Global Social and Political Thought (MLitt) 2023 entry

The MLitt in Global Social and Political Thought provides an innovative transnational and comparative approach to the study of the history and influence of global thought traditions.

Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2024
One year full time
The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies

Application deadline

Thursday 10 August 2023

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

“The interdisciplinary Global Social and Political Thought programme has allowed me to consider global politics from various perspectives. The sense of community is exceptional – within the first week, I was already running into people I had met before and having stimulating conversations.”
- Seattle, USA

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.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic 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.

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. 
  • A sample of your own, single-authored academic written work such as an extract from a previous project, essay, or undergraduate dissertation. 
  • Two original signed academic references on headed paper. 
  • Academic transcripts and degree certificates. 

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

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

Global intellectual history – the transnational and comparative approach to the history of ideas – is a developing field of academic study. Studying for the MLitt in Global Social and Political Thought, you will explore social and political ideas from around the world, the connections that link global thought traditions, and the ways in which those traditions continue to influence our world. 


  • Introduces key topics in global thought, providing a broad overview of the field. 
  • Transnational and comparative approach gives this programme a remarkable richness and depth compared with conventional intellectual history degrees. 
  • Interdisciplinary character helps you to develop a more rounded understanding of the questions and concepts of global thought. 
  • Prepares students for further academic study and research. 
  • Integrated training programme connects your academic learning with the development of personal and professional competencies. 

The MLitt in Global Social and Political Thought is an interdisciplinary degree with a global approach: it gives you an opportunity to study social and political thought, not just from Europe as is common in other universities, but also from societies across Asia, Africa, and the Americas. 

You will discover the key concepts in social and political thought from different regions of the world and learn to discuss how these regions have imagined and re-imagined themselves throughout history. This MLitt compares social and political thought that originated in different regions at various points in history, but you will also consider what connects these traditions and how different intellectual lineages form a shared commons for all of us. 

You will develop your understanding of global intellectual history while being encouraged to question its sometimes arbitrary categories. You will also learn to look at theory beyond Eurocentric lenses. In doing so you will think critically about how an awareness of multiple theoretical traditions can help us to respond to global issues such as social injustice, economic exploitation, ideological conflicts, and environmental degradation.  

Your learning will include key debates in contemporary global politics – from issues of democracy and rights within states to questions of international law and global justice between states. You will be trained to critically interpret political discussions through the optics of race, ethnicity, class, and gender. The MLitt asks how we can think in common with diverse societies and cultures to create a more democratic and equal world. You will be encouraged to consider the perspectives of the marginalised – the impoverished, the minority, or the refugee – and to think, in terms of practical solutions on the level of policy and research, about ways to democratise and subalternise global politics. 

The MLitt is distinctively interdisciplinary. On this MLitt subject, experts from across the University provide their own disciplinary perspectives on key topics. Through research-led teaching from scholars working in subjects including history, international relations, classics, literary-cultural studies, and biology you will learn to analyse contemporary debates and compare how these are approached from anthropological, historical, environmental, and philosophical perspectives. 

You will be encouraged to develop a more rounded, interdisciplinary understanding of global thought traditions and learn how to critically discuss these traditions from multiple disciplinary perspectives. You will also demonstrate your ability to solve complex problems by critical understanding, analysis, and synthesis. 

The MLitt 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 MLitt includes an integrated programme of skills workshops that connect your academic learning with the development of personal and professional competencies. Workshops bring together students from other Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies Masters degrees, helping you to make new interdisciplinary connections. 


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details about each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue, which is for the 2022-2023 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2023 entry. 

The MLitt is structured around four compulsory taught modules: 

Semester 1 

  • Global Concepts: introduces key concepts of political and social thought stemming from different world-regions and discusses how these regions have imagined and re-imagined themselves throughout history. 
  • Global Politics: encourages you to think, in terms of practical solutions on the level of policy and research, about how to democratise and subalternise global politics. 

Semester 2 

  • Global Theory: considers how an awareness of multiple theoretical traditions can help us to respond to global issues such as social injustice, economic exploitation, ideological conflicts, and environmental degradation. 
  • Special Topic in Interdisciplinary Learning: allows you to advance your learning by undertaking a research project on an agreed topic and provides preparation for the end of degree project. 

The final part of the MLitt is the end-of-degree project. This takes the form of a period of supervised research where you will explore a global thought topic in depth. 

Through the project, you will show your ability to undertake sustained critical analysis, develop and improve your research skills, and produce an extended piece of written work that demonstrates a high level of understanding of your area of study. 

You can choose to present your end-of-degree project in one of the following ways: 

  • a policy report that emphasises your ability to critically assess policy and make convincing recommendations for policy changes 
  • a multi-media portfolio that emphasises your ability to present global thought concepts in exciting and engaging ways 
  • a written dissertation that emphasises your ability to plan and execute academically rigorous research. 

If students choose not to complete the project requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive 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 PGDip instead of an MLitt.  

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


The taught modules are taken over two semesters – September to December (Semester 1) and January to May (Semester 2). The period from June to August is used to complete the end-of-degree project. 

Each taught module will use teaching and learning methods appropriate to its aims. These may include seminars, workshops, lectures, tutorials, and independent study.

Assessment methods used may include essays, reports, presentations, practical exercises, reflective exercises, and examinations.




More information on tuition fees can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances. Find out more about the scholarships and postgraduate loans available.

All taught postgraduate scholarships

After your degree


The University of St Andrews’ global reputation makes its graduates highly valued by employers. The MLitt in Global Social and Political Thought provides subject knowledge and applied skills relevant to a range of career paths; it will be of particular interest if you intend to continue to doctoral research. 

In addition to broadening your subject knowledge and applying established techniques of research and enquiry, you will develop and demonstrate essential skills including: 

  • critical thinking and creativity 
  • analysis and appraisal 
  • problem solving and decision making 
  • personal leadership and project management 
  • interpersonal communication and team working. 

The University also offers a programme of skills development activities for all students known as the Professional Skills Curriculum. This will help you develop your personal and professional capabilities and gain skills that you need to succeed in your studies and enhance your employability. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Further study

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

What to do next

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Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2032
The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies
The Old Burgh School
Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB

The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies website