About the course
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, they have received new interpretations in political theory, one of the most intellectually fertile sub-disciplines of politics.
Our MA Political Theory will help you secure a solid grasp of key debates in social and political thought, give you a strong foundation in theoretical principles. You explore topics including:
- Research methods in critical political theory and analysis
- Classical and contemporary texts of political theory
- Democratic theory and social justice
- Philosophy of social science
- Ethics and public policy
Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and have consistently been the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began.
Our expert staff
Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics. Our staff are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on political events in national and international media.
The key member of our academic staff for this course is Professor David Howarth, who works on faith, politics and public space in democracies.
You join an active and prolific research team, with the opportunity to work alongside a member of staff on their research instead of completing a dissertation; some of these projects have even resulted in joint staff/student publications.
- Laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political analysis
- The ESSEXLab provides opportunities for experimental lab research
- Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN
- We organise the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis
- A programme of seminars and events run by the department
All Essex politics graduates have the distinction of a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments.
This course will instil a wide range of analytical, critical, and communication skills that will enable you to pursue the career of your choice, whether in the public, private, or third sector, whether with a domestic or international focus.
Recent graduates have gone on to work for the following high-profile organisations:
- The Civil Service
- Local government
- The World Bank
- The United Nations
- YouGov and YouGov America
We also offer supervision for PhD and MPhil in the following fields: government; ideology and discourse analysis; international relations; political behaviour; and politics.
Our academic reputation is illustrated by the fact that many of our graduates now teach or research at universities, colleges of higher education and schools. For example, recent graduates are now research fellows and academic staff at: Mannheim, Germany; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Duke University, USA; NATO/SHAPE, Belgium; and University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
One Masters not enough for you?
We offer a number of postgraduate taught double degrees with our international partners. You work for two Masters degrees, one at Essex and another at a prestigious university across the globe, gaining them both in a shorter time than studying them separately. This unique opportunity gives you a competitive edge when applying for jobs or prepares you for PhD study.
UK entry requirements
A degree with an overall high 2:2.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.