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Master's Degree Programme

About the programme
Language: Danish and English  (See language requirements)  | Place of study: Aarhus  | Commencement: August / September and January / February


A Broad, Research-Oriented Degree Programme

What are the sources of democratic stability? Why do some countries have big and generous welfare states, while others do not? How do we prevent political radicalisation? How do we ensure an efficient and fair public sector? At the Department of Political Science our objective is to choose the right research strategies, methods and theoretical concepts that will enable us to answer such questions. This may involve conducting surveys, statistical modelling or interviews, spending hours at the library or going on field trips to the Middle East.

The MSc in Political Science is the flagship degree of our top European Political Science Department, whose high ratings and research attract academics from around the globe to its vibrant community of scholars. This is a high-quality, two-year programme for those who seek a comprehensive political science education focusing on research design and methodology. The programme gives students the possibility of specialising in the subfields of comparative politics, political theory, political sociology, international relations, public policy or public administration.

Quality Teaching in an Informal Learning Environment

The MSc in Political Science is dedicated to the highest-quality teaching in an informal and egalitarian learning environment. Students are always welcome to approach the teaching staff, whose doors are open to anybody, for example, if you wish to propose a supervised reading course. Students are expected to engage actively in classroom debates. They also collaborate in small-scale comparative projects that make up the most of the international study environment.

Variety and Opportunities

The MSc in Political Science is flexible, giving students the opportunity to design their own course programme. Talented students may even be offered a chance to work as research assistants on on-going projects. Some students will spend a semester abroad at one of our partner institutions or do an internship in a company or organisation.

Admission Requirements

Two tracks are offered, one in Danish and one in English. The following Bachelor’s degree programmes will qualify students for admission to the Master’s degree programme in political science, both tracks.

  • Bachelor’s degree programme in political science from Aarhus University.
  • Bachelor’s degree programme in political science from the University of Copenhagen.
  • Bachelor’s degree programme in political science from the University of Southern Denmark.
  • Bachelor’s degree programme in political science from the University of Iceland.
  • Bachelor's degree programme in Social Science with a supplementary subject in Business Administration or Psychology from Aarhus University.
  • Bachelor's degree programme in Public Policy with political science specialisation from Aarhus University.
  • A Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 80 ECTS within the fields of political science (comparative politics, political institutions, political conduct, political theory, political sociology, international politics, policy analysis and public administration and political science methodologies) and a minimum of 60 ECTS within the fields of political science (see above) or general social sciences (e.g. methodology, economics, sociology, psychology or law) and a minimum of 20 ECTS of political science research methods.

For both tracks, English at upper secondary B level (Danish upper secondary school level with a minimum GPA of 3.0) is required. On the Danish track, Danish at upper secondary A level is required.

Restricted admission and selection criteria

There is restricted admission to the Master’s degree programme in Political Science. As a rule, there will be 200 places available on the Danish language track and 30 places on the English language track. These numbers are a guideline only and may be subject to changes by the university. 

If more qualified applicants apply than the number of available places, the qualified applicants will be prioritised according to the following criteria:

  • Average mark for courses on a qualifying Bachelor’s degree programme at the time of application
  • Average mark for relevant courses
  • Other relevant courses
  • Statement of relevance (in English) which should explain 1) the academic relevance of your Bachelor’s degree in relation to the Master’s programme in Political Science; 2) which individual courses of your Bachelor’s programme meet the admission requirements for the Master’s programme in Political Science; and 3) other relevant qualifications besides formal academic qualifications.

Legal right of admission

Students with a Bachelor's degree programme in Political Science at Aarhus University have the right to be admitted to the Master's degree programme in Political Science on the condition that application is made for admission to the Master’s degree programme no later than three years after completion of the Bachelor’s degree programme. The legal right of admission requires receipt of the application by Aarhus University within the appropriate period of time.


In addition to the general documentation requirements (see documentation checklist), applicants without a legal right of admission must upload a statement of relevance to their application (see description above under Restricted admission and selection criteria).

Programme Structure

Academic regulations

The Master of Science in Political Science English language programme consists of one compulsory 20 ECTS course in the first semester, a number of elective courses (70 ECTS – see examples here) and finally, in the fourth semester, a Master’s thesis. You can complete all electives in the political science programme at Aarhus University or you can go abroad as an exchange student or sign up for a project-based internship. 

In the academic regulations you can find more detailed information about the structure of the programme, exams, and rules about studying in the political science programme:

Structure of the Master of Science in Political Science - English Language Programme:

1st semester:

2nd semester:

  • Elective courses (30 ECTS)

3rd semester:

  • Elective courses (30 ECTS)

4th semester:

  • Master's Thesis (30 ECTS) 

For more information about the Danish language programme please visit this site.

Student Life

Social and Academic Activities  

The Department of Political Science places great emphasis on social activities. The department offers a range of activities in different associations. You can choose to become a member of the editorial staff of the department’s newsletter or join a number of social and academic associations. The Graduate Association was set up by students, and it organises a number of social and academic events. The Graduate Association also founded the IFSK Conexus, a network database, which offers inspiration and specific knowledge sharing about topics such as jobs, study periods abroad, student jobs, work experience and future workplaces.

The Campus

The Department of Political Science is located in the middle of the Aarhus campus near the “social lake” complex, together with the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Science and the Department of Law. The students meet in the The Social Sciences' canteen, and the department's location in the middle of campus ensures easy access to other facilities at the university, such as the State and University Library, the lakeside lecture theatres, etc.


Research at the Department of Political Science focuses on the main areas of this subject: comparative politics, international politics, public administration, public politics, sociology and methodology as well as political theory.

If you would like to learn more, please use the following links, through which you can find information about different aspects of student life at the Department of Political Science and in Aarhus:

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Job Functions for Grads

This data is derived from AU's 2016 employment survey. This data should not be considered a completely accurate representation of the labour market and job functions for all graduates of the individual degree programmes. It exclusively represents the responses submitted to the survey in the years in question.

The MSc degree in Political Science provides access to a number of jobs in both public administration and in private sector companies and organisations. Journalist, headhunter, consultant or folk high school principal are examples of the job profiles of political science graduates, but most graduates are employed as heads of departments or managers in Danish organisations and government institutions. The EU and the embassies also take their share of graduates with an MSc degree in Political Science.

We want to help our students find successful careers. Students can always contact our Career Services for advice and assistance with getting onto the Danish labour market. Check out our careers page to see the range of services we offer.

Testimonial from Secretary-General of the EU’s Council of Ministers, Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen

"I enjoyed immensely being a student of Political Science in Aarhus. The institute constituted for  me a highly stimulating and inspiring environment in which academic study, political discussion  and social relations mutually reinforced each other. This experience served as the best possible  basis for my subsequent career, having introduced me to a variety of disciplines and provided me with a truly generalist outlook on politics and society."   


Testimonial from Member of Parliament, Trine Mach

 "What it gave me? A solid unfailing base of analytical capacity and methods, a toolbox for  understanding political, economic and demographic turmoil, and a theoretical insight into  national and international political economy. My student years were formative both  professionally and personally, and I profit from this every day: When fighting poverty,  promoting women’s rights in the Middle East, promoting the Nordic welfare state model,  negotiating in Parliament, and navigating in political power plays.” 

Find out more about career perspectives through these testimonials: Testimonials MSc in Political Science

Research Career

You can also undertake further politology studies by completing a PhD degree, which could lead you to a career in research. The PhD programme is an elite programme, which for several decades has offered students academic supervision, methodology teaching and research training at the very highest level.

Find out more about doing a PhD degree at the Department of Political Science.