Politics MA (Hons)

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 4 years
  • School: School of Humanities

At Dundee we have a particular focus on European politics and more generally, on the politics of security. However, the modules we offer cross the entire range of politics and international relatsions as a field of study.

The MA degrees we offer include Politics, International Relations, European Politics and Geopolitics, which can be tailored to suit your particular areas of interest.

Why study Politics and International Relations at Dundee?

Politics at Dundee takes pride in looking beyond the University itself. We regularly host speakers from the 'real world' of Scottish, British and international politics. Additionally, where possible, we encourage and assist students who wish to take up internships with the Scottish Parliament and Government and other bodies.

We believe strongly in integrating our groundbreaking research with our teaching, and in areas such as Russian politics, politics of the Middle East or international security you will benefit from being taught by a leading expert and author in that field. 

Two internationally recognised scholarly journals are edited by our politics staff: 'The Journal of Transatlantic Studies' and 'Perspectives on European Politics and Society'.

While politics at Dundee is big enough to have a real international presence, it is still small and intimate enough to offer a friendly and responsive home for students from all backgrounds. This is more than a mere claim - independent surveys consistently rate politics at Dundee as among the best-received programmes in the country.

My course is globally recognised (which is great for my career prospects), and attracts students from all over the world - I've really enjoyed taking part in group study sessions in the library during the pre-exam periods. This course is also spot on for students who can't decide whether to choose International Relations or Politics as a course.

Degree Combinations

  • European Politics MA
  • European Politics with French MA
  • European Politics with German MA
  • European Politics with Spanish MA
  • Geopolitics MA
  • International Relations and Economics MA
  • International Relations and European Studies MA
  • International Relations and History MA
  • International Relations and Philosophy MA
  • International Relations and Politics MA
  • Politics and Business Economics with Marketing MA
  • Politics and Economics MA
  • Politics and English MA
  • Politics and Geography MA
  • Politics and History MA
  • Politics and Philosophy MA
  • Politics and Psychology MA
  • Politics with French MA
  • Politics with German MA
  • Politics with Spanish MA

Related Courses

This course is taught by the Politics team based in the School of Humanities.

In Level 1 you will take modules which focus on areas such as 'policy' and 'ideology'. This prepares you for the more specialised offerings on International Relations and Comparative Politics in Level 2. 

Later, in Levels 3 and 4 you will take more specialist modules (selected according to your particular degree pathway). These cover the territorial politics of the world, issues of peace and war and of crime and terrorism as well as the 'politics of the personal' in the sense of identity.

Teaching on politics modules at Dundee usually takes the form of lectures and seminars (sometimes called tutorials). The lectures (one or two weekly) are designed to convey the essential information, concepts and theories associated with a particular topic. While all the students on a particular module will attend the lecture, the seminar is a smaller group - normally around ten to fifteen in number. At the seminar the lecture topic will be explored in more detail, perhaps through group work or individually prepared presentations.

Honours Degree

An honours degree normally takes four years, full time, you study levels 1-4, as described below.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for most of our honours degrees in three years if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. You study levels 2-4 below. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Typical Degree Programme

Visit the MA overview page for general information on our MA degree programme.

Level 1

A total of 6 modules, including:

  • Politics and Public Policy: PO11001
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    This module looks at UK politics. It has three sections:

    • Political and civil institutions in the UK. Who actually governs the UK and how?
    • How we choose and influence our leaders and how civil society is maintained (e.g. law and order)
    • UK public policy in action

    Read more about PO11001

and 5 other modules which might include:

  • The Globalising World: HU12001
    Semester 2, 20 credits
    This module highlights the connections between political, economic, social and cultural aspects of life in an increasingly "globalised" international environment and explores and evaluates the arguments surrounding the nature and extent of the process of globalization in the contemporary international system. The following key areas will be explored; the cold war world, decolonization, theories of post-colonialism and post-colonialism culture, power in the post-cold war world order, the processes of globalization, the united nations system, European integration, new security challenges and the emerging world economic order.

