Core Areas of Study and Curriculum

M. A. in Empirical Democracy Studies at a glance:

  • 4 semesters
  • 8 modules
  • 120 (ECTS) credit points

M. A. in Empirical Democracy Studies in detail:


Module 1: Political Science Research Methods
Here you learn more about central ideas of the philosophy of the social sciences and about the analytical, qualitative and quantitative methods of political science. As a consequence, you will be able to produce methodologically sound studies, and you will be able to critically evaluate research findings produced by other scholars.

Module 2: Political Institutions and Procedures
Here you study the emergence and development, functioning and performance of democracies, party and voting systems. You will be able to systematically describe, analyse and compare political institutions and processes at the national, European and international level.

Module 3: Democratic Theory
Here you analyse, among other theories, empirical and normative theories of democracy and, thus, acquire the basis for the theory-based empirical study of democracy, but also for the normative evaluation of democratic decisions and processes.

Module 4: Political Culture and Attitudes
Here you learn (almost) all there is to know about political attitudes in general, about the central findings of research done on Political Culture, but also about more specific political attitudes such as extremist and populist attitudes, scepticism towards Europe, political and social trust.

Module 5: Elections and Political Participation
This module focusses on the study of political behavior in Germany and by international comparison. You will look into political communication and participation in general, and explain and predict political campaigning, voting behavior and political participation in direct democracies in particular.

Module 6: Project Module – The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating!
Here you conduct your own study – you choose the problem you wish to explore, present your theoretical assumptions, gather, analyse and interpret data, documents and other materials, and present your findings in writing and orally to your fellow students and staff.

Modules 7, 8, 9 and 10: Elective Modules
Please choose two of the following four elective modules: Interdisciplinary Basics and Skills I (Module 7); Interdisciplinary Basics and Skills II (Module 8); Outside Academia/Application of Methods (Module 9); "Internship/Outside Political Science (Module 10).

In the modules on Interdisciplinary Basics and Skills you are encouraged to think outside of the “Democracy Studies-box”. Each module consists of a lecture and an accompanying tutorial and is dedicated to one the following four subjects:
- The Promise of Scientific Knowledge;
- Are there Moral Truths? The Foundations of Ethics;
- Cultures Meeting and Clashing;
- Argumentation, Logic and Rhetoric
Again, the choice is yours!

In Elective Module 9 you can either take a look at career options outside the academic world by choosing two courses on, for example, TV journalism and Public Relations or you can attend two seminars on the application of, let''''s say, survey and experimental methods. Or you combine a course on journalism with a seminar on survey methods.

If you complete an internship of at least 4 weeks or attend courses outside of Political Science at JGU for 6 ECTS cr., these achievements will be recognized in Elective Module 10.

Four months to prepare your master thesis. Forty-five minutes to defend your thesis and to answer questions concerning the subject area of your thesis and a second subject area. And then you will have proved yourself a Master of Empirical Democracy Studies.