Master s Programme in Political Science

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1 Programme syllabus f the Master s Programme in Political Science 120 higher education credits Second Cycle Confirmed by Faculty Board of Social Sciences

2 1. Degree Programme: title and credits The Degree Programme is named Master s Programme in Political Science (Masterprogrammet i Statsvetenskap). Credits: 120 higher education credits (S2PSC). 2. Confirmation The programme syllabus f the Master s Programme in Political Science, 120 higher education credits, was approved by the Faculty Board of Social Sciences, University of Gothenburg, It is valid from The syllabus was revised and , to be valid from autumn 2014, The Department of Political Science is responsible f the Degree Programme. 3. Aim of the Degree programme The programme aims to provide advanced knowledge and analytical skills of relevance to political science. To the benefit of the students, the several different in-depth courses elective within the programme demonstrate the strong research profiles of the department. The programme builds on a research-like approach which requires the reading of research literature, independent writing, al presentation and discussion. The programme puts special emphasis on independent wk methods, critical assessment, the ability to solve problems, and the ability to produce high-quality texts and repts in accdance with academic principles. The programme equips the students with the knowledge and skills needed f professional careers in politics and public administration, as well as f postgraduate research. 4. Degree After completing the Degree Programme the student can apply f a degree certificate with the denomination Degree of Master of Political Science (120 credits) with a maj in Political Science (Politices masterexamen i statsvetenskap) a degree certificate with the denomination Degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with a maj in Political Science (Filosofie masterexamen i statsvetenskap). The possible degree depends on the chosen main field of other courses than Political Science. A Degree of Master of Political Science (120 credits) with a maj in Political Science requires 90 credits in Political Science and 30 credits in an optional main field. A Degree of Master of Political Science (120 credits) with a maj in Political Science requires that the optional main field is European Studies, International Relations, Media and Communications Studies, Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Statistics, Development Studies, additional courses in the main field of Political Science. 5. Main field of studies The main field of the Degree Programme is Political Science (Statsvetenskap). 2

3 6. Objectives After completing the programme, the students shall, in addition to and as specifications of the objectives stated in the Higher Education Ordinance, Annex 2 (see Appendix 2), be able to acquire the following knowledge, competence and judgement. Knowledge and understanding Have an in-depth knowledge of the main perspectives and theies within the field of Political Science. Have an in-depth knowledge of the main concepts of Political Science. Have a comprehensive knowledge of the maj research areas of Political Science. Competence and skills Demonstrate an advanced capacity f critical assessment of research literature. Demonstrate an advanced capacity to produce texts independently and in accdance with academic principles, including proper citation technique and use of references. Judgement and approach Demonstrate an in-depth ability to assess different ways of regarding political and social problems. 7. Degree Programme content and structure The Master s Programme in Political Science is a full-time study programme, consisting of two compulsy ce courses, two elective in-depth courses, one semi-elective course in research methods, electives that allow students to pursue further specialization in political science, internship possibility, and a final compulsy master s thesis. The table below outlines the Master s Programme in Political Science, followed by a description of course content. 3

4 Master s Programme in Political Science Module 1 Module 2 Semester 1 (compulsy ce courses) Perspectives on Politics Political Science Analysis Semester 2 (elective in-depth courses) The Quality of Government in a Comparative Perspective Global Security and Democracy Citizens, Politicians, and the Media: Evaluating Democratic Processes Environmental Politics and Institutions Varieties of Democracy and Democratization Semester 3 (elective courses, and semi-elective research method courses) Further electives in the main field of political science, (including The Perfmance of Democracies) course in an optional main field* internship. Applied Statistical Analysis Applied Qualitative Research Methods Semester 4 (compulsy thesis course) Master Thesis Master Thesis * A Degree of Master of Political Science (120 credits) with a maj in Political Science requires that the optional main field is European Studies, International Relations, Media and Communications Studies, Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Statistics, Development Studies ( additional courses in the main field of Political Science). Semester 1, module 1: Compulsy ce course Perspectives on Politics (15 hec) Modern Political Science is dominated by four main analytical perspectives: Rational Choice, Institutional They, Constructivist They and Nmative They. These four perspectives today set their marks on basically all Political Science sub disciplines (e.g. Comparative Politics, Public Administration, Political They and International Politics). Through the course, the students will reach an understanding of these theies in terms of they of knowledge foundations, basic assumptions of social and political behavi and of how the theies are being used as analytical tools f Political Science Analysis. In addition to 4

