Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies


Key details 


Start Year
Full Time
Degree of Master of Arts

Assessment for Year 1

You will be assessed on the basis of module work which you will complete across the year, and on your 10,000 word dissertation, which you’ll hand in at the end of the year.

We use a range of assessment methods across our modules, but you can expect to undertake essays, project reports, examinations, group work and presentations.

Admissions Live Chat   
Register interest   
Open Days   

Year 1

Compulsory Modules (100 Credits)

Code PPLX7002A - (20 Credits)

How and why is public policy made the way it is? Our aim is to enable students to develop a rich and wide appreciation of the many ways that policy is made and the factors that influence these. You will gain advanced critical understanding some of the main theories, models and concepts used in the study of public policy and how they are applied. You will also develop substantive knowledge of specific policies and policy areas, which may include environment, health, immigration and welfare policy. In addition, students successfully completing the module will be able to demonstrate an empirical understanding of the public policy process in the UK, ability to make comparisons with other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) democracies, and an understanding of the changing role of nation-states in policy development.

Code PPLX7011A - (20 Credits)

Is there a crisis in public services? Is the efficient and accountable organisation of the machinery of governments under threat? We hear much about entering a ‘post-bureaucratic age’ for the governance of countries. What might this mean? Is it possible? We will examine the organisation and operation of public sectors in the shadow of democracy, putting current debates in the UK in a historical and international comparative context. On completing the module, you will have analysed and evaluated the most influential models and theories of public management and organisational behaviour, be able to describe and critically reflect on the framework for public management in practice, focussed especially on recent developments in the UK, understand the reasons for public management reform, and be able to engage in debates about the future direction of the public sector.

Code PPLX7010X - (60 Credits)

For all MA students registered on programmes in Political Social and International Studies except those undertaking a Dissertation by Practice. Students are required to write a dissertation of 10,000 words on a topic approved by the Course Director or other authorised person. The dissertation is to be submitted the first working day of September in the relevant year.


Options Range A (20 Credits)

Code DEV-7042A - (20 Credits)

Climate change presents a challenge to development that is both complex and urgent. Populations in less developed countries are amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A multi-disciplinary approach allows us to understand the causes, consequences and responses to climate change in the 21st century. This module explores the causes of climate change, its impacts on development and the role of adaptation in reducing vulnerability to climate change and promoting climate resilient development. The first part of the module covers key aspects of climate change science necessary for an essential understanding of the causes and expected future impacts of climate change. The second part of the module focuses on the theory and practice of adaptation to climate change at different scales, from national policy making to local level case studies. A programme of lectures, workshops and group and individual work allow students to explore the module material. This module gives you sufficient grasp of the scientific underpinnings of climate change science to engage confidently in debate with non-specialists on the causes and consequences of climate change. It also gives you the theoretical and applied knowledge to research and plan for adaptation to climate change.

Code ENV-7025A - (20 Credits)

If everyone on Earth lived like a typical UK citizen we’d need three planets-worth of resources. But we only have one. Why do we consume the way we do? What drives our behaviour and how might we persuade people to live more sustainably? What do we mean by a sustainable lifestyle, anyway? These are questions academics, businesspeople, campaigners and policymakers struggle with every day and there are no easy answers. In this module you’ll get to grips with competing visions about what sustainable consumption is. You’ll gain an understanding of a range of theoretical approaches to understanding consumption behaviour and you’ll learn how to apply these theories to develop strategies for achieving sustainable consumption. You’ll begin by examining the impacts of western-style consumerism on the Earth’s social, economic and environmental systems. Using concepts such as ecological footprinting, needs and wellbeing, you’ll take a closer look at how economic and environmental systems interact. You'll contrast a ‘green growth’ approach to sustainable consumption with a more radical ‘de-growth’ model. Drawing on interdisciplinary social science theories from economics, psychology, sociology and ethnography, you’ll go on to investigate a range of strategies for achieving change, by government, business, civil society, and individual consumers. You’ll get hands-on experience testing and applying these ideas yourselves, in participative workshops, alongside award-winning innovative teaching methods. In lectures, you’ll learn about topics such as Ethical Consumption, Limits to Growth, Collaborative Consumption, Community-based initiatives, Life Cycle Analysis and Behaviour-change campaigns. Understanding the theoretical debates behind everyday actions for sustainability will make you better able to design and implement sustainability strategies in the workplace – whether in the public or private sector, or civil society. You’ll be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses in sustainable consumption campaigns and policies, and offer theoretically-informed solutions.

