A British MA
The importance of quality control
One of the less well-known features of British higher education is the institution of the external examiner. Each university department appoints one or more external examiners- a senior figure from a different university whose job it is to read the work of students in the department (essays, dissertations, examination scripts of undergraduates and graduates) and to confirm that the standard of work and the marks awarded conform to standards elsewhere in other British universities known to the examiner. ‘The decision of the external examiner is final’ is a sentence familiar to students checking university regulations before they begin their final examinations.
We are visited by an external examiner appointed by Lancaster University from a UK university other than Lancaster. The external examiner is usually appointed for three years only and a new examiner cannot be from the same university as the previous one. This examiner reads the work of all students (all essays and dissertations) after they have completed the programme in IFiS in order to decide whether they can be awarded the MA in Lancaster.
The programme’s students, with their particularly varied religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, can gain confidence from the knowledge that their final marks are subject to confirmation by someone they will very probably never meet but who has read their work thoroughly and has compared the standards of marking to those elsewhere in the UK.
The degrees awarded are those of Lancaster University and the programmes are therefore subject to review by the UK’s Quality Assurance Association for higher education (more details at http://www.qaa.ac.uk/)
External examiners’ reports are not normally public documents, and while it would be unusual to give quotations from them, it is permissible to note that since the programme opened here in 1995 they have consistently confirmed that standards are fully comparable with those at the best UK universities.
Students who succesfully complete one of three ‘tracks’ of our postgraduate programme have the possibility of being awarded one of three diplomas by Lancaster University: Master of Arts in Society and Politics; Master of Arts in Economy and Society; or Master of Arts in Culture, Media and Society.
All lectures of the programme take place after 17:00 on weekdays, or at weekends.
MA in Society and Politics
The MA in Society and Politics is the oldest and most established track in our MA programme. It offers a variety of courses that will provide both the “standard canons” of theoretical and empirical discourse and relate to the research frontier as well. Political sociology, especially civil society both East and West of the Elbe and social movements, contemporary welfare states, especially the so-called Swedish model, classic and contemporary social and political theory, institution building, corruption, political culture, political gender issues, the interpretation of Holocaust and law and society are examples of our orientation as reflected in our courses.
MA in Economy and Society
The MA in Economy and Society track was designed to help students develop an understanding of how social preconditions may both limit and stimulate change from non-market to various types of market economy. The seminars focus on the interdependence between the economic and social systems at the time of a deep transformation. Thanks to courses like Political Economy of Policy Reform, Economy and Society (I and II), , Seminar on Corruption, Organized Crime and Human Trafficking, and Sociology of Institutional Change, students are able to observe theories “in action”, as instruments for achieving a better understanding of the socio-economic world.
MA in Culture, Media and Society
The MA in Culture, Media and Society track offers students a unique chance to gain a broad perspective on the contemporary developments in the field of cultural studies together with a practical focus on those aspects of culture which are of importance in today’s societies. In particular, the problem of cultural identity in the contemporary world is addressed in various courses that make up this track, including Theories of Culture, the Holocaust and Its Cultural Meaning, Culture and Nationalism, Women’s Political Identity, and the Roma in Central/Eastern Europe.
The media-component provides students with an understanding of the growing importance of the interplay of influence between mass media and society, examining the media’s role in shaping socio-cultural, political, economic, and technological developments. The track looks at a broad range of subjects related to the production and reception of news and advertising, including mass communication history and theory, media effects, media ownership structure.
MA as the first year of the PhD
Studies at the GSSR are aimed at three kinds of applicant:
- Those who wish to study for an MA to improve their qualifications before seeking employment;
- Those who wish to study for an MA as a preliminary to embarking on a PhD;
- Those who wish to begin the PhD programme directly.
This can be illustrated by the following schema:
non specialist entry
non specialist entry
Candidates apply directly either to the MA or the PhD programme.
1. Some students will simply attend the School in order to complete the MA programme.
2. Students who successfully complete the MA programme and successfully apply to continue at the School as doctoral students may if they wish ( but are not obliged to) enter directly to the second year of the PhD programme.
Students applying and accepted directly to the PhD programme may if they wish choose to follow all the MA programme requirements in their first year and so have the possibility of obtaining a British MA as the first part of the PhD programme.
Some otherwise well-qualified applicants to the PhD programme whose level of preparation is in some respects not quite sufficient for entry to doctoral studies may nevertheless be accepted to the PhD programme on condition they satisfy the requirements of the MA programme before continuing to the second year of doctoral studies.
3. All doctoral students in any year of the PhD programme are entitled to take and obtain credit for courses offered in the MA programme, but those accepted directly to the PhD programme need not take any MA courses if they do not wish to.
MA programme handbook
Courses in 2018-18
For details of course available in individual tracks see handbook p 9
- Sławomir Kapralski (UP Krakow)– Social and PoliticalTheory
- Henryk Banaszak (U. Warsaw)– Research methods
- Radosław Markowski (SWPS) – Political sociology
- Andrzej Rychard (IFiS PAN)– Economy & society I
- Magdalena Grabowska (IFiS PAN))/Joanna Regulska (UC Davis)– Womens Political Identity in Making
- Annamaria Orla-Bukowska (Jagellonian U.)– The Holocaust and its cultural meaning
- Zdzisław Mach (Jagellonian U.)– Culture and Nationalism
- Andrzej Rychard (IFiS PAN) – Sociology of Institutional Change
- Marta Olcoń Kubicka (IFiS PAN)– Qualitative methods
- Henryk Banaszak (U. Warsaw)– Quantitative Methods
- Sławomir Kapralski (UP Krakow)– Contemporary Social Theory
- Michał Federowicz/Michał Sitek (IFiS PAN)– Economy and Society II
- Sławomir Kapralski (UP Krakow)– Theories of Culture
- Sławomir Kapralski (UP Krakow)– The Roma in Central/Eastern Europe
- Edwin Bendyk (Collegium Civitas)– e-Media
- Paweł Załęski (U. Warsaw)– Civil Society in Theory and Practice
- Michał Federowicz/Michał Sitek (IFiS PAN) – Political economy of policy reform
- Peter Przytuła (U. Minnesota)– Mass Communication and Society
- Peter Przytuła (U. Minnesota)– Media Ethics
- Jan Kubik (Rutgers)– Beyond political Culture
- Leslie Holmes (U.Melbourne)– Organised Crime and Human Trafficking
- Leslie Holmes (U.Melbourne)– Corruption
- Jan Pakulski (University of Tasmania) Elites and Leaders in Contemporary Politics