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MSc in Politics Research

The MSc provides an advanced level of formal training in research techniques and methodology, and enables students to acquire advanced level substantive knowledge in this sub-area of the discipline. If you are successful on the degree you will attain a proven competence in quantitative and qualitative methods. You will demonstrate competence in a variety of further and more advanced techniques of data collection, data handling and data analysis. You will design your research project, and will write a short thesis under expert supervision.

Upon successful completion of your MSc, you will be expected to continue your studies in pursuit of a DPhil in a relevant area of political science. You may apply to undertake doctoral research in the Department for a further three to four years.

Component Assessment
Year one Core course in Comparative Government or in European GovernanceWritten Examination in Comparative Government or in European Governance at the end of the first year
ThesisSubmit a thesis of no more than 15,000 words
Research Methods Training


As an MSc in Politics Research student you would have to:

  1. attend a twenty-week core seminar in EITHER Comparative Government OR European Governance, and sit a written examination in this core subject at the end of your first year.
  2. submit research methods training coursework and a research design essay in preparation for your thesis.
  3. submit a thesis of not more than 15,000 words.


Research Methods Options

Research Methods Options

  • Intermediate Social Statistics
  • Qualitative Methods in Political Science
  • Formal Analysis
  • Archival Research: Truth and Record
  • Causal Inference
  • Content Analysis and Word Scoring
  • Panel Data Analysis


At the end of the summer you will have to submit a short thesis of up to 15,000 words. The MSc thesis is a substantial piece of research, which should be regarded as a piece of preparatory work for, or a preliminary contribution towards, the eventual doctorate. It should demonstrate a grasp of its sub-field, a set of design and methodological issues, and the ability to develop and sustain an independent line of argument.
To give you an idea of the range of topics studied by MSc candidates, the titles of some recent successful MSc theses are listed below:

  • A Theory to Explain Major Policy Changes: The Case of Market-Oriented and Standards-Based Education Reform in the United States and England
  • The Impact of European Integration on Far Right Political Parties: A Case Study of the Italian Lega Nord and the Austrian Freedom Party
  • Judicial Power in the HKSAR 1997-2006: An Institutionalist Account
  • Institutions for Stable Democracies: Three Case Studies of Political Institutions and their Effects on Democratic Stability in Post-1990 Nigeria, Kenya, and Niger
  • The Variance of Democratic Consolidation: A Case Study of the Slovak and Czech Republics During 1993-2004
  • Defining the Nation: The Politics of Identity in Turkey and Israel
  • The Weak State in Serbia
  • Immigration, Diversity and Support for Welfare
  • Police and Public Order in East Germany: The Case of the 1992 Rostock riot
  • The Drug Trade through Nigeria and the State: A Review of the Literature
  • The Relationship Between Federalism and Statehood: Lessons from Althusius
  • Multiculturalism and Fear of the 'Other': A Study of Leicester's Approach to Intercultural Understanding
  • Elite Competition and Democratic Transition in Ghana: A Review of the Literature
  • Is there a relationship between ethnic/racial identity salience and ethnic/racial homophily?


Read more about European Politics and Society at the Department of Politics and International Relations / Read more about Government and Politics at the Department of Politics and International Relations