5 covering these three analytical perspectives, the course also offers basic introductions into the philosophy of social science and the principles of nmative analysis. Semester 1, module 2: Compulsy ce course Political Science Analysis (15 hec) During the last couple of decades Political Science has developed into a mature academic subject, which has led to further specialisation into various sub disciplines research areas (e.g. Comparative Politics, Public Administration, Political They and International Politics). At the same time there has been increased integration too between the sub disciplines, theetically and analytically as well as methodologically. The course aims to make the students aware of the subject s complexity. This aim will be achieved by guiding the students to research classics from the various research areas as well as to current research. The course will apply different analytical perspectives on the various research areas and make the students aware of different research strategies and research methods. Throughout the course, students will gain skills in critically reflected al and written academic presentation through problem-based research overview assignments. Semester 2, module 1: Elective in-depth courses The Quality of Government in a Comparative Perspective (15 hec) This course exples problems of the quality of governance and cruption in a global comparative perspective. The background is a recent consensus among many economists and political scientists about the imptance of the quality of government institutions (QoG) f economic and democratic development as well as social and environmental sustainability. Trustwthy, reliable, impartial, uncrupted and (reasonably) competent government institutions seem the most imptant asset f countries, regions and localities. Central issues that will be addressed in the course are: How can QoG be defined and measured? Is QoG a concept that is strictly related to the political philosophy of western liberal democracies, can it be applied on a global and universal level? Why is the variation between countries in QoG so great? What is the difference in QoG problems in developing countries compared to transition countries and to the advanced industrialized welfare states? How is QoG related to democracy, economic growth, the rule of law, social capital, inequality, social policies and citizens individual well-being? Lastly, f those who aspire to win the Nobel prize: What does it take f countries to change from low to high quality political institutions? Global Security and Democracy (15 hec) This course deals with the interrelationship between security and democracy in an everchanging global context. Pressing problems facing today s global politics makes it imperative to rethink the notions of security and democracy. How do we provide security while 5

6 preserving the basic principles of a democratic society? How do we democratize global politics without lowering the level of security we feel is necessary? In this course, you will learn to discuss and analyze the meaning of the concepts and practices of security and democracy. Who is the subject of security? What are threats to security? How does one ganize a secure political life? Through theetical and thematic attention to these issues, you will become familiar with the relevant research and acquire tools with which to critically discuss and assess different responses and policy proposals. You will present your arguments both in writing and ally Citizens, Politicians and the Media: Evaluating Democratic Processes (15 hec) A maj goal of democracy is to realize the will of the people, but how should this be achieved accding to different nmative democratic models? How is it achieved in reality? To find out, this course zooms in on three groups of acts in modern mass democracies: citizens, politicians, and the mass media. We consider empirical research from both political science and mass communication research, including voting behavi, political psychology, political participation, political representation, mass media effects on citizens, political journalism, and news management. What does this research tell us about how citizens, politicians, and the mass media interact with each other under different circumstances? How do these acts, and the relations between them, live up to the requirements of different models of democracy? What do research-results from different fields reveal about how democracy could be improved? Semester 2, module 2: Elective in-depth courses Environmental Politics and Institutions (15 hec) This course aims at offering a broad understanding of the complex conditions under which societies are to act in der to combat environmental problems, along with an extensive theetical and methodological deepening to the analysis of the governing of natural resources. During the course, the students become acquainted with the political attempts to cope with several environmental problems, such as those found in the marine environment, water, land-use and biodiversity, and various airbne environmental problems including climate change. The course scrutinizes in what ways acts environmental behavi is on the one hand explained by facts such as infmal institutions, e.g., what values, nms, beliefs and mals the acts are having, and on the other hand fmal institutions, i.e., how society is ganized, both politically and administratively. Varieties of Democracy and Democratization (15 hec) In the wake of the Cold War, democracy has gained the status of a mantra, yet there is no consensus about how to conceptualize and measure it well enough to suppt meaningful and accurate comparisons through time and across countries. F policymakers, activists, 6

