Justice and Equality

The details
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
20 April 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA L20512 Political Theory,
MA L20524 Political Theory,
MA L205EB Political Theory

Module description

In the UK, 2.5 million people are millionaires. In this same society, 2.5 million children live in persistent poverty. Many will find these numbers disconcerting. This module considers different answers to why such inequalities are unjust. When and why are differences in life chances fair?

How much does the state owe to its citizens? What does a just distribution of resources and opportunities look like? GV908 Justice and Equality introduces and considers two of the major concepts in political theory and politics, more generally. It introduces students to key debates and questions concerning the most central question of politics: who gets what? Students will study different answers to the questions of what a fair distribution of society’s resources looks like, what equality of opportunity consists in, and what citizens owe each other.

GV908 will introduce MA students to some of the key topics and themes within contemporary political theory, and will embrace discussions in analytical political theory. The module aims to expose students to a variety of debates about the moral and political principles that regulate different areas of public policy. Students will be able to appraise arguments on different sides of a range of controversial political topics.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To introduce a range of ideas and concepts in analytical political theory.

  • To engage students in a series of close textual readings of selected essays, books and articles, with the aim of elucidating key concepts and ideas in public policy disputes.

  • To examine a number of central debates in contemporary political theory.

  • Students should be in a position to develop and execute a Masters Research Dissertation in political theory.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the normative dimensions of key policy controversies.

  2. Introduce students to the work of major contemporary political theorists, including John Rawls, Robert Nozick, G. A. Cohen and Ronald Dworkin.

  3. Write clear analyses of contemporary policy controversies.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

The teaching is structured in weekly two-hour seminars. Members of the seminar are expected to attend on a weekly basis, and be prepared to discuss the essential texts in the seminars.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay 1    35% 
Coursework   Essay 2    65% 

Additional coursework information

For the essays, students must choose from a list of questions which will be posted to Moodle.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff



External examiner

Dr Adrian Florea
University of Glasgow
Senior Lecturer in International Relations
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

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.