Centre for Social and Political Thought

MA in Social and Political Thought

MA in Social and Political Thought

The MA in SPT is an interdisciplinary programme that bridges the conventional divides between social theory, political theory and philosophy, the history of social and political thought, and the study of political and social movements. The primary aim of the MA degree is to provide students with competence in the methodologies appropriate to understanding the different styles of theorising and approach to objects characteristic of the social sciences and the humanities, taking social and political thought as a field in its own right, as well as considering its relation to empirical argument. It provides students with a variety of possible explanatory and normative frameworks that can inform empirical sociological and political-scientific research, and simultaneously an understanding of the major thinkers associated with those frameworks.

Programme structure

Core Modules:Text and Critique in Social and Political Thought and Theorizing the Social

Autumn Semester: Text and Critique + one optional module

Spring Semester: Theorizing the Social + one optional module

Summer Semester (+ vacation): 15,000 word dissertation

In the Summer Semester students undertake supervised work towards a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic they choose and agree with their supervisor, which is submitted at the start of September.

Part-time students take the MA over two years, taking one module per term in the Autumn and Spring Terms and working towards their dissertation over both their Summer Terms.

Each module is taught by weekly small-group seminars. All modules are accompanied by e-learning using Canvas Sites

Autumn Term modules

Text and Critique in Social and Political Thought (core module - see also overview above left)

Autumn Optional Modules

Ethics and Normativity

World Mind and Body

Hegel and Marx


Spring Term optional modules (subject to availability)

Theorizing the Social (core module - see also overview above left)

The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory

Language Art and Representation

Democracy and Human Rights

Postcolonial and Decolonial Epistemologies

Religions, Cultures and Civilisations in International Relations

War, Terror, Violence and International Law

Women and the Political

With the consent of the Programme Convenor, students may take modules from related MA programmes, for example the MA in Philosophy, the MA in International Relations, or the MA in Human Rights. (Please note that the options offered can vary from year to year, depending on student demand and faculty availability.)


Admission requirements

Students should have at least an upper second class honours degree in a related discipline.

Further information

See also the Online Prospectus page for the MA in Social and Political Thought

For further information on the MA programme, please contact the Programme Convenor, Gordon Finlayson, j.g.finlayson@sussex.ac.uk


For details of how to apply see our How to apply for a masters course page.

Please note that it may not be possible to run an advertised module in a given year if there is insufficient demand from students. For more general information on possible variation of programmes and modules, see our Postgraduate terms and conditions page .