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Master of Arts

Master in Political Science

If you’re already studying Political Science and would like to find out more about specific details of your master programme, you’ll find what you’re looking for on the Master in Political Science Programme Structure pages.

Thank you for your interest in the master's programmes of the WiSo-Faculty.

On this webpage you will find all required information on the Master Political Science - you will get a sneak peak into the programme structure as well as all facts about the admission criteria and the selection procedure.

In a nutshell

  • Standard period of study: 4 semesters, full-time
  • Scope: 120 ECTS
  • Start: Fall semester (early October)
  • Degree title: Master of Arts (M.A.)
  • Language: English
  • Fees: Only Social fee (approx. 280€ per semester including public transport, for more information see here)
  • Application Deadline: 15 June 2021 (please note the differing deadlines for the Double Master's Programme)

Programme summary

The Cologne Master in Political Science offers a research-oriented study programme with course offerings across a range of political science areas. The empirical and analytical focus of the programme enables students to analyze political phenomena using a range of state-of-the-art research methods and carry out an independent research project. The programme enables graduates to embark on a professional career in many areas of politics or to continue in a future PhD programme in political science. 

Our thematic areas: 

  • Comparative Political Institutions
  • Comparative Political Economy
  • Empirical Democratic Theory
  • International Relations
  • European and Multi-Level Politics
  • Political Science Methods

Your Benefits

Comprehensive range of subjects and freedom to choose:
The department’s internationally renowned professors and academic staff cover the whole range of political science subfields, ranging from comparative politics, European politics, comparative political economy, international relations, democratic theory, to political science research methods. Our Master’s programme offers you a high flexibility in combining courses from these different subfields.

Teaching approach:
We offer courses in different formats (lectures, seminars, research projects) using a variety of exam forms (written exams, research papers, mid-term assignments) and interactive features. 

One of the most international political science Master’s programmes in Germany: 
Study in a dynamic and multicultural group with a share of about 25% of enrolled international students. You can complete the Master’s programme in English.

Innovative methods:
Benefit from the new area “Political Science Research Methods”, which offers training in qualitative and quantitative methods (using the statistical software R) as well as research design. Additional offerings include advanced methods, including political text analysis, causal inference, and big data, which are all taught in an applied manner using R. 

Research excellence:
The strong research focus of our faculty entails numerous research projects hosted in the department, funded by international and national funding agencies. Faculty of the department is furthermore involved in the university’s Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets and Public Policy. Our research projects allow you to apply for a student assistant job and use the opportunity to work in an international research team!

Many interdisciplinary options:
The department of Political Science at the University of Cologne is part of the Faculty of Economics, Social Sciences and Management. This allows you to benefit from a large choice of supplementary courses in the Master’s programme especially in economics. Students may also choose a number of courses offered by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Thematic areas and some examples of questions dealt with

  • Comparative Political Institutions: Why do institutions evolve at all? Why do they change and in which way? What are their effects on political actors, political processes and policy making? 
  • Comparative Political Economy: How can we measure business and labor power? In which ways and through which channels do business and labor affect political processes and policy change at the national and international level? Which consequences arise from current political economic mega-trends like as globalization, digitalization, financialization, and migration?
  • Empirical Democratic Theory: Why do voters around the world face such different options at the ballot box? When does ethnicity, rather than class, become the primary dimension of political conflict within a society? Why and when might elites concede political power to the masses?
  • International Relations: Does Russia's Syria policy in the UN Security Council serve to protect international norms or its power-political interests? How can whistleblowing, as in the case of Edward Snowden, be justified in terms of regulatory ethics and legitimacy theory? What are patterns of Chinese investment in the European energy sector, and how can these patterns be explained? 
  • European and Multi-Level Politics: To what extent are left-right placements of voters and parties in the European Election Surveys comparable within and across countries? How can scholars use automatic speech recognition systems to analyse acts of political speech, such as deliberations in the Council of the EU, with quantitative text analysis models? 
  • Political Science Methods: What makes a strong research design in Political Science and how can we make valid causal inferences? What is a p-value in a t-Test and how can it be interpreted? How can one apply set-theoretic approaches to a study of government bailout programmes following the global financial crisis of 2008? What different types of process-tracing are used in the literature, and how do they differ from each other?

Only the best for your career

Besides offering the opportunity to future Ph.D. studies, the master's programme in political science at the University of Cologne’s WiSo-faculty prepares students for all kinds of political functions. Graduates typically find employment in public institutions (governments and public administration) and organisations (political parties, foundations), the media and other associations at national, European and international levels, as well as in the education system. On the parliamentary stage, political scientists work as consultants, office managers or assistants to members of national or local parliaments. Other possible professions include advisory, opinion research, organised labour, the social services, communication and public relations.

André Kaiser

The labour market for political scientists requires generalists rather than specialists. The wide range of content offered by the master programme reflects one of the strengths of political science at Cologne University – the fact that we have six departments with expertise in the subject.

André Kaiser, Professor and Chair of Comparative Politics


Term abroad

There is the possibility to apply for a semester abroad at one of our numerous partner universities. These include, for example, Sciences Po Paris, Charles University Prague, the National Research University - Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, or the University of Southern Denmark, Odense. Further information can be found on the homepage of our International Relations Center (ZiB WiSo).

Double degree option

In addition to our regular master’s programme, students have the option to study the Double Master’s Programme in European Studies in cooperation with Maastricht University. Students of the international study programme spend one year at the WiSo Faculty and one year at Maastricht University. After successful completion of the programme, they are awarded two degrees.

Want to know more? Detailed information concerning the curricular design and the substance of the programme is available on the Programme Structure pages. If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact us.

Information on the application