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Political Science: Parties, Parliaments and Democracy (Leiden)

Do political parties still perform their representational function? This is one of the main questions facing modern democracy. You will be addressing this issue both theoretically and empirically.

Almost everywhere political parties are facing an increasingly indifferent and even hostile electorate. Their monopoly on political representation is challenged by seemingly alienated citizens and populism. In this programme, you will explore the causes of the vulnerability of parties and examine the empirical indicators of their perceived decline. Does money rather than ideology determine which party or candidate wins elections? Do parties in parliaments reflect the diversity of today’s societies sufficiently? Have members any influence on their parties? What is the role of the media in election campaigns? Perhaps most importantly, you will address the impact of the current state of parties and parliaments on democratic accountability and political legitimacy. You study 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 political science, including comparative politics, political psychology, and political theory.

Practical Information 2022-2023

For every starting group we will plan information sessions throughout the academic year. You will be informed about these via different channels like the announcements by the study advisers on Brightspace and the Student Services Centre (SSC) and also the Newsletters which are published at the start of every block. Make sure to inform yourself via these channels.

ONLINE CONVERSION COURSE

The Master Political Science Admissions Committee may have requested that you take the online conversion course Introduction to Research Design in Political Science (SPOC)
offered to you before the start of the programme. Whether this applies to you, can be found in your Decision (Admission) letter. If you are not required to take this course, but you would like to refresh your knowledge by reviewing this course, please enrol yourself for the designated group number, which can be found in the Prospectus.

INFORMATION SESSIONS

General Information session: Institute and programme information.
Only for the respective starting group students.

  • For the September 2022 starters, we will send out an email in the last week of August to invite you for our (online) Welcome and Information meeting.

  • For the February 2023 starters, we will inform you via our Newsletter in January 2023 about how and when the Welcome and Information meeting will take place.

Meet and Greet: Meet our staff, fellow students and study association SPIL

  • September starters: TBA if and when this can take place on campus due to safety restrictions. Please keep an eye on our Brightspace Channel Study Advice Master Political Science Leiden.

  • February starters: TBA if and when this can take place on campus due to safety restrictions. Please keep an eye on our Brightspace Channel Study Advice Master Political Science Leiden

Internship Information Session

  • September starters: September 2022, via Kaltura (see course info for details)

  • February starters: TBA

Research Methods in Political Science Information Session

Presentation of Quantitative and Qualitative Approach for Methods in Political Science course

  • September starters: Wednesday 12 October 2022, 17.15 onwards (online). Students will receive the invitation by email.

  • February starters: March 2023, TBA

Master Thesis Seminar Information Session

Presentation of all Thesis Seminars by the respective supervisors.

  • September starters: Wednesday 31 November 2022
    See tab 'Thesis Seminar, information and deadlines' for time and location of the session.

  • February starters: May 2023, TBA

COURSE REGISTRATION

September starters
You are expected to enrol for all courses within the registration period mentioned below. Check the overall overview of your programme in the respective starting group in this Prospectus. Please note: In block 2 you will follow the mandatory course Methods in Political Science, we would like to inform you that you can register for the lectures of this course, but registration for one of the workgroups is only possible after the Information session in October. Please see the Prospectus for more information.

February starters
You are expected to enrol for all courses within the registration period mentioned below. Check the overall overview of your programme in the respective starting group in this Prospectus. Please note: In block 4 you will follow the mandatory course Methods in Political Science, we would like to inform you that registration for this course is only possible after the Information session in March. Please see the Prospectus for more information.

Registration dates Courses

Semester 1 (Block 1 and 2)
Wednesday 13 July 2022, 13.00h - till 5 days before the 1st meeting of each course
Semester 2 (Block 3 and 4)
Mid December 2022, 13.00h (specific date tba) - till 5 days before the 1st meeting of each course

Please note: Elective seminars have a maximum number of participants. Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis and you can only register for 1 elective per block (If fewer than 8 students register for a seminar, we cannot guarantee that it will take place).

Registration for the Master Thesis Seminar or the Internship Project Seminar

See your respective starting group in this Prospectus. For the respective information sessions, see the information sessions overview.

COURSE MATERIALS

You can find additional course information in the Prospectus as well as on the Brightspace page (You have direct access to your courses in Brightspace upon registration). Your instructor will communicate with you via Brightspace and via your uMail account. Make sure you have access to this account before your classes start to ensure that you are well-informed about possible preparations and instructions.

Thesis Lab (scriptieatelier)

For those who are working on their master thesis, there is the Thesis Lab in room 6C02 of the Social Sciences Faculty. In the Thesis Lab you will find quiet work spaces with computers, and books on methodology and ‘how to write a thesis’. There are Thesis Lab employees who can give you statistical advice but also advice on how to find specific literature, etc.,.

Library

Leiden University students and staff can access the libraries' e-journals, databases and e-books from anywhere in the world. Leiden University alumni have remote access to several of these resources. Read more

PLAGIARISM

Plagiarism is a violation of academic integrity that can have serious consequences for the perpetrator. To prevent plagiarism, all your written work is checked via Turnitin. Turnitin is an external tool that has been integrated in Brightspace to assess assignments/papers/etc. and to check for plagiarism. Turnitin provides instructors with the tools to provide specific personalised feedback and check similarity to other papers, bibliographic and online sources and grade assignments.

