What is objective study in political science

Degree programs at the IPW

Political science is the name for the scientific analysis of "striving for a share of power or for influencing the distribution of power" (Max Weber) and the binding regulation of social conflicts over coveted values ​​and goods in domestic policy, foreign policy and international relations. The subject deals in particular with the order and functioning of political institutions and the institutions and processes that mediate between state and society, with political shaping through state activity, with the resolution of social conflicts and relationships in the international system.

Political science was only established as a scientific discipline in Germany to a significant extent after the Second World War. However, some of their traditional lines are much older. The philosophical preoccupation with politics ultimately has its origin in the political theory of the philosophers of ancient Greece. As a social science, it is now a modern empirical discipline, the foundations of which were primarily in the USA in Western Europe.

Political science today is essentially divided into the following core areas:


  • Political philosophy and history of ideas, modern theories of politics
  • The political system of the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union
  • Comparative analysis of political systems
  • State activity research, policy analysis
  • Foreign Policy and International Relations
  • Conflict research
  • Empirical Methods in Political Science


When it comes to issues relating to the subject, there are numerous points of contact with the humanities and social sciences, in particular history, sociology, philosophy, economics, law and psychology.


An intense interest in politics is a good and necessary prerequisite for studying political science. However, preoccupation with day-to-day politics or the desire for political activity are not sufficient for an academic examination of politics. Political science in Heidelberg rather means a systematic and as objective as possible investigation of social conditions. An understanding of historical developments, cultural differences and economic interrelationships, communicative intuition, statistical knowledge and enjoyment of close observation and thinking through offer a good basis for a successful political science degree. In view of the increasing international networking in the science system, good reading skills in English are essential for reading specialist literature.


The study of political science does not lead to a specific profession, but opens up a variety of different professional fields to the graduates. There are job opportunities in research and teaching, in science management, in public administration, with political parties, associations, international and non-governmental organizations, in public relations and, in particular, with the media and publishing houses. A further education in political science takes place as part of a master’s degree or afterwards in a doctorate.


Before choosing a course of study, you can use the self-test for study orientation at the universities of Baden-Württemberg to check whether the subject of political science and the degree you are aiming for correspond to your inclinations and interests: was-studiere-ich.de


If you have any further questions about the BA course, our academic advisors will be happy to help.

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Last change: 12.12.2018