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MA History of Political Thought and Intellectual History

Degree Tutors: Dr Avi Lifschitz (UCL), Professor Georgios Varouxakis (QMUL)

Degree Structure

Find out more and apply

The Burning of the Houses of Parliament (Turner)

About the degree

This MA is an intercollegiate University of London programme, jointly administered by UCL and Queen Mary, University of London. The MA draws on the expertise of academic staff from the Colleges and Institutes of the University as a whole in the fields of the history of political thought and intellectual history. The programme offers advanced training in intellectual history, the history of political thought and the history of philosophy, spanning the period from the ancient world to the twenty-first century.

The MA also provides students with essential grounding in the various methods and approaches associated with the study of the history of thought developed over the past quarter-century in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. Members of staff are drawn from Departments of History, Law, Modern Languages and Literature, Philosophy, and Politics within the University of London. 

Degree structure

Students on the programme will take a core course together with a selection of individual course modules, and complete a Masters dissertation. The core course, which runs across two Semesters, is taken by all students and taught at the UCL History Department by a selection of staff within the University of London. In addition to the core, students choose their preferred modules from a menu of specialist options. After the completion of coursework in semesters one and two, the dissertation is undertaken over the spring and summer months, under the supervision of an expert in the relevant subject area. The programme also offers obligatory language training in a modern European language, or in ancient or Medieval Latin.

The MA may be taken on a full or part-time basis. All full-time students, in addition to the core course (60 credits) and the dissertation (60 credits), will take further units of study adding up to at least 60 credits spread over two semesters. Students taking the MA part-time over two years will take the core course in their first year and complete their dissertation in their second year. A further 30 credits must be taken in both years one and two. Each course is taught in two-hour weekly seminar blocks and is assessed through coursework and/or by exam.

Core Course

The core course offers an advanced programme of instruction in both historiographical method and interpretative practice in the history of ideas. The course is divided into two semesters. During the first, students analyse and assess competing methodological approaches derived from the humanities, which have a bearing on the study of the political thought and intellectual history. In the second semester, seminar classes focus on key figures, periods and modes of thought in the history of political ideas. The core course is convened each year by two of the MA programme directors, but several members of the MA's academic staff also make additional specialist contributions throughout the year. Specific topics and figures covered by the core course include: hermeneutics, ideology critique, the contextualist method in intellectual history, natural law, enlightenment, socialism, Aristotle, Hobbes, Marx, Nietzsche.

Teaching staff

Members of staff teaching on this collaborative degree include Valentina Arena, Richard Bourke, Angus Gowland, Julian Hoppit, Axel Körner, Avi Lifschitz, Jason Peacey, Peter Schröder, Quentin Skinner, Gareth Stedman Jones, and Georgios Varouxakis. 

More information and how to apply

Page last modified on 08 jul 15 16:08 by Jasmine Gane