Core Areas of Study and Curriculum

MA "Empirical Democracy Studies" at a glance:

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

MA "Empirical Democracy Studies" in detail:


Module 1: Research Methods of Political Science
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 and methodically 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 in general (as compared to autocratic systems) and of party and voting systems in particular. You will be able to systematically describe, analyse and compare political institutions and processes at the national, European and international level.

Module 3: Normative and Positive Political Theory
Here you analyze 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 (but also the limits) of research done on Political Culture, and 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 participation and communication in general, and explain and predict - among other things - 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.

Module 7: Practice Module
The choice is yours: In this module, you acquire 12 credits, and how you go about achieving them is very much up to you. You can either

  • do a nine-week internship in an organization or enterprise related to politics or political science OR
  • attend seminars offered in our BA program "Political Science" (which you have not participated in before) on the application of  specific methods or on the acquisition of specific professional skills (such as news writing) OR
  • attend courses offered at JGU, but not by the Department of Political Science such as IT or language courses or the Master Lectures and Tutorials offered by Studium Generale OR
  • you can combine all these options so that they amount to a total of 12 cr.

Module 8: Finish!
You attend a colloquium (at least one) in order to acquire and discuss ideas for your final thesis. As frequently, in the course of writing, structural and methodical problems arise, it may be helpful to attend a second colloquium. You have four months to prepare your Master thesis and 45 minutes to defend it and answer questions concerning two of the modules 1-5 as outlined above. And then you will have proved yourself a Master of Empirical Democracy Studies.