TRANSITION RULES

As of September 2017 the master specialisations in Political Science and International Organisation (Leiden) are no longer offered. Students of these specialisations who have not passed all of their courses successfully in earlier academic years, are advised to contact their study adviser.

BOARD OF EXAMINERS

The role of the Board of Examiners is to ensure that study programmes adhere to their Course and Examination Regulations. The Board of Examiners oversees all tests and examinations within the institute and determines whether students have acquired the knowledge and skills required for the awarding of their degree. If you want to have a short overview of their services please take a look at their FAQ

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Introduction to Research Design in Political Science (SPOC) 3

Start February 2022

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Block I:

Democracy, Political Parties and the Challenges of Representation 10

Block I & II optional

Thesis Seminar Parties, Parliaments and Democracy - Fall 2022 20
Thesis Seminars Political Science - Information and Deadlines Fall 2022
Internship Project Seminar and Thesis - Fall 2022 (February 2022 intake) 30

Start September 2022

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Block I (mandatory: 1 Common and 1 Core Course)

Democracy, Political Parties and the Challenges of Representation 10
Great Debates in Political Science (Fall) 5

Block II: mandatory

Methods in Political Science (Fall) 5

Block II (students choose 1 seminar of the Electives below)

Algorithmic Security Politics 10
Governance of Human Security 10
Growth: A Social Ideal and its Ecological Limits 10
Coalition Government and Parliamentary Opposition 10
Russia and the World 10
States, Citizens and Migrants 10

Block III (students choose 1 seminar of the Electives below)

European Union: Integration and Disintegration 10
Contemporary Debates on Justice 10
Contestation of International Authority 10
Interest Groups and Democracy 10
Violence and Peace in the Age of Social Media 10
Democratic Transformations and Innovations 10

Block III & IV: Optional

Thesis Seminar Parties, Parliaments and Democracy - Spring 2023 20
Thesis Seminars Political Science - Information and Deadlines Spring 2023
Internship Project Seminar and Thesis - Spring 2023 (September 2022 intake) 30

Start February 2023

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Block III: Mandatory Course

Great Debates in Political Science (Spring) 5

Block III: Electives

Contemporary Debates on Justice 10
Contestation of International Authority 10
European Union: Integration and Disintegration 10
Interest Groups and Democracy 10
Violence and Peace in the Age of Social Media 10

Block IV: Mandatory Course

Methods in Political Science (Spring) 5

Block IV: Electives

Advanced Cases in Democratic Consolidation and Erosion 10
Global Transformations and Governance Challenges 10
Minority Rights 10
The Law and Politics of the Use of Force 10

Block I & II - students follow the core course of their specialisation as well as the Thesis Seminar or Internship

Career Preparation

(Academic) Career Preparation in Political Science

The goal of the Political Science programme is preparing you for your next phase in life, whether this will be in academia or in an organisation. As of the start of the programme, you are encouraged and supported to develop your key “21st Century” skills, essential to prepare you for your future professional life. These skills will be addressed within as well as outside of the programme.
Support is offered from different levels within the University and has the objective to develop these skills, but also to identify your interests and strengths, to explore a diverse range of opportunities to clarity about your goals and empower you to pursue paths you find personally meaningful.

Academic Career Support

Throughout your Political Science programme, you will be offered numerous opportunities to develop your academic skills – in workgroups, (guest) lectures, small group sessions, reports, research projects. These academic skills are related to analytical and critical thinking, academic writing, research and communication skills, key skills that are required in today’s workplace.

Your Career Preparation support 24/7

You can access our Brightspace platform for Career Preparation in Political Science 24/7 and find information on careers, positions for internships, tips, links, suggestions, dates for info/Q&A sessions and ways to reach out to various additional support systems.
Have a look at the Career Roadmap provided by Career Services of Leiden University for Bachelor and Master students, to follow a step by step guidance from the start of your degree until the status of Leiden University Alumnus.

Your Career Preparation Support on campus

A direct career preparation network is offered to you on campus via the staff of Career Service of the University, study associations, study advisers, peer mentors, workgroup instructors and the internship coordinator. This network consists of experienced individuals who enjoy supporting you with your future choices. You are encouraged to participate in events organised for you on this matter.

Topics for Career Preparation support: intra- and extra-curricular

Whether you are taking advantage of our Career Preparation support online or in person, you will be stimulated to think about your choices within your study track concerning:

  • choice of internship for a company or research institute

  • choice of your research projects

  • choice of course planning and distribution (GPA strategy*)

  • choice of a minor or elective courses

  • choice to do a part of your study abroad (BSc students)

  • choice for Honours classes

  • choice for a future/sequential Master’s programme

Next to study related choices, you can expect assistance on preparing for extra-curricular activities which may support your CV. You can think about things like:

  • choice of a part-time job

  • choice to join a student board for a society/club/committee

  • choice for voluntary service work

  • choice to follow extra-curricular education/workshops/classes

GPA

For some programme elements, jobs and sectors, a high Grade Point Average forms an important part of the selection, for example for your application to exchange, Honours programmes, Master’s programmes, traineeships, consultancy or PhD-positions. When you are considering these elements or positions, it is smart to plan and define where want to invest your time, whether this is more experience or more time to study.

However, a strong GPA is not the only factor determining your success, equally relevant is that you are enjoying what you are doing and that this is reflected in your activities and experience during your studies.

You can find information on the distribution of GPAs and the ranking of your GPA versus your peers in the BSc and MSc programme or the faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences in this link: Grading Tables