Political Science / Social Sciences
Studying Political Science in Germany
An article by Antonia Kelloms. Cooperation from: Oliver Burgard.
That is what it's about
How can movements like Black Lives Matter and Fridays for Future make a political impact? What are the political and social consequences of the Corona pandemic? Why was Donald Trump not re-elected as president in the US? Political Science deals with questions like these. It compares the political systems of different countries and deals with political economy, political theories or conflict research. "Current, specific topics and complex theories - this mixture is what makes our subject so exciting," says Claudia Ritzi, professor of political science at the University of Trier and board member of the German Political Science Association (DVPW).
Neighbouring subjects are also included. Among the most important are sociology, economics, law, history, communication studies and philosophy. The Political Science degree is not limited to theories - for example, students also learn to analyse election results or social trends using statistical methods.
This is how the course runs
The first semesters focus on the major sub-disciplines of the subject: Comparative government, political systems, international relations and political theory. In addition, students learn how to evaluate statistics, design surveys, and conduct computer-assisted text analysis in methods courses. In higher semesters, the above-mentioned topics are dealt with in greater depth.
In addition, universities also offer elective courses with different emphases. This can be Europe or Asia, domestic politics, international comparisons or even methodology and statistics. One should inform oneself before the beginning of the course. At most universities, internships are compulsory and usually take place during the semester break. Students can gain their first professional experience, for example, with political parties and associations or in the media. In the Master’s degree, graduates can specialise, for example, in international relations, democracy studies or political management.
Typical questions raised within the subject
- How do populist movements change political processes?
- What is the relevance of Karl Marx to left-wing politics today?
- What is the structure of the European Union, and what is its future?
- How do different governments respond to climate change?
- How can citizens participate in political processes?
- What are the implications of the pandemic for the separation of powers?
- How does social media like Twitter change political communication?
The subject suits you,...
... you are interested in how societies work and follow the political agenda. You should also like to read and be able to cope well with theoretical texts, also in English. "Many people think that we discuss personal political viewpoints in the seminar, but that rarely happens," says Florian Grotz, professor of politics at Helmut Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg and chairman of the German Political Science Association (DGfP). Discussed instead are political theories and how to apply them. An interest in numbers and data is also important. "You don't have to be a mathematics genius, but a solid statistical education is important to grasp the research," says Claudia Ritzi.
Political scientists later work in policy advice, as a research assistant to members of parliament, as journalists or in industry, where they provide lobbying, for example.
Is there a numerus clausus?
More than half of the courses have admission restrictions, often in the two grade range.