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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Programme Catalogue

MSc Political Science

Programme code:MSC-POL/SCUCAS code:
Duration:12 Months Method of Attendance: Full Time
Programme manager:Dr Kris Dunn Contact

Total credits: 180

Entry requirements:

Entry Requirementsincluding English Language-A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or a non-UK equivalent in a social science, humanities, or other related discipline. Relevant experience will also be taken into account.-IELTS an overall band of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each component skill-TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) of 92 with no less than 21 in listening, 21 in reading, 23 in speaking and 22 in writing-Pearson (Academic)of 64 overall with no less than 60 in any component-Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) of 176 overall with no less than 169 in any component-Trinity College Integrated Skills in English of a Pass in ISE II or above (if taken in the UK

School/Unit responsible for the parenting of students and programme:


Examination board through which the programme will be considered:

POLIS MA Examination Board

Programme specification:

This programme will focus on the development of analytical skills in several key areas of political science research. The broad aim of the programme is to equip students with the ability to apply theories, methods, techniques and concepts gained on the programme to a range of substantive problems and issues within contemporary politics. All students will take the core module in advanced political analysis running in semester one, equipping them with core theoretical and applied knowledge within political science.

All students will focus on either data analytics or media and democracy. Throughout the programme, all optional modules are designed to secure the learning outcomes common to the MSc Political Science as a whole, including: in-depth knowledge and mastery of theories and approached in political analysis; understanding analytical techniques and applied case study analysis. These are drawn from the political science discipline, however, a number provide further specialist provision in topics relevant to the two main themes of the programme.

The Data Analytics component will focus on developing student’s analytical abilities through game theory. As such it is highly relevant to studying conflict and cooperation among nations, competition among political parties or political leaders, public goods dilemmas etc. The modules will provide the basics: representing games and strategies, the extensive form (called game trees), repeated games, Bayesian games (modelling things like reputation), and more. The modules will include a variety of examples including classic games and arrange of political science and internationalrelations application.

On the media and democracy side, students will have the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge methods that they can use to evaluate and produce research in the area of politics and media. Students will become familiar with various methods of analysing political issues in the modern media environment, in order to access mediated political discourse and understand how social and political issues are discussed and negotiated by journalists, citizens, politicians, and interest groups. Students will explore how traditional research methods can be applied and adapted to producing research in the Internet age but the emphasis will be on the emerging research tools that can be applied to the study of online environments and ‘big data’. In sum, students will learn how to work with the research tools they need to keep abreast of the fast-moving relations between political and media processes.

Students specialising in data analytics will focus on the development of analytical skills in the context of political research. This will include data analytics skills, i.e. the ability to work with different types of data relevant for quantitative political research, using different types of statistical research methods to answer different types of research questions and to test various theoretical hypotheses. Data analytics skills will also involve learning how different types of data can be obtained or collected. The students will learn to apply statistical methods, making use of statistical software/programmes.

The development of analytical skills will also involve developing analytical thinking skills, problem solving, strategic decision-making, and formal modelling based on Game Theory. Students will learn how game theory can be used to analyse formally and logically different types of conflict situations that may arise in the political context and how different types of game theoretical approaches can be used to analyse and solve a conflict situation through strategic decision-making. In the context of Game Theory, interactive, multi-player computer simulations will be used to make the abstract, mathematical theory accessible and tangible.

Students specialising in media and democracy will develop skills and knowledge in two further key areas. The programme will equip students with the skills necessary to critically analyse a wide variety of mediated forms of politics, by introducing students to a range of different concepts and approaches to the study of media and democratic politics as well as exploring case studies of mediated democratic politics. In addition, students will develop the methodological tools with which to critically analyse the different ways in which traditional and new media depict political events, news and phenomena. This is a particularly crucial and marketable skill set in the era of “fake news”.

More broadly, the distinctiveness of the media and democracy provision lies in these key areas. First, we will take a genuinely international approach to the analysis of media and democratic politics through our modules and the scholars who teach the programme. Second, the programme equips students with both substantive knowledge, and methodological tools with which to critically analyse different forms of mediated democratic politics.

The MSc Political Science is an ideal preparation for students who aspire to go into research, e.g. doing a PhD.

Year1 - View timetable

[Learning Outcomes, Transferable (Key) Skills, Assessment]

Candidates will be required to study 180 credits

Compulsory modules:

Candidates will be required to study the following compulsory modules:

PIED5702MAdvanced Political Analysis30 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)
PIED5800MDissertation60 credits1 Sep to 30 Sept (13mth)

Optional modules:

Candidates must choose at least 60 credits from the following modules

PIED5734MAnalysing Data in Political Science30 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)
PIED5735MConflict, Cooperation and Strategic Decision Making30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
PIED5736MPolitics, Media and Democratic Engagement30 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)
PIED5737MElections and Voters30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
PIED5738MTechnology, Media and Politics: Research and Real World Cases30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)

Candidates will be required to study 30 credits from the follow optional modules

PIED5384MThe Politics of Brexit30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
PIED5410MContemporary Politics of the Middle East30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
PIED5523MInternational Political Economy30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
PIED5547MPopular Culture: World politics, Society and Culture30 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)
PIED5562MInternational Relations and the Environment30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
PIED5601MPolitical Theory in Action30 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)
PIED5626MGlobal Justice30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)

Last updated: 28/08/2019


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