Programme Specification: MSc Political Theory (Research) 1. Awarding Body 2. Details of accreditation by a professional/statutory body, e.g. ESRC; BPS etc 3. Name of final award 4. Programme Title 5. Duration of the course 6. Based in the Department/Institute: 7. Relevant QAA subject benchmark statements 8. Application Code 9. First written/last amended LSE This is an approved programme of the ESRC 1+3 competition scheme (UK/EU only). MSc Political Theory (Research) 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time Government Department N/A M1UP August 2004 10. The programme aims to: Provide an academically challenging education, in a research-active environment, to intellectually able students from a wide range of countries; Provide access to the wider context of the social sciences; Enable students intending to pursue higher degrees to develop the necessary analytical and theoretical sophistication, and breadth and depth of understanding, within their field of study Enable students who go directly into non-academic careers (e.g. government, the voluntary sector, international organisations, business and media) to become articulate, clear thinking individuals, able critically to analyse complex bodies of material; All programmes aim to provide advanced postgraduate education, and, in the case of RT programmes, research training in the social sciences, of the highest standards; Programmes in Government and IR aim to provide specialist study opportunities to students with a first degree in a cognate area. 11. Programme outcomes: knowledge and understanding; skills and other attributes Students completing Masters degrees should possess: An advanced, critical, understanding of the main theoretical and policy debates within their chosen field; Specialist knowledge of at least one sub-field of their chosen area; The ability to work independently, employing an empirical and analytical knowledge of their field in the planning and presentation of succinct, precise arguments, written and oral; The ability to design and independently execute a ‘long essay’/’dissertation’ on an approved subject of their own choice within their field. A critical understanding of the main methodological and philosophical problems involved in research in their field; Knowledge of the skills appropriate to research in their field, set out in the ESRC’s Training Guidelines for Postgraduate Research. In addition, students completing the MSc Political Theory ( research) will be expected to have a firm understanding of the last three points set out in section 10 above. Information relating to careers can be accessed here 12. Teaching, Learning and assessment strategies to enable outcomes to be achieved 1. Teaching 1.1 Design The M.Sc Political Theory (Research) programme is the same as the M.SC in Political Theory Except that students are required to take MI41M1 and MI 4M2 Foundations of Social Research. As a result they only take 3 option courses from a total list of 14 and a dissertation. The political theory methods course is designed to encourage students to explore the foundations of different approaches to political theory, from historical analysis, positive analytical theory and normative political philosophy in order to locate themes and approaches in political theory within the broader context of debates in social science. This course is geared towards building the methodological self-consciousness that we expect in graduate dissertations. The additional non-specific methods programme is designed to offer students a more generic political science methods programme alongside and in addition to that geared to political theory students. This is particularly appropriate for students who plan to go on to Ph.D. study in areas that combine political theory and generic political science and policy study approaches. Students also take 3 specialised options out of a list of 14. The list can vary depending upon staff availability. These options are designed to provide students with a detailed coverage a narrow and sharply focused range of debates or literature. On completion of each course students should be in a position to construct a viable research project for more advanced study. Students will acquire and advanced knowledge of a variety of specialist fields in political theory. 1.2 Modes of Delivery The Department and the Political theory Group believe that the most appropriate form for advanced study of political theory is the seminar or small class. Practical considerations sometimes mean that classes might extend up to 20 members, but where courses are of particularly high demand the seminar convenor will run more than one group, subject to constraints of the timetable. The standard size of most seminars will be 15. We do not offer formal lectures at the graduate level, although were appropriate teachers might open a seminar with an extended lecture type introduction. Half Unit seminar courses involve 20 hours contact teaching in ten seminars with and additional four hours for revision in the summer term. 1.3 Staff Expertise The Department has one of the largest concentrations of Political Theorists in the United Kingdom and offers a considerable depth of expertise running from historical and classical theories to formal social choice theory. All the teaching is conducted by full members of the department, there are no teaching assistants involved in teaching at this level. 