Roads to Democracy (ies) — An International History, Political Science and Sociology

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: May 31, 2023
601–800 place StudyQA ranking:2354 Duration:2 years You need IELTS certificate

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Roads to Democracy(ies) is an international, interdisciplinary and research-oriented Master of Arts programme. The full-time programme has a duration of two years (four semesters).
Combining methods and approaches from history, political science, and sociology, the programme aims to provide students with knowledge of and insights into the development of democracies. The interdisciplinary curriculum focuses on political, economic, historical, social and cultural aspects of democratic ideas, institutions, and structures within and outside Europe.
The programme involves the core subjects of History, Political Science, and Sociology. The University of Siegen offers the programme in cooperation with the University of Coimbra (Portugal). There are exchange agreements for student mobility with other European partner universities. The language of instruction and examination is English.

International academic exchange is an important aspect of the programme. It is strongly recommended that students spend a semester abroad at the partner institution University of Coimbra or at another participating partner university. The study abroad period has the aim of enhancing academic and personal exchange across borders and allowing students to experience new contents, research methods and approaches.

Roads to Democracy(ies) is a research-oriented programme. Students work on the development of their own research project from the beginning of their studies. The courses in the first semester provide them with necessary methodological and theoretical tools. The thesis forums provide the opportunity for students to discuss their research ideas in research seminars and meet with potential academic supervisors for the further development of their research projects. The seminars in the second and third semesters are concerned with current research trends and issues and specific case studies, enabling students to understand and analyse different aspects of democracy and democratic developments from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Educational organisation

The programme comprises compulsory core modules as well as elective courses:
Semester one:
Two Introductory Modules (INT) that are based on blended-learning: INT 1 Democracy in Theory and Practice and INT 2 Theory and Methods of History and Social Sciences

Semester two and three:
Two out of four Thematic Modules (TM): TM 1 Democratisation, Political Cultures and Media (Siegen), TM 2 Democratisation, Political Cultures and International Politics (Siegen), TM 3 Democratisation in a Global Context (Coimbra), TM 4 Roads to Democracy(ies) - Alternative Thematic Module Abroad (Partner Institution)

Semester one to three:
Three out of six Optional Modules (OM), OM 1 (Additional Special Studies I), OM 2 (Internship), OM 3 (Transferable Skills), OM 4 (Additional Special Studies II), OM 5 (Transferable Skills/ Additional Special Studies I) and OM 6 (Transferable Skills/ Additional Special Studies II)

Semester one to three:
Master Thesis Module MM 1 Thesis Forum

Semester four:
MM 2 Master Examination (Master's thesis and the Master's thesis presentation)

Course work and thesis work take place simultaneously throughout the programme. Modes of teaching are seminars, blended-learning courses, workshops, projects, conferences, and lectures.

Students are expected to obtain an average of 30 credit points per semester and must acquire 120 credit points over the entire programme.

Study abroad unit(s)

International academic exchange is an important aspect of the programme. It is strongly recommended that students spend a semester abroad at the partner institution University of Coimbra or at another participating partner university.
Students can choose to go abroad either in the second or the third semester and attend during their study semester at the Partner University either Thematic Module 3 (Democratisation in a Global Context, third semester Coimbra) or Thematic Module 4 (Alternative Thematic Module Abroad).


Internships are not compulsory, but are integrated into the optional area of the study programme (eight weeks/nine credit points). Students are encouraged to complete an internship and will receive assistance from the study course advisers in finding a suitable institution.

Forms of assessment

For example:
  • Seminar papers
  • Shorter written pieces of work
  • Oral presentations
  • Oral or written exams
  • Project or internship report
  • Thesis proposal
  • Master's thesis and Master's thesis presentation

Course objectives

Students of Roads to Democracy(ies) will:
  • acquire an awareness of the diversity and complexity of and variations in the processes of the social and political construction of democratic ideas, institutions, and structures
  • develop a broad, comparative understanding of the mechanisms behind democratic transitions in a historical perspective
  • be able to assess present-day democratic developments on a national as well as on a supra-national level
  • gain a high level of consciousness of the fragility of democratic institutions and of the relevance of citizenship and participation in the democratic process
  • obtain insights into comparative research methods in history and social science
  • acquire the capacity to plan, manage and execute complex tasks
  • attain extensive skills in problem identification and solving, communication, and knowledge sharing

The Master of Arts Degree in the programme Roads to Democracy(ies) qualifies successful graduates to pursue a further academic qualification in doctoral studies/PhD studies. The Master's programme provides a good basis for responsible positions in, e.g. international governmental and non-governmental organisations, national and international aid and development agencies, public and private research institutions and institutes of higher education, cultural agencies and cultural heritage institutions, publishing agencies and media institutions focusing on international and intercultural issues, political parties, private associations, foundations or internationally operating companies.

Language requirements

Applicants for the MA Roads to Democracy(ies) must have a very good command of English (equivalent to Level C1 of the Common European Framework).
Language proficiency can be proved by certificates of internationally recognised English language tests, e.g. TOEFL min. 93 (internet-based), IELTS: min. 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each area), Cambridge Certificate CAE: min. grade B, Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): min. grade C
Further proof of English may be an academic degree in which English was the language of instruction and examination.

Academic requirements

  • A first academic degree (minimum three-year Bachelor's degree or equivalent) in history, political science, sociology or an appropriate related subject with an overall final grade of at least 2.3 (according to the German grading system) or B (according to the European Credit Transfer System ECTS)
  • A very good command of English (equivalent to Level C1 of the Common European Framework)

Applicants must submit the following documents:
  • Application form including letter of motivation (available on programme website)
  • Short CV in English with photograph
  • Certified copies of university degree certificates, diplomas and transcripts of records
  • Language certificates (E.g. TOEFL, IELTS, CAE, CPE; see website for further information.)
  • First draft of research ideas for applicant's potential Master's project in English
  • Two letters of recommendation

Enrolment fees

Approx. 250 EUR per semester for a public transport ticket (valid for six months in the entire state of North Rhine-Westphalia), social services contribution and students' activities

Costs of living

The city of Siegen is one of the German cities with very moderate costs for accommodation, but it has excellent living conditions. Living expenses including accommodation and health insurance range from 650 to 750 EUR per month.

Job opportunities

It is possible to work part-time while studying, provided that the working hours are compatible with the programme's curriculum and workload. The jobnet platform of the University's Career Centre provides support in finding a part-time job.

Funding opportunities within the university

Via the Studienförderfonds Siegen e. V., the University of Siegen provides a limited number of scholarships for excellent students (German and international students). Further information is available at:

Arrival support

Personal support after arrival is provided by the staff of the Department International Student Affairs, a tutor, or an experienced programme member.

Services and support for international students

All international students are supported by the Department International Student Affairs, a tutor, and experienced members of the individual programmes.


German universities usually do not have campus systems like the universities in some other countries where students can find accommodation directly on university property. Therefore, students must find rooms on their own. Rooms in private accommodation cost 280 EUR on average. Rooms in student residences cost between 220 and 400 EUR. Direct support for finding suitable accommodation is offered by the Department International Student Affairs.

Detailed information concerning general accommodation can be found at:

Our International Office ( will also provide you with further information about private accommodation.
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