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.
Please note that the UCL graduate application portal will be unavailable between 9am (BST) on Wednesday, 7 April until 10am (BST) on Tuesday, 13 April 2021. Applications through other institutions should remain unaffected.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
As a minimum, an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university in a related subject such as Politics, Law or Philosophy; or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
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
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.
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
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).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Legal and Political Theory.
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.
- Meanings of Liberty: Applied Methods in Political Theory (30)
- Seminars in Political Theory, Colloquium in Legal Philosophy and Peer Assisted Learning Sessions (30)
Students choose modules worth a total of 45 credits from the list below (the others remain available as options).
They also choose one further 15-credit module from a list available at: the programme website. The full list of modules offered by the department is subject to change year to year.
- 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)
- Public Ethics (15)
- Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights (15)
- The Ethics of Counterterrorism (15)
- Social Justice, Social Mobility, Education and the Family (15)
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.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees-and-funding.
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.
- £11,000 (1 year)
- Based on academic merit
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit 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.
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 Department of Political Science, as well as from the participation of UCL Philosophy and UCL Laws.
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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
- The programme is suitable for students with a background in political theory, law, philosophy or a closely related discipline, who wish to develop their understanding of the major issues in legal and political theory for further research or a career in the field.
- All applicants
- 31 May 2021
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.
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.