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.


The Master’s program in political science is designed for prospective students who have successfully completed an undergraduate degree and who wish to obtain further training in a research-oriented environment. The comparative analysis of political systems in general and democracy and policy analysis in particular, as well as conflict studies, foreign policy, international relations, as well as institutional analysis form the core areas of our Master’s program. Students can select their own focus within the fields offered in order to strengthen their individual profiles. Participants in the Master’s degree program will be involved with the on-going research activities at the institute and thereby obtain first-hand experience in state of the art political science research.


The Master’s program demands and develops structured knowledge of political science as well as analytical and organizational skills. With this set of qualifications, graduates are well equipped to pursue political science careers as well as careers that demand a more general set of skills. The Master therefore qualifies its graduates for research and teaching activities at colleges and universities as well as research institutes, for jobs in political education, scientific consulting (such as for parties and parliaments), public administration, and international organizations. Our graduates have also found jobs with associations, NGOs, various media organizations and publishers, as well as in business and public relations.

Questions about the Master’s program? Please contact any of our student advisors.

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