Political Science

Study power and politics in a rapidly changing world

Political Science

Why are some states more influential than others? What is the influence of globalization on inequality and sustainability? Why are European citizens pushing back against European integration? In the minor Political Science you learn how power works with regards to important political issues and dilemmas at the local, national, and global level. You will approach questions of war and peace, migration, violent extremism, climate change, and the financial crisis from different theoretical angles. You will learn why some actors are more powerful than others and why patterns of conflict and cooperation between states occur.

This minor consists of 5 courses:

State, Power and Conflict
The course offers a broad introduction to the major concepts of and main approaches in political science. After a critical overview of different concepts of power, the concept of the state and contending perspectives on the conflict and cooperation within modern political systems, the course introduces students to contemporary world politics through an overview of international political history from the 17th century to the present. The course will end with a discussion of contemporary issues within the context of a globalized world politics.

Comparative Political Research
In this course students will contrast three approaches to doing Comparative Political Research: cross-case (medium-c, quantitative), within-case (small-c, process tracing, qualitative) and multi-method. An example is the study of the causes and consequences of civil war: are they caused by greed or grievance or both? Why are civil wars so difficult to end? Such a question can be answered by means of a single case study, a quantitative cross-case study or a combination of these two. By contrasting these approaches students gain the basic skills necessary for performing comparative research and to set up a research design. 

Global Political Economy
This course offers students an introduction to the subject of International Political Economy (IPE). Throughout, the course will be guided by the question to which extent, and how, the current process of globalization is changing the relationship between states and markets, between public regulation and the private economy, between state and capital. 

EU Governance in an International Context
This course familiarizes students to the way the EU operates, its institutional architecture, its history, and its modes of decision-making. It highlights how EU decision-making affects domestic politics, whilst at the same time is situated in a broader, international context. Students will be introduced to the key theoretical debates about the European integration process and it will pay special attention to the main characteristics of EU decision-making. 

Research Project Political Science
This seminar will require students to apply at a more advanced level the academic and research skills they have already acquired within their own bachelor's, and apply these skills to a small research project of their own, to be carried out in a small group. The research project will have to address a relevant question pertaining to the content of either of
two parallel courses followed in period 2. Class attendence is mandatory.
For specific information about each course, please visit our study guide.

For specific information about each course, please visit our study guide.


  • To enter this minor, you must have earned 90 credits, including 60 of the first year.
  • All VU-students can enter this (university)minor. You do not need permission of the examination board.
  • Wo-bachelor students of another university can enter this minor, depending on whether their own university grants permission.
  • This minor consists of 30 EC. 
  • Hbo-bachelor students can attend courses of the minor as electives.
  • The minor is taught in English and available for exchange students.

Please see the application procedure for more information.

If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact the minor program director Rein Koetsier:

Rein Koetsier
E r.l.koetsier@vu.nl

If you have any questions about the application procedure, please contact the Studentdesk:

E studentenbalie@vu.nl
T +31 20 5985020 (Monday – Friday: 10.30 – 12.30 and 14.00 – 17.00)

Samenvatting Political Science




1 semester (30 EC)


1 september


Economie, Recht en Bestuur
Gedrag en Maatschappij


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