The curriculum consists of five parts (click or scroll down to read):
Click on the title to read the synopsis of a course
Core Competencies module (36 ECTS)
The course will serve as a foundational course for key macro-level concepts and phenomena relating to democracy and governance. It will introduce students to broad theories and models of societal change that have a bearing on how democracy and governance evolve. The first 8 weeks will be devoted to the study of macro-level concepts and phenomena relating to democracy and governance. The second half of the course will involve guided supervision of students as they develop and execute an extended research paper.
The course introduces governance as the latest paradigm in the administration of public affairs. The students learn about the new approaches to solving public problems in the rapidly changing context of public policy where the achievement of public purposes is increasingly dependent on the interactions between the state, market, and civil society. It provides an overview of the definitions, concepts, and theories of governance and explores the emergence of the governance paradigm in relation to traditional public administration (TPA) and New Public Management (NPM) in the operation of public sectors around the world. The focus of the course is on the implications of governance for public policy-making and services delivery and includes case discussions of the issues and challenges of various forms of governance for the effectiveness of public action, and democratic accountability.
The course will provide students with essential grounding in the political theory and ethics related to democracy and governance. The course will examine the main theoretical debates surrounding core concepts in political theory and the reasons for enduring disagreements about how to interpret these concepts. It will feature a strong interactive component (in the form of debates, disputes, and discussions) as well as a writing skills dimension via position papers.
The course will examine the central institution of representative democracy – elections – including electoral systems, electoral behavior and electoral outcomes. The course is divided into two blocks: the first focuses on electoral behavior while the second examines electoral systems. The first half of the course presents the main theoretical approaches to voting behavior, as well as the most important empirical results. It also offers an overview of the major cross-national survey studies in the field. The second half of the course examines the characteristics of electoral systems, their prevalence in the world, ways to measure them, and their effects on party systems.
The objective of this course is twofold: to outline basic types of modern democracy, and to examine key constitutional institutions of democracy. The course consists of two parts. The first section will examine contemporary models of democracy (liberal, representative, deliberative, direct, gendered, and others). The second will review the essential institutions of democratic government (parliaments, coalition cabinets, presidents, constitutional courts, etc) in order to see how these help to fulfill the promise of different models of democracy.
The course will examine the role that ethnicity, nationalism and ethnopolitics play in influencing democracy and governance. It will start with an examination of key conceptual tools (ethnicity, nationalism, ethnopolitical situations, ethnopolitical regimes.) A second half of the course will discuss practical cases of both peace and conflict across a series of comparative countries.
Methods module (18 ECTS)
The objective of the course is to provide students a foundation in social science methodology that will serve as a basis for their studies in the rest of the program and for completing the MA thesis. The course has three parts: an introduction to core components of social science methodology, an examination of various epistemologies in the social sciences, and an examination of approaches to research design and case selection. It will also feature the pedagogical approach of a flipped classroom, in which in-class assignments and group work figures prominently.
The aim of the course is to provide students with the conceptual background and practical skills necessary for being able to assess and carry out qualitative evaluations in applied policy research and related fields of professional inquiry. The course offers hands-on skills development in qualitative data collection methods (such as in-depth interviewing, focus group research, ethnographic techniques) and in qualitative data analysis. In addition to applied research skills, the students will have a chance to learn about the issues of ethics and quality in conducting qualitative evaluation in professional settings.
The aim of the course is to place more emphasis on the development of academic writing. It examines how writers (whether novice or expert) understand the requirements set by writing assignment within their discipline and respond to these assignments appropriately (supporting different writing tasks). As the course is about developing skills, students are required to write a text. The text will be developed by writing a series of drafts, which will be commented on by peers and teachers to support the development of writing as well as developing a better sense of audience in writing.
The objective of the course is to provide an overview of different quantitative methods in the social sciences and help MA students acquire the necessary skills for applying these approaches in their own research. The course covers the basic elements of social science methodology with an emphasis on quantitative methods and approaches (tests for means, measures of association, regression analysis, logical models, graphing). The students will acquire skills necessary for understanding scholarly texts using statistical methods, especially regression analysis. The course includes multiple sessions where the covered methods are applied on real data and research questions using specific software. The ultimate aim of the course is giving students the skills necessary for using these methods in writing their MA thesis.
NB! As an alternative to Constructivist Theory and Method course
The aim of the course is to enable students to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of constructivist political theory, and to use constructivist methods in their own research. This interactive course provides an overview of constructivist and post-structuralist approaches in political theory, introduces key concepts, critically analyses the strengths and weaknesses of particular approaches and discusses their methodological consequences and possible research designs. A significant part of the course will be devoted to discourse analysis as the method most widely used by constructivist scholars.
NB! As an alternative to Quantitative Methods course
Specialization module (choose 30 ECTS among the following)
The course will provide an overview of one of the key trends in democratic development – electronic democracy – and its counterpart in modern governance – electronic government. The objective will be to expose students to the latest trends that will be important for democracy and governance over the coming decades. The course will cover both the normative challenges of e-democracy as well as the practical domains of e-government. It will examine both scholarly research on these two phenomena as well as case studies on how they have been applied. Examples from Estonia will be highlighted.
Internet voting has witnessed an almost revolutionary expansion since the turn of the century. This course will provide a key overview of this rapidly emerging field in order to allow students to understand its implications for democracy and modern governance. The course will be structured around a series of topics including internet voting in a global perspective, Estonian internet voting, political consequences of internet voting, vote verification, internet voting and turnout. The course will be partly designed as a MOOC, making it available to even broader target audiences.
