Studentinnen auf den Sitzstufen der Bibliothek
Studentinnen auf den Sitzstufen der Bibliothek

Study Areas and Courses

By offering a broad array of courses and a flexible study structure, we allow you to tailor your study choices around your interests and future prospects.

Recommended Study Plan

In total, you earn 28 ECTS

You take the following courses:

- Lecture Research Design I (Study Area 1, 9 ECTS)

- Information Literacy (Study Area 1, 5 ECTS)

- Basic seminar within chosen field of specialization (Study Area 2, 7 Basic seminar from other (Study Area 2, 7 ECTS)

In total, you earn 30 ECTS

You take the following courses:

- Lecture Research Design II (Study Area 1, 9 ECTS)

- Seminar I within chosen field of specialization (Study Area 3, 7 ECTS)

- Seminar II within chosen field of specialization (Study Area 3, 7 ECTS)

- Elective Seminar (Study Area 4, 7 ECTS)

In total, you earn 32 ECTS

You take the following courses:

- Colloquium which prepares the MA thesis (Study Area 1, 4 ECTS)

- Seminar from another field of specialization (Study Area 3, 7 ECTS)

- Elective Seminar  (Study Area 4, 7 ECTS)

- Elective Seminar (Study Area 4, 7 ECTS)

- Elective Seminar (Study Area 4, 7 ECTS)

In total, you earn 30 ECTS

You write a MA thesis which has a total value of 30 ECTS. In total you have four months time to finish the thesis.

Structure and Study Areas


All students of the master's programme specialize on one thematic area. In order to do so, you:

  • choose a basic seminar in your specialisation, in study area 2,
  • choose two advanced seminars in your specialisation, in study area 3,
  • write a master's thesis on a topic related to your specialisation.
  • In addition, students can choose an additional second specialization if they have attended at least three seminars (21 ECTS) from that field in Study Area 4. The following second specialisations are available:
    • Empirical Methods
    • Conflict Studies
    • Political Economy and Inequality
    • European Integrati

The different study areas will be described in the following sections. An exhaustive overview about all study areas, modules and courses is given in the module handbook.

Study Area 1 - Methods

The aim of the method training in the Master of Political and Administrative Sciences is to enable students to independently answer research questions. This means that their basic knowledge of political and administrative methods can be systematically extended, that they can independently develop theoretical models, successfully choose cases for the verification of hypotheses and get a specific selection of the basic design and the appropriate empirical methods. In addition, the students should acquire comprehensive information skills and be familiar with the latest research methods. Finally, they should perfect their ability to present scientific questions and results in a clear and understandable way, both written and oral.

The course Research Design I is divided into three blocks: In the first block, basic knowledge of the philosophy of science is taught, the question of causality is discussed and the participants are taught in the construction of theoretical models. The basics of expected utility theory and game theory as well as computer simulation are presented. In this first part, participants will have the basic ability to independently judge scientific publications. Additional focal points are the formation of hypotheses and the discussion about the consequences for empirical research of certain types of hypotheses. The second part of the course introduces fundamental research design, with a focus on quasi-experimental and experimental designs. In the final part, the participants will be enabled to carry out independent data analyzes or to review the data analyzes in published journal articles. An introduction to standard statistics software (mainly STATA and R) will be given and some basic quantitative methods will be presented (OLS, logit / probit regressions, panel analysis, time series analysis). The course also provides an introduction to how to build a scholarly article and what kind of scientific language and illustration is appropriate.

In the field of Research Design II, various courses are offered on different topics of methodological training, ranging from more quantitative to more qualitative research approaches. Students have to choose a course from this offer.

Information literacy generally refers to the ability to formulate information needs, build an investigation strategy, select, research, rate, and further process sources. Information literacy is thus a necessary component of scientific work and at the same time an increasingly important qualification for the profession. In the course Information Literacy, based on existing knowledge and adapted to the political and administrative research questions of the students, the most important building blocks of information literacy are taught and deepened in practical applications: this of course includes research, evaluation or citation, but e.g. also the economic and legal framework as well as ethical questions of dealing with scientific information.

The binding participation of the Master students in an MA Colloquium of the Professors of the Faculty serves the intensive preparation and supervision of the Master thesis. Here the question, research design and approach of each work are discussed with the supervising professor and other candidates, and students are given the opportunity to perfect their presentation techniques. In addition, there will be an in-depth discussion of political and administrative theory and methods using the example of the specific projects of the master's candidates.

