Birkbeck, University of London

Course Introduction

We will consider policy debates and responses to population growth and stabilisation, as well as the effects of ageing populations on economies, welfare systems and defence and security. Under the guidance of expert academics, you will examine how ethnic, religious and national identities intersect with questions of resources and population around the world. You will be introduced to a spectrum of methodological approaches, including quantitative techniques for analysing and projecting demographic change, discourse analysis of policy documents, and historical case studies of political debates and movements. There will be an opportunity to read some of the classic works on population, such as Adam Smith, Malthus, J. S. Mill and Marx, as well as to study more recent ideas, including demographic transition theory and the environmental concept of the Anthropocene. You will be invited to examine unique case studies using methodologies that include data analysis, critical theory (Marxism, genealogy and critical discourse analysis) and policy analysis. The core modules explore current demographic and environmental change in the context of politics, economics and international relations and also consider the relationship between immigration, ageing and conflict. You will be equipped with the conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study politics at postgraduate level. You will then go on to undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation on the subject that interests you most.

Course Modules

Core modules: Population and environmental politics; the politics of population change (immigration, aging and conflict). Indicative list of option modules: American foreign policy; emerging powers in world politics; global governance; international political economy; international security and global governance; Middle East politics; modern British politics; nationalism and ethno'religious conflict; political sociology; political theory; public management (theories and innovations); public policy (equality and redistribution); public policy (interests, ideas, institutions); qualitative social research; quantitative social research; the European Union (integration, politics and policy); the politics of global Europe; war, politics and society.

Course Additional Entry

A good degree in social science or another relevant subject. Other qualifications may also be considered. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub'tests.

Duration & Attendance Qualification Tuition fees
1 year
Full Time
MSc (Postgraduate)
1 - 2 years
Part Time Evening
MSc (Postgraduate)