SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

MSc Comparative Political Thought

One calendar year (full-time); Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Fees 2016/17

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

This is a Band 3 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

  • Candidates should have a good undergraduate honours degree in politics, history, anthropology, area studies, or philosophy (UK 2:1 or better)

Featured events

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


Start of programme: September 2013

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Who is this programme for?:

The programme is designed for graduate students who wish to learn about the diverse strands of political thinking in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and the different approaches to comparison in political thought. It is highly relevant to students who wish to embark on doctoral studies in the area of non-Western political thought. It is also relevant for practitioners working in or intending to work in governments, international organizations, think tanks and advocacy groups who wish to acquire deeper knowledge of ideas and values that inform political practices in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The MSc in Comparative Political Thought builds on SOAS’s wealth of regional expertise to offer a new approach to cross-regional comparison of political thinking. It reframes the study of political thought in Africa, Asia and the Middle East as a study of political ideas and political practices. The programme introduces students to the key approaches, debates, and questions in the emerging sub-discipline of comparative political thought. Covering a range of thinkers, traditions and texts, in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, it provides learning opportunities for students to compare ideas and values across regions and historical periods. The MSc in Comparative Political Thought will enable graduate students to undertake further advanced study and research in political thought, as well as enhance skills suitable for employment in multicultural and international professional contexts



A. Compulsory Course:
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Approaches to Comparative Political Thought 15PPOH028 0.5 Unit Term 1
Comparative International Political Thought 15PPOH021 0.5 Unit Term 2
B. Courses within the discipline of Politics:
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Islamic/Democratic Political Thought 15PPOC255 1 Unit Full Year
Islam and political ideologies 15PPOH007 0.5 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Political violence 15PPOH009 0.5 Unit Term 2
Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East 15PGNH007 0.5 Unit Term 2
Political Thought on the Just Rebellion 15PPOH030 0.5 Unit Term 2
The Indian Ocean in World Politics 15PPOH032 Unit - Not Running 2016/17
Childhood, Politics and Law 15PPOH037 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
C. Courses to the value of one unit:

These can be taken entirely within the Politics Department or from the list of those offered by other departments or, in the case of half-units, of a combination of the two

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Government and politics of modern South Asia 15PPOC003 1 Unit Full Year
Government and politics in Africa 15PPOC205 1 Unit Full Year
Government and politics of modern South East Asia 15PPOC247 1 Unit Full Year
State and society in the Chinese political process 15PPOC012 1 Unit Full Year
Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations 15PPOC252 1 Unit Full Year
Northeast Asian politics: Japan, Korea and Taiwan 15PPOC253 1 Unit Full Year
State and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus 15PPOH022 0.5 Unit Term 2
Political society in the Middle East 15PPOH008 0.5 Unit Term 1
State and transformation in the Middle East 15PPOH011 0.5 Unit Term 2
Non-Violence in Jain Scriptures, Philosophy and Law 15PSRC062 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Oriental religions in European academia and imagination, 1815-1945 15PSRC168 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Modern Muslim Thinkers of South Asia 15PSRC169 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Human Rights and Islamic Law 15PLAC150 1 Unit Full Year
Knowledge and Power in Early Modern China 15PHIH024 0.5 Unit Term 1
Genders and Sexualities in South East Asian Film 15PSEH011 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Amharic 1 (PG) 15PAFC130 1 Unit Full Year
Introduction to Standard Modern Arabic 15PNMC032 1 Unit Full Year
Bengali Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC303 1 Unit Full Year
Burmese Language 1 (PG) 15PSEC039 1 Unit Full Year
Special Course in Chinese 1 (PG) 15PCHC008 1 Unit Full Year
Hausa 1 (PG) 15PAFC136 1 Unit Full Year
Elementary Hebrew (PG) 15PNMC392 1 Unit Full Year
Hindi Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC295 1 Unit Full Year
Indonesian Language 1 (PG) 15PSEC032 1 Unit Full Year
Elementary Korean (PG) 15PJKC015 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Nepali Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC298 1 Unit Full Year
Sanskrit Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC294 1 Unit Full Year
Somali 1 (PG) 15PAFC132 1 Unit Full Year
Swahili 1 (PG) 15PAFC140 1 Unit Full Year
Thai Language 1 (PG) 15PSEC040 1 Unit Full Year
Elementary Written Turkish 15PNMC386 1 Unit Full Year
Urdu Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC300 1 Unit Full Year
Vietnamese Language 1 (PG) 15PSEC036 1 Unit Full Year
Yoruba 1 (PG) 15PAFC134 1 Unit Full Year
Zulu 1 (PG) 15PAFC128 1 Unit Full Year
D: Dissertation:
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Dissertation in Political Studies 15PPOC999 1 Unit Full Year

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

The MSc in Comparative Political Thought has two core compulsory half-unit courses that all students registered for the degree will undertake. Approaches to Comparative Political Thought is taken in Term 1, and Comparative International Political Thought in Term 2. Students then choose courses equivalent to two units from a list of optional courses (outlined below), and complete a dissertation based on independent study and research (equivalent to a further unit).

  1. Familiarity with the main approaches in the emerging sub-field of comparative political thought, including different understandings of ‘comparison’ and ‘thought’;
  2. Advanced understanding of some of the philosophical, historical, political and linguistic issues that arise in the study of non-Western political thought;
  3. In-depth knowledge of some key political concepts (eg. state, authority, individual, community), as understood by political thinkers in Asia, Africa and the Middle East;
  4. An understanding of political thought not simply as articulated by elite intellectuals, but also as ideas in action, manifested in political practices at different levels of society.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
  1. To analyse and evaluate competing approaches to comparative political thought;
  2. To conceptualise the main issues and problems that arise in the comparative study of political thought;
  3. To develop in-depth understanding of aspects of non-Western political thought;
  4. To develop intellectual initiative and skills to compare political ideas across cultural and historical boundaries, identifying and evaluating similarities and differences;
  5. To formulate research questions and hypotheses.
Subject-based practical skills
  1. To identify, analyse and evaluate core arguments in theoretical materials from a variety of sources;
  2. To develop skills to work creatively and flexibly across different disciplines and regional traditions;
  3. To organise information in a lucid, coherent, concise, and clear form in written as well as oral presentations;
  4. To develop initiative and capacity to work independently on research questions and to adjust hypotheses and approach in the light of work undertaken for the dissertation.
Transferable skills
  1. To retrieve, select, digest and analyse complex information from a variety of sources.
  2. To structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.
  3. To work effectively in and contribute to meetings, by presenting, listening to and discussing ideas introduced during meetings.
  4. To manage time effectively.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 3 tuition fee.

The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
£10,470 £17,895 £5,235 £8,948 £3,490 £5,965
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-12 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2016-01-29 17:00

Santander Taught Master’s Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2016-02-24 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-22 17:00

The Prospect Burma - Hla Pe Memorial Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-24 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


Find out more

  • Contact us
    By phone:
    +44 (0)20 7898 4700
    By email:
  • Got a question?

    If you still have questions about this programme or studying at SOAS get in touch.

    Ask a question

  • Apply

    Postgraduate programme applications should be made through our online application system.

    Start your application