Study Area 2: Theories

It is the aim to familiarize the students with the basic theories of the chosen specialization, familiarize themselves with the current expert discussion and learn to judge scientific articles. They should also gain an overview of the basics of at least one other programme and recognize their references to the questions in their own programme. In each programme of the master's, a basic seminar is offered; Of these five basic seminars, students must choose two; one of them in the targeted specialization.

Basic seminar "International Relations and European Integration"

This course provides an overview of some of the primary theoretical perspectives and analytical approaches for studying international relations in general and regional cooperation and international collaboration in particular. Emphasizing theory, conceptualization and methodology, we will survey the contemporary literature and discuss the main developments in the advanced literature. The course is reserved for incoming graduate students who specialize in the domain of “International Relations/European Integration” or “Political Economy”. The first part of this course focuses on international relations theory and conflict research, the second part on regional integration and on decision making within the European Union; the second class is recommend for those who want to have a comprehensive education in current IR research, will deal with the international political economy and international organization, including the United Nations, the WTO and the Bretton Woods organization.

Basic Seminar "Comparative Public Policy and Politics"

This seminar is an advanced introduction into the field of comparative politics and policy analysis. The goal of the class is to provide students with a broad overview of the central themes and debates in this field. Therefore, students are expected to survey, read and critically discuss a significant amount of classical and contemporary readings. The structure of the course is roughly based on the elements of the policy cycle: We first discuss theoretical and methodological preliminaries including core concepts of comparative politics and policy analysis, then attitudes, preferences and political participation, political parties, organized interests, agenda-setting, institutions and institutional change, the process of political decision-making and implementation. The last section of the class deals with cross-cutting challenges and issues in policy analysis such as globalization, welfare state reform, dualization and inequality. If possible, each meeting will start with a classical reading on a particular topic and then proceed to contemporary research, which is built on the core ideas of the classics. Students therefore gain a deep understanding of the dynamic of academic debates as well as on how scientific progress may (or may not) be achieved.


Basic Seminar "Management und Organizational Behavior"

The basic seminar introduces the central questions, theories and concepts of strategy, organization, personnel and leadership research. A general overview will be given, which will be deepened in the course of the study on the basis of changing current topics. In the area of ​​strategy, concepts of content-related and process-related strategy design are introduced. In the area of ​​organization, selected current theoretical approaches, in particular the behavior and dynamics of / in organizations are also discussed against the background of their significance for structural design. In the area of ​​personnel, besides the functional areas of personnel management with the corresponding theoretical foundations, questions of strategic orientation are in the focus. In the field of leadership, the analysis of the relationships between leadership and organizational success at different levels and with regard to various success criteria (for example, performance, organizational citizenship behavior, innovation) is in the foreground.

Basic Seminar "Public Management and Administration"

This foundational seminar prepares MA students to understand the uniqueness of public administration as a research disciplines and provides insights into the major theories of public administration. As an applied discipline, public administration is an interdisciplinary research field that analyzes the public sector and its stakeholders in an integrated approach.
The following outline shows the topics that are covered in this seminar:
I. Research in public administration
- Uniqueness of public administration as a research discipline
- Preparing a theoretical framework using a systematic literature review
- Preparing a research design
- Choosing research methods
- Reporting results
II. Major theoretical framework in public administration
- New public governance
- Collaborative governance
- Networked governance
- Participatory governance
- Digital governance

Study Area 3: Applied Methods and Theories

Seminars I to III are thematic courses in which students should deepen the already acquired basic methodological, empirical and theoretical knowledge and skills by means of selected research questions discussed in the relevant literature and gain a broader view of the issues in the chosenspecialisation. Students must attend three seminars in this study area, two of which are in the targeted specialization and one in another specialisation.

Study Area 4: Elective Courses

The elective area enables students to set an individual focus in their studies. It consists of a total of 28 ECTS. Depending on your interests, the following options are possible:

a. Students can acquire a second specialization. If at least three courses (21 ECTS) are successfully completed in this specialization, this will be listed in the Master's certificate. The following specializations are available:

  • Methods of political and administrative science
  • Political Economy and Inequality
  • European integration
  • Conflict Studies


b. Students can chose individual courses, according to their interests. You can choose courses from the other fields of study in the department or from the methods area. You can also choose up to 14 ECTS from the range of related disciplines:

  • Sociology
  • Law
  • Economics
  • History
  • Cultural Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Computer Science

Master Dissertation / Thesis

Within a specified period of four months, the students should independently work on a topic from the area of the chosen specialisation according to scientific principles and methods and document the results in the form of a written paper. They should be able to independently create a work plan for the preparation of this work, independently acquire knowledge about the current state of the literature, to carry out a separate, independent research project and to apply the required methods competently.