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Analysing the challenges facing 21st Century (non-)democracies
Is immigration a threat to democracy? Is Europe witnessing a surge in populist sentiment? How can governments reform their welfare states to deal with the growing costs of an ageing population? Contemporary governments face these and other political challenges in an increasingly globalised world. In the Master's specialisation in Comparative Politics, you’ll examine the configuration of political power within countries as well as analyse how and why political responses to contemporary challenges vary across countries.
The specialisation provides students with strong theoretical foundations and substantive empirical knowledge in subjects such as representative and deliberative
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1.A completed Bachelor's degree in Political Science or a related discipline from a recognised, academic university.
2.Competency in Social Science Research Methodology (quantitative and qualitative)
3.A proficiency in English:
a.A TOEFL score of ≥90, with subscores not lower than 18
b.A IELTS score of ≥6.5, with subscores not lower than 6.0
c.Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with a mark of C or higher
€2,143 (from EEA countries); €11,471 (from non-EEA countries).
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"I knew I'd made the right choice."
Within the first month of starting the International Relations Master's programme at Radboud I knew I'd made the right choice: the faculty staff is excellent and the classes are small and taught in faultless academic English. The International Relations specialization instantly drew me in, because it exposed the intricacies involved in IR theory debates, conflicts, and the global political economy. These lessons, alongside the strong emphasis placed on learning research methods, have been invaluable whilst constructing my Thesis. Additionally, writing a policy brief for an unconventional stakeholder (a terrorist group) and participating in a memorable simulation game that saw us negotiating the EU High Representative's draft statement on the Kosovo conflict proved to be a highly stimulating way of gaining insight into the potential future pathways open to Political Science M.Sc. graduates.
'This programme bridges core fields in Political Science'
"I find the Political Theory Master's programme at Radboud University most appealing, because it does not only critically evaluate political theories on a philosophical level, but also evaluates the practical implications of those theories. The variety of theories and research subjects is not only fun in itself, but it also enables me to approach important political debates from different points of view and by doing so, to shed a new light on them.
"The programme bridges core fields of political science (e.g. International Relations or Comparative Politics), because it is able to cover a wide range of topics, from justice in war to deliberative democracy and animal rights. This specialisation allows you to normatively evaluate all kinds of contemporary problems, which is invaluable in your later career."
'This Master's programme gave me the perfect foundation'
"At the moment I work as a junior researcher at SOMO, a foundation for research on multinational corporations. As a member of the Economic Justice team, I work on a number of projects that deal with issues such as food and commodity speculation by large companies and other financial players; the Netherlands as a tax haven, and tax avoidance by multinationals. This job suits me very well. I really enjoy doing research! I think it is important that research is not just an end in itself, but is used as a foundation for change or to spark improvements on the issues we examine at SOMO.
My work at SOMO
"On an average working day I study articles, news items, reports, etc. As SOMO's research is specifically aimed at companies, I also study annual reports, financial statements and statements from the Chamber of Commerce. Writing reports is also part of the job. Furthermore, I attend a lot of meetings, at SOMO or at organisations we work with. I quite often visit conferences or meetings on specific topics that I'm working on.
An excellent framework
"The Radboud Master's programme in Political Science has given me the perfect foundation for my job as a junior researcher. The research skills in particular have taught me how to set up a survey or study, how to formulate the right questions, what research methods to use, how to collect data, etc. And what's more, the knowledge I acquired on politics and economics during my course provides me with an excellent framework to interpret and understand all the information (which is a lot!) I collect.
"I would highly recommend that students define their own path for their studies by selecting issues for their papers that really interest them. The same applies to the elective courses. Don't be put off by what people call "mainstream". Rest assured that the choices that suit you will help you to find the job that's best for you."
‘Doing my own research feels like a dream come true'
‘Just before finishing my master's degree in Comparative Political Science at Radboud University, I was offered a PhD at the University of Leiden. Here I'm researching politics and media, focusing on the impact of media attention on the law making process. My research is part of a VIDI project, led by the Flemish researcher Dr. Peter van Aelst. As a result I am also a member of the Antwerp research group Media, Movements and Politics. Being a researcher suits me perfectly, so needless to say, I'm very happy with my job. It does feel a bit strange though, to work at a university without actually being a student. As a bachelor student I discovered I had a passion for research, so being able to do my own research, feels like a dream come true. And the opportunity to travel abroad to attend conferences and seminars is the icing on the cake!'
From student to researcher
‘At Radboud University I was trained to be a critical scientist. While the bachelor's programme provided me with solid research skills and in depth knowledge on the different subfields of Political Science, the Master's in Comparative Political Science allowed me to specialise. This prepared me perfectly for my current job, which is pretty much like having to write another master's thesis, except this time there are no deadlines and there is plenty of time.'
‘What really inspires me?'
