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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £12,570 (FT) £6,225 (PT)
- £20,540 (FT) £10,430 (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 in political theory or a related discipline 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
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.
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).
- Meanings of Liberty: Applied Methods in Political Theory (30)
- Seminars in Political Theory, Colloquium in Legal Philosophy and Peer Assisted Learning Sessions (30)
Students choose modules worth a total of 45 credits from the list below (the others remain available as options).
They also choose one further 15-credit module from a list available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/spp/teaching/masters/ma-legal-and-political-theory.
- Contemporary Political Philosophy I: Authority, Obligation & Democracy (15)
- Contemporary Political Philosophy II: Social Justice and Equality (15)
- Equality, Justice and Difference (15)
- Global Ethics (15)
- Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition I and II (30)
- Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition I (15)
- Jurisprudence and Legal Theory I & II (30)
- Jurispudence and Legal Theory I (15)
- The Ethics of Poverty (15)
- Public Ethics (15)
- Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights (15)
- The Ethics of Counterterrorism (15)
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
Teaching for all modules 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, coursework and the dissertation.
Past students on the programme have been awarded prestigious scholarships such as AHRC and UCL graduate studentships.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
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 degree
- Journalist, BBC
- Political Analyst, DeHavilland
- Policy Adviser, HM Treasury
- Politician, The Labour Party
- DPhil Politics, University of Oxford
Students of the Legal and Political Theory MA acquire advanced analytical transferable skills and exposure to cutting-edge legal and philosophical work - problem-solving, logical skills - combined with deep understanding of challenges of the contemporary world. As a result our students have an excellent record of employability in leading professions - law, consultancy, politics, journalism and academic careers.
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 2012–2014 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 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.
Department: Political Science
Student / staff numbers
› 39 staff
including 1 postdocs
› 442 taught students
› 37 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
76% 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.
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.
- All applicants
- 1 September 2017
Applications will close at 5pm (GMT) on 1 September 2017.
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 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.