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Look forward to a dynamic three-year programme. During the initial 1.5 years, you'll delve into an introductory exploration of various branches of political science. We cover various political systems, international political relations, policy issues, philosophy, and political economy. In the latter half of the programme, the focus shifts, allowing you to customise your path by specialising in one of our diverse study tracks.
Programme structure
  • Year 1

    Your first year offers an overview of the field of politics. You encounter key concepts such as conflict, cooperation, 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.   

    Through year-long tutorials and lab groups, you'll develop skills in analytical and critical thinking, as well as hone your abilities in writing, debating, and presentation. 

  • Year 2

    In the second year, the courses focus on major issues in contemporary politics: from social inequality and identity to political economy, both in democratic and authoritarian political systems. You'll choose a core module in one of the specializations: 

    • International Relations 
    • Comparative Politics  
    • Public Policy and Governance 
    • Political Theory 

    A research project of your choice integrates academic, methodological, and practical skills developed during the first four semesters.  

      

  • Year 3

    In your final year, you get even more chances to specialise by picking elective subjects. These cover a wide range of issues and places from around the world. You can also decide to do a work placement, study abroad, take on a minor, or even learn another language. To finish off your Bachelor’s programme, you'll do your own research and write a thesis. Experienced senior lecturers will guide you in a small, focused group setting. 

This programme covers a wide range of topics, allowing me to explore different aspects of political science.  Read about Raúl's experience

Study schedule

COURSES SEM 1 SEM 2 SEMESTER 1 SEMESTER 2 EC
  • History of the modern world since 1750
    Period 1
    6

    This course provides a historical overview of the modern world since 1750, relevant for Political Science students. It delves into the origins of modern states, democracy, industrial capitalism, and their global impact. The course covers the rise of totalitarianism, World Wars, Cold War, and concludes with the post-Cold War era's significant changes.

  • Academic skills for political scientists I
    Period 1
    Period 2
    6

    This course is aimed at enhancing specific academic skills. You will focus on reading academic texts, understanding authors' claims, and using insights to contribute to debates through case analyses. Effective communication skills are cultivated through written assignments, presentations, and group discussions. The overall goal is to equip you with the ability to engage coherently and collaboratively in academic debates.

  • Introduction to political science
    Period 1
    Period 2
    6

    This course introduces you to politics and political science. Learn about important concepts like 'politics,' 'power,' 'conflict,' and 'cooperation.' Explore who holds political power, how journalists and political scientists view it differently, and how factors like race, gender, and class influence politics.

  • Public Policy and Governance
    Period 2
    6

    Explore the political dilemmas faced by policymakers and how they address social issues. You will learn to think critically about why certain policies are adopted and how to use policy for social change.

  • Research project I
    Period 3
    6

    Learn how research generates ideas, answers complex questions, and gathers data for your own research project. Collaborate in groups, develop academic and social skills, and experience hands-on research within our Bachelor's program.

  • History of political thought
    Period 4
    6

    Discover core ideas of classical thinkers from ancient China, India, Greece, and more. Analyze enduring political challenges and engage with historical texts to reflect on ongoing debates. Use textbooks and primary sources to build independent reading skills.

  • Academic skills for political scientists II
    Period 4
    Period 5
    3

    Learn about argumentation, critical thinking, and theoretical perspectives. Practice analyzing, writing, and discussing to engage in academic debates and evaluate articles. Build upon Academic Skills I, gaining insight into argumentation structures and theoretical choices.

  • Introduction to political science research
    Period 4
    Period 5
    9

    Learn to evaluate claims about social reality using the scientific method. Explore different research methods and understand how to choose the best one for your topic. This skill helps improve decision-making in any future career, from policymaker to journalist.

  • International relations
    Period 5
    6

    Explore theoretical perspectives, analyze global developments, and delve into key issues like conflict, security, development, and ethics of globalization. Gain insights into political science and our program's specialization.

  • Law and politics
    Period 6
    6

    Explore the connection between law and politics by applying legal principles through practical assignments. Provide legal advice in cases with significant political importance, learning about citizenship, fair trials, administrative law, and human rights across different legal systems. This hands-on approach helps you understand how law shapes political processes as a tool, product, or constraint.

COURSES SEM 1 SEM 2 SEMESTER 1 SEMESTER 2 EC
  • Academic skills for political scientists III
    Period 1
    Period 2
    Period 3
    9

    Enhance your academic skills during this course. Write your first complete academic paper, develop independent literature research, and master clear and concise writing. This course prepares you for advanced studies, including peer reviews and presentations, while running parallel to related courses.

  • Political economy
    Period 1
    6

    Study the close connection of politics and economic power. Explore historical and contemporary connections, such as how economic interests influence climate change and political decisions. Investigate the history of capitalism, political-economic ideas, and current events, and engage in practical discussions to develop your perspectives on political-economic debates.

  • Research methods
    Period 1
    Period 2
    9

    This course focuses on empirical research methods. It covers both quantitative and qualitative approaches, teaching inferential statistics and their application in political contexts. Weekly tutorial groups provide practical, real-world examples for applying research knowledge.

  • Democracies, autocracies and transitions
    Period 2
    6

    This course explores democratic regimes, their emergence, stability, and performance, along with semi-democratic and autocratic systems. It examines global trends, including democratic challenges and authoritarian forces, and analyzes factors such as economics, culture, and international influences that impact these forms of governance. Democracy, authoritarianism, and transition processes are central to this course.

  • The Politics of Difference
    Period 4
    6

    Explore the politics of difference in this course, delving into how power and institutions categorize people, leading to inequality. Gain tools to understand and critically analyze contemporary movements like Blacklivesmatter and Metoo. Connect normative justice perspectives, social scientific concepts, and political science viewpoints to explore different manifestations of difference and their intersections.

