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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school

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What Our Students Say

Here are some testimonials from our recent students:

Class of 2018/19

Erik Severson

Studying International Political Theory at the University of Edinburgh is an extremely rewarding experience. There is a variety of modules that students in the program can choose from in order to progress in academics within the area of study that they are most interested in. These modules are challenging, but also provide students with knowledge necessary to be able to be thoughtful and successful political theorists. As well as modules in political theory, students in the IPT program can take electives outside of their discipline in order to be inspired by a wide-range of thought-processes and ideas. These electives can span from courses in political science to more theoretical courses in philosophy and ethics. The knowledge that IPT students gain from these courses as well as the many informative courses in political theory lead them towards discovering their interests and towards writing their dissertation. The dissertation process at the University of Edinburgh is demanding but also extremely helpful for students who wish to continue their academic careers and for students who wish to join the work force in many different areas. It encourages people to work hard and also to be creative using the knowledge that they have learned throughout the year. While I loved the modules and the dissertation process here at Edinburgh, perhaps my favorite part of the program was the Political Theory Research Group. Each week, IPT students are invited to the research group’s meetings, in which academics from within the university and from other universities present their ongoing research to other academics in order to receive necessary feedback. Being part of this research group allows IPT students to engage with the research of many political theorists and is an extremely rewarding and informative experience.

Marie-Claire Zimmermann

The International Political Theory (IPT) Program at the University of Edinburgh was an amazing experience all-around. The courses were academically challenging but also incredibly rewarding. In particular, the course ‘Contemporary Political Theory’, in which different lecturers from universities around the UK would join us every two weeks to discuss their forthcoming articles on current issues in political theory, was a uniquely inspiring and thought-provoking experience. Together with the Political Theory Research Group this gives IPT students the opportunity to directly engage with new and fascinating topics. This helped me to further develop my critical thinking and led to many interesting discussions with fellow students as well as lecturers. Furthermore, the academic staff in Political Theory has been incredibly supportive within the classroom by always encouraging and valuing students’ contributions and outside of it by providing feedback and general guidance on academic issues. The many electives that can be chosen to complement the compulsory modules of the program also provide students with the ability to further pursue other academic interests or develop new ones.     

Class of 2017/18

Cheng-chia Tung

Studying International Political Theory (IPT) at the University of Edinburgh was an academically challenging and exciting experience. The courses and modules give students the essential knowledge on this newly developed discipline, and also offers a variety of elective courses which allows students to engage with cutting-edge issues across disciplinary boundaries. Students are encouraged to pursue their own academic interests and attend courses that they deem fit as the regulation on the course selection at the School of Social and Political Science (SPS) is relatively thin. With interests in both international relations and political theory, I had taken post-grad courses in both areas such as “War and Morality” and “International Security”. In these two courses, I had chances to engage with the debates over the right and wrong concerning war, and learned the latest empirical research on armed conflicts. The combination of these two courses provided me with a more comprehensive overview of the current challenges to peace. Other than its courses and modules, MSc in IPT is recommended because of its faculty members. During the academic year, I had received professional and emotional support from faculty members, especially from the program director and the dissertation supervisor. As a non-native speaker with no experiences of studying abroad, I relied on their support to learn about how to be a qualified researcher in the field. For those who are unsure about studying abroad and worried about the challenges you might encounter in a different academic environment, members of IPT will give you the support you need as they are experienced professionals who understand how challenging a master degree can be. All you need to do is ask.

Colin Cremona

Studying International Political Theory at the University of Edinburgh was a challenging but enriching experience.

The core modules are exciting and engaging, giving students a grasp on current academic research. They are conducted via lectures and seminars, further allowing students to develop their arguments constructively with others.   The academic and support staff were helpful throughout the year, and feedback on assessments was provided promptly.  The Political Theory Research Group further supplements this experience by providing Master’s students with the opportunity to meet other students and scholars, and discuss their ongoing research.

Students at the University of Edinburgh also get access to the University’s library, gaining access to academic journals, books and past academic research. Studying in Scotland’s capital also gives students access to the National Library of Scotland, providing greater access to academic books and other research material.

The city of Edinburgh complements this experience with gardens, museums, libraries and bars. The Scottish Highlands are only a few hours away from Edinburgh, and a trip up the highlands is ideal for when you need to draw the required strength and inspiration for assignmenta or dissertation, or when you need to set your mind at rest.


