(MA) Master of Arts
University of Essex
University of Essex
Full-time or part-time
You will need a degree with an overall high 2.2 in Political Science, International Relations, American Studies, United States Politics, Business - ( finance related), Economics or Statistics.
Applications from students with 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 of at least 58% 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.
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code
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.
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.
Rules of assessment
Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.
Please refer to the full time version of this course for information on Core and Compulsory modules.
Dr Nicholas Walter Vivyan
Senior Lecturer University of Durham
External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment.
External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course.
They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards.
External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.
- To develop a systematic knowledge and understanding of the conceptual foundations of the discipline of political science.
- To promote the critical use of evidence, and the effective application of quantitative methods of political analysis.
- To develop a capacity for independent study and research, including a critical awareness of research design.
- To provide the opportunity, through a range of options, to study sub-disciplinary and/or area-oriented fields in depth.
- To develop a capacity to make coherent and reflective argument, and to present and communicate ideas effectively.
- To enhance the analytical and evaluative skills required for personal and professional development, and for successful employment or further study.
What is the difference between the MA and the MSc variants?
The difference is determined by the methods module you take – Political Explanation (GV900) for the MA and Advanced Research Methods (GV903) for the MSc.
Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods
On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:
A: Knowledge and understanding
A1: Advanced knowledge of different modes of explanation and theoretical perspectives in political science and political theory at an appropriate level.
A2: Understanding of the main quantitative methods used in political analysis.
A3: Critical awareness of the use of evidence in political science.
A4: Knowledge of the main research findings, and main developments and debates in one or more sub-disciplinary or area-oriented fields.
A5: Systematic knowledge of the relevant sources of information.
A1-5 Lectures, participation in and presentations to seminars and classes, writing essays and dissertation, oral and written feedback on essays.
A1 specifically in GV958 Theory and Explanation in Political Science.
A2 specifically in GV900 Political Explanation or GV903 Advanced Research Methods.
A3 specifically in GV900, GV958 and in supervision of individual dissertations.
A4 specifically in options chosen in consultation with Scheme Director.
A5 specifically in independent learning.
Taught modules assessed 50/50 by continuous assessment through written assignments and essays, and (potentially) three-hour closed examinations at end of the modules.
B: Intellectual and cognitive skills
B1: To question received thinking.
B2: To develop independent thinking.
B3: To muster evidence.
B4: To evaluate and analyse evidence.
B5: To reason critically.
B6: To argue coherently and concisely.
B7: To communicate ideas effectively in writing.
B8: To carry out independent research.
B1-7 participation in and presentations to seminars and classes, individual guidance on researching and writing essays, oral and written feedback on essays, individual interviews and group sessions with Study Skills Officer
B4 especially in GV900 Political Explanation or GV903 Advanced Research Methods.
B1-7. written assignments and essays, written examinations
B8. the dissertation.
C: Practical skills
C1: Organize and structure an extended argument.
C2: Use concepts correctly.
C3: Compile systematic bibliographies.
C4: Provide references according to accepted conventions.
C5: Use libraries and IT to access information and scholarly resources.
C6: Sift and synthesize complex information.
C1-6 participation in and presentations to seminars and classes, individual guidance for essays, individual supervision of dissertations, oral and written feedback on class presentations and essays.
C5 specifically in induction sessions for library use.
C1-6. written assignments and essays, closed examinations, supervised dissertation.
C1 especially in dissertation.
C3-6 specifically in essays and dissertation.
C2 essays, examinations, and dissertation.
D: Key skills
D1: Clear, focused, relevant and effective expression and communication.
D2: Access and organise information from a variety of electronic sources.
D3: Apply statistical methods.
D4: To manage projects and timetables. To find, understand and organise information. To work with ideas.
D6: Positive response to feedback and criticism.
D1-5 participation in and presentations to seminars and classes, written assignments and essays, dissertation.
D3 specifically in GV900 Political Explanation / GV903 Advanced Research Methods.
D4 specifically in scheduling and balancing requirements for four courses taught in parallel.
D6 specifically in individual guidance on essays, oral and written feedback on essays.
D1-4. written assignments and essays, examinations, dissertation D6 classroom presentations, written assignments and essays.