Program at a Glance

Acadia offers a rigorous, interdisciplinary M.A. program in Social and Political Thought, in a supportive and personalized environment.

Course Selection

Students take six courses 

There are four required courses:

SOPT 5113 (Social and Political Thought Colloquium) 

The colloquium is organized to be both your home base and to expose you to the diversity of theoretical research in the program and beyond. In addition to hosting a number of local, regional and international speakers, the faculty of Acadia’s SPT program attends the research talks to showcase interdisciplinary interactions and questioning.  The colloquium also acts as an introduction to graduate studies, grant writing, conference preparation and thesis development.  First year students are expected to present a thesis proposal at the end of the SPT colloquium in consultation with their co-supervisors (upper level students are expected to present thesis updates in the fall of each colloquium year). Students are expected to maintain attendance throughout the duration of the program.  Although the colloquium is a yearlong course, the workload is mostly in the first term. 

PHIL 5113 (Topics in Social and Political Philosophy)

This core course is organized by the philosophy department to showcase a core strand from their departmental strengths. In the past this seminar has covered topics that include John Rawls, Legal Theory or Karl Marx.

POLS 5043 (Critical Political Theory) 

This core course is organized by the politics department to explore one of two approaches in political theory, namely, critical theory and contemporary continental thought. 

SOCI 5113 (Sociological Theory)

This core course is organized by the sociology department to explore core and contemporary sociological theorists. 

Electives

There are two elective courses:  

SPT students can take any graduate-level courses offered by a member of the SPT faculty (either seminar-based and/or directed reading courses) subject to the approval of the graduate coordinator.  Students may only take one directed reading course.  Seminar-based courses will change from year to year.

Recent course offerings include:

  • Applied International Ethics
  • Democracy and the Market 
  • Ethnocultural and Cultural Theory
  • Environmental Political Theory
  • New Media Transformations of Literary Traditions
  • The Politics of Development
  • The Politics of Human Rights
  • The Politics of New Global Technologies
  • Sociology of Political Economy
  • Sociology of Development
  • Theory and Politics of Citizenship
  • Special topics in SPT

Check with the Program Coordinator to see what electives are offered in the coming school year and to create your schedule.  A normal schedule will have the colloquium for the entire first year and add two courses in the first term and three courses in the second term. Your second year should be reserved for thesis centred work.   

Thesis Work:

After completing their coursework, students are required to write a Master’s thesis in their second year of study. The thesis is to be a significant piece of scholarly research, providing students with the opportunity to undertake a developed exploration of a particular theoretical question.  The thesis is not restricted to theoretical literatures since it can be rooted in a contemporary, historical or abstract case; but, a central theoretical bent to the thesis is required. 

The thesis is co-supervised with each of the two members drawn from a different department.  The nature of the balance between co-supervisors will be established by the faculty members of the committee.  First year students are expected to present a thesis proposal at the end of the SPT colloquium in consultation with their co-supervisors (upper level students are expected to present thesis updates in the fall of each colloquium year).

Students should aim to complete their thesis within 12 months of finishing their coursework.