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Global Social and Political Thought (MLitt) 2021 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.

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Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course dates

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 September 2022

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

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

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 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.

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Tuition fees

Home: £9,900
Overseas: £20,370

Application deadline

Wednesday 11 August 2021. 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.
  • A sample of 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.
  • 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

Global intellectual history – the transnational and comparative approach to the history of ideas – is a developing field of academic study. On 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-based overview of the field.
  • Transnational and comparative approach gives a remarkable richness and depth compared with conventional intellectual history degrees.
  • Interdisciplinary character helps you to develop a more rounded understanding of global thought questions and concepts.
  • 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 distinguished by its interdisciplinary character and its pioneering global approach giving you the opportunity to study social and political thought from societies across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

The MLitt introduces key concepts in social and political thought from different world regions and discusses how these regions have imagined and re-imagined themselves throughout history. The MLitt juxtaposes social and political thought of varied geographical and temporal origin, 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 encompass 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, classical studies, and cultural studies you will learn to analyse contemporary debates and compare how these are approached from anthropological, historical, 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.

Teaching format

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.

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 2020–2021 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 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 Politicsencourages 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:

  • policy report that emphasises your ability to critically assess policy and make convincing recommendations for policy changes
  • multi-media portfolio that emphasises your ability to present global thought concepts in exciting and engaging ways
  • 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 2021 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 

The next virtual visiting day will be in November 2021.

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.

Online information events

The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies

The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies was established in 2017 to foster interdisciplinary postgraduate education and scholarship.

The ability to work across subject boundaries is now recognised as an essential skill. The Graduate School’s Masters degrees will help you to develop a more rounded, interdisciplinary understanding of your subject and to use ideas from different disciplines to illuminate your studies.

As well as their interdisciplinary character, the Graduate School's Masters degrees are distinguished by an emphasis on the development and application of practical skills. In addition to broadening your subject knowledge, you will develop your skills of critical thinking and creativity, analysis and appraisal, problem-solving and decision-making, and project management and personal leadership.

One of the most appealing aspects of joining the Graduate School is the welcoming interdisciplinary community. The Graduate School is a place where you can make social and intellectual connections across subject boundaries and where students form close networks within and across their Masters degree groups.


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 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.

However, your Masters degree is just one part of your personal and professional development during your time at St Andrews. The Professional Skills Curriculum is the University's programme of skills development activities for all students.

Comprising evening lectures, workshops, and online presentations, the Professional Skills Curriculum will help you develop your personal and professional capabilities and gain skills that you need to succeed in your studies 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 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


The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies
University of St Andrews
Bute Building
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Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2032

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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

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