MA Politics

The MA Politics places considerable emphasis on advanced research methods, enabling students to hone qualitative and quantitative research skills, and supporting them in becoming confident researchers in their own right.

The Course

The MA Politics offers you the opportunity to develop an advanced understanding of politics and policymaking across national and international settings. You can explore critical issues that drive the political process and examine the role of the state in the governance of society. You can consider contemporary challenges, such as policy formulation and implementation in areas such as counter-terrorism, gender equality and health. Together with tutors and peers, you have the opportunity to engage in important discussions about the future of representative democracy in Britain and globally.

The programme draws on expertise within the School of Social and Political Sciences, and you can benefit from close support by specialist academics. A key feature is the provision of core modules that aim to familiarise you with advanced research skills. The MA in Politics is designed to help you to become a confident researcher with the ability to explore all dimensions of the policymaking process.

- The MA Politics places considerable emphasis on advanced research methods, enabling students to hone qualitative and quantitative research skills, and supporting them in becoming confident researchers in their own right.

  • The programme draws on a range of subject specialisms within the School of Social and Political Sciences and connects students with tutors who are research leaders in their respective fields of study.
    The atmosphere in the School of Social and Political Sciences is collegial and friendly.
  • All students are invited to attend the School’s research seminar series. Tutors are approachable and keen to support students on their personal research and career paths.

The learning and teaching strategy adopted within the MA Politics reflects a commitment to self-directed, student-centred learning, with an emphasis on applied analytical skills.

This degree offers a distinctive range of modules, drawing upon the existing research and teaching expertise in the School of Social and Political Sciences to deliver an academically rigorous and contemporary programme. Please note that the availability of optional modules will vary due to staff availability and student numbers.

This programme is not only designed to develop a student’s specialist subject knowledge, but aims to equip students with a set of transferable skills relevant to further academic study and employment. The incorporation of a strong research methods element within the MA is designed to enhance employability and development of transferable skills.

Students will be taught using a range of methods including lectures, seminars/workshops and tutorials. Lectures are designed to introduce students to key themes and perspectives, generate enthusiasm for further enquiry, provide illustrative examples and to signpost substantive issues.

Seminars and workshops provide students with an environment for more interactive learning and reflection, aimed at deepening critical understanding of the subject matter. These sessions are organised in a variety of ways, including tutor or student-led discussions, presentations, and problem-solving exercises, normally centred on a particular theme.

Tutorials are available to students on an individual or small-group basis as a means of supporting the preparation of individual or group assignments, offering feedback on progress, dealing with any particular learning difficulties, and offering advice on specific choices within the module programme. E-learning will be supported through use of the University’s virtual learning environment.

Full-time students on this programme can expect to receive approximately eight hours of contact time per week. However, this may vary depending on which optional modules are selected by students.

The research methods modules on this programme are taught in weekly two-hour sessions and the remaining modules are mostly taught through two-hour weekly lecture and seminar sessions. In addition, students attend personal tutor groups, Independent Study/dissertation workshops, and have meetings with their Independent Study/dissertation supervisor.

We expect that a full-time student on this course would engage in four hours of self-study for every one hour of lecture and seminar time. This equates to 32 hours of self-study per week. These figures are halved for part-time study.

Comparative Legislatures (Option)
Find out more

Comparative Legislatures (Option)

This module provide an in-depth understanding of the role of legislatures in political systems, and how the form, structure, activities and impacts of legislatures varies across a range of states. It will focus on the broad differences in the role and impact of legislatures in parliamentary and presidential systems, and through a series of case studies examine the operation of legislatures in a number of states such as the United Kingdom, the USA, Germany, France, China and Russia, as well as the European Parliament and the devolved assemblies within the UK.

Critical Reading in the Social and Political Sciences (Core)
Find out more

Critical Reading in the Social and Political Sciences (Core)

This social science module explores the ways in which knowledge is created, communicated, consumed and debated in the social and political sciences. It aims to expose students to key issues of methodological choice, issue framing, research ethics and author subject-position through interrogation of contemporary and classical texts of relevance to the social and political sciences and the disciplinary concerns of the MA programmes on which it appears. The module seeks to develop students’ skills in critical reading and in both oral and written academic debate.

