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MSc in Political Science - International Politics


What will I learn?

This specialisation focuses on the sources of international conflict, the dynamics of crisis management, and the conditions that allow states to resolve their disputes peacefully.

International relations often appear to be dominated by conflict and crisis. Think of arms races, territorial disputes, civil war, and mass migration that create insecurity for states as well as individuals. This specialisation focuses on the sources of international conflict, the dynamics of crisis management, and the conditions that allow states to resolve their disputes peacefully. You will dive into a wide range of important, fascinating issues, ranging from the functioning of international diplomacy to the security threats posed by terrorism. You will be based in one of the most highly ranked departments of its kind in Europe. Your lecturers are scholars from many countries with expertise in various areas of international politics, including several with direct experience in policy formation, diplomacy, and international organisations. They will stimulate you to think critically and independently and help you to sharpen your analytical mind.


Great debates in Political Science (5 EC). Read seminal Political Science texts and familiarise yourself with the often opposing views of leading scholars. Discover how their ideas and approaches have inspired other researchers and discuss these with your fellow students and lecturer.

Academic and Professional Skills (5 EC). Develop compelling research questions, devise sound schemes for conducting the research necessary to answer those questions, and, ultimately, follow through with the research itself.

Conflict and Cooperation in International Politics (10 EC). Examine the dynamics of international conflict and cooperation. Familiarise yourself with the theoretical and conceptual approaches in international relations, making use of historical and contemporary case studies.

Elective seminars, such as Applying Game Theory in International Relations, Transnational Politics of Human Rights, Preventing Terrorism in Multicultural Europe, or Foreign Policy Analysis.

Thesis Seminar (20 EC): Deepen your understanding of theories and methods related to research on a specific subfield of Political Science.

Career prospects

You acquire the advanced substantive and theoretical knowledge necessary for a successful career in diplomacy, international organisations, policy research, and journalism, among other fields, or for a more advanced PhD-level training in political science.

This specialisation prepares you to combine the insights and rigour of social science with the how-to skills needed to analyse issues of war and peace, and to make a meaningful contribution to foreign policy formation, implementation, and evaluation. Other job possibilities are in the sphere of media and consultancy. The MSc specialisation also prepares you for a more advanced PhD-level training in political science.

Where do Political Science graduates work?

Political Science per se is not a vocational training. It does not automatically lead to this or that particular profession. Perhaps the broad nature of the discipline is also a strength when it comes to occupational opportunities. You will find Political Science graduates practically anywhere—in administration, politics and policy, but also in business, education and journalism. Although this list is not inclusive, political science majors can be found in the following careers:

  • public administration
  • international affairs specialist
  • journalism
  • law enforcement
  • teacher/professor
  • legislative staff member
  • lobbyist
  • political analyst
  • politician
  • urban and regional planner
  • non-profit organizations

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Study options

Full Time (1 year)

Tuition fees
€17,716.00 (15,81,786) per year
Application deadline

Expected October 2023

More details

Start date

Expected September 2023


Leiden University

Rapenburg 70,



2311, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants need a BA or BSc degree (or equivalent) to be admitted to any of Leiden University’s master’s programmes. English-language proficiency: IELTS - 6.0; Toefl (internet based): 80 (component score: 20); Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE), or C1 Advanced (CAE): Cambridge component score of 169.

For international students

  • A copy of a valid passport or ID card
  • A copy of a Dutch residence permit (if applicable)
  • CV (résumé)
  • Language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Copies of diplomas and transcripts
  • Letter of motivation

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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