Taught course

Political Theory

University of Birmingham · Department of Political Science and International Studies

Entry requirements

For the MA programme you require a good Honours degree or its equivalent.

Months of entry


Course content

The MA in Social and Political Theory explores ideas and arguments from historical, ethical and critical perspectives. It will introduce you to key concepts and ideas in contemporary social and political thought and will help you learn to apply those concepts and approaches to contemporary problems in both the domestic and international spheres. It promotes the study of those problems through theoretical and practical inquiry and in doing will further and deepen your understanding of politics and society.

This course is designed for students who are either familiar with the study of social and political ideas and issues at undergraduate level or who are enthusiastic to focus on this area of study at the postgraduate level, gaining a more in-depth understanding of social and political thought.

You will follow a flexible programme with a wide choice of modules aimed to increase your understanding and analysis of social and political thought.. You take two core modules in Radical Social Theory and Liberalism and its Global Discontents that provides you with a foundation for thinking about the subject. You then design the rest of your Masters in Social and Political Theory around your own interests by selecting four modules from a wide range of options. The flexibility of this programme is ideal for those with a broad range of interests in social and political thought or for those who want to construct a curriculum around a particular area of interest.

As a postgraduate student studying a Masters in Social and Political Theory, you will also have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events and as a postgraduate student you will welcomed as a member of the social and political theory research group. This group includes members of academic staff and postgraduate research students who meet regularly to discuss their own research, recent publications and to organise research events including inviting visiting speakers.

Key issues and questions examined on this Masters in Social and Political Theory include:

  • What is power and who has it?
  • How can we bring about radical social and political change?
  • Is terrorism ever morally permissible or excusable?
  • Under what circumstances are armed resistance and revolution permissible?
  • What is justice and what does it ask of us?
  • What’s wrong with inequality and what should we do about it?
  • What is tyranny? Why should we oppose it?
  • What are the sources of tyranny in present-day politics and society?

Who is the programme for?

This Masters in Social and Political Theory will be of interest and benefit to those interested in pursuing careers in law, education, the public sector, and international agencies and NGOs, as well as those interested in undertaking doctoral work in social or political theory. In all cases, students are encouraged to work closely with staff in a supportive and intellectually-committed environment.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiries