Politics MSc

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

The MSc in Politics is designed to deliver a set of core competencies or sub-disciplines within political studies, and to provide students with a balance between strong training in fundamental skills and a carefully selected range of choices on modules that will provide intensive training in the specialist branches of political studies.

The course conforms closely to the professional standards and core competencies in the discipline which organisations such as the Political Studies Association and the Economic and Social Research Council are actively seeking to promote.


This programme is designed to provide students with a comprehensive competence across the four main sub-fields of political science coupled with a strong research methodology skill set which places central emphasis on quantitative techniques and research design. Students graduating from the programme will have a broad understanding of the principal sub-fields of political science as a professional as well as academic discipline, i.e. research methods, behaviouralism, theory and institutions/policy and an understanding of the inter-relationships between the four ‘core competencies’ of the field.  

Students will gain experience and expertise in the critical use of evidence and argument to support policy recommendations and decisions.  They will also have the opportunity to plan, design and carry out a coherent strategy for a research project, and to present findings in a coherent and persuasive form appropriate to the context of the project criteria.


Course enquiries
Email sss-pgenquiries@brunel.ac.uk
Tel +44 (0)1895 265286

For applications already submitted
Contact Admissions online
Tel +44 (0)1895 265265

View the School of Social Sciences website

Related Courses

Course Content

The core competencies essential to political studies, and delivered in this course, are:

  1. Methodology and design in political science;
  2. Political behaviour (also known as 'behaviouralism');
  3. Political theory;
  4. Institutions and Policy.

Within these four, Methodology (1) and Behaviouralism (2) with their emphasis on research design and quantitative methods are viewed as the two defining elements of political science.  Consequently, these will be delivered through a pair of compulsory modules (course units).  

For Political theory (3) and Institutions (4) there are pools of modules from which students may choose one option each. These pools will be drawn from modules that are also part of other course, and consequently provide students with substantive training in the designated sub-fields in specific areas where Brunel has internationally-recognised expertise. This enables students to include within their own learning experiences materials and methodologies in intelligence and security, international relations, international history and war studies.

Typical Modules

All modules subject to change. 
  • Approaches and Methods in Political Research
  • Parties and Voters in the UK
  • Violence and Revolution in Political Thought
  • Enlightenment and Revolution
  • Evolution of International Relations
  • Influencing Public Policy: UK Governance in a Transnational World
  • Public Policy and the Challenges of Diversity
  • Intelligence Concepts, Issues and Institutions

Module descriptions View module descriptions

Typical Dissertations

Dissertation topics are chosen by students according to their interests, and, often, their career aspirations or existing experience. Students are free to choose any topic that relates to ‘Politics’ as broadly defined. These can range from public health policy formulation, comparative analysis of political parties, electoral studies, issues of security, the politics of the European Union. Recent topics include Relations between Zimbabwe and China; the European Union and Climate Change; United States Foreign Policy; the British general election of 2010.

Special Features

The programme is designed specifically around methodology and competences, and develops qualitative and quantitative skills.  Students are able to make option choices that allow them to follow interests in areas of study in political science and politics-related disciplines, delivered by internationally renowned scholars who work at the cutting edges of their fields.

Thus students combine strong training in fundamental skills with advanced-level study of intelligence, security, international relations, war and peace and globalisation, thus gaining both breadth and depth, with a significant element of self-management of content of their course, while also developing key transferable skills.

Teaching and Learning

Modules are delivered in a range of formats to achieve the learning outcomes. There are some lectures, but most classroom activity is in the form of interactive seminars, usually student-led. The focus, as is usual at advanced level, is on student-centred learning. Full use is made of the world wide web for research, and of the university’s electronic learning system, Blackboard, for elements of course delivery.


Assessment is by a mixture of written coursework, in varying forms (short papers, seminar discussion papers, longer essays, reviews, statistical analysis) and unseen examination. There is some assessment of individual oral skills. Students do some group project work, though receiving individual grades reflective of their own achievements.


Many undergraduate degrees in Politics in the UK have an under-developed level of methodology training. This is a deficiency when it comes to entering employment, and this course addresses this deficiency and produces employable graduates. This programme will provide students with a wide range of skills applicable both for further study and employment. They will gain a broad and comprehensive grasp of

Politics as a discipline, together with quantitative and qualitative methodological skills vital for successful careers in professional research roles and participation in policy formulation.

Moreover, this course is designed in keeping with Brunel University’s founding ethos to produce employable graduates. The range of transferable skills equips graduates from the course for a range of employment activities beyond ‘politics.’ They will be skilled researchers, have well-developed communications skills and competences they will have acquired will make them adaptable and flexible, which are essential prerequisites in today’s job market.


PhD research; research assistant positions; government/party political and policy research staff (e.g. parliamentary researchers); third sector and NGOs; pressure groups and lobbyists.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2014/15 entry

UK/EU students: £6,250 full-time; £3,125 part-time

International students: £14,250 full-time; £7,125 part-time

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements

A UK first or 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a Social Sciences discipline. Applicants from a non-related discipline who have a background knowledge in politics will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants who hold a UK (2:2) Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification will be considered on an individual basis. 

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • TOEFL Paper test: 580 (TWE 4.5) PBT
  • TOEFL Internet test: 92 IBT (R20, L20, S20, W20)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accept a range of other language courses. We also have a range of Pre-sessional English language courses, for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a range of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Monday 27 January 2014