2020 applicants
Postgraduate Course

Graduate Diploma Politics

Graduate Diploma Politics

Overview

The details
Politics
October 2020
Full-time
9 months
Colchester Campus
Government

Why should we obey the law? Why don’t democratic countries go to war with each other? Why don’t young people vote? Why do oil-rich countries have poor human rights records? These are the kinds of questions addressed in our Graduate Diploma in Politics, which provides a thorough training in all major areas of political science, and is based in the top politics department in the country.

Our Graduate Diploma in Politics is a nine-month full-time course which provides a bridge between undergraduate and postgraduate study. Our course is for you if you already have an undergraduate degree, but not in politics, and therefore need further study before taking politics at Masters level.

You develop your knowledge and understanding of the major theoretical and conceptual foundations of political science, and master the necessary quantitative methods for your study of politics.

You also choose from a range of optional modules on topics including:

  • Mass media and democracy
  • Forecasting global trends
  • Ethics and public policy
  • International security
  • Public opinion

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.

Why we're great.
  • Earn a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments
  • Take the next step to achieving a place on a politics postgraduate course without a related first degree
  • Get to grips with the key foundations of political science and develop important transferable skills
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
  • 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.

As well as enabling you to go on to a Masters course of your choice in politics, this course will also develop key employability skills including analytical reasoning, research design, quantitative methods, data analysis and essay-writing.

Our graduates go on to enjoy influential careers in British, European and international politics. This includes working as an MP, being the Speaker of the House of Commons and employment as political lobbyists or staff assistants to MPs and MEPs.

Our graduates have also 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

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.

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.

Conflict Analysis

Understand the evolving field of conflict resolution through exploring the causes and effects of armed conflict across the world, and scrutinising the theory and practice of how this can be managed peacefully.

View Conflict Analysis on our Module Directory

Measuring Public Opinion (optional)

Public opinion is an important part of the democratic process, both in theory and in practice. But how do we know what the public think? In this module, you'll think more deeply about what public opinion means, become a more discerning consumer of opinion poll results, and you'll conduct and analyse your own public opinion survey about an issue that matters to you.

View Measuring Public Opinion (optional) on our Module Directory

Quantitative Political Analysis (optional)

How can we answer political questions using statistical data? Learn how to find relevant research designs and questions in order to use quantitative methods in political research, assisting you in your other modules and improving your job prospects.

View Quantitative Political Analysis (optional) on our Module Directory

Ethics and Public Policy

Is torture ever morally justified? Should pornography be banned? Should prostitution be legalised? Take part in the intellectual search for the moral principles that should govern how we answer these questions and others in governing public policy.

View Ethics and Public Policy on our Module Directory

American Political Institutions (optional)

The American political system is composed of a complicated set of relationships between several different institutions of government.  In this module, we’ll explore how each of the institutions was designed and ask if the design of the American system still functions as intended by the Framers of the Constitution.  Additionally, we discuss what changes have occurred in terms of institutional relationships and what changes are necessary to promote a healthy democracy and a political engaged citizenry.

View American Political Institutions (optional) on our Module Directory

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

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 (optional) on our Module Directory

Development, State Building and Conflict (optional)

How does state fragility influence the risk of conflict and terrorism? How does the legacy of conflict and violence influence post-conflict state building? What factors promote a durable peace? Study the interplay between state fragility, political and economic development, state building, and conflict.

View Development, State Building and Conflict (optional) on our Module Directory

Environmental Politics (optional)

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 (optional) on our Module Directory

Human Rights and Global Justice (optional)

This module explores the nature and foundations of international obligations. It asks what we owe to people in other countries, and what they can demand of us as a matter of right. Questions to be addressed include the following: Who owes what to the very poor? Are citizens of affluent countries complicit in the creation and maintenance of world poverty? Does justice demand the elimination of global inequality? Is the promotion of human rights a form of western cultural imperialism? When is international trade unfair? Do states have a right to close their borders to outsiders? Under what conditions (if any) is it permissible to wage war? We will address these questions by considering the answers that they have received in important recent works of normative political theory.

View Human Rights and Global Justice (optional) on our Module Directory

International Negotiation (optional)

Master the explanatory and practical value of negotiation style, strategies and tactics in the context of theories of international relations.

View International Negotiation (optional) on our Module Directory

International Security Studies (optional)

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 (optional) on our Module Directory

Democracy and the Media (optional)

The relationship between the media and politics is a complex and important means by which the public are informed on and engaged by political activity. You consider the role of the media and democracy in the UK, and also explore how this functions elsewhere.

View Democracy and the Media (optional) on our Module Directory

Political Economy (optional)

This module is about modern political economy, meaning analytical approaches to study how economic and political incentives interact to create constraints and opportunities that shape larger political and economic behaviour and outcomes. The module introduces students to the use of rigorous logic and evidence in order to understand classical political economy issues as well as to address contemporary policy issues in both domestic and international dimensions.

