Taught course

Political Theory

University of Essex · Department of Government

Entry requirements

A high 2.2 honours degree or equivalent in relevant subject area.

Months of entry


Course content

How are we to understand political life as the expression of violence, tradition, domination, the search for freedom, the struggle for equality How should we think about democracy as the participation of citizens, the contest of representatives or the search for a common good through deliberation What is justice equality for all human beings, solidarity among some human beings or the free play of personal choice

These questions have exercised minds since ancient Athens and, in recent years, received new interpretations in political theory, one of the most intellectually fertile sub-disciplines of politics. Our MA Political Theory examines texts of political theory in the modern period, dealing with major writers and themes in democracy and justice, so our graduates gain key skills of interpretative analysis.

Our Department of Government is one of the largest and most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are the only political science department to have achieved the highest rating in all five UK Research Assessment Exercises (RAE), with 45 per cent of our research was ranked as 'world-leading' in the most recent RAE (December 2008).

Our staff distinguish themselves in various ways; by acting as media commentators, by writing textbooks used by students across the world and with involvement in practical training. In addition, our students have access to academic staff and a constant flow of distinguished visiting scholars from abroad. Our research interests are wide ranging but we host the British Election Study, a major Economic and Social Research Council-sponsored survey of attitudes and opinions of the British electorate, with other significant research projects studying foreign policy attitudes, corruption, and civil wars and peacekeeping.

Information for international students

IELTS 6.5.

Fees and funding

We offer many funding opportunities to support talented postgraduates, ranging from research council studentships and University scholarships to awards funded by charities and other external organisations. For more information, visit our website at: www.essex.ac.uk.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations37
Written coursework / continuous assessment37
Dissertation26 (10000 words)

Course contact details

Graduate Administrator
+44 (0)1206 872719