This programme is currently under development and may be subject to change
Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time
Institution code: R72
UK fees: £9,600
International/EU fees: £17,200
Contemporary Political Theory (MSc)
This course is ideal for those seeking a broad based advanced grounding in contemporary political theory.
- You will develop a systematic understanding and knowledge of theories, institutions and practices in the disciplines of politics and international relations and in sub disciplines relating to contemporary political theory.
- You will develop a sound knowledge of the texts, theories and methods used to enhance understanding of the issues, processes and phenomena associated to contemporary political theory.
- You will gain a critical understanding of research methods, equipping you with the skills necessary to obtain qualitative and quantitative data for your dissertation.
Core ModulesYear 1
This module will teach you the methods that you are likely to use in your MSc dissertation whilst giving you hands-on research experience.
You will be able to choose two of the following core modules:
The module aims to give an advanced grounding in the central ideas and concepts in contemporary Anglo-American political theory, enabling you to engage in its ongoing debates, and to acquire a sense of the state of the discipline as a whole. Attention will be paid to some of the main ideas and concepts of contemporary political theory, including political obligation, punishment, egalitarianism, meritocracy, human rights, and global justice. Throughout, we will explore how different thinkers have offered different theoretical articulations of these ideas, as well as their practical implications. The module aims to enable you to offer critiques and commentary of various positions in contemporary political theory, and to develop your own ideas.
This module provides an overview of some of the key concepts and thinkers in Anglo-American political theory today. Specifically, it examines the themes of freedom, feminism, and democracy, and writers including Berlin, Rawls, Nozick, Sandel and Okin.
The module will introduce students to key questions and arguments concerning the relationship between identity, power, meaning and knowledge, and how these impact on political thought and practice, through examination of key figures in contemporary Continental political thought. The specific content will be decided in discussion with the students taking the module, but in past years thinkers have included Marx, Nietzsche, Lenin, Heidegger, Adorno, Sartre, Arendt, Schmitt, Lacan, Žižek, Deleuze and Guattari (their individual and collaborative works), Foucault, and Rancière.
Teaching & assessment
This course is taught in small groups – meaning that you will get close personal attention from tutors, and become part of a close-knit and lively community.
Teaching and learning is delivered primarily by means of seminar discussions, informal lectures, oral presentations, guided independent research, and guided independent study. Assessment takes the form of various formative and summative assignments.
Your final assignment is a dissertation on a topic developed in consultation with an assigned supervisor.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.
Your future career
Fees & funding
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,600
EU and International students tuition fee per year**: £17,200
Other essential costs***: To follow
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.
All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the programme via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees see our terms and conditions. Please note that for research programmes, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
** For EU nationals starting a degree in 2021/22, the UK Government has recently confirmed that you will not be eligible to pay the same fees as UK students. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2021, we will award a fee reduction scholarship which brings your fee into line with the fee paid by UK students. This will apply for the duration of your course.
*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.