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.

Module 4: Political Actions and Attitudes of Citizens
Here you learn more about political attitudes and political cultures, voting behaviour and political participation, and about the effects of attitudes and actions of the citizens on the stability and performance of democracies.

Module 5: International Politics and Specific Policies
Here you study, firstly, central concepts, theories and problems of international relations, especially pertaining to the European integration process. Secondly, you acquire profound knowledge of the method of policy analysis and its application to – among others – foreign, social, and environmental policy as well as Europe-related policies.

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.