Department of Politics and International Studies

MSc Political Thought

Key information

Duration
One calendar year (full-time), two or three years (part-time, daytime only)
Start of programme
September
Attendance mode
Full-time or part-time
Fees

Home student fees: £12,220 per year
Overseas student fees: £24,350 per year

Please note that fees go up each year.
See postgraduate fees for further details.

Entry requirements

We will consider all applications with a 2:2 (or international equivalent) or higher in a relevant subject.

 

Afghanistan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 80% or 3.3/4.0 

Argentina: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Titulo / Grado de Licenciado

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/10

Information for prospective students from Argentina

Australia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 or Credit or 65%

Information for prospective students from Australia

Austria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2.5/5.0 and overall Pass (Bestanden)

Bahrain: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Bahrain

Bangladesh: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor’s from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology or Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 60% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Bangladesh

Belgium: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licentiaat or Licencié

Equivalent to 2:ii: 13/20 or 65%

Information for prospective students from Belgium

Botswana: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (5-year) or Master's from University of Botswana

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.5/5.0 or 65% or B- or Good

Brazil: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Título de Bacharel / Título de Licenciado (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/10 or 70%

Information for prospective students from Brazil

Brunei: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class Honours with 50% overall

Information for prospective students from Brunei

Bulgaria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 4.3/6

Information for prospective students from Bulgaria

Cameroon: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplôme d'Ingénieur/ Diplôme d'Études Supérieures de Commerce (5-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 12-13 assez bien (fair); 70-74; or B+

Canada: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or 74-77% or overall B

Information for prospective students from Canada

China Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 
73% or 2.6/4.0 (C9 unis)
75% or 2.8/4.0 (Double First unis)
80% or 3.25/4.0 (all other unis)

Information for prospective students from China

Colombia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licenciado / Titulo (4-year) 

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.5/5.0

Information for prospective students from Colombia

Croatia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Baccalaureus / Baccalaurea (Bachelor degree)

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall score 3/5

Cyprus: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.5/10

Czech Republic: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 1.75/4.0 or High C 'dobre’ (good)

Information for prospective students from the Czech Republic

Denmark: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/12 or 8/13 or grade C

Information for prospective students from the Denmark

Egypt: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Egypt

Estonia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bakalaurusekraad / University Specialist's Diploma / Professional Higher Education Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: 4.0/5.0

Finland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor / Kandidaatti / Kandidat (180 ECTS credits)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3/5 or 2/3

France: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licence or Diplôme from a grande école

Equivalent to 2:ii: 11.5 out 20

Information for prospective students from France

Gambia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree (2-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.3 or 64% or B

Germany: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2.6/5

Information for prospective students from Germany

Ghana: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 (Second Class Lower Division) or GPA 3.25/5.0 or 60%

Information for prospective students from Ghana

Greece: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.50/10

Information for prospective students from Greece

Hong Kong: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Upper second class or GPA 2.7/4.0 or 75% or B Minus

Information for prospective students from Hong Kong

Hungary: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (Alapfokozat) or Diploma (Egyetemi Oklevél)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.5/5.0

Iceland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (Baccalaureus or Bakkalarprof)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7.0 out of 10

India: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: CGPA: 55-60% or 5.5/10 - 6.0/10

Information for prospective students from India

Iraq: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (Licence/Karshani)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 0.7

Israel: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or C+

Information for prospective students from Israel

Italy: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Laurea (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 100/110

Information for prospective students from Italy

Japan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or C+ or 3.0

Information for prospective students from Japan

Jordan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/4.0 or 70%

Information for prospective students from Jordan

Kazakhstan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelors (Bakalavr Diplomi) or Specialist Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or GPA 4.0/5.0 or B

Information for prospective students from Kazakhstan

Kenya: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 or 60%

Information for prospective students from Kenya

Kuwait: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/

Information for prospective students from Kuwait

Latvia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bakalaura Diploms (Bachelor's) or Profesionālā Bakalaura Diploms

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/10

Lebanon: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree / Licence

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or Grade B-/C+ or GPA 2.8/4.0 or 14/20

Information for prospective students from Lebanon

Liberia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or 2.8/4.0

Libya: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor Degree from selected institution

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Lithuania: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelors / Bakalauro (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7.5/10

