Department of Political Science


Ghandi statue in Tavistock Square Gardens, London (Photo credit: UCL)


About Us


The Department of Political Science / School of Public Policy began as Britain's only department focused on graduate teaching and research.

From 2001, the School has built up a core faculty of many academic staff across these fields, with a Department of Political Science coming formally into being in 2005.

It has enjoyed a period of rapid growth in recent years and now extends its teaching to undergraduates with a policy and methods focused PPE degree, very much in keeping with UCL’s founding tradition in political economy. The department offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of all fields of politics, including international relations, political theory, human rights and public policy-making and administration.

Located in a global city

Located in the magnificent Tavistock Square, one of London's most beautiful squares, our ten Masters degrees and doctoral training programme offer a range of opportunities for post-graduate study. With over 450 students, we offer one of the largest politics graduate programmes in the UK. Our PhD programme is supported by ESRC and AHRC studentships for eligible students. We also offer an exciting BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), with teaching across UCL’s world leading Department of Economics and Philosophy, and which aims to provide breadth and depth in understanding social and political phenomena. In addition, the Affiliate Programme in Political Science and International Relations is open to overseas undergraduate students wishing to study in London.

Leading research centre

The Department's status as one of Britain's leading centres for research in Political Science was confirmed by the publication of the results of the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise. UCL Department of Political Science ranked 5th on Times Higher GPA and 2nd on the Times Higher Subject Ranking on Intensity, the Guardian’s subject ranking, as well as on other measures.  The department's performance contributed to a very strong performance by UCL overall. UCL had an overall research power greater than both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. 

The School acts as the bridge between UCL's world-class research and the policy-making community in Britain and internationally. We have weekly seminars featuring distinguished external speakers that form a unique part of our teaching programme, and hold regular high profile events for policy makers and others that students may attend.

Our aims

  • To influence public policy through high quality academic research;
  • To educate current and future policy-makers through a comprehensive teaching programme;
  • To promote understanding of public policy-making and current public policy issues through a range of publications and seminars.
Lady Justice on Old Bailey, London, UK (Photo credit: Wikimedia)

Diverse teaching

With a core of 34 staff, plus numerous teaching and research fellows, the School of Public Policy has an impressive research portfolio and teaching programme. Encompassing the fields of political science and public policy, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and human rights, it specialises in the study of the domestic and (increasingly) global dimensions of key political issues, notably:

  • Governance, Regulation and Interest Groups;
  • Freedom, Security and Justice;
  • Constitutionalism, Democracy and Human Rights.

It is independent and non-partisan, and the centre of a wide network of national and international experts.

Gower Street road sign (Photo credit: UCL)


The School collaborates with other sources of expertise in political science and political philosophy across UCL particularly the Bentham Project; the Centre for European Studies, the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies and the Department of Philosophy.

Given the multi-disciplinary nature of public policy and all aspects of the School's work, the School also collaborates in both teaching and research with other centres of excellence across UCL, particularly the Department of Economics, the Faculty of Law, the Medical School, the Department of Geography and the Department of Computer Science.

In addition The Constitution Unit specialises in constitutional reform and comparative constitutional studies. It is independent and non-partisan, and the centre of a wide network of national and international experts.

UCL Global Governance Institute

Affiliated websites