Master of Philosophy in Politics (Comparative Government, Political Theory, European Politics and Society)

Differences from 2014/15 to 2023/24

(See also the general notice at the commencement of these regulations. The current edition of the Student Handbook contains an elaborated version of these regulations.)

The regulations made by the Politics Graduate Studies Committee are as follows:

Qualifying Test

Each candidate must pass athe Qualifying Test at the end of the third term from the beginning of the course. inThe theQualifying Test consists of two compulsory papers specified for their course, (unless givena candidate is granted exemption by the Politics Graduate Studies Committee.

In Comparative Government the two compulsory papers are Comparative Government and Research Methods in Political Science.

In European Politics and Society the two compulsory papers are European Governance and Research Methods in Political Science.

In Political Theory the two compulsory papers are Theory of Politics and Research Methods in Political Theory.

Candidates who fail the written examination part of the Qualifying Test will normally be allowed to retake it before the beginning of the next academic year.

Compulsory papers):

  • (a1) A single written examination paper testing knowledge of the candidate’s core subject (ResearchTheory Methodsof Politics or Comparative Government or European Governance).

    • Theory of Politics

      Compulsory paper for Political Theory students only. A critical examination of political concepts and theories, including social concepts and theories with political relevance.

      Comparative Government

      Compulsory paper for Comparative Government students only. The theory and practice of government in modern states.

      European Governance

      Compulsory paper for European Politics and Society students only. The theory and practice of government in European states, including the UK, and the theory and practice of integration in Europe.

  • (i2) A research methods paper (Research Methods in Political Science (or Research Methods in Political Theory).

    • Research Methods in Political Science

      Compulsory paper for Comparative Government and European Politics and Society students only).

      Research CandidatesMethods willin satisfactorilyPolitical completeTheory

      Compulsory apaper programmefor ofPolitical coreTheory students only.

      Research Methods in Political Science and optionalResearch researchMethods methodsin training,Political asTheory specifiedare assessed in the Studentfollowing Handbook,way. andThe willcandidate alsomust producesubmit:

      • (i) aA Research Design EssayProposal of between 4,0004000 and 6,0006000 words, excluding the title page, contents, bibliography and any methodological appendices, on the subject of the students proposed M.Phil.MPhil thesis. TwoOne hard copiescopy of the Research Design Essay, together with a copy on CD,Proposal must be submitted to the Examination Schoolselectronically by noon on the Friday of sixth week of Trinity Term. ItThe work must be anonymous and accompanied by a separate signed declaration that it is the candidate's own work except where otherwise indicated and that it has not previously been submitted for assessment, either at Oxford or at another institution. The Director of Graduate Studies in Politics shall drawOnly the attentionfile ofsubmitted via the examinersUniversity toapproved theonline namesassessment ofplatform constitutes a valid submission; no concomitant hard-copy may be submitted for any candidates who have failed to complete their research methods training to a satisfactory level of quality, and the examiners may require candidates to retake the course or a specified part thereofpurpose.

      • (ii) Research Methodsmethods intraining Political Theory (Compulsory paper for Political Theory students only)coursework. Candidates will satisfactorily complete a programme of core and optional research methods training, as specified in the Student Handbook,. andFurther willdetails alsoregarding producethese acourses Researchare Designprovided Essay of between 4,000 and 6,000 words, excluding bibliography, onin the subjectStudent of the student’s proposed M.Phil. thesis. Two copies of the Research Design Essay, together with a copy on CD, must be submitted to the Examination Schools by noon on the Friday of sixth week of Trinity Term. It must be accompanied by a separate signed declaration that it is the candidate’s own work except where otherwise indicated and that it has not previously been submitted for assessment, either at Oxford or at another institution. The Director of Graduate Studies in Politics shall draw the attention of the examiners to the names of any candidates who have failed to complete their research methods training to a satisfactory level of quality, and the examiners may require candidates to retake the course or a specified part thereofHandbook.

  • CandidatesFor ina Europeancandidate Politicsfor the degree of M.Phil. to pass the Qualifying Test and Society will be requiredproceed to havethe asecond working (i.e. good reading) knowledgeyear of twostudy, the candidate must pass: the research methods paper (all elements of thecoursework following languages ofand the EuropeanResearch Union:Design viz. English,Proposal) and one of French, German, Italian, Polish, or Spanish. Unless exempted by the Politicswritten Graduate Studies Committee, candidates will be tested in the language or languages they propose to offer by the end of their third termexamination. 

