Taught degree

Democracy and Comparative Politics MSc

This MSc focuses on the design, creation, and operation of democratic institutions. When are a given set of institutions appropriate for a society, and what will make them function? Students gain an understanding of how scholars have thought about these matters, applying theory to examples of institution-building and design.

Key Information

Modes and duration

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

Tuition Fees (2015/16)

£9,835 (FT) £4,890 (PT)
£17,250 (FT) £8,755 (PT)

Application deadlines

All applicants:
1 August 2015

Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university, a 3.3 GPA 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 requirement: Advanced

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.

International equivalencies

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

Degree Information

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, of which 120 credits are composed of taught courses and 60 credits is the dissertation.

The programme consists of four core modules (75 credits), optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core Compulsory Modules

  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods or Advanced Quantitative Methods (15)
  • Democratic Political Institutions (15)
  • Introduction to Qualitative Methods or Advanced Qualitative Methods (15)
  • Democracy and Constitutional Design (30)


  • Agenda Setting and Public Policy (15)
  • The European Union: Globalisation and the State (15)
  • Making Policy Work (15)
  • <strong>The following are suggestions</strong>:
  • <b>Choose further modules up to a value of 30 credits in total from a list available at:</b>
  • Governing Divided Societies (15) </br></br>
  • Parliaments, Political Parties and Policy Making (15)
  • The European Union, Globalisation and the State (15)
  • <b>Choose one of the following:</b>
  • Global Public Policy (15)
  • Conflict Resolution and Post-War Development (15)
  • Gendering the Study of Politics: Theory and Practice (15)
  • International Political Economy (15)
  • British Government and Politics (15)
  • Public Ethics (15)
  • Equality, Justice and Difference (15)
  • Republicanism and Liberalism (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, course work, and the dissertation.


More scholarships are listed on the scholarships website


Graduates of the programme are equipped with the theoretical tools and empirical evidence necessary for an entry into the world of government policy, non-governmental organisations, or the private sector.

First destinations of recent graduates include:

  • The Labour Party: Secretary
  • Head Office Agency: Campaign Co-ordinator
  • Civil Service: Civil Servant
  • National Centre for Social Research: Research Assistant
  • National Autistic Society: Policy and Parliamentary Officer
  • Liberal Democrats: Research Assistant

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Secretaria de Desarrollo Socail SEDESOL Mexico, General Director of Legal Affairs SEDESOL Mexico, 2010,
  • Home Office, Policy Officer, 2010,
  • NHS, Researcher, 2010,
  • New Schools Network, Policy and Administrative Intern, 2011,
  • Amnesty International, Research Assistant, 2011,


Alumni of the Democracy 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 research institutes or provide research for businesses, and a small number have also gone on to PhD study.

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 get to know each other and their lecturers well, in a setting of 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 in advance of entering the job market.

Student / staff ratios › 29 staff › 378 taught students › 37 research students

Department: Political Science

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.

Who can apply?

The programme is aimed at current and future policy-makers, 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.

Application deadlines

All applicants

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.


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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