2020 applicants
Postgraduate Course

MA Ideology and Discourse Analysis

MA Ideology and Discourse Analysis

Overview

The details
Ideology and Discourse Analysis
October 2021
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus
Government

How do ideologies form and sustain political identities and interests? What are the main ideologies and political discourses that frame and organise our lives today? How do theories of ideology and discourse inform contemporary political analysis? How can these theories help us to explain and evaluate key political processes?

Questions concerning the impact of ideological and symbolic processes on the formation of political discourses, identities and communities are of crucial importance. All of these are covered within our MA Ideology and Discourse Analysis.

You explore topics including:

  • Poststructuralist, post-Marxist and psychoanalytic theories of ideology and discourse
  • Research methods in critical political theory and analysis
  • Key concepts for political analysis
  • Mass media and democracy
  • Philosophy of social science

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.

With this course you also have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner institutions and achieve a dual award, which means you’ll receive two Masters degrees in two years. Find out more on our dual award webpage.

Why we're great.
  • You will have unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics
  • Study a wide range of topics, including mass media and democracy, political analysis, and the philosophy of social science
  • Develop a unique set of analytical, critical and communication skills that will enhance your employability in politics
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

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.

Our academic staff work on topics ranging from international conflict and violence to British elections, and from the obligations of the younger generation to why authoritarian leaders welcome natural disasters.

Specialist facilities

  • 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

Your future

All Essex politics graduates have the distinction of a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments.

Our MA Ideology and Discourse Analysis will help you secure a solid grasp of key debates in social and political thought, give you a strong foundation in theoretical principles whose relevance and application goes well beyond politics, and 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
  • NATO
  • 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 Careers Services 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 dual awards 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.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

You will need a degree with a 2.2 in Political Science, International Relations, American Studies, United States Politics, Business - ( finance related), Economics or Statistics.

Applications from students with a degree below a 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.

We will accept applicants with a degree in an unrelated field but you must have studied at least two relevant modules with marks at 2:2 level in the final two years of study. Relevant modules include, but are not limited to:

Comparative Political Systems, Constitutional Democracy, Contemporary World Affairs, Democratic Theory, Econometrics, European Integration, Foreign Policy, Game Theory, Governmental processes, Human Rights, Ideology & Political Analysis, International Economic Law, International Economic Relations, International Trade/Business Law, International Law, International Public Relations, International Security, Law of Armed Conflict, Micro/Macro Economics, Peace Studies, Political Conflict, Political Decision Making, Political Economy, Political Sociology, Public Administration, Public International Law, Public Policy Analysis, Quantitative reasoning, Strategic Studies, Theories of Development, Current Affairs, Political Economy, Terrorism, Security Studies.

We will also consider applicants with a non relevant degree but at least six months relevant work experience such as working with a NGO.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

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.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

The example structure below is representative of this course if taken full-time. If you choose to study part-time, the modules will be split across 2 years.

Ideology and Political Discourse

This module introduces the fundamental concepts and logics of poststructuralist discourse theory, including discussions of post-Marxism, deconstruction, structural linguistics, Foucauldian discourse analysis, and psychoanalytic theory. Students are invited to engage with contemporary debates in critical political theory, focusing on the emergence and character of core political ideologies, such as neoliberalism, populism, nationalism and socialism, as well as the interpretation, explanation and evaluation of key events and developments, such as the different ideological responses to the global financial crisis, the construction of new political identities, the role of social movements, and the ecological crisis.

View Ideology and Political Discourse on our Module Directory

MA Dissertation

Your dissertation gives you an opportunity for independent learning on a topic of your choice, with one-to-one supervision from a member of staff. You write a dissertation of up to 10,000 words, which is due at the end of the summer.

View MA Dissertation on our Module Directory

Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods

Evaluate a variety of foundational questions in the philosophy of science about how and to what extent we can obtain certain, value-free knowledge and make laws about the social world. Explore the methodology of normative political theory and the role and importance of ideals and utopias in political thinking.

View Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods on our Module Directory

Advanced Research Methods

Master the quantitative methods that are essential for testing hypotheses. You will study hypothesis testing, linear regression models, and more advanced regression models ubiquitous in political science, accompanied by data science and R programming skills.

View Advanced Research Methods on our Module Directory

Comparative European Politics

The objective of this module is to provide a better understanding of democratic political and economic processes in Europe. The first part of the module will be devoted to studying the origins of party systems, party competition, electoral systems, the rise of populist and extremist parties, referendums, and linkages between citizens and politicians in West and East European countries. In the second part, we will examine the institutional foundations of welfare-capitalism and analyse the incentives of different actors (labour unions, employers, lobbyists, etc.) to maintain or undermine certain regulatory arrangements. Furthermore, we will study how coordinated and liberal capitalism types responded to challenges such as globalisation and deindustrialization. A large part of the module is devoted to studying the power-sharing arrangements in the European Union. In this context, we will analyse the new trade agreements the EU has struck in light of rising global trade tensions, and what the euro crisis, influx of refugees, and disintegration referendums might mean for the future of the EU. The module also provides an accessible introduction to research design and methods that political scientists have used to address these topics.

