Department of Political Science


Nii-Lante Bannerman

Nii-Lante graduated with a masters in Legal and Political Theory during the 20/21 academic year.

Legal and Political Theory MA student 20/21
Hi, my name is Nii-Lante Bannerman and I studied Legal and Political Theory at UCL during the 2020/21 academic year.

What made you choose this programme in the Dept of PolSci at UCL and what interested you the most about it?

I have always had an interest in political philosophy since my A-levels study in sixth form. I then went on to study law for my undergraduate degree. During my law degree I studied Political Theory: Modern Political Thought and Jurisprudence modules which helped me further explore my interest in political theory and cultivate a new interest in jurisprudence. Therefore, when I completed my undergraduate degree, I knew I wanted to take that study further and UCL was easily the best option for me. My initial attraction to UCL came from the history of the university being the home (quite literally in the case of Bentham) of both historical and contemporary thought leaders in Legal and Political Theory.

What’s your favourite/most memorable memory of your time at UCL?

My most memorable memory of my time at UCL is definitely the time I was recognised by a student from a different course in the Political Science department on the UCL main campus field. In ordinary circumstances this would be quite a mundane occurrence but studying a master’s degree during 2020’s lockdowns meant that there were limited opportunities to meet your classmates in person due to Covid-19 (let alone members from different degrees). But on my first trip into the UCL study area I was called out by a student from Columbia, and I think that speaks volumes about how easy it is to create a really international network at UCL.

How has your time studying in The Political Science Department contributed to your career?

I think the benefits of a master’s degree should never be underestimated, especially one from such a prestigious university as UCL. There is something important about studying a topic of interest at its highest level and the Political Science Department is at the forefront of international study and research across their degree offerings. I really experienced this on the Legal and Political Theory degree. You will be taught by individuals who either wrote or were direct pupils of the authors of the most pre-eminent texts in your discipline and the student support is exemplary. There are very few opportunities to do study like this anywhere else.

How did you find the teaching staff and how was your relationship with your programme director?

With academics of such high repute, it may be expected that you would not have much time with your programme director or the other teaching staff of the department outside of scheduled classes, but this is definitely not the case. Our programme director, Adam Swift, met individually with all of us frequently and engaged on many different levels. From seminar discussions, to in person events (such as an introductory walk in the park) and extra-curricular activities he was very present. Also, even when some of the teaching staff in the department were away on research leave it didn’t mean they weren’t present. They would often be present for Colloquia and Q&A sessions with the students which was very much appreciated.

What advice would you have for current students?

The best advice I could give to current students is to be engaged with everything that the Political Science department has to offer. Spending time at office hours is an obvious one but there are so many things going on outside of your degree that will enrich your experience at the university. The student union is very active and there are many opportunities to take on responsibility or organise your own society. With that being said I was very surprised at how many different societies there were to join. You may already find a society for your exact interest.

What’s something you now know but wish you knew when you started your studies?

Something I came to realise is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to do well on the course. I, along with many others, spent a lot of time trying to adjust to what we thought the degree required of us rather than studying in the most effective way we knew. It is easy to think that you have to make big adjustments given the prestige of your tutors and guest speakers on the programme but as I began to study my way, the seminars and projects became a lot easier.

What does the future hold for you?

I am currently a trainee solicitor at an international commercial law firm in the City of London. As I’m sure you can tell, I have no interest in leaving London any time soon.

Describe the Political Science Department in five words?

Challenging, engaging, organised and full.