The master's program in Political Science offered by the School of Social Sciences provides students with the opportunity to study in an international environment at a renowned university. The program, with a duration of two years, is research oriented and builds on the School's strength in empirical-analytical approaches, particularly in quantitative methods and comparative research. Substantive areas of concentration include comparative politics, international politics, political economy, European societies and politics, and formal and quantitative methods. All classes are taught in English. Mannheim has repeatedly been rated as Germany's leading university for Political Science in Germany according to the QS World Ranking, the Times Higher Education Ranking (THE) and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Ranking).
During the masters program I acquired extensive knowledge of quantitative methods which significantly helped me to improve my research skills. I currently work as a student assistant at the German Internet Panel where we study the impact of the Corona-Crisis on social and political life. As part of this study I had the chance to participate in an internationally renowned research project with many publications worldwide, so the focus on methods during my studies not only helped me gain a deeper understanding of the subject beyond the scope of theories, it also opened a new perspective on research opportunites within academia and their relevance towards social development. Additionally, the University of Mannheim offers a welcoming and international environment and a high standard of teaching. Small classes and dedicated professors allow students to focus on research areas close to their heart.
I chose to study at the University of Mannheim early on beacuse of its quantitative focus and the variety of research centers associated with it. This gave me a very early start as a bachelor student to participate in high-quality research in institutes such as GESIS and MZES. My academic experience has been shaped by the international cooperation with other world-renowned universities that allow academic exchange between researchers. In Mannheim, I have met distinguished professors, mentors, and co-authors from whom I have learned a lot. That is something I am very grateful for. Taking full advantage of the opportunities at the University of Mannheim made it possible for me to start pursuing my doctoral studies at the University of Oxford.
I chose this master’s program because it allowed me to acquire advanced knowledge of quantitative methods. As the groups are small, it is easy to actively take part in and contribute to the courses, which are taught by excellent staff members and focus on current research questions. This makes for an intense, but rewarding experience. While for me the city of Mannheim was not exactly love at first sight, I quickly learned to embrace its working-class mentality and its vibrant mix of cultures. During my studies, I worked as a student assistant at the Chair of Quantitative Methods at the Social Sciences. I am now a market researcher and data analyst at Ipsos, where I coordinate international projects. The skills I learned during the master’s program continue to be part of my daily routine, and are thus extremely valuable for my career.
The master’s program at the University of Mannheim focuses on advanced methods of formal and statistical data analysis, and provides students with many options to specialize. What makes the university even more attractive, and the reason why it was my first choice, is its international orientation. If you study here, you not only become part of Mannheim’s unique international research community, but you can also go abroad by taking part in a high-profile exchange program. I now work in market research as a project manager, and continue to live in Mannheim. I like the city for its special atmosphere and its many beautiful places as well as the broad range of events and activities it has to offer, ranging from music and the arts to sports and food. After spending some time here, you even become attached to the odd system that divides the city center into squares.
During my studies, I acquired valuable methodological skills that I use daily in my current job: As Head of Mobilization, Elections & Analysis of the SPD Rhineland-Palatinate, I handle and analyze large amounts of data. I have very fond memories of my time at university: Not only did I spend a semester abroad in Norway and England respectively, I was also awarded the Bronnbach Scholarship, a cultural scholarship that provides outstanding non-material support. What I find most appealing about the University of Mannheim is its excellent reputation and the extensive network it is a part of. I also like the city of Mannheim a lot and still live here.
Strong emphasis on empirical-analytical approaches, quantitative methods, and comparative research
Integrated doctoral program: become an associate member at our graduate school and start your doctoral studies while still pursuing your master's degree
Close relationship with the GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences and the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), the largest research institution for social sciences at a German university
Opportunity to study abroad at one of our renowned partner universities worldwide, e.g. New York University, Washington University, University of Toronto, University of Bergen
Career support through the School's Internship Office: you can be involved in a research project as a student assistant or as an intern and gain work experience while increasing your income
Mannheim is a vibrant city, located in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. It is home to over 8,000 businesses, including several successful international companies, such as SAP and BASF
Modules in International Politics are dedicated to two main areas: European politics and peace and conflict studies. They include courses on foreign affairs and conflict analysis, regimes and international organizations, international political economy, globalization and international trade, human rights and civil wars. Courses offered in the previous years were, for example, titled International Political Economy, Human Rights Politics, Violence, conflict and the prospect for peace and Exodus: Conflict, Migration and Refugees.
