Legal and Political Theory MA

This MA provides students with key analytical skills to study the ethical dimensions of public policy. The programme, drawing on three areas of excellence at UCL, is a unique mix of politics, law and philosophy, centred on the normative evaluation of public policy at both the domestic and international levels.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year
  • Part-time 2 years

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £9,550
  • UK/EU Part-time: £4,750
  • Overseas Full-time: £16,750
  • Overseas Part-time: £8,500

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 August 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

The programme explores the moral quality of the decisions citizens and professionals take, and the justice of the legal and political structures within which they operate. Students develop the ability to analyse important modern political theories, and justify their position on issues concerning the relationship between politics, law and society.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field. Britain's only department focused exclusively on graduate teaching and research, it offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of Legal and Political Theory.

Weekly interactive seminars offer students an unrivalled opportunity to meet and engage with some of the leading figures in the field.

The Legal and Political Theory MA benefits from the interdisciplinary research culture of the School of Public Policy, as well as from the participation of UCL Philosophy and UCL Laws.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core Modules

  • Meanings of Liberty: Applied Methods in Political Theory (30)
  • Seminars in Political Theory/Colloquium in Legal Philosophy and Peer-Assisted Learning Sessions (30)


  • Contemporary Political Philosophy I: Authority, Obligation & Democracy (15)
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy II: Social Justice and Equality (15)
  • Equality, Justice and Difference (15)
  • Republicanism and Liberalism (15)
  • Global Ethics (15)
  • Global Justice and Human Rights in an International Order (15)
  • Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition I (15)
  • Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition I and II (30)
  • Jurispudence and Legal Theory I & II (30)
  • Public Ethics

  • The following are suggestions:
  • Gendering the Study of Politics: Theory and Practice (15),
    Conflict Resolution and Post-War Development (15),
    Terrorism (15),
    War, Peace and Human Rights (15)


All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching for all courses takes the form of seminars where time is dedicated both to introducing knowledge and materials, and allowing students to test their understanding, knowledge and evaluative skills, through discussion, criticism and debate. Assessment is primarily through long essays, course work and the dissertation.

Further details available on subject website:


Past students on the programme have been awarded prestigious scholarships such as AHRC and UCL graduate studentships.

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a political theory or related discipline from a UK university, a GPA 3.3 or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Advanced

How to apply

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

The deadline for applications is 1 August 2014.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for students with a background in Law, Philosophy, Economics, History, or European Studies, who wish to develop their understanding of major issues in legal and political theory, for further research or a career in this field.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Legal and Political Theory at graduate level
  • why you want to study Legal and Political Theory at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • if you have NOT formally studied Political Theory before, how does your personal, academic and professional background meets the challenges of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


This MA provides an excellent foundation for further research in political theory, or a wide variety of careers in this field.

First destinations of recent graduates include:

  • UK Parliament: Researcher for MP
  • Nacro: Resettlement Plus Helpline Information Officer
  • Medway Council: Political Assistant
  • English Speaking Union: Publicity Officer
  • London Sustainable Business Forum: Research
  • Vault Europe: Business Journalist
  • Centre Forum: Research Intern
  • Stephen Rimmer and Co Solicitors: Trainee Solicitor
  • Legal & Constituency Ltd: Underwriter
  • City University: Graduate Diploma in Law

Top career destinations for this programme

  • Goldman Sachs, Team Assistant, 2010
  • TLC Solicitors, Legal Researcher, 2010
  • Centre Point, Research and Policy Assistant, 2011
  • Yahoo, Web Strategist, 2011
  • Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Project Assistant, 2011


Students of the MA in Legal and Political Theory acquire advanced analytical transferable skills exposure to cutting-edge legal and philosophical work - problem-solving, logical skills, combined with deep understanding of challenges of contemporary world - as a result our students have excellent record of employability in top professions - law, consultacy, politics, journalism and academic careers.

Next steps


SPP Administrator

T: +44 (0)20 7679 4982/4950


Political Science

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Prospectus subject

Political Science

Faculty overview

Social and Historical Sciences


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Staff View

"London is a great world city, a source of intellectual inspiration in its own right. Being in London has enabled me to adopt a broader approach to my subject. In particular, it has enabled me to interact with, and learn from, leading legal practitioners and judges."

Professor John Tasioulas

Quain Professor of Jurisprudence

Subject: Law, Faculty: Laws

Student View

"I chose to apply for graduate study at UCL because the programme was extremely attractive, the supervisors that I was going to work with were great, and because the environment at my department fosters healthy competition and self-development."

Javier Sajuria

Degree: PhD