Master of Arts in Political Science: Swiss and Comparative Politics

What are the special aspects of the Swiss political system as compared to other political systems around the world?

What differences exist among modern democracies in the areas of economic, social and environmental policy and how can these differences be explained?

Do Swiss citizens display different political and social attitudes than their counterparts in neighboring countries?

These are the typical research questions addressed by the program in Swiss and Comparative Politics in the Institute of Political Science in Bern.

Here, you can experience political research in the capital of Switzerland. The Institute of Political Science at the University of Bern offers you a Master program that's unique in Switzerland, with a focus on the comparative analysis of political and social developments in Switzerland. Along with an outstanding advisor system, the program also provides for a very inspiring atmosphere with internationally renowned and respected political scientists and researchers.

This program was called «Master of Arts in Political Science, Swiss Politics and Comparative Politics - Comparative and Swiss Politics» in the curriculum of 01.08.2010. Students who started their studies before the fall semester 2024 can find information on this in the previous curriculum and here.

Master Schweizer Politik und Vergleichende Politik
Basic information
Degree: Master of Arts in Political Science, Schweizer Politik im Vergleich – Swiss and Comparative Politics (MA Pol Sc SCP), Universität Bern
Number of credits: 90 ECTS credits
Degree programs: Mono 90 ECTS credits
Duration: 3 semesters
Languages: Mainly in German. Few events in English. French in optional exchange with the University of Lausanne.
Beginning studies: Fall or spring semester
This program leads to a so-called mono-master, which means no minor is required. A total of 90 ECTS credits must be earned to complete the degree. The program offers five focus areas, of which you will cover at least three with one seminar each. Your Master's thesis is related to Swiss politics and deals with one of the five main topics. The program focuses on the acquisition of in-depth political science knowledge of Swiss politics and its institutions as well as specific thematic policy areas in the context of Switzerland. You will be awarded the title of «Master of Arts in Political Science, Schweizer Politik im Vergleich - Swiss and Comparative Politics, University of Bern».


The following graph provides an overview of all requirements.

Three out of the five main topics must be covered by at least one Master's seminar, at least one of which must be a research seminar.

As part of the program, students can attend courses in political science at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (IEP) of the University of Lausanne. The areas from which courses can be credited towards the Master's degree are listed in the appendix to the curriculum. Information on the procedure for registering for courses in Lausanne can be found in the information sheet.


An internship can be conducted during the course of study.

Information about the associated application process, duration, employment status, field of activity and submission of a final internship report can be found here.


The Master program is completed when the master thesis is submitted. Students must agree on the content requirements for the master thesis with their advisor.

Any political science professor (or lecturer) can advise students who have officially registered for the Master Colloquium.

There may also be additional requirements for thesis advisement. Generally, the student must have attended at least one seminar taught by the professor in question.

Guidelines for Master Theses and Academic Writing:


An initial concept for the thesis is presented and discussed in one of the three specialized Master Colloquia. Master Colloquia are held every semester. A total of 30 ECTS credits are awarded for the master thesis (including the Colloquium). The following Doctoral and Master Colloquia are offered:

  • Policy Analysis and Regulation (Prof. Ingold, Prof. Elsig, Prof. Sager)
  • Swiss Politics and Political Sociology (Prof. Freitag, Prof. Vatter, Prof. Bühlmann)
  • Comparative Politics and the Political System of the EU (Prof. Stadelmann-Steffen, Prof. Wasserfallen)

Participation in an MA Colloquium requires prior consultation with, and the agreement of, the advisor as regards the specific research topic of the master thesis (consultation and agreement no later than six weeks before classes begin in the coming semester).

Students register with the person responsible for the organization of the colloquium via e-mail prior to the beginning of the semester.

Additional information

You will find additional information on the colloquia and participation requirements in the Core Teaching System (CTS) and the ILIAS.

Documents required when the master thesis is submitted:

Information on the thesis submission (format, binding, number of copies, additional documents) can be found in the Guidelines for Writing a Master Thesis.

Individual academic requirements

The following academic qualifications are required for admission to the master’s degree program Comparative and Swiss Politics (mono):

  Bachelor's degree from a recognized university with a major or minor in Political Science or Social Sciences (at least 60 ECTS credits with courses in Basic Methodology)
  • Lecture and accompanying seminar in "Social Science Statistics" (6 ECTS credits)
  • Lecture in "Introduction to Empirical Social Research" (3 ECTS credits)
  • Lecture in "Qualitative Methods in Social Science" (3 ECTS credits)
  • Empirical research internship (8 ECTS credits)
Depending on the type of degree, other requirements may apply.

Recognition of the bachelor's degree will be individually decided upon if the degree is more than six years old. Additional attainments may be required.

Language requirements

Sufficient knowledge of German, level C1, is required in order to be able to understand source texts, lectures or examination questions.

Written or oral examinations can be taken in German, French or English.

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

Application and admission

Admission requirements 
Application deadlines

Current UniBE students

Apply for a change to the M A in Political Science, "Schweizer Politik und Vergleichende Politik - Comparative and Swiss Politics", Universität Bern by self-service as part of the re-registration for the next semester.
Renewal of semester registration → Self-service
Recognition of academic achievements
Procedure and timing of the renewal of semester registration

Application with a Swiss degree

Online application
Steps from application to registration

Application with an international degree

Online application
CHECKLIST - Documents for your application / Important information
Steps from application to registration

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.