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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Choosing Courses

You must choose your courses (for both semesters) no later than at the end of week 2 of your joining semester  although we encourage students to make their choice during the Welcome Week or in Week 1. A course choice form should be completed and returned to the Graduate School office reception by that deadline. The form can also be emailed to - the subject line must clearly state the email contains a course choice form.

MSc by research students

For MSc by Research students, your particular degree programme will require that certain courses are taken. If your programme has optional courses, these are discussed with your subject Programme Director (the Postgraduate Advisor) and, where appropriate, your supervisor bearing in mind any Research Council requirements, and any particular training needs raised by your anticipated research. You can have a look at available courses in Path.

Questions about the suitability of a course for a particular student are decided by the Course Organiser, in consultation if necessary with the Director of Postgraduate Research.

PhD students

For PhD students, course choices are discussed with your Supervisor(s) and your subject area Postgraduate Advisor, bearing in mind the requirements of your particular degree programme, Research Council requirements, and any particular training needs raised by your anticipated research.

In general, you should bear in mind:

  • Students with practical command of particular research skills should not take courses which reproduce what they have already learned; exemption from the core courses is available for students who can demonstrate proficiency in that area (through previous qualifications and/or work experience).
  • The Graduate School's training in research methods assumes existing qualifcations or experience in social sciences; courses are not generally suitable for students with no prior knowledge.

Students from other Schools

If your degree is in another School, but you need to register for an SSPS Research Training course, you must:

  • Check with your Supervisor/Programme Director that the courses you wish to take are appropriate;
  • Seek approval from the Course Organiser (named on the individual course webpage);
  • Contact your own School's Graduate School Office, who will register you on the course.

Course changes

You may be able to change courses up until the end of week 2 of each semester, if places on the course you wish to change into are available. A course change form should be completed which will be actioned by the Graduate School Office.

  • You may request a change of course once per semester.
  • Course changes are subject to availability and Course Organiser approval.
  • If you would like to take a course that is not listed on your programme, approval from your Programme Director, the Course Organiser and Course Secretary is required.  All three approvals should be sent to
  • Course change requests can be made up to Week 2 of the semester in which the course is taught.
  • The deadline for Semester 2 course change requests is 12 Noon Wednesday 22 January 2020.

The Semester 2 course change request form can be accessed here and submitted from Monday 09 December 2019.

Auditing courses

It may be possible for students to audit a course - i.e. attend the classes, but not do the assessment or obtain any credits for the course. Students still need to register for the course.

Please note that not all courses accept auditing students. The decision of whether or not to accept auditing students is at the Course Organiser's discretion. If you wish to audit a course you must email the Course Organiser to obtain permission. If they approve you should submit this permission email with your course choice form.

Please note that we typically do not permit a student to audit more than one course in any semester. If you wish to audit more than one course per semester you will need to email your Programme Director (for MSc students) or PhD Supervisor (for PhD students) to obtain permission. If they approve this email should also be submitted with your course choice form.

Ensure that you write ‘Audit’ under the credits column on the course choice form to indicate that you wish to audit the course.

For students from outside SSPS who wish to audit an SSPS course, your own Graduate School Office will need to register you. However, you still need to ask the Course Organiser's permission, and the SSPS Graduate School Office still needs to be informed.

Please note, a request to audit a course may be accepted provisionally, but may be withdrawn if that place is needed by a student taking the course for credit.

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