The MPols is an academically rigorous and intensive twelve-month programme that provides an exciting opportunity for students of politics to develop valuable research and communication skills, and to obtain a highly sought-after postgraduate qualification.
The programme provides preparation for graduates seeking careers in professions such as diplomacy, teaching, journalism, politics, business, or in policy development, analysis and research for politicians, NGOs, lobby groups, and the public service. It also serves as a foundation qualification for graduates interested in advancing to a PhD.
Students interested in undertaking the MPols must have a BA in Politics or a cognate discipline including International Relations, Government, Public Policy, Political Theory/Philosophy, Strategic Studies, Defence Studies, and Comparative Area Studies, and a grade average of at least B+ average over their four best 300-level papers.
Students may start the MPols degree at the beginning of Semester 1 or Semester 2. A full-time student must complete the requirements of the degree within twelve months, and a part-time candidate within twenty-four months, of commencing the programme.
Degree candidates are required to master a curriculum comprising four POLS 500-level papers, including a core paper, totalling 120 points, and a 60-point research dissertation (POLS 590/591) of a maximum of 20,000 words. Students are also expected to attend workshops designed to assist with the process of writing a dissertation. Master of Politics Course Outline
POLS501 “The Political”: Theory and Practice (Semester One, 30 Points)
This paper examines the contested nature of what constitutes politics and the ways to conduct research. It aims to assist students to become critical and reflective researchers by exploring key methodological issues in theory and practice.
POLS590/591 Research Dissertation (Full-year, 60 points)
Elective papers 2018
Students can then choose three from the following five papers. The objective is for students to develop expertise in three of the four sub-disciplines of politics:
Semester One (choose one)
POLS541 International Relations and the Global South (30 Points)
POLS550 Comparative Regional Conflicts (30 Points)
Semester Two (choose two)
POLS510 Community, Culture and Rights (30 Points)
POLS520 New Zealand Government and Politics (30 Points)
POLS553 The Global Politics of Poverty and Inequality (30 Points)
How to Apply
If you are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, you may apply online.
Scholarships & MPols Prize
Coursework Master's scholarships
Otago has a number of Coursework Master's Scholarships available. On application to the programme, promising students are nominated by the Department. Further information on these scholarships is available here.
POLS590 Dissertation Prize
Every year the Department awards the William Kennedy Prize for Best POLS590 Research Dissertation. View further information and previous prizewinners here.
Contact the Director with any further questions: Associate Professor Vicki Spencer firstname.lastname@example.org