7 academics, and citizens around the wld the conceptualization and measurement of democracy matters. Likewise, a large body of wk in social science deals with these same issues, i.e., the nature, causes, consequences, and trajecties of democracy around the wld. This course deals with the dynamics of democratization from the perspective of theetical debates, to analysis of histical experiences as well as immediate policy questions. The course scrutinizes the conceptualizing and measuring of democracy, as well as the explanations to democratization, and offers the opptunity to comparative case studies and in-depth analysis on the themes covered. Semester 3, module 1: Elective in-depth course, optional main field, internship The Perfmance of Democracies (in-depth course in political science, 15 hec) In the context of the increase in the number of democracies in the past decades, this course deals with variation in perfmance between democratic countries. What difference does democracy make f the general population? If democracy is introduced in a fmer authitarian country, what happens to the lives of dinary people? Will fewer newbns die? Will me children attend school f me years? Is it likely that fewer people will live in poverty? Will cruption be curbed and transparency in public affairs increased? The course scrutinizes the somewhat dismal picture of many democracies perfmance illuminated through the so far limited empirical research on this topic, and proceeds with examining available explanations f why some democracies are doing a much better job than others in (a) producing human well-being, (b) curbing cruption and (c) managing their public finances in a sustainable way. Wk Placement f the Political Science Program (15 hec) The internship course offers hands on personal experience through the opptunity to learn from within in an ganization of relevance to your education and your future career. Students doing an internship usually consider it to be highly valuable in der to put the theetical knowledge acquired during the programme into practice, something that is likely to contribute with new perspectives on, and a deeper understanding of the phenomena and concepts discussed in the programme courses. Semester 3, module 2: Semi-elective research method courses Applied Statistical Analysis (15 hec) This course aims towards students looking f a comprehensive understanding of the application of statistical methods both within the social sciences and f public and commercial analyses and repts. The overall aim is to teach they-based empirical analysis through statistical methods. Thus, statistical elabation is a key concept at the course. An imptant part of the course is also the learning and use of statistical data programs (f example SPSS). The course consists of two maj parts. In the first part, the teaching is 7

8 arranged in wkshops. Each wkshop is usually concentrated around one statistical technique and one hand-in assignment and consists of lectures, teacher led computer labs sessions and tutials. During these wkshops, you will learn multivariate statistical techniques such as fact analysis, analysis of variance and linear and categical regression analysis. The second part of the course is focused on an independent rept in which you put your skills into practices and apply the principles of they-based empirical analysis through statistical methods on a self-chosen subject and data material. The course is preparaty f the master thesis wk. After the course, you can apply explanaty social science models, principles of statistical inference and a number of statistical methods. Applied Qualitative Research Methods (15 hec) This course aims towards students looking f a comprehensive understanding of the application of social science qualitative methods. Initially we discuss the epistemological starting points f qualitative methodology and the ethical considerations that may arise. In this course you will learn to apply methods of analysis used in the following directions of qualitative research approaches: case study research, discourse analysis, ethnographic methods, and ideas and argument analysis. The course is preparaty f the master s thesis wk. The course is divided into four modules reflecting the analytically distinguished steps of the research process: 1) Basics of qualitative research, 2) Design and data collection 3) Processing and analysis 4) Validation and evaluation. These modules are combined with the preparation of a sht course paper. Semester 4: module 1 and 2: Compulsy thesis course (15 hec) Master s Thesis in Political Science (30 hec) Students will write a Master s thesis with theetical and empirical relevance that adds new knowledge to the field of Political Science. The student will independently fmulate an iginal and well delineated research question, identify, survey, and synthesize knowledge relevant to the research question, choose suitable analytical methods, select collect appropriate empirical material, analyze the material, and draw well-founded conclusions. The course also expects students to assess the validity of their own conclusions, communicate the results, and complete the wk within the specified timeframe. The thesis writing will be supervised individually. Students will also be required to defend the thesis in a final examination seminar, as well as act as an opponent on another student s thesis. Prerequisites The entry requirements f admission to the Degree Programme is a Bachel s degree and at least 60 higher education credits (hec) in the main field of political science of which at least 30 hec from in depth courses in the first cycle, equivalent skills. 8