Modules in Comparative Politics focus on actors such as decision-making institutions, political parties, stakeholders and social movements as well as civil society organizations. Other research interests lie in the field of political psychology, with modules addressing voting behavior, political participation, and attitudes toward the political system, as well as in the field of comparative government, which analyzes government formation, the parliamentary vs. the presidential system, and types of democracy. Courses offered in the previous semesters include Comparative Political Behavior, Political Institutions & the Political Process, and Political Behavior in Context
Courses in Quantitative Methods introduce students to strategies and tools they can employ to develop suitable statistical models tailored to their particular research questions. Some of the courses focus on methods of data collection and teach students how to design and implement surveys while others emphasize data analysis using methods such as linear and logistic regression models, basic principles of game theory, OLS estimation, fundamentals of statistics, maximum likelihood, and others. In their first semester, students will take courses in Quantitative Methods, Research Design and Game Theory.
Also, our department offers a self-study Math Refresher course to prepare you for your first semester.
Bachelor's degree in Political Science or a degree in a related field, which was completed with a grade of at least „good“ (German grade equivalent: 2.5 or better).
Good level of English. The following proof of language proficiency is accepted:
Proof of good performance in the area of methods of empirical social research, data analysis and statistics as indicated through previous course grades of classes in this area (German grade equivalent of 2.5 or better). Basic working knowledge in data analysis software (e.g., R, Stata, SPSS) is an asset. Good performance in previous courses in this area is a prerequisite and will be assessed in the following way: The admissions committee looks at each transcript of records individually and evaluates a student's performance on the basis of graded courses taken in this area. If the average grade of all courses in this area corresponds to a German grade of 2.5 or better, you fulfil this requirement. You may submit also for each course in this area a syllabus or an official course description such as a course catalog that documents that the content of this class actually fits the area of methods of empirical social research, data analysis and statistics.
You may also take a look at the official selection statutes (in German only).
All grades will be converted into the German equivalents using the Bavarian Formula.
On the basis of the criteria listed below, applicants are awarded points and ranked accordingly. The percentage in parentheses tells you what influence each criterion has on the final score.
The final grade or – for students still completing their degree program – the current average grade achieved in their bachelor's program (10%).
A letter of motivation in English with a maximum of 500 words (30%).
A sample of written work in Political Science in English or German. This sample should underline the applicant's ability to conduct research in Political Science and should not exceed 5,000 words (60%). All applicants to the master's program in Political Science are required to submit a sample of their scholarly work. This sample should reflect original work that provides evidence of both writing ability and the capacity for social science research, analysis, and original thought at the graduate level. A plagiarism software may be used for verification.
You may also take a look at the official selection statutes (in German only).
This year, subject to the approval of the committees and bodies, the application period starts on 01 April and ends on 15 May. The Admissions Office is the central office for all applicants (German as well as foreign applicants).
You will only need to apply online.
Applicants are required to submit certified copies of official documents, such as the university entrance qualification or the bachelor's degree certificate, as specified in the online application. International guidelines for grading standards will be applied.
Attached to the application form for admission, you will find a checklist that will help you compile all documents. Please read this list carefully since incomplete applications will not be considered by the Admissions Office.
If you have not yet been awarded your bachelor's degree by the time of application, you may submit a current transcript of records.
English language certificates may also be handed in later, until 15 August at the latest.
Usually, applicants to a master’s program receive the decision shortly after the close of the deadline.
If you wish to accept your offer, please confirm the Declaration of Acceptance. Afterwards, you will receive an e-mail containing your log-in details for myUniMA – an online portal that provides you with comprehensive information on enrollment. Furthermore, it contains information on visas as well as on accommodation.
Guide to applying for admission to a master's program
The program managers are happy to answer any questions regarding the master's program (degree plan, selection of courses, structure and progress of your studies). For any questions relating to admission or application, please contact the Admissions Office.