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.

Key Information

Modes and duration

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

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£11,190 (FT) £5,195 (PT)
£18,670 (FT) £9,285 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016

Entry Requirements

As a minimum, a strong upper second-class (65%) Bachelor's degree in political theory or a related discipline from a UK university; a GCPA of 3.45; 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.

International students

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:

Degree Information

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).

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)


  • Choose modules worth a total of 45 credits from the following:
  • 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
  • Public Ethics
  • Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights
  • Choose a further 15-credit module from a list available at:


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.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Legal and Political Theory MA


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

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Pentland Scholarship

UK, EU, Overseas students

More scholarships are listed on 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


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.

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.

Student / staff ratios › 32 staff › 525 taught students › 40 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 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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016

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.


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

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