    Read more about HU12001

  • Additional modules: visit the MA overview page for more information
Level 2

A total of 6 modules, including:

  • International Relations: PO21001
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    This module introduces you to the structures and processes which underlie the relationships between states and other actors in the contemporary international system. It looks at:

    • The international 'system': what it is and how it has developed
    • How the political world 'works' through examining the competing international relations theories
    • The processes that keep international relations 'moving': diplomacy, international law, international organisations and conflict

    Find out more about PO21001

  • Comparative Politics: PO22002
    Semester 2, 20 credits
    This module provides an introduction to the study of comparative politics. It explores areas such as power, political culture, party systems and political behaviour. It does this through the study of:

    • Comparative methodology: how do we compare political systems?
    • Two case studies (usually two of Russia, the USA and Spain)

    Find out more about PO22002

  • Additional modules: visit the MA overview page for more information
Level 3

A total of 4 modules (2 modules for joint Honours), including:

and other modules chosen from:

Level 4

A total of 4 modules (2 modules for joint Honours), including:

  • Dissertation (compulsory for single Honours)

and other modules chosen from:

Honours Degree

An honours degree normally takes four years, full time, you study levels 1-4, as described below.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for most of our honours degrees in three years if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. You study levels 2-4 below. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Typical Degree Programme

Visit the MA overview page for general information on our MA degree programme.

Level 1

A total of 6 modules, including:

  • Politics and Public Policy: PO11001
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    This module looks at UK politics. It has three sections:

    • Political and civil institutions in the UK. Who actually governs the UK and how?
    • How we choose and influence our leaders and how civil society is maintained (e.g. law and order)
    • UK public policy in action

    Read more about PO11001

  • The Globalising World: HU12001
    Semester 2, 20 credits
    This module highlights the connections between political, economic, social and cultural aspects of life in an increasingly "globalised" international environment and explores and evaluates the arguments surrounding the nature and extent of the process of globalization in the contemporary international system. The following key areas will be explored; the cold war world, decolonization, theories of post-colonialism and post-colonialism culture, power in the post-cold war world order, the processes of globalization, the united nations system, European integration, new security challenges and the emerging world economic order.

    Read more about HU12001

and 4 other modules. Visit the MA overview page for more information

Level 2

A total of 6 modules, including:

  • International Relations: PO21001
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    This module introduces you to the structures and processes which underlie the relationships between states and other actors in the contemporary international system. It looks at:

    • The international 'system': what it is and how it has developed
    • How the political world 'works' through examining the competing international relations theories
    • The processes that keep international relations 'moving': diplomacy, international law, international organisations and conflict

    Find out more about PO21001

  • Comparative Politics: PO22002
    Semester 2, 20 credits
    This module provides an introduction to the study of comparative politics. It explores areas such as power, political culture, party systems and political behaviour. It does this through the study of:

    • Comparative methodology: how do we compare political systems?
    • Two case studies (usually two of Russia, the USA and Spain)

    Find out more about PO22002

  • Additional modules: visit the MA overview page for more information
Level 3

A total of 4 modules, including:

and other modules chosen from:

Level 4

At level 4 students on the programme choose either four Politics modules from the list below if doing single honours, or normally two each of Politics options and their other subject if they are following a joint honours pathway.

Honours Degree

An honours degree normally takes four years, full time, you study levels 1-4, as described below.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for most of our honours degrees in three years if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. You study levels 2-4 below. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Typical Degree Programme

Visit the MA overview page for general information on our MA degree programme.

Level 1

A total of 6 modules, including:

  • Politics and Public Policy: PO11001
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    This module looks at UK politics. It has three sections:

    • Political and civil institutions in the UK. Who actually governs the UK and how?
    • How we choose and influence our leaders and how civil society is maintained (e.g. law and order)
    • UK public policy in action

    Read more about PO11001

  • The Globalising World: HU12001
    Semester 2, 20 credits
    This module highlights the connections between political, economic, social and cultural aspects of life in an increasingly "globalised" international environment and explores and evaluates the arguments surrounding the nature and extent of the process of globalization in the contemporary international system. The following key areas will be explored; the cold war world, decolonization, theories of post-colonialism and post-colonialism culture, power in the post-cold war world order, the processes of globalization, the united nations system, European integration, new security challenges and the emerging world economic order.

    Read more about HU12001

  • Additional modules: visit the MA overview page for more information
Level 2

A total of 6 modules, including:

  • Contemporary Challenges for Europe: EU21002
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    The European Union faces many challenges including constitutional issues, the management of the single currency, the consequences of enlargement and the questions of national identity posed by migration. This module draws on ideas from geography, history, economics and politics to offer a unique perspective on important contemporary issues affecting the future of Europe.

