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Welsh Government and Politics (MA)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Course options See other modes of study
Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Devolution has transformed Welsh politics and government. Join this innovative programme and explore the devolved institutions in their wider constitutional, political and policy contexts.


Connected – Wales and beyond

Close links and proximity to Wales’ devolved institutions as well as to UK-wide levels of government.


Engaging speakers

A vibrant interdisciplinary research environment hosting regular research seminars and visiting speakers.


Specialist modules

Modules built on the distinctive and cross-disciplinary opportunities afforded by our expertise in law, politics and international relations.

The changing political and legal landscape in Wales poses exciting and challenging questions for those with an academic or professional interest in politics and policy.

The Welsh Government and Politics MA is designed to develop a comprehensive understanding of the institutions and practices of governance in post-devolution Wales. In addition to focusing on politics and governance in Wales, the course places developments in Wales in a broader UK context, providing an overview of relationships between the various levels of governance. 

Taught by leading experts in Welsh politics and government from the renowned Wales Governance Centre, the programme also benefits from the close links that exist between Cardiff University and the institutions of devolved government in Wales.

You’ll gain an informed insight into, and understanding of, the emerging Welsh polity, a polity based on distinctive historical and cultural factors, a fast-evolving constitutional dispensation, new policy-making processes, and still developing civil society capacity.

However, the relevance of the programme is not confined to Wales. Issues relating to shared sovereignty and multi-level governance are central to contemporary political debates and the Welsh context provides a fascinating case study of broader trends in European and global governance.

Where you'll study

School of Law and Politics

Our vibrant student body combined with highly qualified academic staff provides the perfect environment to explore the dynamic and fast-paced fields of law, politics and international relations.

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Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:1 honours degree in economics, English, geography, history, international relations, journalism, modern languages, law, philosophy, politics, psychology, religious studies, sociology, social policy, or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in all other subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.

If you do not have a degree in a relevant area, your application may be considered on the basis of your professional experience. Please provide additional evidence to support your application such as signed and dated employer references and evidence of professional registration with a relevant regulatory or professional body.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled. 

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

The programme takes a 2 stage approach. 

During Stage 1 (the taught stage) of the programme, you’ll study a maximum of 120 taught credits, comprising six 20 credit modules (all of which are offered at level 7).  You must study 60 credits each semester via a combination of core and optional modules.  

On successful completion of Stage 1, you’ll progress to Stage 2 (the master’s degree stage) and undertake a 60 credit, level 7 dissertation module.

Subject to successful completion of the requisite number of taught modules, those who don’t proceed to the master’s degree stage may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

During the taught stage, you’ll take six, 20 credit taught modules, providing a fundamental understanding of Welsh governance and politics.  You must study 3 modules (60 credits) each semester, totalling 120 credits across the autumn and spring semesters. This is made up of 60 credits of core modules and 60 credits selected from a range of optional modules, allowing you to tailor your studies to your personal and professional interests.

On successful completion of 120 credits of taught modules, you’ll progress to Stage 2 and will complete the 60-credit dissertation. The dissertation component will be submitted at the end of the programme.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Study for a master’s degree is intensive and challenging and it is important that you take full advantage of the teaching that is provided in order to succeed. Attendance at classes and dissertation supervisions is compulsory and we will expect you to be well prepared. 

Our teaching will be delivered through seminars or a combination of lectures and seminars. Other teaching methods include the online use of discussion boards, self-access study packs and formative quizzes and activities.

Lectures take a range of forms but generally provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information.

In seminars you will have the opportunity to discuss themes or topics and to consolidate and get feedback on your individual learning. Communication skills are developed in seminars, where you will make individual contributions to group study as well as develop skills in oral presentation. Participation in diverse learning activities, such as small-group discussions, debates, oral presentations, independent research tasks and written assignments, will develop your intellectual and presentation skills. 

Modules are typically led by experienced staff. Our teaching is all research-led, that is taught by staff actively engaged in research into the subject areas under consideration. This enables you to have access to the latest research and analysis in the field. We also use our close ties to the relevant policy communities to ensure that our teaching engages with contemporary real-life examples and scenarios.

How will I be assessed?