Sophie Baumert

Studying International Political Theory has been a thought-provoking experience that introduced me to new ideas and perspectives. The core course Contemporary Political Theory offers the unique opportunity for students to engage with academics from other universities. It was inspiring to discuss texts with the authors who had actually written them and the personal interactions greatly enhanced my understanding of their theories. Academic staff in the department are very supportive and there are plenty of opportunities across the university to further pursue interests beyond the courses. I particularly enjoyed learning more about current research by participating in meetings of the Political Theory Research Group. The group discussions shaped my approach to critically engaging with literature and writing my own essays. As a part-time student who is also working, I had to be quite organised and use my time wisely, which will be beneficial skills for any route I take after the degree. Still, I found the workload manageable and could also enjoy student life in Edinburgh.


Class of 2016/17

Botai Gao

I enjoyed the experience as a postgraduate student, studying International Political Theory at the university of Edinburgh. I highly recommend this program to those who have strong interests in theoretical study and philosophical thinking; the classes I took in this program surely opened my eyes and enabled me to look at, and think about the world in a totally different way. Like other schools and programs at the University of Edinburgh, this program equips us with the best professors and assistants; they are always glad to help with great care and patience. Fruitful research resources are easy to be accessed as well. Moreover, different kinds of excellent lectures and interesting social gathering are waiting for you! All in all, especially as an international non-English native speaker, I learnt and grew a lot during the one-year study here.


Joël Reland

I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of the MSc, which provided me with a lot of scope to combine courses to suit my specific interests. I had a particular interest in questions of refugees and critical theory, and found myself able to choose a selection of courses which were mutually informative, widening and deepening my understanding of both issues. Alongside this, the teaching of seminars was excellent, and the convenors of the MSc put a lot of time into considering their structure, as well as providing extra resources for students outside of seminar hours. Studying in the heart of the city also meant that this year felt like more than a degree. I got to spend every day taking in Edinburgh’s beautiful surroundings, and it was only ever a few minutes’ walk from the library to a great café, bar or cultural activity.


Amir Abdel Baki

Pursuing a master's degree in International Political Theory at the University of Edinburgh was deeply enriching. Before joining the program, I had many questions in mind related to peace, war and human rights. With the guidance of an excellent academic staff and through engaging with the reading material of the courses I have taken, I was able to develop my thoughts and come up with satisfying answers to the questions I had. In-class discussions was greatly helpful to get to know the opinions of other students coming from all over the world. Lastly, living in Edinburgh is so much fun. The city has such a friendly and vibrant atmosphere that supports students' learning experience.

Bo Ye

My experience studying for the MSc in International Political Theory at the University of Edinburgh was excellent. I have no academic background in political theory; however, the arrangements of this programme provided me with a wonderful route through rigorous academic research of political theory. I could also get access to research in progress, by attending the weekly Political Theory Research Group, in which many lecturers and PhD students are engaged. Lecturers, including the programme director and others in the School, are approachable and very supportive. Meanwhile, various courses in other Schools at the University are a huge knowledge pool for those who are keen to explore their intellectual and academic interests. With the permission of my programme director, I have taken several courses from other departments like History, Law, and Philosophy during the year. I faithfully recommend the International Political Theory programme to anyone who is interested in political science. You will not regret it.

Roisin O'Neil

The city of Edinburgh is a treasure trove of interesting shops, streets, markets, cultural centres and history. Despite its many hills it is a walk-able city and I would recommend everyone see the Royal Mile in the early morning, as the sun is coming up, the shops are beginning to open and the tourists have not yet arrived.  Studying at the University of Edinburgh was an excellent experience. The university is large enough to provide many facilities and opportunities to explore but the Political Theory department is small enough to allow everyone to feel included. I loved the class discussions, the interesting lectures and the helpful staff. The students came from all across the world which allowed for discussion on a wide-range of topics. I really enjoyed studying International Political Theory. The lecturers were engaged and really brought the theoretical discussions to life. As I was taught the intricacies of debating political theory I was also given the opportunity to take classes focusing on political economy, urban anthropology and transitional justice alongside my core political theory modules. The sheer scope of ideas presented to me during the academic year widened my mind and better prepared me for any work I may do in the future. 
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