    Read more about EU21002

  • Comparative Politics: PO22002
    Semester 2, 20 credits
    This module provides an introduction to the study of comparative politics. It explores areas such as power, political culture, party systems and political behaviour. It does this through the study of:

    • Comparative methodology: how do we compare political systems?
    • Two case studies (usually two of Russia, the USA and Spain)

    Find out more about PO22002

  • Additional modules: visit the MA overview page for more information
Level 3

A total of 4 modules, including:

3 other politics/ international relations modules chosen from: 

Level 4

Honours Degree

An honours degree normally takes four years, full time, you study levels 1-4, as described below.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for most of our honours degrees in three years if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. You study levels 2-4 below. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Typical Degree Programme

Visit the MA overview page for general information on our MA degree programme.

Level 1

A total of 6 modules, including:

  • Politics and Public Policy: PO11001
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    This module looks at UK politics. It has three sections:

    • Political and civil institutions in the UK. Who actually governs the UK and how?
    • How we choose and influence our leaders and how civil society is maintained (e.g. law and order)
    • UK public policy in action

    Read more about PO11001

  • The Globalising World: HU12001
    Semester 2, 20 credits
    This module highlights the connections between political, economic, social and cultural aspects of life in an increasingly "globalised" international environment and explores and evaluates the arguments surrounding the nature and extent of the process of globalization in the contemporary international system. The following key areas will be explored; the cold war world, decolonization, theories of post-colonialism and post-colonialism culture, power in the post-cold war world order, the processes of globalization, the united nations system, European integration, new security challenges and the emerging world economic order.

    Read more about HU12001

  • A World in Crisis? Population and Environment: GE11001
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    This module opens up some major areas in Geography to students from a wide range of educational backgrounds. It is about the perceived crises associated with a rapid increase in the global population and its co-incidence with processes resulting in global, regional and local damage to the physical environment. Specific themes explored in the module include: causes of human population increase; connection between migration and urbanization; relation between population and development as well as environment; and, air and water pollution; natural and human-induced disasters; loss of bio-diversity; and impacts of environmental problems on the economies of less developed and developed countries. The module comprises a series of lectures, tutorials and workshops.

  • A World of Plenty? Environment and Development: GE12002
    Semester 2, 20 credits
    This module examines the nature of environmental resources and considers how access to resources has shaped the world economy into its present state of geographically unequal development at a local, urban-regional and international scales. The module comprises a large range of exciting topics including appreciation of renewable and non-renewable resources, principles of sustainable development, the impacts of globalisation on both developed and less developed countries and processes of global urban development and the emergence of world cities. The module comprises a series of lectures, fieldwork (in the form of student-led ‘city walks’), and workshops/seminars examining the physical setting, development history and sustainable future of the City of Dundee. 

  • Additional modules: visit the MA overview page for more information
Level 2

A total of 6 modules, including:

  • International Relations: PO21001
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    This module introduces you to the structures and processes which underlie the relationships between states and other actors in the contemporary international system. It looks at:

    • The international 'system': what it is and how it has developed
    • How the political world 'works' through examining the competing international relations theories
    • The processes that keep international relations 'moving': diplomacy, international law, international organisations and conflict

    Find out more about PO21001

  • Dynamic Human Worlds: GE21001
    Semester 1, 20 credits
    This module examines how space and place interact with social, cultural and economic processes. For example, it considers how different social groups define themselves geographically in terms of racial and class segregation, gated communities and 'gang-land' territories; and it looks at how firms decide where to locate and why some parts of the world are more affluent than others.

  • Additional modules: visit the MA overview page for more information
Level 3

A total of 4 modules, including:

  • Geographical Methods (compulsory)
  • 1 approved geography module
  • 2 designated international relations modules
Level 4

A total of 4 modules, including:

  • Dissertation (compulsory on approved geopolitics topic)
  • Either two Geography and one International Relations modules
    Or one Geography and two International Relations modules

Your performance on modules is assessed by a wide variety of means - from formal exams where you answer essay-type questions from a previously unseen paper to 'seen' exams where you know the questions in advance but still must answer them in timed exam conditions. Prepared essays on a specific topic are also part of the assessment of almost all modules.

Additionally, seminar presentations may be marked and included in the overall assessment. As a general principle, modules will involve a mixture of assessment techniques in order to achieve an all-round picture of your abilities and to give you a chance to shine in the type of test that suits you best.

Politics graduates from Dundee score highly in surveys of graduate employment. While you may not become a politician (though many of our students over the years have: as MPs, MSPs and MEPs), your degree will open up a range of opportunities in both the private and public services. 

In other words, the skills - personal, verbal and written - that you will acquire in your politics programme can be easily transferred to many walks of life. We have produced leading journalists, civil servants, diplomats - and even the occasional secret agent!

