Degree programs at the Institute of Political Science
Political science is the scientific analysis the “striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power” (Max Weber) and the binding regulation of societal conflicts over values and scarce resources. The discipline focuses particularly on the organization and operation of political institutions, the processes and systems that bind states and societies, as well as the political design of policies, the outputs of societal conflicts, and international relations.
Political science, as the scientific discipline we know today, was not established in Germany until after World War II. Its roots, however, go back much further. Philosophy has long been concerned with politics, beginning with the ancient Greek theories of the state. As a social science, contemporary political science is a modern and well-established discipline whose foundation was laid primary in the United States and Western Europe.
Political science at the Institute for Political Science in Heidelberg covers the following areas:
- Political philosophy and the history of ideas; contemporary political theory
- German and EU politics
- Comparative politics
- Policy studies and analysis
- Foreign policy and international relations
- Conflict research
- Empirical methods of political science
The discipline’s research questions touch upon numerous other fields in the humanities and social sciences, in particular history, sociology, philosophy, economics, law, and psychology.
At the moment the Institute for Political Science does not offer Bachelor’s or Master’s degree programs in English. While a strong background in English is a necessary prerequisite for any of our programs, the primary language of instruction is German.
A strong interest in politics is a necessary prerequisite for studying political science. Paying attention to the daily news or goals of entering into politics, however, are not enough for this scientifically rigorous analysis of politics. Political science in Heidelberg is dedicated to a systematic and objective investigation of societal realities. Understanding historical developments, cultural differences, and economic patterns, as well as good communication skills, analytical skills, and an interest in exact observations and critical reasoning skills provide a solid basis for the successful study of political science. As the discipline is becoming increasingly international, the ability to read complex texts in English is also indispensable.
Studying political science does not lead to a specific career path, but rather opens the door to a variety of career opportunities. Our graduates are active in research and teaching, scientific management, public administration, organizations, NGOs, and public relations – in particular within media and publishing. The Master’s program offers the chance to continue the study of political science, which, in turn, could lead to the pursuit of a PhD.
Before deciding whether political science is right for you, you may wish to check out the self-test for selecting a major offered by the universities and colleges in Baden-Württemberg (only available in German).
Questions about the Bachelor’s program? Please contact any of our undergraduate student advisors.