Good degree in a social science or other relevant subject. Other qualifications may also be considered.
Months of entry
This Master's degree in politics explores pressing contemporary issues using political theory and sociology. Our focus is on the nature and workings of political power and authority and we will consider the relationships between states and societies and the place of politics and power in everyday life. As well as reading key classical texts of political theory and sociological analysis, we also analyse real-world contemporary problems and address fundamental questions of political power and social order. Topics studied include sovereignty, territory and state building, property and law, the legitimacy of political authority, democracy, violence and pluralism. As well as choosing option modules from the Department of Politics, you can select options from the Department of Psychosocial Studies and the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, thus offering you access to historical and psychosocial approaches to theory, politics and the social sciences.
The core modules will give you the theoretical framework and confidence to explore and deepen your knowledge in the subjects you are most interested in. You will examine political power, how it originates and operates at an individual, social and political level, its relationship to sovereignty and the state, and how it intersects with issues such as justice and human rights, civil identity, democracy and economics. You will be equipped with the conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study politics at postgraduate level.
You can then choose 2 option modules from a wide variety of topics including international security, nationalism and religion, war and conflict, 'race', racism and postcolonial studies, psychoanalysis, and gender and sexuality. You can take options from the Department of Politics or from the Department of Psychosocial Studies and the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. You will also learn research techniques that will enable you to specialise and undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation or a research portfolio on the subject that interests you most.
Information for international students
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
Fees and funding
The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.
Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.
Find out more about funding and financial support at postgraduate level.
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- Department of Politics
- + 44 (0)20 7631 6780
- + 44 (0)20 7631 6787