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School of Social Science


Master’s Programme „Democratic Governance and Civil Society“

· Set of Competences to be Acquired
· Descripition of content / Required coursework
· Admission
· DAAD Scholarships


University of Osnabrück


Social Sciences


Political Sciences

Additional Domain(s)

History, sociology, education, philosophy, geography, law, economics, and religious studies

Program and Subjects

Democratic Governance and Civil Society


Master’s Program in Political Science



Extra Info

Master of Arts
Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation, Hannover (ZEVA)


Winter term, first admission for the summer term optional, please ask !

Initial start

Academic year starting October 2005

Duration of Instruction

18 months


2 years (4 semesters)

Language of  Instruction and Examinations*

Bilingual: English and German

Application Deadline

15 July for academic year starting October. Application forms and information can be found on the web site:    Admission Information      Application Forms

Relevant Additional Information

Tuition fee

500 Euros per semster


The accommodation office of the student services (Studentenwerk) offers modern single rooms in dormitories and also helps students to find private rooms and flats. The rooms must be rented for at least half a year. Costs for a single room in a student dormitory are approximately 120-220 € per month.

Arrival Support

At the beginning of each semester the international office offers all new international students a pick-up service and an induction week, which enables new students to complete all official formalities, to become acquainted with the city and university, and to get to know other international and German students.

Cost of Living

In order to cover personal expenses during the study program, we recommend single participants to budget at least 600 € per month for accommodation, living, health insurance, books and miscellaneous expenses.

Enrollment fee

Each semester, students are required to pay € 136,43 as an enrollment fee (including free transportation in regional public transportation services).

Job Opportunities

Students who have completed their Bachelor studies may be employed as a student assistant.


One internship in the course of the 4th term of the program is recommended but not obligatory.

About the City

Osnabrück is situated between the Teutoburg Forest and the Wiehengebirge, in the midst of a countryside containing a low mountain range and large deciduous forests. With a population of about 170,000, the old bishop’s seat and modern university city is a focal point of north-western Germany.

More than 18.000 students contribute considerably to the image of the city. Many cultural activities, student bars, dining halls, cafés, cinemas, and in-spots enrich life in this 1200-year-old cathedral city.

There are many ways to spend your free time at the University, in the city, or in the attractive countryside surrounding Osnabrück. The University sponsors a large number of participatory activities, from a diverse sports program to a number of music ensembles, such as the Big Band and the University Choir, in addition to running a wide range of events. There is also a student-run film club, which offers an interesting program every semester. 

There are almost 20 cinemas in Osnabrück, the Lagerhalle communication centre, the Haus der Jugend, various museums, a large theatre belonging to the City Theatre (Städtische Bühnen), or the Emma Theatre, art exhibitions, concerts, the Planetarium, and Osnabrück Zoo. You can find further information in the events calendar of JOIN OS (www.join-os.de), the City of Osnabrück  (Veranstaltungskalender der Stadt Osnabrück) and in the online magazine OS-interaktiv, which offers an up-to-date and extensive calendar of events and activities.

Required Entry Qualification Profile

Language Requirements

German, English.

Academic / Other Requirements

BA in Social Sciences, Political Science, Sociology, European Studies or other Social Science BA programmes.

Set of Competences to be Acquired


Democratic governance is linked with political, social and cultural challenges for all kinds of political actors participating in political decisions in all stages of the policy cycle. All European countries today need highly qualified and adequately trained professionals in political organisations as well as in state agencies and political institutions which are competent to solve the challenges of policy formulation and interest mediation but also to handle the multiple and complex consequences linked with political decisions and their implementation in various societal realms. The competences to be acquired in this program will qualify the students to develop conceptual approaches of how to deal with the challenges of democratic governance, to advice organisations in the fields of politics, law, economy and education and to support practical efforts and solutions. The broad and substantial knowledge in the field of civil society and democratic governance offered by this Master Program not only opens a path into academic careers in the participant scientific disciplines but also a broad field of occupational chances on a national and international level.

Description of Content     Required coursework


Democratic governance and Civil Society is an interdisciplinary study program spanning political sciences, sociology, and history. The program is meant for students with commensurate qualifications seriously interested in analysing the challenges of policy-making in modern democracies. The program comprises an intensive study period of approximately one and a half years, followed by a 6-months’ period for the Master’s thesis. The thesis is prepared in a specific research seminar during the third semester.

Dealing with questions of “Democratic Governance” means to emphazise specific  institutional spheres of interaction (markets, hierachies, associations, networks) contributing to social  order, co-ordination and problem-solving. In politics, tensions emerge between democratic claims of participation – interest intermediation and decision-making - on the one hand, and expectations of efficiency - governance and implementation - on the other. Classical and modern theories of democracy have often evaded this relation of tension. Only new approaches of a more empirical theory of democracy like “neo-corporatism”, “bargaining democracy” or “consociational democracy”, commit themselves to the interrelation of input legitimacy and output legitimacy.

The institutional interfaces between state and society will be dealt with together with theories of neo-corporatism and negotiation democracy and non-majoritarian governance. Civil society institutions – associations, NGOs, enterprises and social networks – and their role in politics are of particular interest since the process of interest intermediation between social and governmental actors influences the quality of political decisions and, thus, the problem-solving capacity of the political system. European integration, globalisation and increasing migration entail a partial transformation of statehood, new forms of governance and new interdependencies, structural and functional changes. The Master program “Civil Society and Democratic Governance” is settled in this theoretical-empirical context.

The Master program aims at imparting an extended and differentiated – theoretical as well as empirical – knowledge in the two focal areas “Democracy and Civil Society” and “State and Governance”. The program is scheduled for four semesters. The first two semesters are intended to impart systematic orientations and a profound knowledge in the two focal areas. In the third semester, selected subjects will be dealt with in the form of a project by means of labour-intensive research seminars; limited research periods will have to be taken into account. In the third semester, the oral final examination will take place as well. In the fourth semester, the Master’s thesis, an independent research paper, will be prepared.

In the optional area, it is possible to take courses which are offered for the Master programs “European Integration” and “Social Sciences” in order to intensify specific focal points. The same applies to courses of neighbouring or complementary disciplines offered by all departments of the university. The use of political science courses offered by neighbouring universities is aimed at by the establishment of corresponding co-operation agreements.

Educational Organization

Seminars; research projects; lectures; research seminars; internship.

Forms of Assessment

Scientific essays (Hausarbeit); research reports; oral exams (mündliche Prüfungen); Master's thesis. 

Contact Person / Institution

Contact 1

Prof. Dr. Roland Czada





Contact 2

Prof. Dr. Ralf Kleinfeld






Quality Assurance

Periodic internal and external Evaluation


Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation, Hannover (ZEVA)