The aim of the course is to introduce the foundations of project management and give practical knowledge all through the project management cycle. During this course, students are advised to pay attention to different aspects of project management regarding project design, planning, implementation, and reporting. During the course, an overview is given about project management theory and methods. Based on these, students are asked to write a project proposal. Among other things, main project management rules and requirements are introduced and special attention is also given to report writing and project evaluation.
The third sector plays a critical role in both fulfilling the principles of democracy and contributing to modern governance. This course asks how the third sector operates in its different forms and how it markets itself to perform its varied functions. The course will examine both theoretical frameworks explaining the development of the third sector as well as more practical case-studies of how third sector organizations perform in relation to both the state and average citizens.
The course aims to provide students with a conceptual framework and requisite analytical tools for studying the phenomena of history and memory in a democratic political context. It will examine the multi-level processes by which collective memories are constructed and interact with politics in both transitional and consolidated democracies, as well as at domestic and international levels. The course is structured in two main parts: (1) a theoretical part that critically reflects on existing concepts of memory and analytical frameworks for understanding memory’s interactions with history, politics and law; (2) an empirically-driven part that examines processes of transitional justice in regime change contexts as well as memory politics in established democracies. Discussions will draw on cases from around the world addressing issues of post-conflict reconciliation, historical accountability, post-communist lustration, the uses of history and the (international) politics of recognition and redress.
The aim of the course is to examine the role and relationship of religion in modern democratic politics. Specifically, the course will provide an overview of the different manifestations of religion and politics in the contemporary world as well as their evolution over the last decades. The course will serve as an introduction to the social scientific study of religion and politics. The course is organized in two parts. The first half focuses on developing analytic tools via the conceptualization of key terms, typologies, categories and theoretical approaches used by studies of religion and politics. The second part is devoted to the study of empirical processes and patterns of interaction between religion and politics in Western and Eastern Europe, and in traditionally Lutheran, Catholic and Orthodox cultures.
The course focuses attention on the phenomenon of post-communism and its broad-scale implications for democracy and governance. The course will critically examine the notion of post-communism, including its different social, economic and political ramifications. The course will begin by laying out different parameters of what is meant by post-communism, including political, economic, social, and cultural aspects. Based on these models, it will compare different case studies and ask how durable is this phenomenon still today?
The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the main theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of political culture. The course will examine the concept of political culture both as a dependent and an independent variable. It will analyze the components of political culture such as political trust, political support, participation, values, etc. It will compare and contrast different approaches on how to study political culture and will provide an overview of the main cross-national datasets used in the empirical study of political culture.
The course examines the historical-philosophical dimensions of European identity and unity. It is meant as a complement to other courses on the political-institutional evolution of Europe. The course will provide a general overview of the historical evolution of understandings of Europe, including ancient Greece, early Christendom, the Middle Ages, and the emergence of the modern nation-state. It will also examine a number of concrete visions for Europe from different thinkers and politicians. Lastly, we will look at how Europe has also been ‘sub-divided’ into categories such as ‘West-East’, ‘Mitteleuropa’ and individual national perspectives.
The objective of the course is to provide a comprehensive overview of the main institutions, policies and policy-making processes of the EU. The course seeks to familiarize students with the complex system of multi-level governance in Europe by scrutinizing the competences, interests and strategies of various actors at the European, national and subnational level, as well as the formal and informal rules and norms that govern their interaction. It explores the main institutions of the EU, their functioning and interaction with each other, national institutions and various non-governmental actors. It analyzes the evolution of the EU’s policy portfolio and discusses different national and subnational reactions to European integration.
The course presents a comparative overview of political systems in the post-Soviet space, focusing on the critical re-assessment of the transition paradigm. It introduces a typology of regimes and discusses the main factors behind the diverging trajectories of political transformations. In doing that, the course relies upon the literature on democratization, as well as on the more recent works on the varieties of authoritarianism. The course explores constitutional elements and the form of government, relations between the branches of power, political parties and interest groups, corruption, the state of fundamental rights and freedoms in individual countries of the region.
The course aims to unpack globalization as a theoretical concept and as a set of political practices constitutive of international relations in the 21st century. It does so by presenting globalisation from an ideational viewpoint, i.e. as a set of concepts, theories, and ideas; by covering the issues of agency with a focus on different global actors, norms and policy outcomes; by studying intellectual and institutional resistance to globalisation. Finally, it gets into the debate on alternative scenarios for the global world in the years to come.
The aim of the course is to understand and critically assess the development of political party systems, electoral systems, legislatures and executive branches of government, as well as the foreign policies and European integration efforts of Western European states. The course asks where is the power, who has the power, and how is power exercised. To answer these questions, the course examines the context and evolution of governance and political institutions in five major Western European countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.
The aim of the course is to compare and contrast different political systems in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). It reviews constitutions and political institutions, party systems and electoral politics, relations between the legislative and executive branch; major political actors behind parties and interest groups and their influence on policy-making, the current state of civil liberties and political rights as well as explores the level of social integration in the countries of the BSR. It asks how democratic are these political systems and what conditions democratization in the whole region.
The primary goal of an internship is to provide practical experience in a professional activity related to democracy or governance. Students may choose internship possibilities either via partnerships developed by the degree program or on their own.
Electives module (6 ECTS)
Students may choose additional electives either from within or completely outside the existing curriculum.
MA thesis (30 ECTS)
The objective of the MA thesis is to demonstrate the acquisition of high-level analytical research skills via the execution of an independent, methodologically sound piece of social science research. A 20,000-word academic thesis on a topic of the student’s choice should demonstrate both knowledge and application of the basic analytical and methodological skills involved with studying Democracy and Governance.
Click here to see the DG programme in the Study Information System (SIS)
Do you have a question about the programme? Contact us: democracy [ät] ut.ee (democracy[at]ut.ee)