‘I expanded my Political Science curriculum with many more courses that interested me, such as American Studies, Cultural Studies, Parliamentary History, Governance Science (Utrecht University) and Journalism (VU University Amsterdam). This allowed me to develop a broader view and to better value the strengths and weaknesses of Political Science. A clearer view on science definitely enhanced my job prospects as a PhD student. That's why I recommend (future) Political Science students to keep asking themselves: what really inspires me? What subjects do I want to know more about? Where can I get the answers to my questions about these subjects? If you follow your heart, you will gain new experiences and opportunities. And of course that does not necessarily mean pursuing a PhD.'
‘I enable MEPs to do their job'
"As a policy officer I advise Members of the European Parliament on a large number of files the European Parliament has to deal with. My average working day in Brussels starts with scanning the international newspapers. Which subjects are on the news? How can we contribute as a political party to the issues that are on the political agenda? My colleagues and I discuss the best way to tackle these issues. As a policy officer I enable MEPs to do their job as well as possible. I provide them with background information, facts, figures, arguments and the strategic advice they need to define and defend their positions.
What is fair?
"During my studies I specialised in Political Theory. A perfect preparation for my current job! As a policy officer I try to contribute to a fairer Europe. But what is fair? I used to discuss issues like this with my fellow students and teachers. By doing this students learn how to form an opinion, how to debate and how to translate this into scientific publications. The structure of the European Union is relatively complex. Governments, political parties, profit and non-profit organisations, trade unions, media; as a political scientist I have to understand the relationships and interests of all these different groups. This is crucial to understanding why certain decisions are made and why they are made by certain parties.
‘Experience abroad is as informative as studying'
"Don't be pushed into graduating as quickly as possible! Try to take part in an exchange programme like Erasmus for a term or year. To me, living and studying abroad - in a different context - was just as useful as the rest of my studies."
"I was able to write about a subject that really interested me."
I chose the Master's in Comparative and European Politics hoping that it would be both academically challenging and interesting -it sure lived up to my expectations! Additionally, the programme Comparative and European Politics addresses the subjects that first attracted me in studying political science: subjects ranging from changes in modern democracy and elections to immigration and equality policies.
The combination of dedicated teachers and small and interactive classes means that the education at the Master's level is both intense and rewarding. Furthermore, the program has a strong focus on academic skills, methods and thinking. This focus also helped me to integrate and quickly understand the many different subjects covered in the program. Of course, the most memorable part of the Master's is the thesis. For my thesis I did a quantitative analysis on the introduction of same-sex marriage in Western-European countries. I especially enjoyed being able to thoroughly study a topic I found interesting and to write a thesis that is actually related to current academic publications. The liberty afforded me in choosing a topic and methodology means that I was able to write about a subject that really interested me.
I am currently studying in Sweden and I find that the methodological and analytical skills I acquired during my Master's at the Radboud University are very helpful in quickly grasping the core of large amounts of information. I hope that in the coming years these skills will enable me to pursue a PHD in the field of comparative politics.
'The discussions and debates inspired me'
"The Master's specialisation in Political Theory appealed to me the most because it offered me the possibility to explore important social and political matters in more depth and to go beyond mere data. The variety of theories and research subjects that were covered by this specialisation was not only fun in itself, but it also enabled me to approach important political debates from different points of view and by doing so, to shed a new light on them. The qualitative character of the Master's was a great addition to the solid quantitative and theoretical nature of the Bachelor's. For me, that qualitative focus of the Master's ultimately offered me the possibility to explore my subjects of interest more freely than in any other Master's specialisations. Above all, the discussions and debates with the professors and my fellow students inspired me tremendously.
"Studying Political Theory not only was a lot of fun, it also was of much use in developing valuable professional skills that helped me in my career. In Political Theory one learns to reduce problems to their kernel and to really touch the heart of the matter. It very much honed my skills of structure and presenting lines of argument more coherently and accessibly. Also, one is challenged to probe deeper into the matters than one would normally do, to really go beyond what at first meets the eye and come up with creative analyses and solutions: skills that are invaluable in today's world."
"Graduate students of Comparative Politics from Nijmegen stand out"
The Comparative Politics programme offers a lot of freedom to choose your own topics for essays and papers. This enables you to explore specific subjects of interest and to specialize in a specific discipline.
What I like most is the contact with the accessible, knowledgeable and international staff that are all top scientists within their discipline. In my view, these dedicated teachers significantly contribute to the added value of Comparative Politics in Nijmegen.
Furthermore, the Master’s programme offers a solid preparation for one’s first steps into the labour market. I think graduate students of Comparative Politics from Nijmegen stand out for their analytical skills; an indispensable asset for a future career in public administration, academia, or the private sector.
"I have been able to develop my analytic and tactical skills"
Through this Master’s programme I have been able to further develop my analytic and tactical skills. These come in very handy now that I work as a policy advisor for the parliamentary group of the political party D66. Every year I transfer my knowledge and experience to new Master students when they visit me in the Hague for ‘a day on the job’ in the House of Representatives.
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