Political Science describes and analyzes political reality and deals with the regulation of social life in communities, the distribution of power and responsibilities, as well as social issues, institutions and norms.
Studies and Research
The CDSS administers the PhD Program in Political Science in close collaboration with the Department of Political Science at the University of Mannheim, which is highly ranked both nationally and internationally for its quality of teaching and research. With its emphasis on the use of quantitative and analytical methods, the department is in an excellent position to conduct research on a wide range of political phenomena. The department's focus areas in research and teaching are comparative politics and international politics, with a particular focus on political behavior, political economy, international conflict, and German and European politics. The research activities of the Department of Political Science are complemented by the Mannheim Center for European Social Research (MZES) and the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 884 "Political Economy of Reforms".
The CDSS PhD Program in Political Science offers courses in three areas: comparative politics, international politics and advanced methods of research.
Comparative Politics: Courses focus on the comparative analysis of traditional areas of political participation and decision-making, including parliaments, governments, and constitutional courts, individual actors, such as voters, and collective political actors, including political parties, civil society, and social movements. Other institutional arrangements of political systems that are covered in seminars include the origins and effects of electoral systems. The main empirical focus lies in the comparative analysis of democracies in Europe.
International Politics: The main themes include the causes and consequences of globalization, the analysis of conflicts, terrorism and its mediation, the transformation of statehood, and the development and reform of international organizations and institutions.
Advanced Methods: Courses provide students with the tools for rigorous and thorough theoretical and empirical analysis. Theories of rational and social choice, game theory, Bayesian learning models are as much part of this module as are advanced quantitative methods, including multivariate analysis (OLS) and maximum likelihood estimation. Furthermore, PhD students are free to pursue their particular interests by attending additional CDSS courses offered on a great variety of methods of empirical research.
A complete application must comprise the following information:
- Personal data
- Letter of motivation
Please provide a statement explaining your current goals, career plans and reasons for your interest in a structured PhD program at the University of Mannheim. Discuss your study plans and your intended fields of interest. Your statement should be in English and not exceed two pages (not more than 700 words).
- Writing sample
Please attach a writing sample of up to 10 pages (not more than 3500 words, bibliography excluded) in English or German language, e.g. a paper you have written during your studies, a representative excerpt from your thesis, or an essay on a topic related to your research interests. Please do not submit a research or dissertation proposal as a writing sample.
- Certificates and transcripts of grades
A transcript from each academic degree program you attended is required. Degree certificates alone are not sufficient. The transcript should show courses attended and grades and degrees received, mentioning rank or distinction, if applicable. A translation is required for any transcript in a language other than English or German. At this stage of the application process it is not necessary to notarize or apostil the translations. However, if you are accepted we require notarized translations. An apostil is not necessary. If you have not yet finished your current degree program, please attach a preliminary grade report (again in English or German).
- TOEFL scores
Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), unless their university degree demonstrably is from an institution where the curriculum was exclusively taught in English. The TOEFL minimum score is 600 in the paper test or 100 in the internet-based test. TOEFL scores are valid for two years. Ask the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to report your test scores using the following ETS code: 0933. We are not able to take IELTS scores into account alternatively.
- Any supplementary information you like to provide
- Letters of recommendation
Two letters of recommendation are required from faculty, scholars or individuals who are able to assess your ability and potential for academic research and teaching.
Please note: Once you have filled in the names, affiliations and email addresses of your referees in the online application tool, a link to a website where your referees can upload their reference letters will be sent to them by email. Please make sure to contact your referees before completing this part in order to find out if they are available and willing to provide a reference.
Sometimes, these emails end up in the spam folders of the recipients' email accounts. We advise applicants to check back with their referees whether this is the case before informing the GESS team that the emails may not have been properly dispatched. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that references reach us on time.
In order to make the application process as convenient as possible for you, we offer an online application portal, which is available from November 2015 on.