Code PPLX7013A - (20 Credits)

Elections are the primary way in which citizens hold governments to account, obtain representation and allow direct decision making in referendums. However, there are also often under threat by old and new challenges to electoral integrity. These challenges might include cyber-security concerns; gerrymandered electoral boundaries; millions of people missing electoral registers; electoral violence and voter intimidation; ballot stuffing; and, poorly organised electoral management bodies. These problems can manifest themselves in elections in all parts of the world. They potentially have major consequences for who wins elections, democratic accountability, the inclusivity of society, conflict and security, global politics and more. This course will provide students with a comprehensive account of how, when and why elections go wrong and what can be done to improve them. Part I of the course introduces students to key aspects of democratic theory and theories of institutional change necessary for understanding the role of elections in democratic polities and why electoral institutions can be difficult to reform. Part II focuses on the key aspects of elections, from electoral systems, election monitoring and the voter franchise. The focus of the course is global. It will interest students of politics, (aspiring) practitioners in the field of elections but also international relations and broader social sciences such as development.

Code PPLX7006A -  (20 credits)

This module is an introduction to practical research, involving the collection and empirical analysis of real-world data, and the statistics that underpin this analysis. It also introduces the basics of qualitative research and familiarises students with the practicalities of a range of qualitative research methods.

Code PPLI7009A - (20 Credits)

Despite international relations’ secular bias, the need to understand and acknowledge the importance of the role of religion in contemporary global politics has never been greater. Religion has the capacity to be both a force for good and for ill in the world, whether in peacekeeping initiatives, international development, interfaith dialogue, promoting religious freedom and human rights or in its capacity for violence and intolerance of other faiths. In this module students will be introduced to theoretical approaches to religion and international security, sacred violence and clashing civilisations, just war and jihad, peace making, faith-based initiates, religious freedom, and religious persecution. Specific conflicts and rivalries including the war on terror, Israel-Palestine, Iran-Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, the persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya and China’s Uighur populations will be considered alongside the role of religion in peace and reconciliation in South Africa and Northern Ireland. The module is research-led, using Marsden’s monograph on Religion and International Security (Polity 2019), and will equip students to have a greater understanding of the role religion plays in world politics.


Options Range B (60 Credits)

Code PPLC7007B - (20 Credits)

Do you wish to pursue a career in international management and relations, multilingual business, or international development? Are you interested in becoming a more effective communicator in other professions such as translation, interpreting, education, and cultural mediation? In this module we will explore the issues fundamental to intercultural communication (IC) in practical contexts. You will examine the different ways of thinking about effective communication in a variety of work/organisation-based environments. During the seminars/lecture series, invited practitioners will introduce you to how IC operates in specific organisations, including government agencies or in multilingual business management. On completion of this module, you will have developed the linguistic skills, cultural competence, and critical thinking required for the production of an extended research project in intercultural communication. You will also have acquired a sense of how cultural assumptions may influence communication with others from different backgrounds, and developed a greater willingness to enter into dialogue with the values prevalent in cultures other than your own.

Code PPLC7008B - (20 Credits)

Can “cultural” differences cause conflict in communication? How are they to be resolved without prioritising one culture over the other? In this module we study conflict and conflict resolution strategies across different cultural contexts. You will study a wide range of communication domains, e.g. everyday encounters, language at work, language in diplomatic contexts, language and social cohesion, language and racism, language and gender, and language in the globalization process, also with reference to your specific linguistic/cultural backgrounds. Our approach is interdisciplinary; it includes Face and Politeness Theories, Discourse Analysis and Intercultural Communication Studies. The module will help you understand better the conditions for cross-cultural misunderstanding and conflict and strategies of conflict escalation and resolution.

