Master’s specialisation in Comparative Politics, Administration, and Society (COMPASS)
Discovering the politics of public policymaking. Immigration, environmental degradation, population ageing and global poverty are just a few of the political challenges that contemporary policymakers face. In an increasingly globalised world, it is more important than ever that governments respond quickly and effectively to these challenges. National governments, however, increasingly share responsibility for designing and implementing effective policy with several layers of government (local, regional, national, international) and different types of actors (governments, non-profit organisations, businesses).
Designing effective policies in different political systems The COMPASS specialisation provides the skills needed for a career in government or other policymaking organisations (NGOs, international organisations, advocacy groups). Courses focus on the barriers to and facilitators of reform, Europeanisation and compliance with EU directives, welfare state reform, and the problems governments face in the 21st century.
The degree awarded for completing COMPASS is either a Master's degree in Public Administration or in Political Science. By joining both disciplines, the specialisation incorporates the strengths of both.
- The programme offers a unique combination of the theoretical foundations of Comparative Politics and the practical side of Public Administration - Teaching takes place in a stimulating, collegial setting, with small groups, giving ample opportunity for debate - The staff has a wide range of expertise, integrating their latest research into their seminars - Staff members are actively involved in advising government, societal and political organisations
The Master’s specialisation in Comparative Politics, Administration, and Society (COMPASS) addresses themes of current significance to governance in Europe and elsewhere, drawing on experiences from different countries and teaching the analytical skills necessary for devising effective solutions for the challenges facing society. Because of COMPASS’s emphasis on understanding and analysing policymaking and administration at different levels of government, graduates will be able to identify the barriers to and facilitators of reform. If you want to become a professional in government, COMPASS provides you with the tools needed for working in an ever changing environment and gives you an edge in an increasingly competitive job market. By choosing topics in their course works, students have the opportunity to specialise within the programme. Thus, developing a personal profile that strengthens their distinctiveness. Once graduated, you will leave the programme with a firm knowledge of complex issues and current changes in governance and international politics, and the skills to provide clever solutions. The programme thus prepares you for senior positions in different organisations, for example the UN, the OECD and EU; public employers, such as local, regional and central government departments; thinktanks, advisory bodies and consultancy firms.
Our approach to this field
Political decisions are increasingly made in complex multi-governance systems. Transnational institutions such as the UN, the EU, the World Bank and the IMF have grown in importance. Policy problems are seldom the remit of a single government, but often involve several layers of government (local, regional, national, transnational) and several types of actors (governments, non-profit organisations, businesses). Moreover, recent reforms in many countries have led to the fragmentation of the public sector.
This fragmentation of the public sector comes at a time when governments face a particularly difficult set of problems. Economic and financial crises threaten the sustainability of what we used to take for granted. Social and demographic changes, such as population ageing, have made existing social policies and public programmes controversial. New technologies have radically changed the risks that we face and how we perceive them. These developments have implications for the training and skills of those who wish to work in the public sector and NGO sector.
- Components The Master’s specialisation in Comparative Politics, Administration and Society is designed to address these issues and impart the skills necessary for a young professional in contemporary public administration. The one-year programme consists of two components:
An advanced general course that refines the analytical skills necessary for an international and comparative orientation. Courses that specifically address the issue of the interaction between different levels of administration: international, national, and regional. The courses focus on, for instance, the barriers to and facilitators of reform, Europeanisation and compliance with EU directives, how various countries deal with problems concerning the social welfare state, and the challenges governments face in the 21st century. Courses emphasise questions such as: what are the implications when policy risks and issues are spread over different levels of administration? What happens when national administrations lose competencies to international bodies?
- Ethics All courses in this Master’s specialisation include some training in the ethical dimensions of public administration. We believe that professions in the public and semi-public sector should be able to identify the ethical aspects of politics and public administration, because political processes are never neutral. Courses emphasise questions such as: which criteria need to be met for which players before an agreement can be reached? What hidden agendas could influence a policy? What interests are involved during an official inquiry?
- Change perspective This Master’s specialisation provides students with a broad foundation concerning the way in which governments deal with contemporary problems. Students will learn that standardised solutions can be counter-productive because each country has its own unique context (such as culture and history) which needs to be taken into account when designing policy solutions.