Coronavirus information and guidance

Global Social and Political Thought (MLitt) 2020 entry

On the MLitt in Global Social and Political Thought you will explore the history and influence of social and political ideas. You will develop an interdisciplinary understanding of global thought traditions as well as learn applied skills in comparative analysis and cultural evaluation.

Apply now

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt).

Course dates

  • Start date: 7 September 2020
  • End date: 30 September 2021

Course duration

One year full-time; part-time study is not currently offered.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • The MLitt in Global Social and Political Thought welcomes applicants from a range of disciplinary backgrounds including, but not limited to:
    • classics
    • cultural studies
    • divinity
    • economics
    • history
    • international relations
    • management
    • media studies
    • politics
    • philosophy.
  • English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Apply now

Tuition fees

UK and EU: £9,450
Overseas: £19,400

Application deadline

Applications should be submitted as early as possible and no later than 12 August 2020. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • A CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.  
  • A personal statement explaining:
    • why you have applied for this course
    • how it relates to your personal or professional ambitions
    • how your academic and professional background show you have the skills needed to work effectively at postgraduate level.
  • Two original signed academic references on headed paper.
  • Academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The MLitt in Global Social and Political Thought explores the history and influence of social and political ideas. You will develop an interdisciplinary understanding of global thought traditions as well as learn applied skills in comparative analysis and cultural evaluation.


  • Aimed at students who want to deepen their understanding of global thought traditions including those who may want to continue to a doctoral degree.
  • Degree structure and content helps students with limited direct subject experience to develop advanced knowledge and understanding.
  • Transnational and comparative study of global traditions gives a remarkable richness and depth compared with conventional political thought degrees.
  • Interdisciplinary character allows you to use ideas from different disciplines to illuminate your studies.
  • Integrated training programme connects your academic learning with the development of professional competencies that enhance employability.

The MLitt in Global Social and Political Thought is distinguished by its international and comparative approach that will develop your understanding of what global thought and identity mean.

The degree will deepen your understanding of the great historical traditions of social and political thought across nations and cultures. You will learn about the different kinds of social and political thought influencing political arguments today as well as explore the relationships between political thought, anthropology, philosophy, and international relations. You will also learn about the manipulation of ideas and identities in our digital age – how they are created, shaped, communicated, and transformed with profound consequences for society and politics today and into the future.

The degree will be of particular interest if you intend to continue to doctoral research as it provides a broad-based programme of study culminating in a supervised research project.

The degree is also distinguished by its interdisciplinary character. You will be encouraged to develop a more rounded, interdisciplinary understanding of global thought traditions and to use ideas from different disciplines to illuminate your studies. The core modules bring together subject experts from across the University, providing different disciplinary perspectives on key topics.

The degree includes an integrated training programme. The training programme connects your academic learning with the development of professional competencies that enhance employability. The training programme brings together postgraduates from all Graduate School Masters degrees, helping you to make new interdisciplinary connections and providing a supportive social aspect to the Graduate School community.

Teaching format

The MLitt in Global Social and Political Thought is a one-year full-time degree. You will complete two compulsory modules in semester 1 (September to December) and two further compulsory modules in semester 2 (January to May).

You will use the period from June to August to complete a supervised research project.

The MLitt degree involves both independent and group study, and teaching methods include seminars, workshops, and practical sessions.

Most modules are assessed through coursework, including essays, reflective assignments, and presentations.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of modules offered at St Andrews, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2019–2020 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.

Each semester is organised around compulsory modules exploring the history and influence of social and political ideas

Semester 1

  • Global Concepts: provides a broad-based study of political thought and argument from ancient times to the present; it looks at the ancient and modern traditions associated with major states and empires as well as the influence of world religions on political concepts.
  • Global Politics: explores the origins of current controversies in politics - such as the nature of the state and its law, justice and property, gender, toleration and persecution, activism and the environment, and trade and peace.

Semester 2

  • Global Theory: examines philosophies that have had and continue to have a global impact - ranging from many of the great international religions, to philosophies ancient and modern, including Aristotelianism, Machiavellianism, Marxism, Liberalism, Populism, Orientalism and Wahhabism.
  • Special Topic: allow students to explore a specific topic in depth and develop research and analytical skills needed for the end of degree project.

The final module of the MLitt is the research project. The project takes the form of a period of supervised research where you will explore a global thought topic in depth. The project is an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to plan and manage research work and to apply appropriate research techniques. It therefore provides excellent preparation for careers requiring research skills, whether in academia or other contexts.

You can choose to present your research project as:

  • A written dissertation that emphasises your ability to plan and execute academically rigorous research, or
  • A multi-media portfolio that emphasises your ability to present global thought concepts in exciting and engaging ways.

If students choose not to complete the project requirement for the MLitt, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Certificate or a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PG Cert or PGDip instead of an MLitt. 

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Find out more

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.


The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies

The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies is the University of St Andrews’ newest academic school and has been established to foster interdisciplinary postgraduate education and scholarship.

The Graduate School’s interdisciplinary programmes and community provide postgraduates with a stimulating environment in which you can: 

  • Learn across subject boundaries and expand your knowledge base, allowing you to maximise the intellectual and professional value of your time at St Andrews.
  • Develop and apply practical skills relevant to academic and professional contexts and enhancing your employability.
  • Benefit from being part of a vibrant and welcoming postgraduate community and a Graduate School that is wholly focused on understanding and meeting the needs of Masters students.


Scholarships are designed to help students support themselves during their studies. Find out more about postgraduate scholarships

Postgraduate loans
Loans are available for students who meet the residency and other criteria. Find out more about postgraduate loans

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews. Find out more about the Recent Graduate Discount.

After the MLitt

Research degrees

St Andrews offers a vibrant and stimulating research environment. One of the great strengths of a St Andrews research degree is the collegiate atmosphere which enables access to expertise beyond your formal supervisors and the ability to conduct interdisciplinary research.

Research students are supported by a supervisory team throughout their studies and are assessed by means of a substantial thesis of original research.

Research degrees


The University of St Andrews’ global reputation makes its graduates highly valued by employers. The MLitt in Global Social and Political Thought provides the subject knowledge and applied skills needed for a range of leadership and professional careers. It will be of particular interest if you are considering a career in academia or research.

On this MLitt you will:

  • Learn applied research skills including the evaluation of primary source materials and secondary literature, comparative analysis techniques, and the presentation of academic concepts to mixed audiences.
  • Plan and manage a substantive research project, apply appropriate research techniques, and analyse and interpret research findings.
  • Demonstrate professional competencies including critical thinking and creativity, analysis and appraisal, problem-solving and decision making, project management and personal leadership, team working and interpersonal communication.

Alongside your studies, you will be able to complete M-Skills, a programme of in-person and online workshops and training materials for Masters students. M-Skills will help you develop the broader academic and personal skills you need to succeed in your degree and enhance your employability.

Additionally, the Careers Centre provides advice and support to help you plan your professional development and achieve your career goals. As well as online resources the Careers Centre offers one-to-one appointments to discuss any career-related matters.


The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies
University of St Andrews
Bute Building
Queen's Terrace
St Andrews
KY16 9TS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2032

Graduate School Facebook
Graduate School Twitter

Graduate School website

Page amendments

6 February 2020: The compulsory modules section was updated. Digital Thinking in Politics and Society was removed from Semester 1 and Special Topic was added to Semester 2. Global Politics was moved from Semester 2 to Semester 1.


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

Study at St Andrews

Study at the University of St Andrews and experience the world-class teaching and cutting edge research of Scotland’s first university.