Information for prospective students from Lithuania

Malawi: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Malaysia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/4.0 or B (Class 2 Division 2)

Information for prospective students from Malaysia

Malta: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class with 65% or Category IIB

Mexico: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Titulo de Licenciado

Equivalent to 2:ii: 8/10 or 80%

Information for prospective students from Mexico

Morocco: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licence / Licence d'Etudes Fondamentales / Licence Professionnelle

Equivalent to 2:ii: 13/20

Information for prospective students from Morocco

Nepal: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree / Bachelor degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70%

Information for prospective students from Nepal

Netherlands: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.5/10 or GPA 3.0

Information for prospective students from the Netherlands

New Zealand: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Majority of credited modules B- or above

Nigeria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class or 55% or GPA 3.0/5.0 or 2.5/4.0 or 4.0/7.0

Information for prospective students from Nigeria

Norway: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelors / Bachelorgrad (180 ECTS) or Candidatus /a magisterii

Equivalent to 2:ii: Grade C (with at least 80 ECTS) at grade B or 3.2

Information for prospective students from Norway

Oman: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Oman

Pakistan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (4-year) / Master's from HEC recognised institution

Equivalent to 2:ii: CGPA 2.7 or 65%

Information for prospective students from Pakistan

Philippines: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master’s from recognised institution or Centre of Excellence / Bachelor from prestigious institution or Centre of Excellence

Equivalent to 2:ii:
Prestigous Universities: GPA 3.3/4.0 or 1.75/5.0 or Grade B or 83%
Recognised Universities: GPA 3.5/4.0 or 2.0/5.0 or Grade B or 87%

Poland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licencjat or Inżynier (3-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 4.25/5

Information for prospective students from Poland

Portugal: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licenciado (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 15/20

Qatar: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/5.0 or 70% or 7/10

Information for prospective students from Qatar

Romania: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplomă de Licenţă / Diplomă de Inginer / Diplomă de Urbanist Diplomat

Equivalent to 2:ii: 8/10

Information for prospective students from Romania

Russia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplom Bakalavra or Specialist Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.8/5.0

Information for prospective students from Russia

Rwanda: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class Honours or 65-69% or 14/20

Saudi Arabia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA of 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/5.0 or overall 70%

Information for prospective students from Saudi Arabia

Singapore: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: CAP 3.5/5.0 or 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Singapore

Slovakia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bakalár / Bachelor

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or 2.0 overall or C

South Africa: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 60%

Information for prospective students from South Africa

South Korea: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 2.7/4.0 or 3.0/4.3 or 3.3/4.5

Information for prospective students from South Korea

Spain: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Título de Grado / Título de Licenciado / Título de Ingeniero / Titulo de Arquitecto

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.5/10 or GPA 1.75/4.0

Information for prospective students from Spain

Sri Lanka: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor Special Degree or Professional Degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 55% or 2:2 or GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Sri Lanka

Sudan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (5-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 65%+ or B

Sweden: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree / Kandidatexamen / Yrkesexamen

Equivalent to 2:ii: B (90 credits) and C (90 credits) or Very Good (70 credits) and Good (110 Credits) or C (180 credits)

Information for prospective students from Sweden

Switzerland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplom / Diplôme / Lizentiat / Staatsdiplom / Diplôme d’Etat

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall 4.5/6 or 7/10 or 2.5/5

Information for prospective students from Switzerland

Syria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licence / al-ijaza-fi / Bachelor

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70%+ or 'Good'

Taiwan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 68-70% or GPA 2.8/4.0-3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Taiwan

Thailand: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Thailand

Tunisia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplôme National d'Ingénieur / Diplôme National d'Architecture / Licence / Maîtrise

Equivalent to 2:ii: 12 out of 20

Turkey: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Lisans Diplomasi

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 2.6/4 from the top universities and 3.0/4 from all others

Information for prospective students from Turkey

Uganda: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 (Lower Second) or B or GPA 3.0/5.0

Information for prospective students from Uganda

Ukraine: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree or Specialist Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: 8/12 or 3.8/5

United Arab Emirates: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or 3.2/5.0

Information for prospective students from the United Arab Emirates

United States of America: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from the USA

Vietnam: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall score of 6.5/10

Information for prospective students from Vietnam

Yemen: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall 'Good' (71-77%) or Aden University 80-83% (or 3.0/4.0)

Zambia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 65% or B or Credit or GPA 1.7/2.5 or 3.3/5.0

Zimbabwe: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 or 65%

Information for prospective students from Zimbabwe

In addition to degree classification in a relevant subject we take into account other elements of the application such as supporting statement. References are optional, but can help build a stronger application if you fall below the 2:2 requirement or have non-traditional qualifications. 