Feminisms: Theories and Debates (Option)
Find out more

Feminisms: Theories and Debates (Option)

This module explores feminist theories of gender, applying feminist perspectives to contemporary issues. As there is no single ‘feminist’ perspective, the module will introduce students to different strands of feminist thought including liberal, radical, black, postcolonial and postmodern feminisms. Feminist debates around the nature of gender/sex, the causes of gender inequality, the intersection of gender with other important social and political identities (such as race, class and sexuality) and disagreements over strategies for how best to address continuing gender inequalities will all be addressed. In addition, we will examine the extent to which a postfeminist perspective which takes feminism for granted but at the same time dismisses its continuing relevance is currently dominant in society. We will also engage with questions around the relevance of feminism to men and masculinity. Finally, we will consider what light feminist theoretical perspectives can shed on a range of gendered issues. Sample topics might include: the family, pornography, popular culture, the workplace, the family, everyday sexism and objectification. Students will be encouraged to develop their own critical and informed answers to key questions such as how far gender is a performance (as opposed to biologically determined), which feminist perspectives offer the most promising tools for challenging the contemporary gender order and how we can apply feminist thought to re-imagining gender relations. In accordance with a feminist pedagogical ethos, students will also be required to demonstrate a reflexive approach to the theory, analysing the links and disjunctures between their own experiences and feminist theoretical debates. Overall, the module will aim to ‘make the familiar strange’ and enable students to question their own assumptions, as well as popular and common sense notions of gender.

Global Health: Policy and Practice (Option)
Find out more

Global Health: Policy and Practice (Option)

Global health policy is an area of growing concern in both theory and practice. Increasingly, health and healthcare issues cross national borders. Political, economic, social, cultural and environmental factors at all levels, from local to global, influence the health statuses of individuals and populations. International institutions (e.g. the World Health Organization), philanthropic organisations (e.g. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and multinational corporations (‘big pharma’) play key roles in the politics of health, as well as national governments and health systems.

This module examines the concepts that shape debates in (and are shaped by) global health, including global health governance and global health diplomacy. It then critically assesses programmes and strategies designed to address global health challenges such as pandemics, infectious and non-communicable diseases, reproductive health, biosecurity and inequalities of health.

Global Issues in Gender and Sexuality (Option)
Find out more

Global Issues in Gender and Sexuality (Option)

This module aims to provide the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of some central concepts and theoretical debates on gender and sexuality including feminist theory and masculinities. These can be examined in greater depth in the context of key issues relating to power and economy in contemporary global politics.
These theories can then be applied to a range of case studies/issues. These case studies may change to reflect contemporary issues and academic developments but sample topics include decision-making processes in national and international political systems, the construction of gender and sexual identities in a globalised world and militarised masculinities.

Globalisation (Option)
Find out more

Globalisation (Option)

This module aims to examine the background to globalisation and its relationship to the emerging trends towards regional governance and integration. The module seeks to draw out the implications of these trends for the nation state and its various corporate and policy actors.

The current globalisation trend has far-reaching consequences. Its origins are economic and lie in the gradual movement towards economic interdependence and integration of markets which has been taking place during the second half of the twentieth century.

Globalisation also reflects the decline of US hegemony and the collapse of Soviet power. Globalisation poses a major legitimisation challenge to the nation-state and nation-state based political economies. This has been evident in a tendency in recent years for national governments to seek to ‘depoliticise’ social and economic policy decisions by reference to ‘global forces’. More pro-actively the challenge to the nation-state has given a new impetus to the development of regional political economies notably the EU.

Masculinities, Power and Society (Option)
Find out more

Masculinities, Power and Society (Option)

This module explores masculinities and the operation of power through masculinities in society. It aims to engage with key theoretical perspectives on gender and masculinity, taking an in-depth look at these concepts, along with related ideas such as ‘hegemonic masculinity,’ ‘heteronormativity’ and ‘intersectionality.’ Important contemporary debates in masculinities scholarship will be addressed, such as around hegemonic masculinity, whether this is a useful concept and how far it can explain (global) gendered power relations. Masculinities and masculinity will also be explored in different empirical settings.

Master's Dissertation in Politics (Core)
Find out more

Master's Dissertation in Politics (Core)

The dissertation module allows students to explore their own interests relevant to the study of politics. It provides students with an opportunity to undertake and produce an independent piece of in-depth research. Students will develop their research ideas in collaboration with teaching staff and will be supported to design and implement a coherent, robust research project and to write up their findings/analysis in the form of a dissertation.