9 Special eligibility in English: From July 2013 onwards, the basic English requirement is at least English 6, English Course B, the equivalent. See 7. Guaranteed admission Students who have been admitted to the programme, and apply to the courses and confirm accding to assigned administrative procedures, and at the prescribed pace follows the programme, has guaranteed admission to all required courses within the Degree Programme. 8. Transition rules Not applicable. 9. Additional infmation The Degree Programme is taught in English. The Master s Programme in Political Science s quality assurance activities follows the Department of Political Science s quality assurance plan. F courses included in the programme but which do not relate to the Department of Political Science, each individual department is responsible f quality assurance activities. 9

10 Appendix 1, academic year 2014/2015 Alternative programme syllabus f the double degree studies option involving University of Konstanz The Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg and the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz have agreed on a double degree master studies collabation. The first year of study takes place in Konstanz and the second year of study takes place in Gothenburg, accding to the programme syllabuses and course syllabuses f the respective parties. Fulfilling the requirements specified in the programme description of Master in Politics and Public Administration (MA in Politik-und Verwaltungswissenschaft) in accdance with the double degree descriptions, the students will obtain a Master of Arts in Politics and Public Administration (Master of Arts in Politik- und Verwaltungswissenschaft). The table below, followed by a me detailed description, specifies the required courses to obtain a Degree of Master of Science (120 hec) with a maj in Political Science at the University of Gothenburg. Master s Programme in Political Science, double degree studies option Module 1 Module 2 Semester 1 (in Konstanz) Research Design I (9 hec) Basic Seminar: Comparative Public Policy and Politics (7 hec ce course) Basic Seminar: International Relations and European Integration Introduction to International Administration and Conflict Management (7 hec ce course) Elective course: area Comparative Public Policy and Politics (7 hec ce course)* Semester 2 (in Konstanz) Research Design II (9 hec) Elective course: area Comparative Public Policy and Politics (7 hec in-depth course)* Elective courses: area Comparative Public Policy and Politics (7 hec in-depht course)* and area Comparative Public Policy and Politics (7 hec in-depht course)* other area (7 hec in-depht course) Semester 3 (in Gothenburg) Elective courses: The Perfmance of Democracies (indepth course) Wk Placement f the Political Science Program Elective courses: Political Science Analysis (ce course) Semester 4 (in Gothenburg) Compulsy thesis course, Master Thesis Compulsy thesis course, Master Thesis * During year one the student must do course wk equivalent to 28 hec within the specialization Comparative Public Policy and Politics. In addition to the basic seminar in Comparative Public Policy and Politics, three of the four elective courses during year one must also be within this specialization. 1

11 Semester 1, module one Research Design I, (9 hec) This course offers an advanced treatment of design issues in political research that aims (as it usually does) at causal inference, i.e., at answering cause-and-effect questions of the general fm: is X a cause of Y? If so, how large is the causal effect of X on Y? Starting from an exposition of the counterfactual model of causality, the course introduces the assumptions necessary f identifying causal effects, and shows how these assumptions are justified and met to varying degrees in different experimental and observational research designs. As to observational studies, the course gives an overview of common and new large-n methods f causal inference, such as regression and panel estimats, matching, instrumental variable and control function approaches. The course also discusses how the principles and methods introduced may be put to good use f small-n studies, in particular when it comes to intentional case selection, and how methods frequently dubbed qualitative (such as process tracing) may help identifying the mechanisms underlying causal effect estimates. The course s primary aim is to provide students with the epistemological and methodological tools to critically evaluate existing empirical studies, to identify their inferential weaknesses, and to develop research designs on their own that, to the greatest possible extent, respond to these problems. Basic seminar, Comparative Public Policy and Politics, (7 hec) This course provides an overview of current developments in comparative public policy and politics. It surveys a variety of theetical literatures (including wks on preference fmation, interest articulation, political parties, and institutions) that seek to explain public policy in a comparative manner. The course exples substantive issues in public policy of industrialized democracies with material written mostly by political scientists, but also economists, sociologists, and psychologists. Issues of research design and the appropriateness of social inquiry figure prominently in the discussions. The course has two fundamental aims. The first is to assess the analytical tools and concepts of comparative politics f understanding how public policies are generated and changed. The second is to exple areas of comparative public policy and politics that have seen interesting developments in the last twenty years. Semester 1, module two Basic seminar, Introduction to International Administration and Conflict Management (7 hec) This basic seminar gives an introduction to the overall content of the program Introduction to International Administration and Conflict Management and makes students familiar with the basic readings and relevant theies. The seminar starts with a session on conflict they, followed by one on the causes of violent conflict within states. Its first part is devoted to conflict management. That includes sessions on negotiation and mediation of internal conflict, institutions of transitional justice and conflict settlement in a cross-culture perspective. The second part is devoted to international administration and post-conflict reconstruction. It covers theies of bureaucracy and the role of international administration in conflict management, peace operations, humanitarian intervention and modern protectates. A concluding session is devoted to pathologies and disasters in international administration. The seminar lays the groundwk f all further seminars offered in the program Introduction to International Administration and Conflict Management. The individual classes in this course provide an introduction to the subjects of the individual courses being offered in subsequent stages of the program. This is done in an attempt to equalize the knowledge base of 1