2. Learning 2.1 The role of seminars Seminars are used to offer students the chance to deepen their understanding of their reading by writing, presenting and critically discussing papers on topics set out by the course convenor. The format of discussion and dialogue is that most suitable to cultivating the analytical and critical skills required to do political theory. The seminar format provides the opportunity for students to prepare written briefs on a topic, issue or thinker as a way of informing debate, and identifying issues for further discussion. The seminar convenor is primarily concerned with directing the discussion and keeping it focused on the core issue at hand. Faculty use the opportunity of critical engagement with the class to impart new insights supplement students reading and understanding. The interactive nature of seminar teaching allows a number of distinct functions a. Formative assessment and feedback on class presentations, both within the seminar through discussion and afterwards through oral or written feedback. b. Independent learning through preparatory reading and research, the preparation of presentations and the preparation of responses and questions. c. The development of oral and communication skills in the presentation and defence of complex arguments. All students are strongly encouraged to participate and seminar convenors will do all they can to ensure a wide and constructive participation in each class. 2.2 Support Each student is assigned a supervisor who advises on course choices and academic performance. The supervisor will ordinarily help the student prepare the dissertation and be the first port of call for advice on the framing of the dissertation research project. The programme convenor will advise on issues arising from option choices outside of the Political Theory scheme. Students can, with advice, take options outside of the Government Department. Information on study skills, IT training, library resources and language support is given to students during induction and is available on the LSE website. The Department is represented on the Library and Information Services Committee. The M.Sc Programme manager in the Departmental Office is also available to provide practical advice where necessary and can direct students to other School wide services. 3. Assessment 3.1 Formative Assessment and Feedback All students are required to write two term essays per course. These are marked and returned to students with detailed comments and an indicative grade. This indicative grade is designed to suggest the level at which the student is currently working. It is not a predictive grade and forms no part of the final summative assessment. Students are also given feedback on presentations. 3.1 Summative Assessment This Programme conforms to the LSE Classification Scheme for masters Degrees. Summative assessment is by means of closed-book two hour examinations in the summer term for all courses except GV 498 Multiculturalism, Nationalism and Citizenship and GV 4A3 Social Choice Theory and Democracy. Examinations for the option courses involve eight questions from which candidates must answer two. GV 405 Methods in Political Theory is divided into three parts each containing three questions. Each candidate must answer two questions from two different sections of the paper. GV 498 and GV 4A3 combine the two hour exam with an assessment essay. The exam comprises 75% of the overall assessment and the essay 25%. The essay for GV 498 must be no longer than 3000 words and for GV 4A3 no linger than 4000. Candidates are also required to submit a 10 000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with their supervisor and the M.Sc. Political Theory Convenor. All components of summative assessment are double-blind marked, with samples moderated by the external examiner. 13. Programme structures and requirements, levels, modules and awards See MSc Political Theory (Research) programme regulations. Additional information 14. Criteria for admission to the programme A first or second class honours (2;1, 2;2) degree of a UK university or equivalent in a subject appropriate to the programme to be followed. Most graduate programmes assume that the student will have prior knowledge to degree level in particular disciplines. Competition varies between programmes and the level of grades/marks required will vary. For most programmes students will need a first or at least an upper second class honours degree or its equivalent. Students who are taking or have taken a recognised degree programme outside the UK will need to have obtained, or expect to obtain, at least 70 per cent of the available marks in their final year examinations. If their country uses the cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) system they should have normally obtained, or expect to obtain, a GPA of at least 3.5 (out of 4) or above. 15. Indicators of quality 1.High demand for the programme, and high qualifications required for admission. 2.The high fees paid by students taking the programme. 3.Consistently good examination results and very favourable remarks by external examiners. 4.Student questionnaires plus feedback via staff-student liaison committees. 5. The LSE Careers Centre website provides data on career destinations of LSE graduates. 16. Methods for evaluating and improving the quality and standard of teaching and learning MSc Convenors’ Meeting which raises teaching issues and reviews regulations and assessment methods. 2 per year. MSc Student Representatives Meetings. 2 per year. MSc Student Meetings. 1 per year per programme. Postgraduate Teaching Review. 5 yearly cycle per programme. TQARO Student Surveys. 1 per module. The Teaching and Learning Centre is available to monitor and observe teaching and offers constructive advice on how to improve the standard of teaching and quality. The Teaching Learning and Assessment Committee which regulates all aspects of teaching quality; Departmental TLAC review once every five years. The Graduate Studies Sub-Committee which oversees all graduate programmes and ensures that significant changes to programmes and courses pass through a sequence of formal stages, so that curricular changes are appropriate and compatible with other developments.