M.Sc. Political Science

Leiden University

Application deadline: September start: June 15 (Dutch applicants); April 1 (International applicants); February start: December 1 (Dutch); October 15 (International)
Tuition fee:
  • € 1,906 / Year (EEA)
  • € 15,800 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Credits (ECTS): 60 ECTS
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
More information: Go to university website

Show more

Visit Programme Website Many students visit a programme website. Request Free Information


The MSc in Political Science aims to provide its students with a deep and comprehensive understanding of political issues, focusing on the theme of ‘Conflict and Cooperation’.

Conflict and Cooperation

Conflict and cooperation, however opposed these concepts may seem, are the most important ingredients of politics. This holds true whether you look at the political order from a national or an international perspective. The Institute of Political Science of Leiden University is proud to present a Master’s in Political Science with the theme of Conflict and Cooperation (start September 2013). This Master’s programme offers students modules and seminars with an (inter)national Conflict and Cooperation focus.

Why Political Science in Leiden?

  • We offer a programme that presents the opportunity to create your own profile.
  • This Master’s has a unique curriculum in the sense that it gives you the possibility to advance your academic and professional skills.
  • Every seminar or module of the Master’s programme is approached from a disciplinary focus, including the methods employed in political science.
  • As one of the largest institutes in Europe, Leiden’s Institute of Political Science encompasses a wide range of research interests.
  • The academic staff teaching at the Institute of Political Science is international and skilled in many different areas of political science.
  • The city of Leiden is a very popular student city, with a vibrant student life.


Because of its wide scope of academic expertise, the Institute of Political Science is capable of offering students an in-depth training in the most important subdisciplines of political science. The programme posits that functions in various applied settings – academia, government, public administration, politics, international organisations, media, consultancy, interest associations, non-governmental organisations, and business – demand academic training that includes sound analytical skills. All courses of the MSc Political Science curriculum thus seek to encourage the real-life application of the academic knowledge and training they provide. The high percentage of foreign teaching staff underscores the international outlook of the programme which prepares students for an increasingly international labour market in the Netherlands and elsewhere.


‘Any mixture of conflict and cooperation…’; this is a well known definition of politics by Michael Laver. Political conflicts may range from election campaigns between political parties to Huntington’s global ‘clash of civilizations’ and from disagreement over global warming to interstate or civil war. Conflict is inherent in politics, whether nationally or internationally, but so is cooperation in order to solve conflicts.

In today’s globalised world, conflict has far from receded. In western liberal democracies political conflict has expanded from the classical ideological cleavages to clashes over multiculturalism or sustainability and dissatisfaction with the functioning of existing democratic institutions. In the non-Western world, violent (ethnic or religious) conflict often involves the very legitimacy of existing states and borders. Globalisation in some cases increased conflict of values, perceptions of inequality or exclusion of segments of the world’s population. At the same time, globalisation also brings people and cultures together and ushers in old and new forms of international cooperation, from organisations for regional economic integration to the effort to develop new norms in the context of global civil society.

The notion of conflict is also at the heart of modern political philosophy. A major challenge for politics, as cogently formulated by Thomas Hobbes, consists in designing institutions for individuals who, without them, are incapable of living peacefully together. Thinking of solutions that are legitimate and just to prevent abrasive civil conflict has been an important task in political philosophy, as is thinking about war and its justification, which has been revived and redefined during the last decade. Is it at all just to wage war, and if so, under what conditions? Does a warlike condition suspend the normal democratic institutions and procedures?

Specialisation through Choice: Build your own Profile!

The Master’s programme in Conflict and Cooperation allows students to build their own curriculum by choosing specific seminars (subject to availability) on political conflict and cooperation in national or international contexts. Through the seminars students will gain advanced knowledge on a variety of empirical or normative approaches in political science. Seminar topics range from civil war, ethics of war, economic conflict and regimes, and international organisations, to political conflict and the media, elections and coalitions in a national context and multiculturalism. Students may opt to complete the programme with a thesis or an internship which includes a substantive research report. Students complete their thesis within the thesis seminar of their own choice, subject to certain conditions and availability.


Please note that the entry requirements below apply to all students who do not hold a Leiden University bachelor’s degree in Political Science and students with a major in World Politics from Leiden University College.

  • A bachelor’s diploma (from a recognised university, as defined by the university) in Political Science or a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline
  • Good academic record as evidenced by a grade point average of 7 in the Dutch system (or equivalent)
  • At least 80 ECTS in political science or political science relevant subjects;
  • Competency in Social Science Research Methodology demonstrated by coursework

NB: If the applicant cannot demonstrate competency in Social Science Research Methodology, s/he will be required to take a course in Research Design and Measurement in the Social Sciences during the first block of the academic year

  • Sufficient proficiency in the English language, as evidenced by an appropriate test: a TOEFL score of at least 600 (paper based)/ 250 (computer based)/ 100 (internet based) or an IELTS score of at least 7.0.

This requirement does not apply for:

  • students who have completed their education in any one of the following countries:
    Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia
  • graduates of the following English-language institutions in the Netherlands:
    Erasmus University College
    University College Utrecht
    University College Maastricht
    Amsterdam University College
    Leiden University College, and
    Roosevelt Academy
    Webster University (Leiden Campus)
  • graduates of the following English-language programmes in the Netherlands:
    Erasmus University Rotterdam: International Bachelor Communication and Media
    University of Twente: European Studies specialisation (Public Administration)
    University of Maastricht: European Studies
    University of Tilburg: Liberal Arts and Sciences

If you do not fall within one of these categories, you need to submit proof of English proficiency (as outlined above) with your application.

Required application documents for all applicants (except for graduates of the bachelor’s programmes at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University):

  • Your motivation letter
  • Your CV
  • Your academic transcripts/lists of courses taken;
  • A copy of the Bachelor degree (if available) or a statement from the applicant’s university with expected graduation date
  • A copy of English test result (if applicable)
  • A completed application form
  • A letter of reference

Students who have a BA/BSc in Political Science from Leiden University and students who have a major in World Politics from Leiden University College do not have to apply for admission.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 7
TOEFL paper-based test score : 600
TOEFL iBT® test: 100


Scholarships / Grants:

Leiden University:
For additional information: Website



Accredited by: NVAO in: Netherlands

Members only information


Please sign in to have access to members only information like related scholarships, student reviews etc. Not a member yet? Create a StudyPortals membership account now!


Please sign in to have access to members only information like related scholarships, student reviews etc. Not a member yet? Create a StudyPortals membership account now!

Welcome to StudyPortals chat
Thank you
Thank you for your question. We will get back to you soon! The reply will be sent to your account which you can activate via the e-mail you just received. Find more study programmes
More info about studying
Chat with us!
More info about studying
abroad? Ask a question to
our study advisors!
Chat with us!
Ask a question to our
study advisors! Click here