    Candidates who fail the testwritten examination (paper (1) above) will normally be allowedable to retake the testit before the beginning of the next academic year.

  • (b)The Comparative Government

    (Compulsory papermark for Comparativethe Government students only)

    The theory and practice of government in modern states.

  • (c) Theory of Politics

    (Compulsory paper for Political Theory students only)

    A criticalwritten examination of political concepts and theories, including social concepts and theories with political relevance.

  • (d) European Governance

    (Compulsory paper for European Politics and Society students only)

    The constitutions and formal structure of governments in European states, including the UK, and the theory and practice of integration in Europe.

    The marks achieved by candidates in the two compulsory paperspart of the Qualifying Test will(paper be(1) above) is carried forward toand be considered by the examinersincluded in the secondfinal yearclassification alongsideprocess for the marksdegree achievedof in the Final ExaminationM.Phil.

  • Final examination Examination

  • No candidate shall enter the finalFinal examinationExamination unless hethey or she hashave already passed the Qualifying Test. In the finalFinal examinationExamination every candidate must offer:

    • (1) A thesis1 of not more than 30,000 words, excluding the title page, contents, bibliography and any methodological appendices. TwoThe hard copies, together with a copy on CD,thesis must be submitted toelectronically via the ExaminationUniversity Schoolsapproved online assessment platform by noon on the Monday of first week of Trinity Term.  On submitting the thesis, candidates will also be required to submit an online declaration of authorship. The examiners shall exclude from consideration any part of the thesis must be accompanied by a separate signed declaration that itwhich is not the candidates own work exceptor wherewhich otherwisehas indicatedbeen or will be submitted to satisfy the requirements of another course, and thatthe itexaminers hasshall nothave previouslypower beento require the candidate to produce for their inspection the work so submitted for assessment, either at Oxford or atto anotherbe institutionsubmitted. After the examination process is complete, each successful candidate must deposit one hardbound copy of their thesis in the Bodleian Library.

    • (2) Two subject papers, taken from the approved list of optionaloption subjects in Politics, as published in the Student Handbook by the Politics Graduate Studies Committee on Monday of first week of Michaelmas Term each academic year (to apply to candidates being examined in the Trinity Term of that year). Candidates should note that the Politics subjects available in any particular year will depend on the availability of teaching resources. Not all subjects will be available in every year, and restrictions may be placed on the number of candidates permitted to offer certain subjects in any particular year. The method of assessment will be either timed written examination or extended essay and will be specified in the approved list of option subjects. The submission requirements for each option subject will be specified in the approved list of option subjects.

Candidates may, with the special permission of the Politics Graduate Studies Committee, offer subjects beyondoutside the approvedthis list of Politics subjects. Applications must be made by the last Friday of the Trinity Term preceding that in which the examination is to be taken, and must be supported by the student’candidate’s supervisor. Supervisors should ensure that applications are submitted as early as possible so that if approval is not given,granted the candidate has sufficient time to choose an alternative.

CandidatesWhen mustcandidates presentsit themselvesoption forpapers vivaoffered voceat examinationdepartments whenother requestedthan the Department of Politics and International Relations, they are bound by the examinersregulations of the M.Phil. in Politics.

Where option subjects are examined by extended essay, candidates will propose essay topics in consultation with their supervisor or relevant course provider. The proposed essay title, countersigned by the supervisor, must be submitted for approval of the Chair of Examiners mayby awardno alater distinctionthan noon on Friday of the eighth week of the term in which the instruction for excellencethat subject is completed. Candidates must upload their extended essay to the University approved online assessment platform no later than noon on Monday of the seventh week of Trinity term in the wholesecond examination on the basisyear of the workcourse. submittedEssays toshould them in bothbear the Qualifyingcandidate’s Testexamination andnumber thebut Finalnot Examinationtheir name.

With respect to extended essays and theses, only the file submitted via the University approved online assessment platform constitutes a valid submission, no concomitant hard-copy submission may be submitted for any purpose. Each submission must be accompanied by a declaration indicating that it is the candidate’s own work.