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Graduate Admissions

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Political Thought and Intellectual History is not currently open for applications. Please check the sidebar for the relevant dates.

The MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History is aimed at students who have an interest in both the theory and history of political thought (including those wider intellectual idioms which provide the context for its development). It also welcomes students whose previous study had a more specialised historical or theoretical (or philosophical) bent, provided that while doing this course they are willing to engage with both approaches to research.

The MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History attracts students from all over the world, and its training provides an ideal foundation from which to proceed to doctoral research, not only in the United Kingdom, but around the world.

The MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History combines taught and research elements over a nine-month full-time programme, though priority is given to the pursuit of the individual student’s research. Classes are provided in methodology, in the reading of selected texts, and in selected concepts: these are intended to be "exemplary", offering opportunities to explore different methods used in the field, different approaches to reading texts, and a variety of political concepts. 

The MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History offers students a rounded and flexible master's programme that provides them with an introduction to all three of the fields contained within its scope (History of Political Thought, Political Theory, Intellectual History), while allowing them to specialise in their own area of particular interest. It offers a thorough training in the key techniques of higher-level academic study and research. It is an inter-faculty programme linking History, Politics, and Classics. The teaching staff and examiners have diverse disciplinary backgrounds, as do students on the course.

Throughout the course, students will be supervised by a dedicated member of staff, who will guide their research towards the completion of an original historical subject chosen and developed by them. In addition, students will benefit from Cambridge’s vibrant research environment, attending and participating in seminars, guest talks, workshops and other events throughout the year.

Learning Outcomes

Students on the MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History will be provided with an in-depth study of some of the key areas of research in political thought and intellectual history and all students will have a supervisor who will guide them through the requirements of the course and, most crucially, the dissertation.

In this manner, all students are provided with the historiographical knowledge and analytical skills necessary to understand and evaluate existing research and to pursue research in their own fields of intellectual interest. Through individual supervisions and group classes, students are introduced to the more specialised and intensive nature of research required at a postgraduate level.

By the end of the programme, students will have acquired:

  • an enhanced understanding of the history of political thought as well as an appreciation of the broader theoretical approaches and intellectual idioms that inform its study;
  • acquired the analytical capacity to pursue independent study of primary texts in the history of political thought and to evaluate the findings of secondary commentators; and
  • acquired the ability to situate their own research findings within the context of previous and current interpretative scholarly debates in the field of political thought and intellectual history.

Continuing

The Faculty’s MPhil programmes provide excellent preparation for doctoral study and many of our MPhil students choose to stay at Cambridge to pursue a Cambridge PhD.

Students wishing to continue to the PhD are normally expected to achieve an overall average of 70 in their MPhil with marks of at least 70 in their dissertation.

Admission to the PhD is always subject to the availability of a suitable supervisor.


Open Days

The University of Cambridge will be hosting its Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day on Friday 1 November 2019. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

Key Information


9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Faculty of History

Enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
March 31, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2020
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 9, 2019

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