Political Science (research)

In this interdisciplinary research master’s students will be able to choose between a specialisation in political science or public administration, while also following courses in a combined curriculum.

This unique, two-year master’s programme is designed for students willing to challenge themselves and take their studies to the next level. The programme offers you unsurpassed and thorough academic training that will provide useful no matter what your future career intentions are. A strong focus on skill development and the ability to conduct independent research are at the core of this research master, which features a selection of two specialisation tracks: Political Science or Public Administration.

Two specialisations

Students can choose from two specialisations (Political Science or Public Administration). Please indicate your specialisation of choice on the application form.

Why Political Science at Leiden University?

  • Leiden’s Institute of Political Science is one of the largest political science departments in Europe. It accommodates a wide range of (sub)disciplines and research interests.
  • Your lecturers are high ranking specialists in their field.
  • All courses are taught in small groups, allowing for personal contact with your fellow students, as well as your instructors.
  • Besides studying interesting themes, you will also familiarise yourself with the state-of-the-art in social and political science literature and research skills.
  • The city of Leiden is a popular student city, with attractive sights and a lively atmosphere. It proposes a wide variety of cultural, sports and leisure activities.

Other Political Science master’s specialisations

Overview of our one-year programmes

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Website Institute of Political Science

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Political Science and Public Administration (research)
  • Degree Master of Science in Political Science and Public Administration (research)
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • Duration 2 years
  • Start date September and February
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60421

Rudy Andeweg

“The analytical skills we teach in this course are valuable assets in any career.”

“Leiden enjoys an excellent reputation internationally, particularly for research into the functioning of political institutions. Bibliometric research has shown that this department is judged to be one of the best in Europe. Since this is the only research master’s in Political Science in the Netherlands, we are pleased to receive students from all parts of the country. But we are also keen to position ourselves internationally, and the working language of this programme is therefore English. From our sister university Oxford, we have adopted the idea of a Replication Seminar for the research master’s programme. In such a seminar students are faced with a researcher who presents his recent research findings and brings his research material. The students are then asked to examine the research material; the question is whether they will come to the same conclusion. In this seminar the student is given the opportunity to dispute the findings of the researcher. This is very challenging for both parties.

Students frequently ask me whether they ought to take this research master’s if they are not yet sure whether they want to become a researcher. Of course, you don’t have to become a researcher. The analytical skills that we teach in this course are valuable assets in any career, and the same applies to the practical skills that we train, such as writing academic reports in English and giving presentations in English.

This is without doubt a demanding research master’s. Students who found the bachelor’s easy, will now have to work extremely hard. Evaluations indicate that students are stimulated by this challenge. Personally, I very much enjoy the two-way communication between students and lecturers in this programme.”

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What our students say

Thijs van Rijn

“I want to know everything and see the big picture”

“I decided to study Political Science because I’m interested in comparing political processes. Then when I was thinking about which master’s to take, this Research Master’s really appealed to me. It’s a comprehensive and broad programme that gives you the chance to study a subject in depth while at the same time developing the skills and methods that help you to see the bigger picture. We learn to think about political processes in abstract terms; even after four years of Political Science, I still find that fascinating.

We are a small group of just ten people, which means you can have some good discussions, and you really feel your opinion is taken seriously. This programme gives you a lot of freedom: first of all, you can put together a programme that matches your specific interests, and you also have the independence to choose your research topic as well as how you put into practice the academic methods you have been learning. Of course, that also means a lot of responsibility. Many students carry on to do a PhD, but I’m considering taking a second master’s, this time in Comparative Law.

I am particularly interested in federalism and decentralisation, and have already written a paper on how government bodies work at regional level. The standard of research is very high: the aim is to write papers that can be published. One of the advantages of the Research Master’s is the budget that each student has for relevant extra-curricular activities; it gave me the opportunity to take a Summer Course at the Central European University in Budapest. That was a great way to get to know students from all over the world.

Through the Research Master’s I am now lecturing bachelor’s students of Political Science on ‘Comparative Analysis of Political Systems’, my own field of research. For me, this is a very relevant programme because it’s important to understand where you can make improvements the world, and to do that you need to train people to recognise the key themes in what’s going on. That’s why this is the ideal programme for students who don’t want to pin themselves down to a single field, but who prefer to take a broader approach and learn to see how different issues are connected.”

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