  • Research project II: Practicing research skills
    Period 3
    Period 6
    6

    This course offers hands-on experience in the research process related to themes from Practicing Research Skills tutorials. In groups, students develop a research design, including a research question, theory, and methods. They gather and analyze relevant data, present findings, and write an individual reflection. The course emphasises critical application of methodological tools, addressing method impact, data availability, and potential flaws. Group work enhances collaborative skills throughout the course.

  • Restricted-choice electives: Core modules
    Period 4
    Period 5
    12

    During the restricted-choice electives you get to choose between one of the core modules in 'Comparative politics', 'International relations', 'Political theory', and 'Public policy and governance'.

  • Restricted-choice electives: Electives year 2
    Period 5
    6

    During the restricted-choice electives you get to choose between the elective modules 'Sustainability politics. Paradigms and debates' and 'Violence & security. Paradigms and debates'.

COURSES SEM 1 SEM 2 SEMESTER 1 SEMESTER 2 EC
  • Restricted-choice electives: Bachelor seminar 6 EC
    Period 1
    Period 4
    6
  • Restricted-choice electives: Bachelor seminar 12 EC
    Period 1
    Period 2
    Period 3
    Period 4
    Period 5
    Period 6
    12
  • Restricted-choice electives: Bachelor thesis project
    Period 2
    Period 3
    Period 5
    Period 6
    12
  • Free-choice electives: Optional subjects
    Period 1
    Period 2
    Period 3
    Period 4
    Period 5
    Period 6
    30

    The elective space is essentially open for your choice, both within and outside the Bachelor's program in Political Science. Outside the program, options include a semester abroad, a minor within or outside the university, or a combination of elective courses.

Compulsory course
Elective

See more information in the online Course Catalogue

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Our programme is taught by renowned political scientists. During my studies, I met teachers whose work I'd read, heard on podcasts, or seen on TV. Storm Brinkhuis
Additional options
  • Exchange

    The UvA has partnerships and exchange agreements with over 100 other universities. As part of your Bachelor’s programme, you have the opportunity to complete a semester abroad on exchange. This can provide invaluable learning and cultural experiences, enhancing your study programme significantly. 

  • Internships

    Consider doing an internship. It sharpens your skills and prepares you for your Bachelor's thesis. Many students find it a stepping stone to a great career. 

    Internships are available at diverse places like the UN, EU, and foreign embassies, as well as think tanks, banks, political parties and organisations such as Greenpeace or the Red Cross.  

  • Electives

    Throughout the Bachelor’s programme, there are numerous opportunities for you to tailor your studies to suit your preferences. You can earn 30 study credits through elective courses. 

    Moreover, you have the option to select a minor, a comprehensive half-year programme (30 credits) taken from disciplines outside your primary degree. For instance, you might consider a minor in Communication Science or Business Economics. 

      

  • Honours programme

    If you're ambitious, you can opt to participate in our Honours and Talent Programme (HTP). It introduces you to scientific research in an original way through a challenging package of in-depth or broadening courses. You’ll undertake the HTP alongside your regular studies. If you're up for it, then it's an opportunity not to be missed! 

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The freedom and self-reliance the UvA encourages have become valuable skills in my professional and personal life. Meghan Rider
Time distribution and tutoring
  • Time distribution

    The workload is approximately 40 hours per week. 

    • Lectures and tutorial groups: 12 hours per week (project periods in the first and second years are full-time. Contact hours decrease later in the programme) 
    • Self-study: around 28 hours per week 
  • Teaching methods
    • Lectures: the teacher explains the subject matter, and you have the opportunity to ask questions 
    • Tutorials: you practice with the subject matter in smaller groups, under the guidance of a teacher 
    • Practical sessions/workshops: you learn practical skills while conducting experiments 
  • Tutoring

    During your studies, you are not alone. You will receive personalised guidance at each stage of your study that is tailored to address specific questions or concerns at that moment.

Get a taste of the atmosphere
Frequently asked questions
  • Can I study this programme in Dutch?

    Are you a Dutch-speaking student? Then you can also participate in our Dutch Bachelor’s programme in Political Science. The Dutch taught programme is exactly the same as the English taught programme.

    Yes! I’m interested in the Dutch Bachelor’s programme

  • What is the difference between the Dutch-English and English variant of this programme?

    You have the option of following the Bachelor's program in Political Science entirely in English, or in a combination of English and Dutch (bilingual track). In the first case, the teaching and exams will be entirely in English. If you opt for the bilingual variant, you will start with Dutch taught lectures, tutorials and exams. The literature is mainly in English. During the first year you will also have lectures in English, and during the second year some tutorials will be given in English. In the third year, courses are mainly English taught, but you might also choose elective courses that are either completely taught in Dutch or that allow you to do your assessment in Dutch. This way you can optimally benefit from the bilingual set-up of our programme. See more information on the Dutch website about the Dutch-English variant of the programme.

  • How many students receive positive binding study advice (BSA)?

    To receive a positive BSA at this programme, you must obtain at least 42 of the 60 credits in the first year of your enrolment. Each year, approximately 85% of students receive a positive BSA.

  • What makes Political Science at the University of Amsterdam unique?

    We are the largest Political Science department in the Netherlands. The advantage of this is that we can offer most specialisations, and that there are plenty of options within those specialisations as well. As a result, there are always courses that match your interests, and you often find a good connection to the Master of your choice.

    The Bachelor's in Political Science is also characterised by its international character. The programme attracts students and teaching staff from all over the world. This broadens your horizon, helps you gain further insights, promotes your intercultural skills and helps you build an international network. You will therefore be well prepared for living and working in a globalising world. We recommend that you compare the study programs of the Political Science programmes at various universities to discover for yourself which programme appeals to you most.