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

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

Each candidate must pass the Qualifying Test at the end of the third term from the beginning of the course. The Qualifying Test consists of two compulsory papers (unless a candidate is granted exemption by the Politics Graduate Studies Committee):

  • (1) A single three hour written examination paper testing knowledge of the candidate’s core subject (Theory of 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.

  • (2) 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 Methods in Political Theory

      Compulsory paper for Political Theory students only.

      Research Methods in Political Science and Research Methods in Political Theory are assessed in the following way. The candidate must submit:

      • (i) A Research Design Proposal of between 4000 and 6000 words, excluding the title page, contents, bibliography and any methodological appendices, on the subject of the student’s proposed MPhil thesis. One copy of the Research Design Proposal must be submitted electronically by noon on the Friday of sixth week of Trinity Term. The work must be anonymous and accompanied by a 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. Only the file submitted via the University approved online assessment platform constitutes a valid submission; no concomitant hard-copy may be submitted for any purpose.

        (ii) Research methods training coursework. Candidates will satisfactorily complete a programme of core and optional research methods training, as specified in the Student Handbook. Further details regarding these courses are provided in the Student Handbook.

  • For a candidate for the degree of M.Phil. to pass the Qualifying Test and proceed to the second year of study, the candidate must pass: the research methods paper (all elements of coursework and the Research Design Proposal) and the written examination.

    Candidates who fail the written examination (paper (1) above) will normally be able to retake it before the beginning of the next academic year.

    The mark for the written examination part of the Qualifying Test (paper (1) above) is carried forward and included in the final classification process for the degree of M.Phil.

    Final Examination

    No candidate shall enter the Final Examination unless he or she has already passed the Qualifying Test. In the Final Examination every candidate must offer:

    • (1) A thesis of not more than 30,000 words, excluding the title page, contents, bibliography and any methodological appendices. The thesis must be submitted electronically via the University approved 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 which is not the candidate’s own work or which has been or will be submitted to satisfy the requirements of another course, and the examiners shall have power to require the candidate to produce for their inspection the work so submitted or to be submitted. After the examination process is complete, each successful candidate must deposit one hardbound copy of their thesis in the Bodleian Library.

      (2) Two papers, taken from the approved list of optional 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 optional subjects. The submission requirements for each optional subject will be specified in the approved list of optional subjects.

Candidates may, with special permission of the Politics Graduate Studies Committee, offer subjects outside this list. 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 candidate’s supervisor. Supervisors should ensure that applications are submitted as early as possible so that if approval is not granted the candidate has sufficient time to choose an alternative.

When candidates sit optional papers offered at departments other than the Department of Politics and International Relations, they are bound by the regulations of the M.Phil. in Politics.

Where optional 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 by no later than noon on Friday of the eighth week of the term in which the instruction for that 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 second year of the course. Essays should bear the candidate’s examination number but not their 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.