12 students participating in the program, taking into account that they come from various universities and have different backgrounds. Basic seminar, International Relations and European Integration, (7 hec). This course provides an overview of some of the primary theetical perspectives and analytical approaches f studying international relations in general and regional cooperation and international collabation in particular. Emphasizing they, conceptualization and methodology, we will survey the contempary literature and discuss the main developments in the advanced literature. The course is reserved f incoming graduate students who specialize in the domain of International Relations Eastern European Politics. The first part of this course focuses on international relations they and conflict research, the second part on regional integration and on decision making within the European Union; the second class will deal with the international political economy and international ganization and negotiations, including the United Nations and its ganizations. Semester 1, module one, and semester 2, module one and two: Elective courses (7 hec) The student must participate in at least four seminars/elective courses (7x4), of which three must be part of the specialization Comparative Public Policy and Politics. The purpose of the offered courses is to deepen the basic methodological, empirical and theetical knowledge, skills and abilities and to get a broader view of the chosen specialization by studying a selection of relevant research-iented literature. Some courses are offered on a regular basis (every year), others only in connection with current research projects. Semester 2, module one Research Design II (9 hec) Qualitative methods The course provides an in-depth introduction into research designs and methods commonly used in small-n research. Topics include causality and explanation, causal inference, concept specification, case selection, data collection, measurement, process tracing, content and discourse analysis. Students learn to evaluate the strength and weaknesses of qualitative approaches and to critically design and improve their own research. Quantitative methods The overall aim of this course is to create a deeper understanding of various statistical inference topics, which have been learned in the BA-lecture Statistik I. Furtherme this course deals with maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), one of the most imptant statistical methods, applied in diverse political science studies. Understanding their basic idea and implementation facilitate a me conscious handling of empirical infmation, based on statistical models and the assumed stochastic processes. Those who have not visited the BA-lecture Statistik I in Konstanz are recommended to visit the lecture parallel to this course. 1

13 Semester 3, module one The Perfmance of Democracies (15 hec) In the context of the increase in the number of democracies in the past decades, this course deals with variation in perfmance between democratic countries. What difference does democracy make f the general population? If democracy is introduced in a fmer authitarian country, what happens to the lives of dinary people? Will fewer newbns die? Will me children attend school f me years? Is it likely that fewer people will live in poverty? Will cruption be curbed and transparency in public affairs increased? The course scrutinizes the somewhat dismal picture of many democracies perfmance illuminated through the so far limited empirical research on this topic, and proceeds with examining available explanations f why some democracies are doing a much better job than others in (a) producing human well-being, (b) curbing cruption and (c) managing their public finances in a sustainable way. Wk Placement f the Political Science Program (15 hec) The internship course offers hands on personal experience through the opptunity to learn from within in an ganization of relevance to your education and your future career. Students doing an internship usually consider it to be highly valuable in der to put the theetical knowledge acquired during the programme into practice, something that is likely to contribute with new perspectives on, and a deeper understanding of the phenomena and concepts discussed in the programme courses. Semester 3, module two Political Science Analysis (15 hec) During the last couple of decades Political Science has developed into a mature academic subject, which has led to further specialisation into various sub disciplines research areas (e.g. Comparative Politics, Public Administration, Political They and International Politics). At the same time there has been increased integration too between the sub disciplines, theetically and analytically as well as methodologically. The course aims to make the students aware of the subject s complexity. This aim will be achieved by guiding the students to research classics from the various research areas as well as to current research. The course will apply different analytical perspectives on the various research areas and make the students aware of different research strategies and research methods. Throughout the course, students will gain skills in critically reflected al and written academic presentation through problem-based research overview assignments. Semester 4, module one and two Master Thesis (30 hec) Students will write a Master thesis with theetical and empirical relevance that adds new knowledge to the field of Political Science. The student will independently fmulate an iginal and well delineated research question, identify, survey, and synthesize knowledge relevant to the research question, choose suitable analytical methods, select collect appropriate empirical material, analyze the material, and draw well-founded conclusions. The course also expects students to assess the validity of their own conclusions, communicate the results, and complete the wk within the 1

