Comparative Democracy (Master of Arts)

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Conditions of admission


Course content and focus areas 

Comparative politics and comparative democracy studies are core components of political science and not least due to current challenges such as the rise of populism and nationalism, extremism, disenchantment with politics and various structural socio-economic challenges (e.g. globalisation, deindustrialisation, technological change) are topical, relevant and exciting. In this area, the Master programme offers a comprehensive range of courses that teach theoretical, analytical, methodological and empirical skills in a pluralistic and structured manner.

 The degree program aims at four main goals:

  • To enable you to gain an in-depth understanding of the conceptual, behavioral, institutional, and structural bases of modern democracy in light of contextual prerequisites and challenges.
  • To provide the theoretical, analytical, and methodological skills to successfully conduct relevant empirical research on problems of contemporary democracy.
  • To prepare you to successfully pursue a career in academic research or in research-oriented positions in governmental or non-governmental organizations.
  • To facilitate academic research and co-operation in an international environment

The curriculum of the Master program evolves on the basis of nine intertwined modules. With these modules, the program aims to advance cumulative learning. Furthermore, it aims to blend training in basic research skills with problem-oriented perspectives on the issue of democratic governance. With its problem-oriented approach the program aims to further an active and creative learning environment that helps students to develop an open minded and critical approach to academic learning and democracy as the program’s main subject.

The introductory phase of the program (Modules A, B, C) provide you with a broad Master-level introduction to the study of comparative democracy. It equips you with the theoretical, methodological, and practical skills to analyze politics and lays the foundation for your entire study program. We strive to facilitate close contact between you and your teachers in order to closely supervise your academic development during this phase of your studies.

The three mandatory modules D1, D2, D3 are designed to study key topics that evolve from comparative research on democracy. The three modules cover comparative democracy research from a sociological, institutional, and policy perspective. All modules stress cross-national but also longitudinal comparisons as a means to explore core issues in democratic governance. The organizational logic of the modules follows the ‘policy cycle’ from citizens (their preferences, norms, values, behavior, culture, etc.) via interest aggregation and representation (for example through parties, unions, employers, lobby groups, etc.) to the output side of public policy-making (covering crucial areas such as welfare states, varieties of capitalism, patterns of inequalities, etc.) as well as the policies’ impact back citizens.

Students thus receive and are equipped both with a broad overview as well as with detailed insights into the political processes of “comparative democracy”. 

Gaining practical experience in an internship
With module E1: „Internship“ we enable you to gain first insights into later professional fields. The internship can be completed e.g. in public institutions, associations, non-governmental organizations or private companies - also abroad. In order to share your experiences with your fellow students, the internship concludes with a study day. Here you have the opportunity to talk about your experiences and possible career prospects. 

Independent research through research internship
A special feature of the Master Comparative Democracy is the integration of research-based learning in Module E2: „Practicing Research on Democracy: Research Seminar“. Here you learn to apply methods of empirical social research in practice under professional guidance, to make independent decisions in developing your own research design and to present and defend your results appropriately. 

Internationally connected
The Master programme Comparative Democracy is - like political science in general - internationally oriented. We offer a large number of courses in English and you have the opportunity to spend a semester abroad at one of the faculty’s more than 80 partner universities worldwide. Therefor you can take advantage of the extensive Erasmus+ programme offered by the Department of International Relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences as well as numerous university-wide exchange opportunities of Goethe University. It is also possible to do the internship module abroad. The department offers a flexible recognition procedure with the so-called „application for prior recognition of academic achievements taken abroad“ as well as study counselling.

Detailed information

Information from the department
Study regulations


Master of Arts in Comparative Democracy


The standard length of study for the Master of Arts is 4 semesters. 

Languages of instruction


Start of the programme

The study program starts at the beginning of the winter semester. 

Student advisory service

Alexander Simon

Please find office hours and further information on student advising at the Department of Social Sciences here.

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Conditions of admission

Admission requirements

You should have a strong interest in the theoretical and empirical study of comparative politics and a willingness to engage in self-organized learning.

The subject-related admission requirement for this degree program is a Bachelor's degree in the same subject or in the same field of study or an equivalent degree.

  • A Bachelor's degree in the "same subject" within the meaning of the regulations for the Master's degree in Comparative Democracy is a Bachelor's degree in the (main) subject Political Science, even if the subject is named differently.
  • Degrees in the "same subject" are those in a broader program (e.g., the social sciences or political science) in which 60 CP in political science can be demonstrated.
  • "Equivalent degree" means, on the one hand, bachelor's degrees in which political science was studied as a minor subject or content of a different subject with at least 60 CP, 
  • On the other hand, other foreign degrees (apart from the Bachelor's degree) in the same subject, in the same or an equivalent subject (see above for definitions) with a standard period of study of at least six semesters are also considered equivalent degrees.

Related courses of study are those in which political science and social science coursework and examinations (especially political science basics and subfields as well as social science methods) amounting to at least 60 credit points (CP) according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) have been acquired.

  • Letter of motivation in English language (max. 700 words)
  • Good knowledge of English must be demonstrated by the language level C1 of the "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages of the Council of Europe".This can be proven, for example, by:
    a) UNIcert level 3 diploma or
    b) TOEFL test (Internet based score at least 95) or
    c) IELTS (International English Language Testing System), min. score 7.0 or
    d) TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), min. score 945 points or
    e) another certificate recognized as equivalent by the Examination Committee.

All information on the application procedure, deadlines and formal requirements, the documents to be submitted and the link to the application portal (Uni-Assist) can be found here.

Provisional admission

If the university entrance qualification for the consecutive Master’s programme (namely the Bachelor’s degree) has not yet been completed, you can apply for the programme with a transcript of records on the basis of at least 80% of the required for the bachelor's degree CP (normally 144 credit points). This provisional certificate must be issued by an office authorised to award grades or issue certificates. If a student is admitted, this will be on a provisional basis. Provisional admission is valid until the end of the first semester of the master’s program. The bachelor’s degree must thus be handed in by March 31 (winter intake) the latest.

Mode of admission Admission to the programme is restricted.

After the admission requirements have been checked, a ranking may take place in accordance with the selection statutes:
Decisive for the selection of study places is 70% the grade of the degree required for the Master's program and 30% the grade of the letter of motivation.

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Documents to be submitted
  • if you are not already enrolled at Goethe-University Frankfurt:
    a university entrance qualification (e.g. A-Levels)
  • Bachelor’s degree certificate
  • if the Bachelor’s degree has not yet been completed:
    a transcript of records or equivalent document listing the content of the study programme and average grade
  • certificate of English language skills
  • letter of motivation
  • original APS certificate for applicants from India, Vietnam and China (original)
Application period

01.04. - 15.05.

Address for applications Online application portal for Master’s programs

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