View Political Economy (optional) on our Module Directory

Political Parties in Britain and Europe (optional)

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 (optional) on our Module Directory

Project: Collaborative Faculty - Student Research Experience (optional)

Instead of a dissertation, you have the option of working closely with an academic on a topic in line with their research, introducing you to advanced work in political science. You gain practical experience of collecting and analysing data, and of writing up potentially publishable work.

View Project: Collaborative Faculty - Student Research Experience (optional) on our Module Directory

Research Project: Politics (optional)

Prepare a 10,000 word dissertation which researches the political topic you are most passionate about.

View Research Project: Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis (optional)

Understand how different statistical and experimental methods can be used to answer questions about political phenomena. You evaluate the assumptions of standard statistical tests and the linear regression model, consider alternatives to those, and learn about causal inference.

View Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis (optional) on our Module Directory

Authoritarianism

Authoritarianism: This module examines authoritarianism, one of the biggest challenges to modern-day democracy. We start by defining autocracy and evaluating alternative measurements of regime type (dictatorship vs. democracy). We then examine the factors that drive politics in dictatorships and look at how these institutions explain the variation in autocratic government performance. Lastly, we consider the conditions under which regime failure (e.g., democratic transitions) are more likely to occur. GV313-SP, Corruption: This module examines corruption, a global problem that is present in dictatorships and democracies, in developing as well as more developed societies. At the extreme, corruption hampers economic development, reinforces social inequality, and undermines democratic development. We start by defining corruption and evaluating alternative measurements of corruption. We then examine the causes and consequences of political and bureaucratic corruption. Last, but not least, we consider existing strategies to contain and control this problem.

View Authoritarianism on our Module Directory

The Analysis of Conflict and Peace (optional)

Explore the relationship of power, preferences, economic relations, domestic politics and international organisations in relation to conflict and peace. You investigate the underlying theoretical arguments about war and peace, consider the implications entailed by these different theories, and evaluate these using empirical data.

View The Analysis of Conflict and Peace (optional) on our Module Directory

German Politics (optional)

Explore the democratisation of West Germany through investigating the role of the constitution formed against anti-democratic forces, the institutions created by that institution, the emergence of political parties and social movements as the main channels for participation, and the transformation of Germany’s traditional subject culture into a civic culture.

View German Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Electoral Behaviour (optional)

Examine how people reason about voting and politics, and why people vote the way that they do. You consider the effects of institutions such as the electoral system or the number of political parties on voting behaviour, using case studies from elections in Britain and other advanced democracies.

View Electoral Behaviour (optional) on our Module Directory

Domestic Politics and International Relations (optional)

How do interest groups influence the trajectory of a country's foreign policy? Who benefits and gains from globalisation and how does this affect their political beliefs? In this module you explore how domestic politics and interests influence government's decisions in the international arena, and how international politics affects domestic politics.

View Domestic Politics and International Relations (optional) on our Module Directory

Political Economy of Global Integration (optional)

“Globalisation” encompasses a wide range of phenomena, including increasing global trade, deeper integration of financial markets, increasing foreign direct investment, the spread of multinational corporations, reduced travel, transportation and communication costs, and the emergence of global cultural trends. Globalisation impacts people in many different ways, both positively and negatively. It can enrich our lives, but it may also spur disruption and backlash.

View Political Economy of Global Integration (optional) on our Module Directory

Political Economy of International Development (optional)

The problem of global poverty has come increasingly into focus in recent decades. This module explores the ways in which the wealthy countries of the world, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and civil society in the developing world have tried to catalyse or facilitate economic and human development in the poorer countries around the globe.

View Political Economy of International Development (optional) on our Module Directory

Democracy, Dictatorship and Regime Change (optional)

While the number of democratic regimes across the globe grew between the mid-1970s and mid-2000s, it stagnated in the last decade and, now, democracy seems to be under attack even in some of its oldest bastions in North America and Western Europe. This raises a number of fundamental questions. What difference does it make to live in a democracy over a dictatorship? How does democracy emerge and what makes it endure? When do democratic revolutions occur? What do the authoritarians do to prevent them? Can democracy be exported? When and how do democracies break down? These are just some of the questions that will be tackled.

View Democracy, Dictatorship and Regime Change (optional) on our Module Directory

Parliamentary Studies (optional)

This module aims to provide students with a detailed knowledge of how the UK Parliament works (in both theory and practice). Subject to validation, this module is co-taught by staff at the Houses of Parliament and has the support of The Speaker and the Clerk of the House in the House of Commons, and the Lord Speaker and the Clerk of the Parliaments in the House of Lords. The module content is delivered collaboratively by the Houses of Parliament and the University of Essex, with the University providing academic and theoretical content and Parliament providing practical and vocational teaching about the work, processes and business of Parliament.

View Parliamentary Studies (optional) on our Module Directory

Multiparty Systems and Coalitions (optional)

European multiparty systems differ in a variety of ways, including how their parties compete and how they form governments. This module compares a range of party systems in Western Europe, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean, looking at the decline of social-democratic and Christian-democratic parties, and the rise of green parties and the radical right.

View Multiparty Systems and Coalitions (optional) 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

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£5,504

International fee

£11,814

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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