Political Science (British Politics and the State) MA/PGDip

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This programme offers students an understanding of British politics based on theoretical, empirical and historical analysis of the development of the British state since 1900. It provides excellent preparation for further academic research or a career in government, a range of related private sector areas, and many kinds of non-governmental organisations.

This core pathway is designed for flexibility, allowing you to choose over half of the MA content from a wide range of optional modules.

In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.

Course details: Details | Modules | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Taught

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date: September

Details

Course details: Modules | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply.

This programme offers students an understanding of British politics based on theoretical, empirical and historical analysis of the development of the British state since 1900.

Drawing on extensive staff expertise in the area of British political economy, and offering students a range of options to complement their core studies of British Politics and the State, it provides excellent preparation for further academic research or a career in government, a range of related private-sector areas, and many kinds of non-governmental organisations.

Issues and topics examined include:

  • The development of the British state
  • Inner workings of the Treasury and other key UK institutions
  • Power and process in Parliament
  • Ideology and forms of rule
  • The future of British politics and the national form of the state

One of the real strengths of our masters programmes is the wide range of available modules, giving students the ability to tailor their course of study to their own academic interests.

More information on: Political Science MA (with specialist pathways)

Why study this course

Modules

This pathway is designed for flexibility, allowing you to choose over half of the MA content from a wide range of optional modules. This degree comprises the following modules:

Core modules

You'll take at least 40 credits from the optional modules A list. These are modules that we believe best fit this degree. We recommend that you also take some or all of your remaining credits from this list.

Optional Modules A (at least 40 credits from the following)

We also offer you the opportunity to choose from our much longer list of Optional Modules B.

Optional Modules B (up to 40 credits from the following)

Fees and funding

Fees for 2015 - 16:

Masters (MA):

  • UK/EU full-time: £6,210
  • UK/EU part-time: £3,105
  • International full-time: £14,140

Postgraduate Diploma:

  • UK/EU full-time: £6,210
  • UK/EU part-time: £3,105
  • International full-time: £9,427

Please check with the Department for the latest fees information.

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the School directly or visit studenthelp.bham.ac.uk 

Entry requirements

For the MA programme you require a good Honours degree or its equivalent. For those whose first language is not English, an IELTS Certificate is required.

Learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Learning and teaching

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching take place through a variety of means, including:

  • Independent study
  • Preparatory reading for participation in seminar activities and assessed work
  • Student-led discussions in seminars
  • Seminar activities including structured and unstructured debate
  • Research design

A range of assessment methods are used on the modular components of the programme, including oral presentations, essays, literature reviews and research papers.

The degree provides excellent preparation for further academic research or a career in government, a range of related private-sector areas, and many kinds of non-governmental organisations.

Skills gained

Students will gain expert training in the following areas:

  • The development of the British state
  • Inner workings of the Treasury and other key UK institutions
  • Power and process in Parliament
  • Ideology and forms of rule
  • The future of British politics and the national form of the state

In addition to specialist training in British politics, students also have the opportunity to choose optional modules covering a wide range of subjects across the disciplines of political science and international relations.

Enhancing your Student Experience

In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.

Students at high profile speakers event

Some of these are targeted to help you build skills and experience for your CV, others are more open events designed to expose you to high-level speakers on current debates relevant to all Government and Society students.

Mathew Clarke, Hamburg MUN (December 2012), "In December 2012 I went to Hamburg to take part in a Model United Nations (MUN) Conference with the MUN Society at the University. The experience was eye opening allowing me see how to apply the topics I had learnt at Birmingham to a real world event. While I had been to other non-MUN conferences, which were not with the university, both in the UK and around the world this was a truly unique event."

Ana Alecsandru, UNA Youth Conference - New Nuclear Realities (February 2013), "This event allowed me to gain an insight into the challenges facing the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. The programme included interactive discussions with high profile nuclear professionals regarding the current situation of the international non-proliferation regime and the nuclear disarmament under the auspices of the United Nations and IAEA."

Georgiana Chiriac, Harvard Model United Nations (February 2013), "Overall, This opportunity was excellent for me and for the entire delegation in terms of gaining knowledge and expertise at the highest level, as well as with regards to personal growth and development."

Read more of our students' experiences and profiles on the school website.

Facilities

Departments from across the School of Government and Society are all based within the recently refurbished Muirhead Tower. Following a £50million refurbishment, Muirhead Tower offers state-of-the-art teaching and research study facilities including free wifi throughout the building and dedicated study areas for postgraduate research students.

Muirhead Tower comprises 12,000sq.m of floor space between two towers. The tower includes a number of sustainable features including solar shading (known in the trade as brise soliel) to control temperatures, as well as low energy fans; timed lighting to reduce energy waste; natural ventilation systems and a heat source taken from the University’s combined heat and power generator.

The space has been designed to create modern, attractive spaces for teaching and research accommodating 150 academic offices, 230 "hubs" for post graduate research students, teaching rooms for up to 100 people and a 200 seat lecture theatre.

Employability

Graduates from the School have gone on to work in a range of careers, with recent graduates working with organisations such as the United Nations, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, local authorities in the UK and overseas and the Department for International Development.

The School takes employability very seriously and as well as linking students to the central careers services, also incorporates opportunities to enhance their employment prospects, including highlighting work experience opportunities, encouraging volunteering in extra-curricular projects (such as student seminars and events) and by inviting backgrounds for students to meet.

More information about careers and employability

Careers Support for Work Experience and Internships

The Careers and Employability Centre provides a dedicated service to help you find work experience or internship opportunities outside of your studies, either part-time during term-time, or over the summer vacation. Right from the start of your degree you will have access to our interactive careers service, through which many regional, national and international employers advertise their vacancies, and your college internship officers will go out and about to find vacancies that will be a useful addition to your CV. 

Ever wondered what it would be like to work in a New York Theatre?  Interested in working in the city? Fancy travelling to India to take part in a project to promote urban cycling?  Interested in public diplomacy, economics, media relations or PR, journalism or international affairs?  The University of Birmingham offers a range of work experience bursaries, where you can apply for up to £9,000 to help fund work experience or an internship, a research placement, or volunteering, anywhere in the world during the summer vacation.  The funding can help you pay for accommodation costs, travel expenses, or living costs, and will help you rise above the competition.

Through our mentoring scheme, we also provide students in any year of undergraduate study with the opportunity to be mentored by successful Birmingham graduates from a diverse range of career backgrounds, such as marketing, finance, politics, and international affairs. In your final year of study you can also apply to be part of our Alumni Leadership Mentoring programme, and receive one-to-one mentoring from high-profile Birmingham alumni.  This year’s mentors include Martin Devenish, Partner and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, and Mike Coupe, a director at J Sainsbury’s.

Find out more about support for work experience and internships, bursaries, or mentoring.

Funding for work placements, research placements and internships
The Careers and Employability Centre offer a range of award schemes for students from a range of backgrounds that are looking to undertake a variety of work experience placements and internships .