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:

  • Asia Research Institute
  • Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research
  • Methods and Data Institute

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

Find out more.

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.

Entry requirements

2:1 (or international equivalent)

English language requirements

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


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.

Program taught in:
  • English (US)

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Last updated February 12, 2019
This course is Campus based
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