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Fields of Specialisation

Choose a field of specialisation that you take a particular interest in.

4 Fields of Specialisation

International Relations and European Integration

The object of the programme 'International Relations and European Integration' is International Politics and their many facets. It deals with classical topics of Political Science and International Relations such as research in the fields of Peace- and Conflict, International Political Economy and Foreign Policy Analysis. Besides, this program focuses on the qualification of students in analyzing the different kinds of cooperation in International Organizations like the UN and Supranational Confederations of states such as the European Union.

To get a short insight of what kind of courses students are able to take, see the list below:

Foreign Policy Analysis:

  • Experimental Analysis of Decision Behaviour in Groups
  • Foreign Policy of the German Laender
  • Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy

European Integration:

  • Decision-Making Process in the European Union
  • Ratification of International Treaties
  • Pressure Groups in the European Union

International Political Economy:

  • Political Economy of Financial Markets
  • Pressure Groups and International Organizations
  • Foreign Trade Liberalism in Developing and Post-communist Countries

International Organizations:

  • Credit Policy of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
  • Theory and Practice of Negotiation
  • External Influences on the Process of Democratization

Peace and Conflict Research:

  • Economical Causes and Consequences of Wars
  • Unilateral Violence in Civil Wars
  • Political Economy of Terrorism

Aim of this programme is to enable students to theoretically analyze the driving power and the logic of development of international conflicts and supranational cooperation. Special emphasis is placed on the provision of knowledge in the field of advanced socio-scientific methods.

The programme qualifies, in particular, for an employment at institutions of the European Union and other International Organizations, international departments or political directorates of Public Authorities, nongovernmental organizations or companies. A substantial number of students will also use the MA as a solid preparation for a doctoral degree in international relations or comparative politics.

Management and Public Administration

The focus of the MA programme Management and Public Administration is on the analysis of individual and group behaviour in organisations as well as on the organisational structures and processes which influence them. The guiding question underlying research and teaching of this MA programme is which consequences and managerial implications result from the attributes and processes of individuals, groups or organisations with regard to desired outcomes (e.g., achievement, innovation, creativity). Relevant dimensions are, besides individual as well as group characteristics and processes (e.g., motivation, commitment, human resource management, diversity management), attributes of organisations in the private, public, and non-profit sector (e.g., structure, strategy, organizational structure, interorganizational networks).

By combining Management studies and Administrative science, the MA programme Management and Public Administration takes an outstanding position among German universities and is characterized by a close interconnection of research and teaching. Besides conveying up-to-date scientific findings on managing organisations, students gain insight into quantitative and qualitative methods of organisational research (e.g., field studies, experimental analysis, network analyses, case studies).

International Administration and Conflict Management

The MA programme “International Administration and Conflict Management” (IACM) is a specialized curriculum within the MA “Politics and Public Administration”, which puts a special emphasis on the interaction of international politics, intra-state conflicts and international administration. One of the programme's goals is to foster the ability to analyze conflicts, which includes identifying structural and procedural causes as well as important path dependencies on national and international level. Another goal is the ability to assess the complex challenge of reconstruction, within the framework of international politics and international administration, in regions affected by conflict. In addition to those analytical skills, the practical skills needed to accomplish the managerial and administrative tasks associated with this work in complex governmental and non-governmental international organizations are being taught.

The MA programme IACM is embedded in the Centre of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Integration”, the most important research body in the humanities and social sciences departments at the University of Konstanz, one of the leading research universities in Germany. Within the Center historians, sociologists, literary scholars, philosophers, political scientists and specialists in organizational studies investigate the problems of social and political integration and disintegration. Several doctoral research groups are part of the Centre and the affiliated researchers of these groups also contribute to the IACM programme. Alos doctoral researchers willingly participate in intellectual exchange with the MA students and provide scientific advise. The participants of the IACM programme are welcome to attend the Centre’s lectures and seminars. They also have extended opportunities to receive funding, for example in order to complete their Master’s thesis, or to continue their research by undertaking a doctorate at Centre.

Comparative Politics and Policy Analysis

In the course of their daily lives people are affected, directly or indirectly, by an extensive array of public policies. These policies may have important consequences for society. Some actors will benefit, while others face disadvantages; some policies will effectively contribute to resolving political problems (such as environmental pollution or unemployment) while others fail to achieve their intended objectives. At the same time, we observe a broad variety of different forms of governance which are applied in order to address political problems. Both the instruments used and the patterns of interaction between public and private actors during the process of policy formulation and implementation vary across countries and policy sectors. To understand these patterns, however, it is not sufficient to exclusively focus on the national level. Instead, national governance, to an increasing extent, is interacting with the development of public policies and governance approaches within supranational and international organizations.

The programme "Comparative Politics and Policy Analysis" focuses on the comparative analysis of both the patterns of governance and their conditions for success. What political, institutional, organizational and socio-economic conditions affect the problem-solving capacity of political-administrative systems at the national, supranational and international level? Special focus is placed not only to the analysis of policy formulation and decision-making, but also the implementation and evaluation of these decisions and the subsequent evaluation of their outcomes. The programme provides a systematic, scientifically well-grounded study of the origins, development, implementation and evaluation of public policies and governance patterns. Why did a government cease to be concerned with a certain problem? Why do the implementation and effectiveness of European Union policies vary across countries? What is the impact of different institutional structures on policy formulation and implementation?

Particular emphasis is placed on the following fields:

  • the comparative analysis of the imopact of globalization and European integration on domestic policy-making
  • phenomena of international policy convergence and policy diffusion
  • the implementation and evaluation of subnational, national and supranational policies
  • public sector reforms and their consequences for the problem-solving capacity of political systems

Semniars might, for instance, include the following courses

  • policy implementation
  • theories and methods of evaluation research
  • public sector reforms in international comparison
  • comparative environmental politics
  • policy-making in the European Union
  • theories and methods of comparative policy analysis

The programme provides the intellectual and pragmatic capabilities to pursue high-level tasks in the field of political planning and political management in the public and private sector at the national, supranational and international level.

During your studies you will chose one field of specialisation from one of the four programmes. To qualify for the degree it is necessary to successfully complete 13 courses (the study programme is equivalent to 120 ECTS-Credits). At least three seminars (one basic seminar and two seminars) as well as the colloquium must be taken in the chosen field of specialisation. In addition, students write their Master's thesis on a topic out of the chosen field of specialisation.

Students need to indicate their specialisation at the beginning of studies but are allowed to change the field of specialisation until the moment before writing their Master's thesis.