Course: MSc Political Theory Research
Oxford is a world centre for the study of political theory and its scholars have profoundly influenced the way in which political theory is practised across the world.
The MSc in Political Theory Research is an intensive one-year Master’s degree. It is designed specifically for students who have already undertaken some graduate work (e.g. have completed a Master's in a related field) and who would like to proceed directly to doctoral study, at Oxford or elsewhere, but who must first obtain the necessary research training in political theory.
Please note, this MSc is not a stand-alone course and it is not for those who simply want to do an accelerated MPhil degree.
How to find information about this course
The definitive information about this course (including entry requirements) is on the University of Oxford Political Theory Research MSc webpage.
This webpage aims to give you a flavour of what you will learn on the course. You can also explore Political Theory Research at the Department of Politics and International Relations, for an idea of broader themes and ideas explored by our academic network.
This MSc provides advanced training in the techniques and methodologies required to undertake research for a thesis in Political Theory at Oxford. Upon successful completion of your MSc, you will be expected to continue your studies in pursuit of a DPhil in a relevant area of political theory. You may apply to undertake doctoral research in the Department for a further three to four years.
2020-21 Political Theory Research MSc structure*
- Theory of Politics (taught through seminars)
- Research Methods in Political Theory - Research Design Proposal project (developed through workshops and academic supervision)
- Research Methods in Political Theory - training and coursework on:
- Methods and Approaches in Political Theory
- Reasoning in Political Philosophy
- Problems of Method in the History of Political Thought
- Thesis supervision
*Please note, this course outline is illustrative only. The MSc in Political Theory Research is subject to change year-to-year, and we cannot guarantee these modules will be offered in the year you take the course.
- knowledge of and skills in political theory research techniques and methodologies;
- knowledge and critical understanding of the major topics pertinent to your chosen research field;
- the spirit and practice of analytical enquiry;
- experience of presenting and receiving critical reception of your seminar papers and essays.
Graduate teaching and supervision at Oxford is provided by your academic department—in this case, DPIR—although some graduate teaching may take place on college premises.
The majority of graduate teaching at DPIR takes the form of either one-to-one supervision meetings with your Academic Supervisor or tuition in small groups (as with classes and seminars). However, lectures are also used alongside small-group teaching in the delivery of some Research Methods training courses.
Applying to Oxford
As the MSc in Political Theory Research is a research degree foundation, you should give some indication of the topic of your eventual intended doctorate in your application. Do not worry if you do not yet have a detailed research proposal: the MSc programme is intended to help you to develop this.
You are advised to review the profiles of academic staff before you apply as successful applications always depend on the DPIR's capacity to offer appropriate supervision. However, you do not need to contact academic staff members before you apply.
Students are strongly encouraged to apply for funding through a research council funded Doctoral Training Programme (DTP). You can read more about these and other funding options on our graduate fees and funding webpage.