Master in politics

master in politics

The Department of Government & Politics provides students with the analytical skills necessary to evaluate political issues and to function effectively in a political environment.

View Course Brochure

January 27, 2024
2 years
36 credit


James DeZell
James DeZell
Assistant Professor
Bob Goldwasser
Bob Goldwasser
Assistant Professor


3000 Danforth, Toronto. Canada   View map


Master's Degree

The master in politics provides students with the analytical skills necessary to evaluate political issues and to function effectively in a political environment. The primary objective of the M.A. in Government & Politics is to enhance students’ professional expertise in today’s complex global environment.

In the M.A. program, students from around the world are brought together in an environment that promotes an understanding of governments and their interactions. Seminars taught by professionals in the field and small group discussions are both important components of the M.A. program.

This challenging and rewarding program focuses on the development of critical thinking and research skills. Students learn to analyze information and to make informed decisions in a variety of realistic international situations.

Government & Politics Requirements (International Relations Concentration)
Scholarships and Assistantships
Tuition Fee
Courses Outline
The following outlines give an indication of the range and content of the Politics modules currently available. The availability and content of modules may change in future years.

Course Aims and Objectives
By the end of their course all students will be able to:

demonstrate a broad understanding of political phenomena, and of a particular sub-field of the discipline of political studies at advanced level;
apply the concepts, theories and methods used in the study of a particular sub-field of Politics to an advanced level;
design and carry out a small research project.
demonstrate appropriate general intellectual and communicative skills, including the ability to construct a reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information, exercise critical judgement, and communicate effectively both orally and in writing;
manage their own learning, reflect on it critically, and seek and use constructive feedback;
assess whether they have the ability, motivation, and interest to pursue further training at postgraduate level;
reflect on career choices, and compete effectively for employment in the job market.

POL612 The Political Economy of Globalisation
POL615 The Politics of International Law
POL617 Contemporary Ethnic Conflict
POL6001 Europeanisation
POL6005 Contemporary Global Security
POL6006 States and (In)Security
POL6150 Democratization
POL6160 Methods in Politics and International Relations
POL6170 Global Governance
POL6180 Human Rights
POL6225 Advanced Political Analysis
POL6230 Political Thought and the Rights of War and Peace
POL6280 The Politics of Ethnic Conflict
POL6320 Comparative Governance and Public Policy
POL6550 United States Hegemony
POL6560 The Governance and Politics of the European Union
POL6760 Global Politics of the Environment and Climate Change
POL6800 Theories and Issues in International Political Economy
POL6870 The Politics of Development
POL6910 War, New Wars and the Liberal State
POL6970 Theory and Practice of International Relations
Dissertation Modules
POL6660 Dissertation for MA in Politics
The dissertation tests students’ ability to develop an independent idea or hypothesis, and to see it through to completion. Writing a successful dissertation entails sustained periods of research and deep thinking. The completed piece of writing must be between 12,000 and 15,000 words in length. Ideally the dissertation should be related directly to the programme the student is enrolled on.

Dissertations are worked on over the summer period, from mid-May to mid-September. Students will have at least three formal meetings with their supervisor during this period, and will also receive ongoing support with their research and writing, should they so wish.

All dissertations are informed by theory or have a theoretical basis. However, they need not focus on a purely theoretical issue, and may have a strong empirical component. Indeed, they might be heavily focused on empirical detail, but they should always speak to a theoretical issue and be informed by theoretical concerns.

Students on any Masters programme may undertake a Work Based Learning Dissertation (WBLD) rather than the dissertation option linked directly to their programme. The WBLD is a piece of independent research produced in collaboration with an external organisation.

Research Methods dissertations should contain a discussion of research methods. Note that 35% of the final mark will be accorded to this (though this does not require the student to accord 35% of the total word length to considering research methods).

Work-Based Learning Dissertation [MA]
The Work Based Learning Dissertation [WBLD] offers students the opportunity to work with an external collaborative organisation to produce a piece of independent research on a topic which is tailored to their needs but still submitted as an assessed academic piece of work. It is an initiative set up by the Department as part of our ‘Business in the Community’ project. The aim is to give students a broader experience of engaging in independent research and to integrate real experience of the world of politics into their degree programmes.

Students interested in pursuing a WBLD are encouraged at the earliest possible stage to establish contact and develop research projects in collaboration with an external organisation. An application form to undertake a WBLD has to be completed by the end of Week 12 in the first semester, requiring a research project title, a detailed project proposal, and agreement of collaboration with an external organisation. Examples of collaborative organisations could include pressure groups, voluntary organisations, think-tanks, charities, bureaucrats, local government, business, political parties, politicians etc. These organisations need not necessarily be based in the Canada and can be international.

Here is a selection of previous work based learning dissertations undertaken by our students to give you an idea of the sort of project you could work on:

Imagining Local Partnerships on Global Issue. A Case Study of Asylum Seekers Integration in Sheffield.
The Next Epicentre of the HIV/Aids Virus 0 A Comparative Study of India and Sri Lanka.
Effective Development: A Case Study of Partnership in Sierra Leone.
The Role of Grassroots Networks, Organisations and Engineering in International Development.
Addressing Apathetic Young Voters: Why are they abstaining and what is being done to re-engage them?

Prospective MA students who have been accepted onto their degree programme and are interested in doing a WBLD should start thinking about a potential research project alongside which external organisation they would like to work with preferably before the course begins.

Call to action text