* Starting from 2021, the name of the "Democracy and Governance" programme will be "Politics and Governance in the Digital Age". The programme's content will be changed. Keep an eye on the website for the latest updates.
Is democracy conquering the world as the single most accepted model for political and social development? Or is it being overwhelmed by globalization, popular discontent with politics and renewed authoritarian tendencies? How can democratic political leaders govern and retain legitimacy in the world today? Especially when politics and governance in the digital age are concerned. These are important challenges to tackle as a professional in this field. The MA programme in Democracy and Governance offers you the knowledge and skills to be a part of this search for solutions.
This MA programme integrates empirical and theoretical understanding of democracy and governance, the two essential parameters of political development in the contemporary world. Understanding them is the key for building a successful career in modern government, civil society, politics and international organisations.
The programme provides in-depth knowledge about the history of democracy, modern democratic institutions, public policy and governance, elections and political behaviour, ethnopolitics, and ethics. This is reinforces by training in analytical logic, quantitative and qualitative research techniques, written and oral English skills.
Political science and international research among the highest-ranked specialties of University of Tartu by the “QS World University Rankings by Subject” in 2020 (range 151–200).
A career in government and politics requires three things:
The MA programme in Democracy and Governance delivers these objectives by integrating the study of politics with the rigors of analytical thinking and training in effective communication. In addition, you can complement your studies with a semester abroad as the Institute has numerous exchange opportunities.
Our learning outcomes include:
Democracy and Governance are at the heart of the social and political transformation that has characterised Estonia over the last two decades. For years, Estonia has been ranked as one of the most dynamic reformers in Europe, while at the same time maintaining a stable democracy and social environment. It’s a leader in e-government, internet-based voting and other governance fields.
The MA programme in Democracy and Governance is based on learning this success against the backdrop of global theories and trends in politics. We believe Estonia is the place to study how democracy and governance can be combined in today’s world of globalization and change.
In academic scoreboards, UT ranks among the TOP 2% of universities in the world (THE World University Rankings 2016–2017) and international students have rated Estonia as the #1 place to stay (Erasmus Student Network Survey).
The UT offers advanced study facilities, excellent libraries, well-equipped computer labs and modern residence halls. Interactive and innovative teaching and learning methods are widely used. There is a wide variety of opportunities to study abroad, including Erasmus agreements with a broad range of European partner universities.
Studying in Tartu is both attractive and affordable – it means high-quality education at a low cost in a country that is simultaneously both ancient and very modern, close to nature and technologically advanced, proud of its unique culture and traditions and open to the world (Estonia is a member of the EU and NATO and it belongs to the eurozone and the Schengen space).
This MA programme will provide you with all the essential skills and knowledge of the comparative political scientist. Political scientists study the structure and theory of government and seek practical and theoretical solutions to political problems. After graduating our programme many possibilities for applying your skills and knowledge will open up.
One option is, of course, to run in the next elections and become a parliamentarian and shaping policy. However, much more often the expertise and analytical skills of political scientists are enlisted by electoral candidates to ensure (re-) election. They thus become political aides or consultants, helping in electoral campaigns or with analyzing and interpreting legislative issues and constituencies once the candidate has been elected; they also often work in ministries and other state institutions (both on the national and supra-national levels) to ensure the implementation and monitoring of specific policies and laws.
Yet, many political scientists choose to stay outside the halls of power and state administration and become political commentators on TV and radio or write columns for newspapers, online portals or blogs; others may employ their analytical skills as policy analysts or public opinion pollsters in think tanks and other non-academic research institutes. Finally, political scientists are well-prepared to work in the so-called third sector – as issue-related civic activists, consultants or managers of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and initiatives concerned with public accountability, equality, minority rights, refugee support or other crucial components of a functioning liberal democratic state and society.
What is crucial in all of these different jobs is the political scientist’s ability to set aside his/her own prejudices and remain objective in gathering and analyzing data as well as presenting the findings. The MA programme Democracy & Governance will help to achieve this personal integrity and professionalism for future employment, wherever it may be.
Our graduates have gone to work in think tanks, government offices, and NGOs both in their native countries or in international hubs like Brussels. Some have opted for academia and continued in doctoral studies.
The tuition fee for fee-paying students is 3,800 euros per year and it covers tuition and some study materials. Altogether 20 study places are available on the programme. On the basis of the admission results, 11 best applicants (regardless of citizenship) will be given tuition-waiver scholarships. Applicants do not have to apply for the tuition-waiver separately, as they will be considered automatically for the competition.
Information about the rules and conditions for tuition-waiver scholarships as well as tuition fee payments is given here.
Information about other scholarships is available here.
The curriculum (120 ECTS) is based on the following modules:
Whereas the Methods and Core Competencies modules ensure students have a solid backbone to their studies, the Specialization and Elective modules allow them to tweak their learning to suit their more specific interests or career goals.
Click here to read the Study Guide for Democracy and Governance
The MA programme in Democracy and Governance is taught by a young and diverse faculty trained at some of the world’s best universities (Columbia, Cambridge, European University Institute, University of Arizona, Central European University). Our staff encompasses people from nearly a dozen nationalities, offering students a multi-faceted perspective on politics and change.
Research themes include:
"The Democracy and Governance MA programme is precisely what I wanted from my studies – sufficiently long as to allow me to properly dive in the depth of social science, methodologically rigorous and demanding so that I can develop the research skills crucial in the field and in the same time providing a friendly environment which makes a student really feel appreciated and helped, whenever necessary."
Adrian Nikolov, alumnus of Democracy and Governance (Bulgaria)
"After I completed my bachelor, I got the opportunity to intern with an NGO which got me interested in learning more about how civil society, the third sector and the state work together. By being part of the Democracy and Governance programme, I could explore the relationship between governments, civil society and the private sector in democratic as well non-democratic countries.
The study programme offers a great overview of how policymaking and governing in general works and how it has changed over years. I was further interested in joining this MA programme as it allows me choose electives from a great pool of fascinating classes which means that I can create my own study profile."
Jasmin, International Student Ambassador from Germany
Contact International Student Ambassadors to ask about life in Tartu or read their blog.