MPhil Politics (European Politics and Society)

The MPhil in Politics (European Politics and Society) is an advanced two-year (twenty-one months) postgraduate degree, which provides training in research techniques and methodology suitable for those who later wish to embark upon doctoral research and enables students to acquire substantive knowledge in this sub-area of the discipline.

The degree is taught by a group of scholars who specialise in all aspects of European politics, including European integration, comparative European government, Europe’s external relations and the political systems of individual European countries.

The MPhil in Politics (European Politics and Society) offers the opportunity to engage with scholars and practitioners from various European countries and institutions, and will provide you with a solid foundation for a wide range of careers, including academic, professional, commercial, diplomatic and governmental positions.

Student profiles

Sample Reading List

Component Assessment
Year one Core course in European GovernanceWritten examination in European Governance at the end of the first year
Research Methods TrainingSubmission of coursework and a research design essay as preparation for your thesis
Year two Two optional coursesWritten examinations in your chosen two subjects
Research and write thesisSubmission of a thesis of no more than 30,000 words

In the first year, as an MPhil in Politics (European Politics and Society) student you would have to:

  1. attend a twenty-week core seminar in European Governance, and sit a written examination in this core subject at the end of your first year.
  2. submit research methods training coursework and a research design essay as preparation for your thesis.
  3. take a simple language test at the end of the first year, involving translation into English and questions on comprehension. You may be exempted from this test by mother-tongue competence, or by a formal qualification in a major EU language other than English (i.e. French, German, Italian or Spanish).

At the end of the course, you would be required:

  • to sit two written examinations in the optional papers of your choice (please see the list below).
  • to submit a thesis of not more than 30,000 words.


The courses offered vary from year to year, depending on students’ research interests and the availability of faculty. The Department cannot guarantee, therefore, that a particular course will be run in any given year. In recent years the following courses have been offered:

  • The History and Politics of South Asia
  • Politics in Africa
  • The Politics of Transition in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Political Sociology
  • The Politics and Government of the UK
  • The Politics and Government of the USA
  • The Politics and Government of France
  • The Politics and Government of Russia
  • The Politics and Government of China
  • The Politics of Democracy in Latin America
  • European International History since 1945
  • Comparative Political Economy
  • The Political Economy of Inequality and Democracy
  • Comparative European Parliaments
  • Theory of Voting
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • Political Theories of Hegel and Marx
  • The History of Liberal Thought in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
  • Issues in Contemporary Continental European Social and Political Thought
  • Media, Public Opinion and Politics
  • Comparative Presidentialism
  • Revolution, Resistance and Reform: Political Philosophy and Social Change
  • Mitigating Historical Injustice 
  • Intermediate Social Statistics
  • Qualitative Methods in Political Science
  • Formal Analysis
  • Archival Research: Truth and Record
  • Causal Inference
  • Content Analysis and Word Scoring
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • Event History Analysis
  • Evolutionary Approaches to International Relations
  • Experimental Research
  • Interviewing Elites
  • Multilevel Modelling
  • Panel Data Analysis
  • Problems of Method in the History of Political Thought

The MPhil thesis is a substantial piece of research presented in a 30,000 word thesis, which demonstrates a grasp of a particular sub-field, a set of design and methodological issues, and the ability to develop and sustain an independent line of argument.
To give you an idea of the range of topics studied by MPhil candidates, below are some of the titles of recent successful MPhil theses:

  • Yes Minister? Political interference in the BBC and RAI, 1996-2006
  • Umpire or Norm Entrepreneur? The Commission's Role in the European Employment Strategy
  • The German Party System in Flux: The Linkspartei between New Social Democracy and PDS-Legacy
  • In Emo’s Footsteps: Student Mobility and the Public Funding of Higher Education in the European Union
  • Developing the Demos: A Lesson from the Netherlands
  • Between Assimilation and Integration: The Development and Emergence of a New Model of Immigration and Integration in Germany
  • ‘With or Without You?’ State and Sub-State Interest Representation in the European Union: Three UK Case Studies
  • The Failure of the European Union’s Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Employment
  • New Challenges, Familiar Answers: NATO’s Historic Role in European Security
  • European Perspectives on Military Intervention in Iraq: The Foreign Policies of Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom compared
  • Opting out yet anchored in: The Dynamics of Differentiated Integration in the EU
  • Europeanisation and Minority Rights: The Case of Enlargement
  • Umpires or Waterboys? Constitutional Courts and the Puzzle of Federal Stability
  • Framing the 2004 European Elections: The Role of British Media Coverage
  • The Outcome of the 1999 Telecommunications Review: A Case Study in the Relative Power of Member States and Supranational Institutions
  • Making Rights a Reality? EU Anti-Discrimination Law, Equality Activists and Litigation Strategies


Read more about European Politics and Society at DPIR