Study Guide: Politics, Human Rights and Development

Interested in development studies, defending human rights or developing public policy - then this university guide is for you.

by Julia Wegner, January 4, 2018

You're the theoretical type? Want to understand, reflect and then critically discuss all aspects of your work before you really get going?

University courses in different disciplines from Development Studies to Public Policy or Human Rights try to help you understand what makes the world goes round, what role international stakeholders play and how to do a good or even better job when working in the field. The idea: Only a proper understanding can bring real answers. So learn the best theory and then put it into practice. 

Development Studies

Here are some of the universities in Germany where you can learn what succcessful development really is and how to make it work:

  • University of Passau: MA in Development Studies
    • Description: Enables students to develop the advanced knowledge, analytical skills, and conceptual frameworks required to understand and navigate the complexities of economic and social development. Focused on field studies, as well as quantiative and qualitative methods. 
    • Requirements:  A first degree in social science. Among the top 50% of your cohort. Proficiency in English. Qualified students from developing and emerging countries are particularly welcome.
    • Application Deadline: June 30th
    • Cost: State defined semester contribution only
  • Technische Universität Kaiserslautern: Distance Learning Masters in Sustainable Development Studies 
    • ​Description: Negative developments still pose the greatest problems facing the world community. The concept of sustainable development has prevailed with the Agenda 21 of the United Nations as a key and action-guiding mission statement.The Master's distance learning course "Sustainable Development Cooperation" qualifies the participants for part-time work in governmental and nongovernmental institutions and organizations of development cooperation. In addition, it promotes the implementation of sustainability concepts in other fields such as enterprise or public institutions.
    • Requirements: Undergraduate Degree and first work experience, Or several years of focused work-experience and aptitude test. German proficiency. 
    • Application Deadline: June 30th
    • Cost: 740 Euros/Semester
  • University Duisburg-Essen: International Relations and Develoment Studies
    • ​Description: The accredited degree program combines a solid theoretical training in the field of International Relations with an intensive education in the sub-region's development policy. In addition to the relevant theories and themes of international relations studies - courses on regional cooperation and integration, international organizations, globalization, international economic relations, etc. - give special attention to theories of Global Governance, Peace and Conflict Studies, the North-South relations and the development policy practice. Another unique feature is that students can specialize in two of the three regions of the world (Asia, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa) from the 2nd semester, allowing a practical and application-related access to development and peace policy issues.
    • Requirements: Undergraduate degree in political science or comparable degree with a final grade of at least 2,59. Proficiency in English and German.
    • Application Deadline: July 15th
    • Cost: State defined semester contribution only
  • University of Bochum: MA in Development Management
    • ​Description: The innovative nature of the IEE program is based not only on the broad spectrum of methods, but also on the practical approach throughout the 1.5 year course. Students are confronted with practical difficulties in terms of planning, monitoring and evaluation of development programs and projects. They are required to complete a three-month internship as well as term-abroad. For this it cooperates with the University of Western Cape, South Africa. 
    • Requirements: Relevant degree in political and projects Career experience in a science, social science, law, economics, geography, or in other subjects related to the planning and evaluation of development programs relevant field; preference is given to candidates whose employers offer a reintegration guarantee. Minimum certified proficiency in written and spoken English.
    • Application Deadline: December 31st 
    • Cost: State defined semester contribution only

Human Rights

Want to get even more specialised and find out what Human Rights mean around the world and how to address them:

  • Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg: MA in Human Rights
    • Description: The M.A. Human Rights addresses the growing importance of human rights in all areas of society and academia. The course program covers fundamental challenges as well as current issues. It pursues an interdisciplinary approach by taking the political, philosophical and legal dimensions of human rights into account. Graduates of the program will be equipped with theoretical and practical skills to pursue professional activities in human rights contexts.
    • Requirements: Completed undergradaute degree (210 ECTS but at least 180 ECTS) and one year relevant work experience. Or one year relevant work experience and one year relevant non-work practical experience. Proficiency in English. 
    • Application Deadline: July 15th
    • Cost: 5218 Euros (total)
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg: Extra Occupational Masters in Governance and Human Rights 
    • ​Description: The Master’s Program in Governance and Human Rights connects the theory of science with its practical application. In seven modules, the students will learn to analyze and understand legal and political theories of governance and international and regional human rights regimes and how they are interrelated. The students and scholars of the Master of Governance and Human Rights will design, plan, organize, and realize their own project addressing a practical challenge related to the field of governance and human rights.
    • Requirements: Applicants have to hold at least a first university degree (e.g. Bachelor).
    • Application Deadline: August 15th
    • Cost: 9500 Euros (course fees) + 200 Euros/term (term contributions)

Public Policy

To change the world you've got to understand how it goes round. Here are some of the best public policy masters, for those that believe politics can achieve anything, if its just done right. 

  • University of Passau: BA governance and public policy (MA also available)
    • ​Description: The understanding of complex national and international structures and processes is becoming increasingly important in the context of growing global political and economic netowrks. The Bachelor Degree Program Governance and Public Policy & Political Science uses a wide range of interdisciplinary, practice-oriented and internationally oriented course content to optimally qualify you for a job in the area of international politics, society and economy. You will acquire basic technical knowledge in history and political science, sociology and economics, and - this is what makes the course unique in Germany - also in public law. 
    • Requirements: No minimum high-school grade average (NC) required. German proficiency. Due to the high volume of applications, there may also an interview and assessment process. 
    • Application Deadline: July 15t
    • Cost: State defined semester contribution only 
  • Hertie School of Governance: Master of Public Policy
    • Description: A two-year, full-time master’s programme (MPP degree) in Berlin with a strong interdisciplinary foundation, combining  theory and practice to understand today’s most pressing public policy problems. Gain the tools to analyse and manage policy challenges and to formulate sustainable solutions. Prepare for leadership positions at the intersection of politics, public administration, business, and civil society.
    • Requirements: Apply with more than just grades - we strongly consider your motivation and personal background and accept applicants with undergraduate degrees from all academic disciplines. You must complete all of your undergraduate academic course work and exams by 1 September 2016 in order to matriculate. 2 letters of reference needed and English proficiency required. 
    • Application Deadline: May 1st
    • Cost: €29,500 (€7,375 per semester)

Public Policy in German (AKA Verwaltungswissenschaften) can also be studied at Potsdam, in Konstanz, in Duisburg-Essen und in Erfurt (Brandt School).

Nothing for you? Here you can find a general overview of all the "sozialen Studiengänge". 

Originally published December 11, 2015