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MA in Political & Legal Theory

Normative issues - questions of right and wrong, of just and injust, of good and bad - often arise in, indeed often motivate, the study of social, legal and political institutions and policy. How should those institutions be arranged? By what moral criteria should we assess policy options? How should we act as individuals, citizens, politicians or judges? The MA in Political and Legal Theory is a fully and genuinely interdisciplinary course designed for students wanting to study political, legal and moral philosophy to an advanced level and to consider how normative analysis might be applied to address matters of public concern. It enables students to acquire knowledge and understanding of the central normative conceptions, the debates they have generated, and their implications of different approaches for public policy, institutional design and the law.

Programme content

If you want to study political, legal and moral philosophy to an advanced level and to consider how normative analysis might be applied to address matters of public concern, then this programme is for you. It will enable you to acquire knowledge and understanding of central normative conceptions, the debates they have generated, and their implications for different approaches to public policy, institutional design and the law.

Our MA in Political and Legal Theory is a fully interdisciplinary course. Unlike other programmes of this kind that offer a range of modules taught within various contributing departments, the core module for Political and Legal Theory will be taught in our department in collaboration with the School of Law and the Department of Philosophy. This interdisciplinary approach is supported by the close cooperation fostered by the Centre for Ethics, Law and Public Affairs, which is situated in our department
and which includes members from Law, Philosophy and Sociology.

This programme also provides an advanced education in normative issues that will prepare you for doctoral study that includes normative inquiry, giving you a wide range of experience that will be attractive to employers.

Students on the MA in Political and Legal Theory are taught in small group seminars and have the opportunity to mix with PhD students and staff in the Political Theory research cluster as well as attend weekly meetings of the Centre for Ethics, Law and Public Affairs (CELPA). The MA in PLT also provides an advanced education in normative issues that will prepare students for doctoral study that includes normative inquiry and give them a wide range of experience that will be attractive to employers.

The progress of my study benefits from my regular contact with my module tutors and other PAIS scholars, many of whom are globally renowned professors with rich expertise and academic authority in their field. After taking the master programme at PAIS, many doors are open to my future career than I expected before, but my experience in PAIS makes me more thirsty to knowledge. I wish I can follow the path of what I learnt from Pais to take a research programme before starting my career in an area that could help to build a better world.Fengxue Bao, MA International Political Economy 2010-11