The format of the study will vary from primarily library-based or theoretical research to the production of empirical research through qualitative or quantitative fieldwork. Students will need to: examine an issue related to their discipline; demonstrate the ability to critically review the relevant academic literature; address a clear research question or hypothesis; address ethical issues in conducting social research; and give a clear explanation and defence of the methods they have chosen as most appropriate to their study.

Political Analysis (Core)
Find out more

Political Analysis (Core)

This module aims to provide an advanced level of understanding of issues related to the theoretical basis of contemporary political analysis. Politics, like other social sciences, is an essentially contested field, in which there is significant disagreement amongst researchers about how to analyse political institutions, ideas and behaviour.

The module deals with the use of theory and meta-theory in politics and international relations. It begins with an examination of the nature of explanation and understanding in the social sciences before examining a series of key theoretical and meta-theoretical debates within the discipline. Amongst the topics to be covered are the relationship between ontology and epistemology, structure, agency and power and the role of ideas in political analysis.

Politics and Public Policy (Core)
Find out more

Politics and Public Policy (Core)

As the first subject-specific core module on the MA Politics, Politics and Public Policy provides an overview of public policy-making across different institutional arenas and geographical contexts. It aims to familiarise students with the stages of the policy-making process, ranging from the ‘discovery’ of policy problems, to the setting of political agendas and the implementation of policy solutions.

It considers cases and examples that illustrate real-world dilemmas of public policy-making and draws attention to different understanding of what public policy can achieve. New ideas about how to obtain governing outcomes—through nudges or ‘meta-governing’, for example—will be explored with an interest in their potentials and limitations.

Researching Social and Political Sciences (Core)
Find out more

Researching Social and Political Sciences (Core)

This module is designed to introduce students to researching in social and political sciences. The aim of the module is to provide a crucial foundation for all students (regardless of disciplinary background) to understand debates around research methods/methodologies in social science; to enable familiarity with a variety of research methods and to equip students to be able to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of applying specific methodologies/methods to different research projects in social and political sciences. Overall, the module will aim to prepare students for independent studies later in their degree and equip them with transferable research skills.

Terrorism (Option)
Find out more

Terrorism (Option)

The label ‘terrorism’ is applied erratically with little clear precision or exclusivity to its use and failing to clearly differentiate those labelled 'terrorists'. The long and contested histories of diverse political and ideological struggles in respect of securing the legitimacy of this label, and/or the resistance to it, are often made unclear by the cultural significance the label itself.

The aim of this module is to provide a critical understanding of these heated debates focusing on past and current management strategies, their relative strengths and weaknesses, the problems with conceptualisation and their various proponents from the worlds of academia/counter insurgency studies, political and criminal justice/military ‘experts’.

Theories and Concepts in International Relations (Option)
Find out more

Theories and Concepts in International Relations (Option)

This module aims to provide students with a graduate-level overview of both mainstream and critical approaches to theorising international relations. The emphasis is on evaluating and applying theories, understanding the historical development of international relations as a field, and engaging with contemporary debates and concerns.

The module explores how the discipline of international relations is characterised by competing interpretations and applications of key concepts (eg power, the role of the state state, agency/structure, and conceptualisations of world order) and differing methodological approaches and views about the practical purpose underpinning theories of world politics.

Students will be encouraged to critically explore the ways in which international relations theory influences policy-making and practice. On a broader level, students can gain insights into the contested nature of contemporary global politics. Case studies and contemporary materials will be used extensively throughout the module to illustrate the varying theoretical models and their applicability in the contemporary world.

Transition From Communism to Post-Communism (Option)
Find out more

Transition From Communism to Post-Communism (Option)

The module aims to develop the analytical skills and provide the opportunity to broaden students' knowledge by exposing them to the wide-ranging debates on the problems of transition from Communism focusing, for example, on the Soviet and post-Soviet systems.

Students have the opportunity to develop knowledge of not only of the academic literature on late Soviet and post-Soviet Russian politics but also to read several major works from the comparative literature on transitions in order to assess the relevance of generalisations in that body of scholarship to the Soviet and Russian transition. They are encouraged also to consider what contribution an understanding of the Soviet and Russian case has to make to political science more generally. The module analyses both the significant achievements and the major problems of transition from Communism to post- Communism in Russia.

