Why do we have to study politics

Political science

Political science: course content, costs + financing, career prospects

Politically interested - that should be students of political science. Those who hang on the lips of the social studies teacher and devour the political section of a daily newspaper with passion only have to practically make the choice of course. The topics from the classroom and the press reappear in the course of study - naturally with their scientific specialization.

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In the Reichstag, politicians are more likely than political scientists to make a career. By the way: most of the members of the Bundestag studied law.

1. Frequently asked questions

2. Content of the course

The subject of political science is best sketched by describing its subject areas.

The Political history of ideas deals with theories of legitimation of rule (e.g. theories of democracy), political participation (e.g. civil society) and theories on the classification of political systems (e.g. theories of fascism).

The area The political system of the Federal Republic of Germany speaks for itself: The political institutions, decision-makers and structures of the Federal Republic are the subject of research here.

In the Comparative Political Science Almost everything is compared with one another: political systems, constitutions and other legal texts, Federal Chancellors, parties, voters. As a student, you get to know analysis methods, the basic tools for comparison, and the evaluation of the results, for example whether the political system of a country has to be rated as democracy, as one with errors (defective democracy) or as autocracy.

The fourth department International Relations deals with the foreign policy of the Federal Republic and other states and addresses international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) or the World Trade Organization (WTO). At the same time, theories are conveyed that serve to classify and evaluate the international actions of national and supranational actors.

Depending on the university, the faculties have different names; ultimately, the content mentioned is the same for every political science degree. Anyone who was happy to be able to ban math from their active vocabulary after graduating from high school because they are becoming a humanities scholar is wrong. Over the course of several semesters, political science students - and this also applies to prospective sociologists - attend method seminars and learn, for example, formulas for collecting statistics.

State and system criticism

Those interested can read Karl Marx in the evening - often not at university
Whether the state and the state of society are fundamentally questioned in political science studies depends entirely on the location of the study. This occurs in some departments and with some professors, but it is also omitted elsewhere. A classic like the “Critique of Political Economy” by Karl Marx is more likely to be worked on by philosophers, sociologists and social scientists (if you are interested, you should leaf through the corresponding course catalogs for these subject areas - or you can satisfy your interest in private). Therefore, those interested in studying political science should find out in advance how this is done at the respective universities. For example, contacting the respective student council or student council is suitable for this.

3. Duration of political science studies and degrees

As a rule, the political science degree lasts 6 semesters and is called Bachelor of Arts completed with a bachelor thesis. A total of 180 ECTS points (credit points) are earned.

Political science is often studied as part of a multiple bachelor's degree. It can be a major or a minor. There are also degree programs in which it is half of a 2-subject bachelor's degree.

You can then complete a master’s degree in political science or a similar master’s degree. The Master of Arts can in 4 semesters to be completed, with 120 credits must be provided.

In addition, political science can be studied to become a teacher, usually as a Bachelor and Master of Education. For more information, see our article on studying teaching.

Forms of study in political science

The classic form of political science studies is full-time face-to-face studies. You study full-time at a university where you go to events (lectures, exercises, tutorials, depending on the subject, also projects, laboratory, etc.) and where the exams take place. Full-time means roughly 40 hours / week, whereby in reality there are usually phases with less time expenditure compared to others (especially before larger exams) in which more time per week is spent on studying.

There are also part-time courses, i.e. the course is organized in such a way that you can complete your degree with less time per week, but with a correspondingly longer period of study.

4. What does a political science degree cost?

Total cost of living

During a political science degree you need a financial basis for accommodation at the place of study, for food, clothing, travel expenses, telephone & internet as well as books & workbooks. Depending on the location and your own thrift, the monthly expenses between € 630 and over € 1,500. On average, students now spend over € 850 a month.

Munich is the front runner in terms of rents and the cost of living, but Frankfurt / Main, Hamburg, Cologne and increasingly Berlin are also well above average. It is cheaper to live in smaller cities away from the metropolises, especially in the new federal states.

Main cost: rent

The Rent for a room in a flat share, depending on the city 269 ​​euros and 585 euros (2018 values ​​plus five percent). Thanks to the 26th BAföG Amendment Act, the rental fee has been at least € 325 since the 2019/20 winter semester. Despite the increase, this amount is not enough in many cities to cover the costs of a room in a shared apartment or even an apartment.

Costs depending on location and personal situation

There is another half-yearly for the course Semester fee to pay. This enables cheaper cafeteria prices, for example. In some study cities, a semester ticket for local public transport is included, which increases the semester fee, but is significantly cheaper than other season tickets for the respective transport association. There are also student bicycle workshops at some of the larger universities.

Health insurance costs must be taken into account if family insurance through the parents is no longer possible.

Do I have to pay tuition fees to study political science?

Practically all bachelor's and consecutive masters can take part state universities without tuition fees to be started. Consecutive Master’s degrees follow on from a bachelor’s degree in the same subject (or at least a similar one) and do not require any professional experience. In some federal states, however, a long course or a second course is subject to a fee. The same applies to the part-time bachelor's degrees, which have so far been rare at state universities.

At private universities become tuition fee raised. The amount varies depending on the degree program and university.

