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Political Science

Study programme

The Bachelor's in Political Science is a three-year programme of 180 ECTS credits. The programme is fully taught in English, supplemented by Dutch-language tutorial groups and elective courses for those who so wish.

  • First year

    Your first year is an overview of the field of politics. You encounter key concepts such as conflict, cooperation, interests and power, as well as the big questions that political scientists ask about current societal trends and the political systems which we observe worldwide. Alongside courses on public policy, political thought, international law and contemporary history, we introduce you to active research in political science. Your year-long tutorial and lab groups train you in analytical and critical thinking, as well as in writing, debating and presentation skills.

  • Second year

    In the second year, you choose your specialisation from one of the following fields: International Relations, Public Policy and Governance, Comparative Politics or Political Theory. Courses cover the major issues in contemporary politics from social inequality and justice to political economy across both democratic and authoritarian regimes. A research project of your choice brings together the academic, methodological and practical skills of the first four semesters. Your career orientation is further expanded in the third year. 

  • Third year

    The final year provides yet more opportunity for specialisation through your choice of electives, covering practically all issues and regions in the world. You may also choose a work placement, study abroad or complete a minor, or learn an additional language. You will round off your Bachelor’s programme by researching and writing your own thesis under the supervision of experienced senior lecturers in a small, specialised group context. 

  • Graduation

    You will be awarded the degree of Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Political Science. This qualifies you for Master’s or Research Master’s programmes in the social sciences and related disciplines, as well a range of professional career opportunities.

  • Different forms of Education


    The lectures provide a general introduction to the course’s topics and literature. During the lectures, our lecturers clarify the weekly readings. The lectures are given in combination with small-scale tutorials.


    In the tutorial groups, you will discuss certain aspects of the lectures and literature in smaller groups of about 20 to 25 students. This form of education encourages you to formulate your own opinion. A teacher will give you assignments to do individually or in cooperation with other students. You will learn how to prepare and conduct research, and how to interpret, report and present the results.


    The projects are intensive classes scheduled for four weeks in which you will extend your knowledge on a topic of your choice, usually in full or partial cooperation with other students.


    Most courses are concluded with one or more tests or some other form of assessment, such as a written exam, a presentation or a paper.

  • How many hours do you spend on your study?

    Workload: 40 hours a week.

    Contact hours: Approximately 12 hours a week; project periods in your first and second year are full-time. Later on in the programme, the number of contact hours decreases.

    Self-study: approximately 28 hours.

  • Academic student counselling and BSA

    Tutor and coordinator

    In the first one and a half years, you take part in a tutorial group with 20 to 25 students to develop your academic skills. Your lecturer is also your tutor. You will have two class meetings each week and two individual meetings with your tutor every semester. In addition, you can consult your tutor when you want to discuss issues that are related to your study progress or if you have other questions about your study.

    During the following years, you will receive feedback from your lecturers in all courses, who are also willing to answer questions related to the programme and, specifically, their courses.

    Study advisers

    Throughout your studies, you can contact the study advisers if you have questions regarding admission and course entry requirements or your academic plan (the various choices that you can make within the programme), but also to discuss personal problems affecting your study or matters such as study completion delay, study skills, exemptions, and university rules and regulations. Conversations and correspondence with the study advisers are considered confidential and will not be shared with, for instance, the lecturers without your consent.

    Binding study advice (BSA)

    In the first year of the Political Science Bachelor’s programme, you can obtain 60 ECTS credits. At the end of your first year of study, the faculty will issue a binding study advice (bindend studieadvies), based on your progress.

    For the Bachelor's programme in Political Science, this BSA means that you must have obtained at least 42 credits in first-year courses by the end of the first year of study.

    When you meet the requirements of the BSA, you will be given a positive study advice and you can continue your studies.

    If you do not meet these requirements, a negative binding study advice will be issued. In this case, you are not allowed to enrol for the same programme or a related programme at the UvA. If you fail to obtain the required number of credits due to personal problems such as illness or other issues in your personal life, you can make an appeal against the negative BSA. Be sure to consult the study advisers when preparing your appeal.

  • Internships & studying abroad


    An internship often proves to be a stepping stone to professional practice for many students. While gaining work experience, you also start to think about the possibilities within an organisation.

    There are possibilities to do internships in a wide range of organisations, from the UN and the EU to institutions such as foreign embassies, ministries and local authorities, as well as think tanks, banks, political parties and organisations such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Cordaid, the International Organization for Migration and the Red Cross.

    There are also in-house training opportunities; for example, to work as a junior assistant in the research of professionals and PhD candidates. A supervisor will support you during internship.

    Studying abroad

    The UvA takes part in international cooperation and exchange programmes. If you would like to pursue part of your studies abroad, you will be supported by the International Office (of the College of Social Sciences). Each year, dozens of students make use of the network within the Political Science Department and follow their studies in Spain, France, England, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, the USA, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Iran, Iraq, Morocco and Australia.

    Do you want to read more about internships, studying abroad, choosing minors and electives, and writing your thesis? Read our student stories through the button below.

  • Minors & electives

    There are many possible ways to adapt your study programme. In the third year, it is up to you which subjects you choose. You will allocate at least 30 ECTS credits to your Political Science specialisation (Bachelor’s thesis included), but the other 30 credits can be obtained by doing an internship, foreign study exchange, subjects in other disciplines or a complete minor.


    Are you interested in a more in-depth exploration of subject matter or in broadening your scientific horizon, or do you want to prepare for a Master’s in another field of study? If so, you may consider doing a minor: a 30-credit programme that you can take within your own faculty, at another faculty or even at another university. Examples of minors that might be interesting to Political Science students are:

    You can also look at the overview of all UvA minors. 


    If you prefer to take a variety of electives instead of a minor, you might be interested in the following courses offered by the Political Science Department:

    • Introduction to Conflict Studies
    • Introduction to Gender and Sexuality
    • International Relations of the Middle East
    • Gender, Religion and Political Identities of the Middle East
    • Zeytun Academic Exchange
    • Debating European Integration: History, Politics, Theory
    • Bureaucracy and the Democratic Deficit: Policies and Policymaking in the European Union
    • Who Governs the EU? European Institutions, Member States and Civil Society.
  • Honours and talent programme

    Are you a talented student looking for more challenges and more in-depth knowledge? If so, the Honours and talent programme of the College of Social Sciences would be a good choice for you.

    The aim of the programme is to provide an extra stimulus to motivated Bachelor’s students and to introduce them to scientific research in a unique way.

    You will take a challenging set of courses for a total of 30 additional ECTS credits. The focus of your talent programme is up to you.

    There are some requirements for this programme: you have to score at least a 7 on average during the first year and write a motivational letter when you apply.

    Additional benefits:

    • the programme offers innovative education;
    • small groups work together at an advanced academic level;
    • you take courses with other talented students from the College of Social Sciences (Anthropology, Sociology, Geography & Planning and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences), creating a multidisciplinary environment of motivated students;
    • you take Honours courses at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS), an institute that offers interdisciplinary courses for all Honours and talent students of the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

    Want to read more about students’ experiences in the Honours and talent programme? Read students' stories  through the buttons below.