XClose

UCL Graduate degrees

Home
Menu

Democracy and Comparative Politics MSc

This MSc focuses on the design, creation, and operation of democratic institutions. Students gain 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.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Notification
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£14,320 (FT)
£7,050 (PT)
Overseas:
£23,340 (FT)
£11,830 (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 Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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.

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:

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.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of five compulsory core modules (75 credits), optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Democracy and Comparative Politics.

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 is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

  • Democracy and Constitutional Design (30)
  • Democratic Political Institutions (15)
  • Qualitative Methods: Interviews, Observations and Mixed Methods (15)
  • or Qualitative Methods: Texts and Images (15)
  • or Qualitative Methods: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis (15)
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods or Advanced Quantitative Methods (15)

Optional modules

Choose one of the following 15 credit methods modules (the other three remain available as options):

  • Parliaments, Political Parties and Policy Making (15)
  • Governing Divided Societies (15)
  • The European Union, Globalisation and the State (15)
  • Voter, Public Opinion and Participation (15)

Further modules can be chosen up to a value of 30 credits in total from a list available on our website. The full list of modules offered by the Department is subject to change year-to-year.

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Assessment is through unseen examinations, long essays, coursework, and the dissertation.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

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

Accessibility

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

Funding

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

Careers

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.

Employability

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.

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 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.

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 prior to entering the job market.

Department: Political Science

Application and next steps

Applications

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 £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
11 August 2020

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 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 marks, the department will calculate all years of undergraduate study.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 13 August 2020