The following are the minimum requirements, please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2015

Level 1 Entry

Qualification Minimum Grade Typical Grade
SQA Higher BBBB AABB
GCE A-Level BCC BBB
ILC Higher AABB
IB Diploma 30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects None, but see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects
EU & International Visit our Your Country webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country
Other Qualifications
SQA A relevant HNC with grade B in the Graded Unit
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with CC at Advanced Higher
SWAP Access Relevant subjects with ABB grades to include English Literature/Language at SCQF Level 6 and Communication 4 plus Literature 1
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM
Advanced Diploma Grade B with ASL-A Level at B
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A Levels at BB
European Baccalaureate 70% overall with 7 in English

Courses starting September 2015

Advanced Entry (to Level 2)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher AB (Advanced Higher) + BB (Higher) in different subjects
GCE A-Level ABB
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects None, but see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects
EU & International
Other Qualifications
SQA A relevant HND with grade BB in the Graded Units
Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction with AB at Advanced Higher
SWAP Access
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD
Advanced Diploma Grade A with ASL-A Level at B
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A Levels at AA
European Baccalaureate 75% overall with 7.5 in English

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will, in most cases, depend on your current country of residence.

The fee shown is annual, and may be subject to an increase each year.

Fee categoryFees for students starting September 2015
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Rest of UK students £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants."
EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants."

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

The Dundee MA degrees follow the distinctive pattern of many Scottish universities by offering a broad-based education that requires you to study a number of different subjects in Levels 1 and 2 (Level 2 only for the Advanced Entry Honours degrees). You do not have to finalise your choice of degree course until you are better able to appreciate both the nature of the subjects you are studying and the relationships between them. However, you must make an initial choice of course on the application form and we would expect you to provide some evidence of your enthusiasm for your chosen course and details of any relevant experience.

We use a range of learning methods at Dundee: you will be expected to respond to the information and advice provided by academic staff, especially in lectures; to prepare for and participate in tutorial discussion or to work in practical classes; to work individually or in groups on set assignments such as essays and projects; and to 'read round' the subject. Consequently, we are looking for evidence that you are capable of working systematically, of responding to the guidance of your teachers, and that you have both the ability and enthusiasm to successfully complete a degree programme.

To study Politics, International Relations or European Politics at Dundee, you would be helped by being able to claim that you have a real interest in current affairs, and are particularly interested in (generally speaking) the 'here and now'. Can you point to a habit of reading serious journalism, or even of regularly watching what one might call 'serious TV'? Have you traveled in, or lived in, a country beyond a simple holiday visit; can you claim to have experienced the way of life, and the habits of thought, of any other nation(s) beyond the merest superficial acquaintance? Generally, it is important that you and your referee should be able to say that you have an enquiring, lively mind.

What is important to us, in your application, is the evidence provided by the grades you have attained, or are predicted to attain, in your examinations, along with whatever you and your referee can point to indicating both your special interest in any of our subject areas, and your general liveliness of mind.

Your personal statement is an opportunity to say why you should be offered a place to study in Dundee. We are looking for applicants with an ability to express opinions clearly with reasoned support and evidence, who are open to critical guidance, and who have a commitment to high standards of achievement in all they do. These qualities can be demonstrated through academic attainment, paid or voluntary work, and extra-curricular activities of all kinds.

Referees should concisely indicate your analytical abilities, communication skills, capacity for academic work, and commitment to your studies. We will be interested to hear about examples of initiative, leadership, and any evidence of organisational skills. Indicators of a positive outlook and engagement with social and cultural activities will be welcome, as will an assessment of your potential to develop in the university environment.

We will consider applications to one or more MA courses at Dundee: each application will be considered on its merits. We are looking for applicants who either have achieved, or will achieve, the published requirements in terms of Highers, Advanced Highers, A-Levels or acceptable alternative qualifications.

Please apply via UCAS



Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Politics MA (Hons)L200
European Politics MAL245
European Politics with French MAL2RC
European Politics with German MAL2RF
European Politics with Spanish MAL2RK
Geopolitics MAL246
International Relations and Economics MALLD2
International Relations and European Studies MALR28
International Relations and History MALV2C
International Relations and Philosophy MAVL5G
International Relations and Politics MAL250
Politics and Business Economics with Marketing MAL0N0
Politics and Economics MALL12
Politics and English MALQ23
Politics and Geography MALL72
Politics and History MALV21
Politics and Philosophy MALV25
Politics and Psychology MACL82
Politics with French MAL2R1
Politics with German MAL2R2
Politics with Spanish MAL2R4