View Comparative European Politics on our Module Directory

Conflict Resolution

In this module you focus on conflict resolution in inter- and intra-state issues. You gain experience in the practical as well as in the theoretical aspects of negotiation and mediation, exploring the applicability of various tools and techniques in problem-solving real cases of international conflict, and making use of negotiation and mediation techniques in role playing exercises and other types of simulations.

View Conflict Resolution on our Module Directory

From Cradle to Grave: Social Justice in Childhood, Adulthood, and Death

Theories of justice are still being worked on and developed today. You question contemporary theories of justice through applying them to some of the most controversial issues dominating contemporary politics.

View From Cradle to Grave: Social Justice in Childhood, Adulthood, and Death on our Module Directory

International Security Studies

The field of security studies has become increasingly important over the last decade. While old conflicts are reigniting and new ones are emerging, scholars and decision-makers debate about changes to the concepts of security, the redundancy of military force, and the centrality of the state in order to face these ever-important issues.

View International Security Studies on our Module Directory

Political Economy

The course bridges together topics in international relations, comparative political economy, and economics. The goals of the course are to (a) introduce students to contemporary scholarly research on political economy topics, (b) introduce students to strategic models in political science using substantive applications, and (c) stimulate students to form original ideas for promising quantitative research projects in the area of contemporary political economy.

View Political Economy on our Module Directory

Political Explanation

This module offers you an introduction to the theory and practice of quantitative data analysis techniques. You will also be introduced to the computer package R, which is widely used by academics and practitioners for the analysis of quantitative data. As the work becomes more challenging, the relevance of the techniques to modern social science research becomes more apparent.

View Political Explanation on our Module Directory

Political Parties in Britain and Europe

How does ideology shape the policies of British political parties? How do those parties choose their leaders, determine their policies, campaign in elections and fund their activities? This module examines how political parties in the UK compete for votes and asks whether their leaders or their members take the key decisions.

View Political Parties in Britain and Europe on our Module Directory

Political Theory

This module introduces historical and contemporary traditions within political theory, and applies these theories to pressing policy debates.

View Political Theory on our Module Directory

Public Opinion and Political Behaviour

On this module you explore a variety of questions concerning public opinion: How do citizens acquire information and convert it into opinions? Can politicians and the media influence public opinion and if so, how? How do we select representative samples in order to understand what the public really thinks? How do we measure opinion accurately? What type of measurement scales are available to help us do this?

View Public Opinion and Political Behaviour on our Module Directory

Research Design

In this module you gain an overview of the logic of social science research designs that includes the goals, theories and strategies of social science research, and develop a research agenda for potential use as publication in a peer reviewed journal, MA or PhD dissertation.

View Research Design on our Module Directory

Theories of International Relations

This module provides you with a graduate-level introduction to both foundational and contemporary international relations research. The emphasis will be on evaluating arguments, understanding the development of the field, and identifying unresolved questions.

View Theories of International Relations on our Module Directory

Theory and Explanation in Political Science

This module outlines a series of topical issues in political science research. Using a positivist paradigm the module explores a variety of methodological approaches to answer substantive questions. This module seeks to provide students with an overview of how political scientists study the social world and the types of questions they ask. You will learn become familiar with current research in the discipline and learn how to synthesise and extrapolate core concepts from it.

View Theory and Explanation in Political Science on our Module Directory

Environmental Politics

Study one of the most important contemporary aspects of political action: the natural environment. You consider the state of the environment and possible paths along which it might change, before exploring environmental policies from the level of individual values, to the environmental movement, to political parties, and finally to the level of international affairs.

View Environmental Politics on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Courses are designed to provide you with an advanced understanding of either the politics of a geographical area or an aspect of the discipline
  • Courses include both compulsory and optional modules, so the course can be tailored to fit your interests and aspirations
  • Learn through discussion and problem-solving
  • Lab sessions allow you to improve your technical research skills
  • We encourage students to attend national conferences to meet researchers and discuss their work

Assessment

  • Your coursework comes in the form of essays, simulations, presentations and in-class tests

Dissertation

  • You are given guidance on how to prepare a Masters dissertation by our Graduate Director in the spring term
  • We link you with an appropriate supervisor at the earliest opportunity

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£8,760

International fee

£18,800

EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold 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 tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Applying

You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

Virtual tours

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.

Exhibitions

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.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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