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Master of Politics (MPols)

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The MPols is a one-year (full-time) degree, which encompasses both coursework and research. The coursework component is spread across two semesters. It consists of four papers including the core paper, 'The Political': Theory and Practice, which introduces students to the contested notion of politics and key methodological issues in theory and practice. Students also undertake a research dissertation of 20,000 words under the supervision of a politics staff member over a 12 month period and are expected to attend workshops designed to assist with the process of writing a dissertation. The degree is also available to part-time students.

Students may enrol in the MPols either for first semester (February) or second semester (July).

Graduates will be prepared for careers in the private and public sectors as researchers, policy makers, advisors and analysts. The degree also provides a pathway to doctoral-level study in Politics.

Find more details, including information on admission, papers on offer, scholarships and prizes, here.


Regulations for the Degree of Master of Politics (MPols)

  1. Admission to the Programme

    1. Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
    2. Every applicant shall normally
      1. be a graduate with an ordinary bachelor's degree majoring in Politics, Political Science, International Relations, Government, Public Policy, Political Theory, Strategic Studies, Defence Studies, or Comparative Area Studies and have an average grade of at least B in the 300-level papers for the degree, or
      2. be a graduate with an honours degree awarded in Politics or Political Science or a cognate subject at a standard of at least second class honours (division I), or
      3. have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).

  2. Structure of the Programme

    1. The programme of study shall consist of
      1. four 30-point 500-level papers, which must include POLS 501 and three further POLS 500-level papers;
      2. a 60-point research dissertation (POLS 590).
    2. The research dissertation shall be completed over the course of one calendar year. It should be started at the beginning of the programme and submitted no later than twelve months following first enrolment. The limit is 20,000 words of text, exclusive of appendices, footnotes, tabular material, bibliography or equivalent.
    3. Before commencing the investigation to be described in the research dissertation, a candidate shall obtain the approval of the Programme Co-ordinator and the supervisor(s) of the proposed topic.
    4. A candidate may not present a dissertation which has previously been accepted for another degree.
  3. Duration of the Programme

    A full-time candidate shall normally complete the requirements of the degree within twelve months, and a part-time candidate within twenty-four months, of commencing the programme.

  4. Examination of the Research Dissertation

    1. The Head of Programme (or nominee) shall appoint a Convenor of Examiners who shall oversee the examination of each research dissertation.
    2. The research dissertation shall be examined by at least two examiners internal to the University and be externally moderated.
    3. The candidate's supervisor shall not be an examiner.
    4. Each examiner shall supply a written report on the research dissertation and recommend a mark and grade on the basis of the work as submitted.
    5. Where the examiners cannot agree on a result, the Head of Programme should so report to the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Humanities) or nominee who shall arrive at a decision after consulting a referee who should normally be external to the University.

  5. Withdrawal from the Programme

    Where a candidate withdraws from the programme after completing the prescribed papers, but does not complete the research dissertation, the Pro- Vice Chancellor (Humanities) or nominee may recommend the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects, or determine which papers shall be credited towards the Diploma.

  6. Degree Requirements

    The four required papers (including the core paper) together contribute two thirds, and the research dissertation one third, of the overall mark. A pass standard is required for each of the four papers, and students must meet this standard to submit the research project. Should a pass standard not be obtained in an examination, a student may re-take the examination. Students may be re-examined in only one paper. They must also obtain a pass standard, or better, for the research dissertation.

  7. Level of Award of the Degree

    The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.

  8. Variations

    The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.

This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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