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The international degree program “Applied Political Science” teaches the fundamentals of european relations

Freiburg, Jun 08, 2018

Great partners

Foto: Sandra Meyndt

The degree program “Applied Political Science” provides a dual degree: a Master’s of Arts at the University of Freiburg and a French diploma from the Institut d’Études Politiques in Aix-en-Provence. Subjects such as public law, economic policy and international relations are among some of the topics in the program. A series presents seven other international collaborations.

Photo: Sandra Meyndt

Back in in 2006 when a German and French university planned to create a joint degree program in political science, the French president was called Jacques Chirac. Meanwhile Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron have since followed. In Germany, the same person has headed the government since the end of 2005: Chancellor Angela Merkel. Political stability, personal continuity or discontinuity, democratic processes in the heart of Europe: That is what Dr. Marcus Obrecht and Prof. Gisela Riescher from the Department of Political Science at the University of Freiburg and Rainer Gregarek from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence, France wish to impart to their students. Together they have founded the bachelor’s and master’s programs “Applied Political Science.”

The programs run under the aegis of the association “Franco-German University”; it is offered jointly by both the University of Freiburg and the Institut d’Études Politiques in Aix-en-Provence. Subjects such as public law, economic policy, international relations, European history and institutions as well as methods are treated in a comparative fashion in the program. In addition, the language and culture of both countries also play a significant role.

Practical application

The students complete a six-month internship during the bachelor’s program. It is not entirely uncontroversial that it is a part of the curriculum, explains Obrecht. However, he views it as a “successful innovation” to be so close to the job market at the university – he considers it a unique selling point for the degree program. “The students like the internship. It is a very fruitful augmentation to their university education.”

Up to now, everything has run quite smoothly: "Half of the students come from France and half from Germany. Both have the same study times and procedures. And the selection and examining commissions are always equally filled with German and French members. "Those who are admitted to the bachelor's degree program are lucky: the" Sciences Po,” as the Institut d'Études Politiques is also called in Aix-en-Provence, is a Grandes Écoles. It is considered one of the most important in France. The training centers are thematically specialized and offer a comprehensive education. Enrollment is allowed through a strict selection procedure.

A prerequisite for enrollment in the degree program “Applied Political Science” from the German perspective are sufficient French language skills equivalent to Level B2 that can be tested as well as two additional tests that must be taken. Applicants are quizzed on relevant subjects, followed by a twenty-minute conversation in both German and French.

Versatile career path

If you have successfully graduated with a bachelor’s degree, you can then pursue a master’s degree. Along with the main seminars for more in-depth exploration, a methodology seminar on scientific research and final oral exam preparation in Aix-en-Provence are also a part of the program. All thirty students in the class – 15 from Germany, 15 from France – have to take this exam. Those who manage to successfully complete the hard selection process and the five-year degree program can look forward to a good job: “60 percent of the students already have a position even before graduation. The rest have one within six months thereafter,” reports Obrecht. The graduates are widely dispersed: in international institutions, public service, journalism, public relations or business. Some even end up in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Alexander Ochs


Applied Political Science

● The degree program begins every winter semester.
● Applications for the bachelor’s degree program are accepted annually between June 15 and July 15.
● Applications for the master’s program are accepted until June 30th.
● The bachelor’s degree program runs for six semesters, the master’s program for four.
● Students complete their first year at the University of Freiburg, the second at Institut d’Études Politiques in Aix-en-Provence, France.
● Freiburg students have an internship during the fifth semester in either a company or institution.

For more information


Amelie Kircher studies Applied Political Science.

Photo: Klaus Polkowski

“I have found the international aspect and prospect to work in an NGO, think tank or foundation to be very compelling. The Institut d’Études Politiques helps us apply for internships that will make launching a career that much easier. The counseling at both universities is very good. And the sense of solidarity and support among the students is huge.”


Sigurd Rothe studied Applied Political Science.

Photo: private

"I particularly liked living binationally every day. But it also has great practical relevance. After you have successfully completed this degree program, a ton of doors fly open for you. I am interested in foreign, security and economic policy, especially in the European and African context. "


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