Home > Courses >

Political Science

Degree Master of Arts
Application required mandatory
Study commences winter semester / summer semester
Standard course duration 4 semesters
Format options full-time only
Language requirements None
Language of instruction German, English
Other features postgraduate / consecutive


Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences


Course outline

Political Science

Political science is the study of the organisation and functioning of political institutions, the agencies and processes operating between state and society, the complexion of governance as a function of state policy, and international relations. It discusses policy and politics, past and present, both in terms of the theories and philosophies underlying them and the (empirically investigable) forms, processes and content in which they manifest themselves.

The M.A. course in Political Science

The M.A. course in Political Science is angled at students with an initial degree (typically Bachelor) who are looking for advanced academic schooling in Political Science in a research-intensive study environment. The major concern of the M.A. programme is the theory-guided empirical analysis of democracies, of policy-making in a variety of political systems, comparative analysis of political systems, foreign policy, institutions, and conflicts and international policies designed to (re)establish/safeguarding order.

The course reflects the research interests and core competencies of the Institute of Political Science in a variety of ways, notably in its emphasis on the comparative analysis of political systems in general, and policy and democracy research in particular, as well as on conflict research and the analysis of institutions. It offers students scope to select their own preferences within the range of modules on offer and hence to define their own individual study profiles. Students also take an active part in the practicalities of research and receive insights into the ongoing research debates taking place in the political science landscape.


Course structure

In-depth engagement with the subject matter of the course takes place in the framework of elective-compulsory modules. The Examination Regulations enable students to follow their individual preferences: of the six modules on offer they are required to choose four. The course reflects the research interests and core competencies of the Institute of Political Science in the first five modules. The sixth module “Perspectives and Positions in Political Science” provides insights into the research interests (theoretical and practical) of visiting scholars from Germany and elsewhere.

A research seminar with a subsequent year of practical research training alongside the core curriculum expands students’ foundational knowledge and skills at the theoretical and methodological level and enables them to participate in ongoing research projects.

An oral examination is scheduled for the end of the third semester. The fourth semester is given over entirely to participation in the Master colloquium and completion of the M.A. thesis. The M.A. thesis (80-90 pages) is expected to fulfil normal academic standards.


Subsidiary (minor) subject

Students of this M.A. course are required to obtain 20 credit points in a subsidiary (minor) subject. Click here for a list of all subsidiary subjects on offer.

The M.A. course in Political Science can also be studied as a subsidiary (minor) subject accounting for 20 CP.

Formal requirements

Access and admission to the course are restricted. The current Admission Regulations are available here.

Prospective students (both German and international) must apply directly to the University via an online application procedure.

Application deadlines

15 May for winter semester

15 November for summer semester

Further information

Current information on procedure
Website of the Institute of Political Science (details on the M.A. course)

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations M.A. (14 January 2010) Examination regulations M.A. (14 January 2010, last changes 28 September 2016)

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


Tuition fees at Heidelberg University are payable at the beginning of each semester.


Academic advisor

Tobias Ostheim,
Bergheimer Str. 58, 3rd floor, Office 03.037
Thursdays 2.30 – 4 pm
phone: +49 (0)6221 542878



Institute of Political Science
Bergheimer Str. 58
D-69115 Heidelberg



phone: +49 (0) 6221 542860
fax: +49 (0) 6221 542896

Student representation



Editor: e-mail
Latest Revision: 2017-12-05
zum Seitenanfang/up