MA Human Rights - Political Science (Standard Route)

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Debating Justice

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI70611
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This is a course in contemporary normative political theory. It aims to introduce postgraduate students to normative analysis and philosophical reasoning through the critical study of contemporary political theory over the past forty years.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:

  • Employ a rigorous analytical approach in critically evaluating the key theories of justice in contemporary Anglophone political theory.
  • Examine and critique the central claims of liberal egalitarianism, libertarianism, feminism, Marxism, and republicanism.
  • Develop their own responses to urgent and theoretically complex problems of justice.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will take place in weekly two-hour seminars. Students will be assigned reading and preparatory questions for each week, and will take turns presenting the readings.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written assignment (inc essay) 75%
Oral assessment/presentation 15%

75% final essay, 3000 words

10% participation: in-class and/or online

15% in-class presentation OR equivalent piece of in-depth preparation of weekly readings


Recommended reading

The following are useful introductory works.

  • Kymlicka, Will. Contemporary Political Philosophy: 2nd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Goodin & Pettit (eds.) Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology Oxford: Wiley Blackwell 2019
  • Olsaretti, Serena (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Distributive Justice Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stephen Hood Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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