See postgraduate entry requirements for Overseas and EU qualifications and equivalencies.

Course overview

The MSc Political Thought builds on SOAS’s wealth of regional expertise to offer a new approach to the study of political thought. It promotes the study of political theory as it is tightly linked to practices of global domination and resistance.

The degree considers political theory as it emerges from and is linked to everyday political thinking, philosophical texts, or cultural production. Beyond the regions and traditions that have conventionally framed comparative work in political theory, this degree is unique in teaching students to see how concepts “travel” across the world as a means to examine both political thought and political practice in different times and spaces, with a focus on SOAS’s traditional regions: Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The degree programme introduces students to the key approaches, debates, and questions in the emerging sub-discipline of comparative political thought.

At the same time, it provides thorough background in canonical political theory, albeit reconsidered through the political frameworks of imperialism, colonialism, and racial capitalism. Covering a range of thinkers, traditions and texts, it provides learning opportunities for students to compare ideas and values across regions and historical periods, and to place those ideas in global contexts.

Why study MSc Political Thought at SOAS?

We’re ranked 5th in the UK for Politics, as well as 3rd globally for academic reputation (QS World University Rankings 2022).

SOAS itself is unique — our global student body, multi-disciplinary approach, critical and questioning attitude moves well beyond the focus on basic ‘skills training’ found in so many other programmes.

With reference to political theory, we do not ignore the Western canon that figures so prominently (almost exclusively) in other programmes. Instead, we engage the Western canon, build on it, and critically examine it, situating it in a fresh approach to political theory that does not automatically assume its primacy.

SOAS is uniquely positioned to illuminate patterns of political thinking in Saudi Arabia, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, and India (to name a tiny cross-section of the countries that interest our students). No other programme in political theory is positioned to access the study of these enormously diverse ideas as well as SOAS.

Students on the MSc Political Thought programme are trained to understand and engage the ideas that animate politics in most of the world.

Who should apply?

The MSc Political Thought is designed for students who wish to gain a deeper understanding of political theory in its global context, or 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 prepares students for further advanced study and research in political thought, and enhances analytical and communication skills suitable for employment in multicultural and international professional contexts. As such, this programme is highly relevant for students who wish to pursue doctoral studies in political theory and other subject areas in the Social Sciences and the Humanities.

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.

Structure

Students take taught modules to the value of 120 credits PLUS a 10,000 word dissertation (15PPOC999) worth 60 credits.
Credits must be taken in the following combination;

Important notice

The information on the website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes. However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. 

Teaching and learning

The MSc Political Thought has two core 15 credit modules that all students registered for the degree will undertake: Approaches to Comparative Political Thought & Political Theory, Race and Empire. Students then choose modules equivalent to 90 credits from a list of optional modules (outlined below), and complete a dissertation based on independent study and research (equivalent to a further module).

Students must take 180 credits comprised of 120 taught credits (including core and option modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.

Knowledge

  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

Fees for 2023/24 entrants, per academic year (Band 2 tuition fee)

Full-time Part-time 2 years Part-time 3 years
Home students Overseas students Home students Overseas students Home students Overseas students
£14,550 £24,750 £7,275 £12,375 £4,850 £8,250

Fees go up each year, therefore your tuition fee in your second and subsequent years of study will be higher.

Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%. See postgraduate fees for further details.

Employment

SOAS Politics and International Relations students leave SOAS not only with a knowledge and understanding of the complex political and cultural issues of our time, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers.

Recent graduates have been hired by:

  • BBC World Service
  • Bloomberg
  • British Red Cross
  • British Council
  • Center for International Peace Operations
  • Channel 4
  • Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA)
  • Department for International Development (DfID)
  • Eversheds LLP
  • Financial Times
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)
  • Global Policy Institute
  • Go East Consulting
  • Grassroot Diplomat
  • Palestine Red Crescent Association
  • Save the Children
  • UNICEF Ethiopia
  • United Nations

Find out about our Careers Service.