Explore our Social and Political Thought taught Master's degree.
The Social and Political Thought MA provides you with a thorough grounding in the classics of social and political theories and offers a deep and varied engagement with their 20th and 21st century offshoots. Based at Warwick Sociology, home to the Social Theory Centre, this course will provide you with the tools to think clearly, critically and imaginatively regarding these themes and will help you apply them to contemporary problems.
This MA programme provides you with a thorough grounding in the classics of Social and Political Thought, and a deep and varied engagement with their 20th and 21st century offshoots. It addresses key concepts and ideas that are central to the analysis of contemporary society, politics and culture. These include debates over the basis of contemporary capitalism, neoliberalism, biopolitics, ideology, and the fundamental question of what it means to be ‘social’ and/or ‘human’.
Skills from this degree
- Ability to analyse and evaluate complex intellectual ideas
- Ability to analyse and evaluate competing approaches to understanding the contemporary world
- Ability to build sophisticated and persuasive arguments from an array of sources
- Ability to carry out independent research
- Ability to write about complex ideas in a clear way
General entry requirements
2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related subject.
English language requirements
You can find out more about our English language requirementsLink opens in a new window. This course requires the following:
- Band B
- IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above.
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
For more information, please visit the international entry requirements pageLink opens in a new window.
Read our departmental advice on applying to ensure your application has the best chance for success.
Politics and Social Theory
This module examines some of the core debates within social and political thought. We will read and discuss extracts from the ‘classics’ of enlightenment political thought juxtaposed alongside poststructuralist, (post) colonial/decolonial and Indigenous texts. Through these juxtaposed readings, we will examine the lively debates and ‘politics’ of social theory. This endeavour will demonstrate the ways in which an enlightenment legacy underpins social theory and its relation to contemporary normative political rationalities and practices of sovereignty, law, democracy, religion, race, gender, and sexuality. Contestations of this legacy from the perspectives of decolonial, postcolonial, poststructural, and queer thought reveals the significance of grappling with social theory towards the praxis of social justice.
Capitalism, State and Market
The principal aims of this module are to consider what contemporary capitalism is and how its underlying political economy of neoliberalism operates. We will also use historical and theoretical resources to analyse capitalism in terms of its recurrent and systemic crises. Finally, we will examine the role of crisis in the ongoing restructuring of relations between the state and market.
The dissertation module gives you the opportunity to complete an independent piece of research on a topic of your own choice with the support of your dissertation supervisor, plenary teaching, and other online resources. The aim is for you to creatively use the substantive and methodological training acquired in the earlier part of your course to critically analyse a research topic of sociological relevance.
Optional modules can vary from year to year. Example optional modules may include:
- Mastering Complex Real-World Data
- Qualitative Methods in Social Research
- Quantitative Methods in Social Research
- Gender, Imperialism and International Development
- Gender Analysis and Development Practice
- Cultures of Life, Authority and Power in Modernity
- Market Life: Wealth and Poverty in Global Capitalism
- Social Research for Social Change
- State of the Art of Sociology
- Understanding Social Science
- Feminist Theory and Epistemology
- The Sociology of Urban Life
- Postcolonial Theory and Politics
- Transnational Media Ecologies
- Feminist Pedagogy/Feminist Activism
- Queering Sociology
- Key Problems in Criminal Justice
- Creative Research Methods
- Ethnography and the Anthropological Tradition
- Sociology of End Times
- Social Data Science
- Researching Inequality: Race, Class, Gender in Global Perspective
Each of our MA courses has specified core modules which will be studied alongside a range of optional modules. You will be required to choose four optional modules from our departmental list. All our MA courses follow a consistent structure meaning that you will follow a programme of taught modules, followed by a 15,000-word dissertation.
Class sizes can range from 6 to 30 students, depending on the module.
Typical contact hours
Each module will consist of at least 20 hours of teaching. Many modules are taught in 2 hour seminars of 10-15 students. Others follow a 1 hour lecture and 1 hour class format. You will also have a supervisor for your dissertation, who you will meet regularly to support this independent research project.
Taught modules are assessed through written assignments. You will focus on your 15-000 word dissertation after the end of Spring Term.
Your personalised timetable will be complete when you are registered for all modules, compulsory and optional, and you have been allocated to your lectures, seminars and other small group classes. Your compulsory modules will be registered for you and you will be able to choose your optional modules when you join us.
Graduates from these courses have gone on to work for employers including various national and international Universities, NGOs and the charity sector, or the civil service. They have pursued roles such as: business and financial project management professionals; higher education teaching professionals; IT project and programme managers; legal professionals and research and development managers.
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant offering impartial advice and guidance together with workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Make Your Mark - Careers with a degree in Sociology
- Working for More than Profit
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
- Your Sociological future: Sociology Alumni Evening
- My Sociological Future- What next? Career planning for undecided Sociology finalists
Sociology at Warwick
We have an international reputation for research excellence, a global and cosmopolitan perspective, and high-quality teaching. Our curriculum offers a comprehensive and up-to-date foundation with a diverse range of specialist options.
What does it mean to understand the world in which you live? What will your contribution be to this changing world? How do your own experiences and life chances compare to those of others?
Sociology – the study of humans in society – attempts to capture the rich variety and complexity of human social life. Indeed, it is difficult to think of any area of social existence that a sociologist wouldn’t be interested in examining, from the most intimate of personal relationships to the worldwide circulation of ideas, beliefs, products and people.
Our Postgraduate courses
Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. Academic fees cover the cost of tuition, examinations and registration and some student amenities.
Fee Status Guidance
The University carries out an initial fee status assessment based on information provided in the application and according to the guidance published by UKCISA. Students are classified as either Home or Overseas Fee status and this can determine the tuition fee and eligibility of certain scholarships and financial support.
If you receive an offer, your fee status will be stated with the tuition fee information. If you believe your fee status has been incorrectly classified you can complete a fee status assessment questionnaire (follow the instructions in your offer) and provide the required documentation for this to be reassessed.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides guidance to UK universities on fees status criteria, you can find the latest guidance on the impact of Brexit on fees and student support on the UKCISA website.
Additional course costs
Please contact your academic department for information about department specific costs, which should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:
- Core text books
- Printer credits
- Dissertation binding
- Robe hire for your degree ceremony
Scholarships and bursaries
Find out about the different funding routes available, including; postgraduate loans, scholarships, fee awards and academic department bursaries.
Find out more about the various funding opportunities that are available in our department.
Find out more about the cost of living as a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick.
Find out how to apply to us, ask your questions, and find out more.
How to apply
The application process for courses that start in September and October 2024 will open on 2 October 2023.
Applications will close on 2 August 2024 for students who require a visa to study in the UK, to allow time to receive a CAS and complete the visa application process.
Throughout the year we attend exhibitions and fairs online and in-person around the UK. These events give you the chance to explore our range of postgraduate courses, and find out what it’s like studying at Warwick. You’ll also be able to speak directly with our student recruitment team, who will be able to help answer your questions.
Join a live chat with our staff and students, who are here to answer your questions and help you learn more about postgraduate life at Warwick. You can join our general drop-in sessions or talk to your prospective department and student services.
A Warwick talk and tour lasts around two hours and consists of an overview presentation from one of our Recruitment Officers covering the key features, facilities and activities that make Warwick a leading institution. The talk is followed by a campus tour which is the perfect way to view campus, with a current student guiding you around the key areas on campus.