5. How can I finance my political science studies?

Money from parents

A job of yours parents is it to give you one adequate professional training to enable. This also includes you during your studies financially or with board and lodging to help out. The decision as to whether it should be a degree and which subject area is primarily up to you, if your school leaving certificate enables you to take this path. The state supports your parents with child benefit, among other things, which in exceptional cases can also be paid out directly to you.

If your parents have little income or are no longer obliged to support them, BAföG comes into play.

BAföG benefits: it pays to apply

BAföG intended for students step in when your parents - from the perspective of the law - have too little incomein order to provide sufficient support for the (planned) studies. If you are under 30 years of age and have not started any vocational training, BAföG is usually safe for your studies - otherwise check your BAföG entitlement. With our BAföG calculator you can calculate the amount of your BAföG.

Student BAföG is a social benefit, of which a maximum of 50 percent must be paid back. The BAföG repayment is limited to € 10,010, starts only years later and only if enough is earned. If you've been at work for a long time, you might Parent-independent BAföG give for you.

Scholarships for political science studies

Scholarships are available to a much smaller group than BAföG. Greatest advantage: Received through grants Funding is given. Often there is also one ideal support. In order to apply for a scholarship, a letter of motivation, curriculum vitae, recommendations and certificates are usually required.

The major student funding agencies award scholarships according to BAföG rules (i.e. depending on the parents' income). In addition, there are 300 euros “book money” per month for everyone. The application process begins at least six months in advance.

In addition to the large student funding agencies, there are still many other foundationswho each award a few (or really only individual) scholarships. Such small foundations often prosecute special funding purposes, so that not always just performance Is a preferred feature.

For Stays abroad during your studies there can be funding in the form of ERASMUS grants or through the DAAD.

Jobs as a student trainee / mini job / self-employed

Most students work at least part of the time during their studies, often as Mini jobbers or as Working student. Working hours are allowed during the lecture period 20 hours per week do not exceed.

BAföG will be offset if your average earnings are over 450 euros in the month. In contrast to tax, the decisive factor is not the calendar year, but the period in which the BAföG is granted.

Special features apply if you are self-employed as a student.

State education loan and other options

There is the for students in higher semesters or in the Master’s program state education loan with low interest rates and a payout of up to 300 euros / month for at most two years.

A student loan (or an education fund), on the other hand, should only be considered as a last resort if the cheaper options are insufficient or if, for example, at the end of your studies you should be able to concentrate on studying without a job.

If you have already reached the last semesters of your studies, can possibly - especially in social emergencies - also a Graduation loan or bridging loans are possible. Do not be afraid to inquire and - if possible for you - to take advantage of one. The conditions are significantly better than for educational loans or even student loans!

We have collected all the relevant sources of funding for your studies: BAföG, educational loans, jobs, child benefits, scholarships, student loans, parental support and much more

6. Career prospects

The prospects after graduation leave many graduates in despair. Follow-up studies show that, especially in the first three years, entry into a career does not go smoothly or straight away. Political scientist is not a profession like a doctor or an engineer, nor is it much sought-after or in high demand like them. And yet the majority of political scientists only meet again as passengers at the taxi stand (and not as drivers, as a widespread cliché suggests).

As the studies show, there are a multitude of areas in which political scientists can earn their money. Some of them stay at the university and continue their research with a doctorate or work on a project. The second largest percentage of political scientists is housed in media institutions. They don't always work as journalists for the political and local sections, but sometimes also for a football program on television.

Since the journalist profession in particular enjoys unabated popularity - and not only among university graduates - internships and freelance work at editorial offices are essential for starting a career. In public administration, political scientists mostly work as clerks or speakers. However, as Volker Jahr writes, access to the higher service is reserved for economists.

Those who study political science for a teaching post (often in combination with economics) rely on a relatively safe card: In contrast to temporary positions for fellow students, for example in adult education or the adult education center, a trained teacher can hope for a secure position.

How many positions are advertised for teachers of political science is itself the subject of political decisions and therefore cannot be foreseen with certainty - and it also varies depending on the federal state and type of school. Some information as of 2017 can be found here.

Another area of ​​activity is private services. Political scientists support associations or non-governmental organizations in their lobbying work (policy advice) or support a party candidate in the election campaign (communicative policy advice). Political scientists are therefore not without a chance on the job market, but they have to make compromises occasionally.

7. Salary of political science graduates

As an approximation, we give salary values ​​for social and political scientists. The Starting salary with a bachelor's degree averages € 27,700. For master’s graduates, it’s initially an average of € 32,000 and five years after graduation at an average of € 44,300.

The employment opportunities for political science graduates are - as explained in the previous section - diverse. As a result, however, the differences in wages between the graduates are also very large. As in practically all salary information, the following applies: Depending on the specific position in the company, industry, size of the company, place of employment and much more, concrete salaries differ more or less strongly from average figures.

Source: DZHW graduate surveys. All salaries for full-time employees including bonuses, rounded to the nearest hundred. Starting salary as of 2013. Salary after 5 years as of 2014.

For all departments and many degree programs, details on the salary prospects for starting your career and five and 10 years later

Further information

Literature tips

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Note: The original version of the article is already a few years old, the last additions and updates were made on the date indicated above the article by the Students online-Editing done.

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