Code PPLI7007B - (20 Credits)

The module looks at the history of China and Japan from the mid-19th century to the present day. You'll cover the attempts at modernisation, conflict between the two nations, their relationships with the Asian region and the United States. You'll also investigate their contrasting attempts to develop in the postwar period. In addition, you'll assess their current policies and the issues of importance to China and Japan in the 21st century, and explore whether they can move beyond the legacy of this difficult history.

Code PPLI7008B - (20 Credits)

This module will use case studies of Southeast Asia, Central America and the Middle East to explore the reasons for American interventions and to assess their success or failure. It will offer an historical understanding of the assumptions and practices which lie behind contemporary US foreign policy-making. The module will introduce students to the institutions and processes involved in the making of American foreign policy.

Code PPLI7013B - (20 Credits)

You will examine the origins, development and recent history of the European Union, the dynamics of EU decision making, and the working of EU policies in key areas, such as the single market, economic and monetary union, trade, and security and defence. You will explore the role and internal operation of the EU institutions, as well as the interaction between the EU and the member states, including what the obligations of membership imply for member countries. You will critically assess the key theories, models and concepts used in the study of the EU.

Code PPLX7005B - (20 Credits)

This module enables students to develop an advanced understanding of the theory and practice of public affairs, interest intermediation, and the strategies used by interest, advocacy groups and others to influence the political process. As well as covering the main debates in the academic literature, it draws directly on the experience of practitioners and offers unique insights into this under-studied area of politics.

Code PPLX7007B - (20 Credits)

You’ll examine one of the pressing issues of political theory, constitutional law, democracy, and media regulation: why is free speech important and what if any should be its limits? You’ll compare and contrasts the conditions of free speech in China, the UK, and the United States. You’ll be introduced to some of the classic defences of free speech found in the writings of J.S. Mill and the judicial decisions of Oliver Wendall Holmes. Following on from this you’ll examine the question of free speech as it relates to freedom of the press and new media. You’ll also explore the question of the limits of free speech, particularly in relation to hate speech. At this point you will have a chance to examine human rights instruments and laws pertaining to the issues, including the ECHR, the Human Rights Act 2008, and the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2008, as well as a range of legal cases from courts across the world. You’ll be exposed to a range of deeper ideological debates among liberals, libertarians, multiculturalists, and critical theorists. The approach will be multidisciplinary drawing on politics, philosophy, and law. The format will be a two-hour class each week, comprising research-led teaching, seminar discussions, practical exercises, textual reading, balloon debate, and essay writing and research-skills mini-sessions. The assessment comprises of formative feedback on the presentation of an essay plan and summative assessment of two essays.


Admissions Live Chat   
Register interest   
Open Days   

Entry Requirements

Degree classification

Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2.1 or equivalent

Degree subject

Humanities or Social Sciences

Additional entry requirements

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact university directly for further information.

Students for whom english is a foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.0 (minimum 5.5 in two components only, with 6.0 in the other two)

  • PTE (Pearson): 64 (minimum 59 in only two components with 64 in the others)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact intopre-sessional@uea.ac.uk.


This course is open to UK, EU and International applicants. The annual intake for this course is in September each year.


Course Reference Number: 3299016

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2021/22 are:

  • UK Students: £8,450

  • International Students: £17,600

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for Home students). 

We estimate living expenses at £1,023 per month. 

Further Information on tuition fees can be found here.


Scholarships and Awards

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a number of Scholarships and Awards on offer. For further information relevant to Political, Social and International Studies, visit the Scholarships and Funding page for postgraduate students.

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.
Course Reference Number: 3299016

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

To apply please use our online application form.


If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

Course Reference Number: 3299016
Key details
Full Time
Degree of Master of Arts
What governments do and why they do it are perennially important questions. But in today’s complex and ever-changing world, a critical understanding of the processes and their results is more vital than ever before. This MA will help you develop an in-depth understanding of public policy and management at both national and international levels. Flexible and multidisciplinary, it’s ideal if you have a social science degree and are hoping to specialise, a degree in environmental studies or geography and are looking for wider applications of your subject knowledge, or if you’re a professional, interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the processes you deal with every day. You’ll develop transferable skills applicable to many careers, the ability to think critically and to constructively question ‘received wisdom’, presentation and teamwork skills, project work, critical analysis and synthesis of arguments, independent research, and the application of theory to real-world cases.
Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
See more