Our teaching provides you with a diversity of assessments to reflect practical relevance in analysing and evaluating Welsh governance and politics. Assessments include essay assignments, oral presentations, policy briefs/analysis, team presentations and more.

Formative tasks do not contribute towards your final degree classification but are designed to give you an opportunity to develop your skills and practice for your summative assessments.  They enable you and your tutors to evaluate the development of your skills and your progress in each module. Formative tasks will normally involve written coursework or a class test or may comprise individual student presentations, or class/group discussions in seminars with formative spoken feedback from the module leader.  

Summative assessments contribute towards your final degree classification. Your results in these assessments:

  • determine your formal progression from Stage 1 to Stage 2 (dissertation); and 
  • determine your final award.

The nature of the assessments in Stage 1 will vary by module but will typically involve written coursework, unseen examinations or pre-release examinations, presentations and can also include an assessment of your general engagement and participation in seminars. Assessment in Stage 2 (dissertation) comprises the dissertation (up to 15,000 words).

How will I be supported?

We’ll support you in developing your research and study skills across your modules and also via your dissertation supervisor.

Your learning will be supported through e-learning. All modules are supported by Learning Central, a virtual learning environment that is available on and off campus through which you will access a wide range of materials for your modules.

You’ll receive general academic and pastoral support through a personal tutor and where appropriate your personal tutor will be able to signpost you to other areas of student support. We will run a programme of guest lectures and talks which you are welcome to attend.

A designated Disability and Diversity Officer ensures that reasonable adjustments are made for students with disabilities. The University also has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service and excellent libraries with specialist subject librarians and resource centres. 


Feedback is available through oral feedback during seminars and you will receive written feedback on both your assessments. Individual feedback will help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your learning, as well as how you might improve your performance in future assessments. Written feedback will generally be made available no later than 21 working days from the agreed submission date of your assessment.

What skills will I practise and develop?

On successful completion of your programme you will be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding: KU 1 Explain and critically discuss in tasks and assessments the territorial governance of Wales, in terms of the functioning and evolution of structures.

KU 2 Assess the key factors that have shaped politics and elections in the devolved context in Wales in tasks and assessments. 

KU 3 Critically discuss and evaluate the core themes related to public policy in a devolved context in Wales, across both academic research and contemporary political debates.

KU 4 Evaluate contemporary themes and debates across a range of subject areas within political science.

KU 5 Design and develop an independently researched dissertation focused in the area of Welsh Government and politics, drawing on appropriate critical analysis skills and research methods.

Intellectual Skills:

IS 1 Develop a reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement in a range of assessments.

IS 2 Evaluate different approaches involved in collecting, analysing and presenting information relating to Welsh governance and politics. 

IS 3 Investigate and advocate solutions to problems in a range of assessments.

IS 4 Assess different approaches involved in collecting political information on Welsh governance and politics taking into account their ethical implications.

IS 5 Evaluate an independent research topic of your choosing in a dissertation.  

Professional Practical Skills:

PS 1 Collaborate with others to achieve set tasks.

PS 2 Gather, organise, collate and evaluate evidence, data and information from a variety of sources, including information and communications technology.

PS 3 Demonstrate the ability to reflect on your own learning and constructively utilise feedback in a range of assessments. 

PS 4 Critically analyse and evaluate a range of evidence to reach a reasoned judgment for a dissertation.  

Transferable/Key Skills:

KS 1 Manage your own learning development through self-critical evaluation.

KS 2 Communicate ideas effectively and fluently in both oral and written tasks.

KS 3 Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time management.

KS 4 Collaborate with others and contribute effectively to the achievement of common goals.

KS 5 Independently gather, analyse and evaluate evidence for research tasks. 

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £10,450 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £22,700 £2,500

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs


Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Career prospects

This programme offers ideal preparation for those seeking a career in and around the institutions of devolved governance in Wales. But, in addition, by ensuring an excellent understanding of government and policymaking in the context of multi-level governance, the degree opens the way for careers in a wide range of fields in and around the local, Welsh, UK, EU and international levels within the public, private and third sectors. The emphasis on research skills and independent study also means that you’ll be well-placed to continue your academic studies and undertake a PhD.

Next steps


Open Day visits

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Make an enquiry

Contact us for more information about this course.


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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.