public Policy has a number of research centres that relate to the topics covered and the content of the course. For example, the European Policies Research Centre is a leading hub for the study of regional development policy and collection of such data in Europe, a centre that is of increasing importance in the wake of Brexit. 

Specialised policy centres focused on health and energy – such as the Centre for Energy Policy – also add to the applied policy environment at Strathclyde.  The Institute for Future Cities' City Observatory, located in Strathclyde’s award-winning Technology & Innovation Centre, uses data to understand and address urban problems. The University also has many centres and institutes with projects that incorporate European governance and political issues, such as the Fraser of Allender Institute.

 

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Course content

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.

Choose one of the following:
Quantitative Methods 1
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.
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 will examine how these methods can be applied in students’ own research projects.
Choose four from the following:
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.
Contemporary International Relations
This class introduces students to the literature and research agendas related to conflict and cooperation in international relations studies. We will cover a wide array of approaches that relate to interstate and intrastate (civil) conflict, cooperation and other contemporary security topics such as post-conflict peace, peacekeeping operations, terrorism, and human rights violations.
Debating International Relations Theory
This class surveys contemporary theories of international relations, showcasing both positivist, rationalist approaches and post-positivist, critical alternatives. Intended to explore the points of convergence as well as disagreement between these different views, the class will also encourage students to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the rival frameworks and on their application and purpose.
International Institutions and 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.
Feminism and International Relations
This class will begin by learning about context, in terms of the expansion and institutionalisation of the feminist movement on a global scale and the emergence of a feminist voice in the International Relations discipline. We'll then discuss conceptual, theoretical and methodological convergences and differences in feminist International Relations. A final seminar will reflect on the impact of feminism on both world politics and International Relations, and focus particularly on engagements and critique from the mainstream of the discipline.
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.

The 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 a 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.
Contemporary Security Challenges and Responses
The concept of national security has expanded to incorporate not only ‘traditional’ threats from hostile actors, but also a host of issues ranging from the impact of climate change, natural disasters and resource security to recession. Security has become increasingly globalised and interconnected in threat and response while also increasingly recruiting the populace to be ‘secure citizens’. This class will examine the relevant theories underpinning these developing trends, alongside the key institutions and actors.
Richard Johnson, politics lecturer
I'm concerned about determining generalizable outcomes of international events without any normative concern or interest. Yet, as a political science scholar, I believe it's my duty to educate and inspire students in political science. My goal is to ensure that our students are able to leave our MSc programs and follow their passion in politics and public policy so that they may make a real-world.
Richard Johnson
Programme leader

Learning & teaching

All classes are taught in seminars, which combine theoretical discussion and a strong empirical or policy focus, as appropriate.  Seminars consist of a variety of teaching techniques; including small-group work, structured debates, presentations and background lectures.

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

Assessment

Methods of assessment include written assignments, blogs, podcasts, practical team projects, presentations, individual projects, and exams. Most modules involve more than one method of assessment to help you realise your potential.

These account for two-thirds of the total assessment. Your dissertation, produced over the summer, accounts for the remaining third.

Guest lectures

Speakers at our weekly seminars include guest lecturers who come to Strathclyde as part of the Erasmus programme. They're also available for individual consultations with you as an MSc student here. Strathclyde’s organised research centres such as the European Policies Research Centre, routinely host their own 'Speaker’s Series' where talks relevant to the content of the course are common. You'll have time for networking with visiting speakers afterwards.

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Entry requirements

Academic 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 Immigration (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 Visa and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Fees & funding

2020/21

All fees quoted are full-time per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

£6,800

Rest of UK

£6,800

International

£15,800

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

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

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Strathclyde Alumni

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Alumni Discount

10% tuition fee discount is offered to all Strathclyde alumni completing a full-time postgraduate taught course in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Find out more
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Careers

Our MSc in Politics provides excellent preparation for those who wish to work in the public and tertiary sectors either in the UK or abroad. 

The course will provide those with experience of working in policy or in government, with fresh and updated insights into contemporary issues facing political life in the second decade of the 21st century. In addition, the course provides a foundation in advanced research design and methodological skills, which are valued by employers.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
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Apply

Politics

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2020
Mode of Delivery: full-time

Politics

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2020
Mode of Delivery: part-time

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Contact us

Postgraduate Enquiries

Telephone: +44 (0)141 444 8600

Email: hass-pg-enquiries@strath.ac.uk

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