MA Governance and Political Development

University of Nottingham - Faculty of Social Sciences

Program Description

MA Governance and Political Development

University of Nottingham - Faculty of Social Sciences


Introducing you to a variety of political systems and development across the world, this course includes the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad.

You will benefit from our strengths in comparative politics, in particular Asian and Chinese politics, and will develop the skills required to better understand the varieties of contemporary governance.

This course links into a number of leading research centres:

It is offered over one year full-time, based entirely at Nottingham, or two years full-time, with a semester of your second year in Europe, China or Malaysia. This allows you to directly experience the comparative method of studying at different institutions and living in different countries.

In China or Malaysia, you will study at the University's campuses. In Europe, our current partner institutions are the universities of Aarhus, Cologne, Vienna, Gothenburg, Konstanz, and the Central European University in Budapest.

This course:

  • introduces you to a variety of theoretical perspectives on democratic and authoritarian regimes and their empirical manifestation
  • invites you to consider the merits of different methodological tools (qualitative and quantitative) for studying different facets of democratic development
  • allows you to specialise in the comparative method
  • introduces you to debates surrounding the economic and cultural pre-requisites of democracy
  • encourages you to think broadly and critically about the possibility of democracy in different parts of the world, and the challenges in crafting democratic regimes

Academic English preparation and support

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent. You could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.

Key facts

  • Top 100 worldwide for politics and international relations in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018
  • Committed to excellence in teaching, having won 13 Higher Education Academy awards
  • Expert academics who contribute to public debate through national and international media, including appearing on BBC TV, BBC Radio 4, the BBC World Service and in such publications as The Guardian, The New York Times and Le Monde

Course details

On the one-year course, you will be based entirely at Nottingham and will complete 120 credits of taught modules, plus a 60-credit, 15,000-word dissertation over the summer. You will be allocated an appropriate dissertation supervisor who will oversee your progress.

On the two-year course, you will take 120 credits of taught modules at Nottingham over your first year. You will begin your second year by completing 60 credits of taught modules over your first semester in Europe, China or Malaysia, returning to Nottingham for your second semester to complete your 60-credit, 15,000-word dissertation (with academic supervision).


Assessment is through a combination of written exams, essays, book reviews, presentations and your dissertation.


Year one


• Comparative Democratic Development

• Designing Political Enquiry


• Gender and Development

• Global Asia

• International Political Economy

• Justice Beyond Borders: Theories of International and Intergenerational Justice

• Quantitative Political Analysis

• The Politics of South Asia

• Secret Intelligence and International Security

• Terrorism and Insurgencies

• Theories and Concepts in International Relations

• The Theory and Practice of Diplomacy

• War, Peace and Terror

• When Does Russia Expand and Why?

Year two

Subject to achieving an average of 60% in year one, you will begin your second year by completing 60 credits of taught modules over your first semester in Europe, China or Malaysia, returning to Nottingham for your second semester to complete your 60-credit, 15,000-word dissertation.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


This course will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for a career in a range of sectors, including:

  • international organisations such as the World Bank, UN, OECD or International IDEA
  • NGOs such as Oxfam
  • political foundations
  • think-tanks
  • civil service
  • political institutions such as parliament or ministries
  • political parties


We offer a range of local, national and international placement opportunities, which may be paid or voluntary, part-time alongside your studies or longer placements during University vacations.


If you wish to continue your studies after completing this course, we offer a range of research opportunities with PhD supervision in most subject areas.

Employability and average starting salary

95.2% of postgraduates from the School of Politics and International Relations who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £25,000 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £42,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.

Entry requirements

2:1 (or international equivalent)

English language requirements

IELTS: 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated September 27, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
1 - 2 years
Full time
8,865 GBP
£8,865 (UK/EU) - £18,675 (international)
United Kingdom - Nottingham, England
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
United Kingdom - Nottingham, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info