Critical Theory and Politics MA


Fact file

MA Critical Theory and Politics
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
2.1(Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)
Other requirements
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
University Park
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


Gain a thorough understanding of the close connections between critical theory and key contemporary political and social theories.
Read full overview

In collaboration with the School of Politics and International Relations, this MA will provide you with a thorough understanding of the close connections between critical theory and key contemporary political and social theories.

Critical theory is an immensely rich field of intellectual endeavour that has emerged from a continuous dialogue with theories of both society and politics.

This innovative MA enables you to engage with this dialogue and its relevance to contemporary phenomena.

You will be equipped with an advanced knowledge of the most significant developments in the tradition of critique and contemporary political thought.

Teaching staff from the Department of Culture, Film and Media, the School of Politics and International Relations, and other participating schools offer expertise in areas such as social and political theory, international relations, philosophy and cultural studies.

Key facts

  • The Department of Culture, Film and Media is one of the largest postgraduate operations within the Faculty of Arts, with a population of 40 students in any one year, and providing a vibrant intellectual environment in an organised and informal way
  • The department also benefits from the input and close collaboration of the Centre for Critical Theory, the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice, as well as staff from the International Consortium for the Study of Post Conflict Societies, the Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies, among other centres and departments within the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies and in the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences
  • The department is strongly international and offers excellent opportunities for staff, postgraduate students and undergraduate students to benefit from its wide range of international collaborative arrangements
  • The School of Politics and International Relations was rated 24/24 for its teaching by the Quality Assurance Agency and ranked in the top ten of UK departments in the most recent Guardian Education guide

Course details

The course is specifically designed to equip you with a thorough understanding of the relevance of critical theory for the key contemporary liberal, post-Marxist and radical political theories that shape today’s world.

The dissertation provides practice in theoretically informed and independent research. The MA Critical Theory and Politics therefore serves as an ideal preparation for doctoral studies in these areas.

You will be assigned both a personal tutor and dissertation tutor to guide you through your coursework.

You may follow the MA Critical Theory and Politics over one year, full-time (October to September) or part-time over two years.

Full time students take two modules, one from each school, per semester before completing a dissertation over the summer months which must be submitted in September.

All taught modules are assessed by written work of 5,000 words, which is submitted towards the end of the semester in which the module is taught.

The dissertation module is assessed by a written work of 15,000-20,000 words – this is usually submitted in early September.

There are no examinations. All coursework and dissertations are double marked within the school as well as being examined externally.



The two modules taken in the Department of Culture, Film and Media are core modules:

  • Theory at Work: Problematising the Present
  • Aesthetics and Politics

Modules taken in the School of Politics and International Relations will enable you to apply critical theories to concrete political phenomena and to study methodologies of political research, such as:

  • International Political Economy
  • Terrorism and Insurgencies
  • Justice Beyond Borders
  • Toleration and Censorship
  • Feminist Politics and International Relations

Please note that all module details are subject to change.

For more details on our modules, please see the module catalogue.

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.



If you choose to study with us, there are various sources of funding to which you can apply. Some are administered by the school, others by research bodies to which the school has links, and others by the University and central government sources. These opportunities are often specific to particular degree programmes, or to the fee-status of a student, so it is important to read all related information very carefully.

More information about funding can be found on the following web pages.

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies funding pages

University of Nottingham Graduate School funding pages

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



Our postgraduate students move into an extraordinarily wide range of careers following their time in the school.

Conducting postgraduate work fosters many vital skills and may give you a head start in the job market. Studying at this level allows you to develop qualities of self-discipline and self-motivation that are essential to employment in a wide range of different fields.

This course provides the theoretical training required if you wish to pursue an academic career or progress to a research degree in the humanities or social sciences.

A postgraduate degree from an institution like The University of Nottingham shows potential employers that you are an intelligent, hard-working individual who is bright and flexible enough to undertake any form of specific career training.

Average starting salary and career progression

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career. 

Consequently – and owing to our reputation for excellence – 100% of postgraduates from the School of Culture, Film and Media entered employment, voluntary work or further study during the first six months after graduation in 2015.**

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.
**Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2014/15. 

Career Prospects and Employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.  

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