14 specified timeframe. The thesis writing will be supervised individually. Students will also be required to defend the thesis in a final examination seminar, as well as act as an opponent on another student s thesis. Prerequisites The entry requirements f admission to the programme is a Bachel s degree and at least 60 higher education credits (hec) in the main field of political science of which at least 30 hec from in depth courses in the first cycle, equivalent skills. F complete infmation, see and Special eligibility in English: From July 2013 onwards, the basic English requirement is at least English 6, English Course B, the equivalent. See Students admitted by the University of Konstanz to the double degree studies fulfill the requirements of English language proficiency at the University of Gothenburg after having completed the first year of study in Konstanz. 1

15 Appendix 2. Qualifications Ordinance (drawn from Higher Education Ordinance, 2011:946, Annex 2) Qualification Degree of Master of Arts/Science (120 credits) Scope A Degree of Master of Arts/Science (120 credits) is awarded after the student has completed the courses required to gain 120 credits with a defined specialisation determined by each higher education institution itself, of which at least 60 credits are f specialised study in the principal field (main field of study) of the study programme. In addition the pri award of a Degree of Bachel's degree, Degree of Bachel's degree in fine arts, professional vocational qualification of at least 180 credits a cresponding qualification from abroad is required. The requirement of the pri award of a qualification may be waived f a student admitted to the programme without the basic entry requirement in the fm of a qualification. This does not, however, apply if a waiver was granted during admission pursuant to the second paragraph of Section 28 of the Chapter 7 of the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100) on the grounds that the qualification had not yet been issued. Outcomes Knowledge and understanding F a Degree of Master of Arts/Science (120 credits) the student shall demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the main field of study, including both broad knowledge of the field and a considerable degree of specialised knowledge in certain areas of the field as well as insight into current research and development wk, and demonstrate specialised methodological knowledge in the main field of study. Competence and skills F a Degree of Master of Arts/Science (120 credits) the student shall demonstrate the ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and analyse, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations even with limited infmation demonstrate the ability to identify and fmulate issues critically, autonomously and creatively as well as to plan and, using appropriate methods, undertake advanced tasks within predetermined time frames and so contribute to the fmation of knowledge as well as the ability to evaluate this wk 1

16 demonstrate the ability in speech and writing both nationally and internationally to rept clearly and discuss his her conclusions and the knowledge and arguments on which they are based in dialogue with different audiences, and demonstrate the skills required f participation in research and development wk autonomous employment in some other qualified capacity. Judgement and approach F a Degree of Master of Arts/Science (120 credits) the student shall demonstrate the ability to make assessments in the main field of study infmed by relevant disciplinary, social and ethical issues and also to demonstrate awareness of ethical aspects of research and development wk demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual f how it is used, and demonstrate the ability to identify the personal need f further knowledge and take responsibility f his her ongoing learning. Independent project (degree project) A requirement f the award of a Degree of Master of Arts/Science (120 credits) is completion by the student of an independent project (degree project) f at least 30 credits in the main field of study. The degree project may comprise less than 30 credits, however no less than 15 credits, if the student has already completed an independent project in the second cycle f at least 15 credits in the main field of study the equivalent from a programme of study outside Sweden. 1

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