This MSc focuses on the design, creation, and operation of democratic institutions. Students gain understanding of when a given set of institutes are appropriate for a society and what will make them function, and how scholars have thought about these matters, applying theory to examples of institution-building and design.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £12,950 (FT) £6,415 (PT)
- £21,160 (FT) £10,740 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
As a minimum, an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university; a CGPA of 3.3; or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant practical or work experience in a related field may also be taken into account.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Advanced
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
Students are equipped with the theoretical tools and empirical evidence necessary for an in-depth understanding of democratic institutions and politics. They develop an understanding of the potential benefits and pitfalls of different institutional designs, reforms, and administrative practices, and are able to analyse problems raised by new and reforming democracies.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five compulsory core modules (75 credits), optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
- Democracy and Constitutional Design (30)
- Democratic Political Institutions (15)
- Introduction to Qualitative Methods: Researching Politics using Interviews, Observations and Fieldwork,
- or Introduction to Qualitative Methods: Researching Politics using Texts, Transcripts and Images or Advanced Qualitative Methods (15)
- Choose one of the following 15 credit modules (the other two remain available as options):
- Parliaments, Political Parties and Policy Making (15)
- Governing Divided Societies (15)
- The European Union, Globalisation and the State (15)
- Choose further modules up to a value of 30 credits in total from a list available at:
- The following are suggestions:
- Public Policy Economics and Analysis (PPEA) (15)
- NGO, Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Policy and Management (15)
- Making Policy Work (15)
- Equality, Justice and Difference (15)
- Public Ethics (15)
- Agenda Setting and Public Policy (15)
- British Government & Politics (15)
- Law and Regulation I (15)
- International Political Economy (15)
- Governing Divided Societies (15)
- Gendering the Study of Politics: Theory and Practice (15)
- Conflict Resolution and Post-War Development (15)
- Democracy and Accountability: Holding Power to Account (15)
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Assessment is through unseen examinations, long essays, coursework, and the dissertation.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Alumni of this programme work in a variety of fields. Many take on roles within their home governments, and a substantial number find jobs with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), working in their home countries or abroad. Some work for a research institutes or provide research for business, and a small number have also gone on to PhD study.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Account Manager, Financial Times
- Political Organiser, David Lammy MP
- Consultant, World Bank Group
- Parliamentary Assistant, UK Parliament
- Senior Policy Adviser, Civil Service
Graduates of the programme are equipped with the theoretical tools and empirical evidence necessary for entry into the world of government policy, non-governmental organisations, or the private sector.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of democracy and comparative politics.
Students on the programme benefit from greater interaction with fellow students and academic staff due to small class sizes.
London features a wealth of seminars, conferences, and other events on democratic topics. These provide a means for students to expand their knowledge and to extend their professional networks prior to entering the job market.
Department: Political Science
Student / staff numbers
› 78 staff
including 2 postdocs
› 489 taught students
› 38 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Political Science
89% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Application and next steps
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.
Application fee: There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. More details about the application fee can be found at www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
The programme is aimed at current and future policymakers, analysts and researchers from both the public and private sector. Applicants should have a background in a relevant area, for example: economics, European issues, international relations, law, philosophy, politics, political science or sociology.
- All applicants
- 27 July 2018
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Democracy and Comparative Politics at graduate level
- why you want to study Democracy and Comparative Politics at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging and truly international academic environment
- 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.