Democracy and Comparative Politics MSc

London, Bloomsbury

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

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£18,000
£9,000
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£29,000
£14,500
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

As a minimum, an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university; or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant practical or work experience in a related field may also be taken into account.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 5

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree


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.

Who this course is for

The programme is aimed at current and future policymakers, 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.

What this course will give you

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.

The focus of this programme is on the design, creation, and operation of democratic institutions in new and old democracies. When are a given set of institutions appropriate for a particular society, and what will make them function properly?

By the end of the programme, students will be equipped with both theoretical tools and empirical evidence necessary for an entry into the world of government policy, non-governmental organisations, or the private sector. The relationship of public participation to governance institutions allows for a broad understanding of how governance institutions might be adapted to different contexts.

In the programme, students gain an understanding of how scholars have thought about these matters, applying the theories to examples of institution-building and design in practice.

Examples of some themes of focus include:

  • state structure, constitutional design, bureaucratic functions and a civil service, and strategies to counter corruption
  • electoral systems and government structure, including the implications of reform in these areas
  • federalism, devolution, and local government powers in relation to the centre
  • political parties, public participation, and new forms of participation
  • functions of parliaments, including issues of representation, representativeness, and their links to political parties
  • judicial oversight and its relation to other institutions
  • means by which different governance institutions might manage the task of governance in divided societies

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. Attention is consistently given to opportunities for employment following the programme. Regular gatherings of students and programme alumni facilitate an active exchange of information regarding careers and opportunities, and a Facebook networking group sustains these relationships.

The foundation of your career

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

Employability

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

Teaching and learning

Assessment is through unseen examinations, long essays, coursework, and the dissertation.

150 hours is allocated to each 15 credit module. This includes 20 contact hours and 130 study hours.

Modules

The programme comprises core modules covering key substantive and methodological concepts and skills (90 credits) as well as a dissertation (60 credits). You will further attend optional module(s) to the value of 30 credits, allowing you to tailor your degree to your own academic or professional interests.

The programme structure for part-time students follows the same structure as our full-time students. We do encourage our part-time students to distribute their study evenly between the two years of study. The majority of part-time students opt for one of the following patterns:

  • 75 credits in year one and 105 credits in year two;

Or

  • 90 credits in year one and 90 credits in year two.

Upon completion you will have undertaken modules to the value of 180 credits, comprising of compulsory modules covering key substantive and methodological concepts and skills and a dissertation. You will have further attended elective module(s) so you can personalise your programme of study to your own academic or professional interests.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Democracy and Comparative Politics.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

About us – Department of Political Science UCL

Want to know more about the Department of Political Science, the degree programmes we offer, our research and student environment? Hear why the Department is recognised as one of the leading departments of politics, not just in the UK but globally.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £18,000 £9,000
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this programme.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

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

GREAT Scholarship

Deadline: 23 May 2023
Value: £10,000 towards tuition fees (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

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.

When it is necessary to calculate a final average mark, the department will calculate all years of undergraduate study.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Got questions? Get in touch

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.