More generally, it aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge to interpret current and future developments in Russia. Given the continuing importance of Russia in international relations, this may be of of practical benefit to careers other than academia - among them politics, the civil service, international banking, and journalism.

U.S. Exceptionalism (Option)
Find out more

U.S. Exceptionalism (Option)

The term ‘American exceptionalism’ – or, more precisely, ‘US exceptionalism’ (since the United States does not represent all of America) – has gone viral in recent years. Previously only used by a small group of American Studies scholars and historians, the term was first propelled into public discourse by the Republican Party during the failed presidential campaigns of John McCain (2008) and Mitt Romney (2012). Since then it has become a ‘hegemonic’ concept.

This module aims to provide MA students with a highly advanced knowledge and critical understanding of US exceptionalism. The aim is to encourage students to think holistically and critically about the discourse of US exceptionalism so as to understand its roots in contemporary power relations and be able to challenge it.

† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

The programme is designed to expose you to a range of different forms of assessment and to develop a range of academic, professional and work-relevant skills such as public speaking.

You will have the chance to develop written communication skills through essays, report writing and the Masters’ dissertation, all of which are designed to expand skills in professional and academic writing. Oral communication skills are also assessed, providing the opportunity to enhance your public presentation and public speaking abilities.

The development of high-level research skills is a central feature of the programme. You will have the opportunity to develop these through the core research methods modules and apply them in your dissertation. Further research skills are also embedded in assessments throughout other core and option modules.

Critical, analytical and reflexive thinking are central to all assessments. IT skills can be developed in many modules and include word processing, digital data management and presentation, statistical data handling, the use of electronic search engines and other resources.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Optional Overseas Study Trip

There are opportunities to supplement studies by participating in field trips to key international organisations and political institutions. In recent years, students within the School have visited New York, Washington, D.C., Brussels, The Hague, Strasbourg and Geneva. Places are limited so students are encouraged to register their interest early in the academic year.

Please note that students who wish to take part in an overseas study trip will be required to cover all transport, accommodation and day trip costs. Students should also expect to cover all meal costs whilst on the trip, plus an additional spend for activities in their spare time.

 2019/20 Entry*
Home/EU £7,400
(including Alumni Scholarship 20% reduction)**
International £14,300
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship** £2,000 reduction)
Part-time Home/EU £41 per credit point
Part-time International £79 per credit point

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility


A new system of postgraduate loans for Master's courses has been introduced in the UK. Under the new scheme individuals** will be able to borrow up to £10,609 for the purpose of completing an eligible postgraduate Master's qualification.


As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Part-time Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For part-time students, tuition fees are payable each credit point enrolled. To calculate your part-time fees, multiply the part-time fee per credit point by the number of credits you intend to complete within that academic year. This is usually between 60 and 90 credit points per year.

For example, if the fee per credit point for your programme is £38, and you enrol on 60 credits, the tuition fee payable for that academic year will be £2280.

Fees for enrolment on additional modules

Tuition fees for additional activity are payable by the student/sponsor and charged at the equivalent £ per credit point rate for each module. Additional activity includes:

- Enrolment on modules that are in addition to the validated programme curriculum

- Enrolment on modules that are over and above the full credit diet for the relevant academic year

- Retakes of modules as permitted by the Board of Examiners

Exceptionally tuition fees may not be payable where a student has been granted a retake with approved extenuating circumstances.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

Other Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required, depending on your course. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for the travel, accommodation and your meals may be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional you will normally (unless stated otherwise) be required to pay your own transportation, accommodation and meal costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost.

First or second class honours degree in a relevant subject

Candidates holding other qualifications or substantial relevant work experience may be considered on an individual basis.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. . These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may be supported in their learning by other students.

Dr Ben Kisby

Programme Leader


Your Future Career

Career and Personal Development

Careers Services

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing your course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual and website resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities.
The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages here


At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our students. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

Students can study and research in the University's Great Central Warehouse Library, which provides more than 250,000 printed books and approximately 400,000 electronic books and journals, as well as databases and specialist collections. The Library has a range of different spaces for shared and individual learning.

The University is situated next to the picturesque Brayford Pool marina, just a few minutes' walk away from the thriving city centre, which offers a wealth of shops, restaurants and accommodation.

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.