Political Science: Global Politics and Societal Change, Master’s Programme (One-Year)

Programme - second cycle - 60 credits


Admission requirements

A Bachelor’s Degree within a social science field, e.g., Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies, International Relations, Human Rights or a related major field. English B/6


credits 100%


“In the real world it is important that one takes their own responsibility and I really feel empowered to do so now. I am really happy with my master studies and it is going to be really helpful for my future plans.” - Jason Holness, former master student in Global Politics. 


The masterprogram Global Politics and Societal Change aims towards you who are interested in global political issues. You will learn how an increasing complex world, where the global and the local meet, presents us with new challenges and opportunities. The programme provides you with a solid practical base concerning concepts like justice, peace, security, power, culture and democracy. You will learn how to analyse conflicts, international relations and human rights claims and violations.
This is a multi-disciplinary programme with a core of political science which address aspects of international relations, human rights and peace and conflict studies. Focus lays on the transformation of society, especially concerning the relationship between the state and other actors such as international organisations and companies.
Changes in political control, from reduced central control towards a greater degree of network control will also be addressed. You will analyze the growing importance of international norms, such as human rights. The emergence of other conflict patterns than those related to socio-economic resources (such as culture, ideology and religion) is important parts of the courses.

For general admissions enquiries please contact the admissions office: admissions@mah.se.


What is Global Politics and Societal Change about?

These are turbulent political times. International power bases are shifting. Political, economic and military threats merge and reform, presenting new political challenges. Examples like China and Russia prompt us to rethink the widely held belief that democratic reform will follow on the heels of economic progress. In these days of the “war on terror” it is also more and more difficult to know what a war is, who fights it, how it starts and how it can end. In the meantime, global inequality is increasing. Half of the world’s population lives in severe poverty, many of them in conflict-ridden regions and/or under failing governments. Problems of development – malnutrition, poverty, preventable diseases – can be solved by a global effort, so why does it not happen?

The one-year master's programme in Global Politics and Societal Change will help you make sense of these issues. It will give you a solid theoretical base concerning the meaning and role of concepts like justice, peace, security, power, culture and democracy.

What makes the master programme unique?
The programme is thoroughly interdisciplinary and draws on the different strengths in the Department of Global Political studies, including International Relations, Peace and Conflict Studies, Human Rights, Public Policy, but also Ethnography and Philosophy. It focuses specifically on the changing nature of global politics and pays particular attention to how new institutions and patterns of conflict and cooperation affects public policy on different levels, including the local level. In addition to advancing a more nuanced perspective on what ‘globalisation’ means, the programme extends to our understanding of politics as a continuous and often very complex interaction of decision-making, institutions, and advocacy on multiple levels.

What career will I be prepared for?

After graduation you will be well prepared for qualified social scientific analysis. You will be well equipped to work with issues like international aid, development, conflict prevention, foreign policy, and human rights fulfillment. You attain up to date skills based on the latest research combined with an ability to manage projects and communicate scientific knowledge to various social actors in the field.

Potential employers are international agencies, non-governmental organisations, local and national administration agencies and the diplomatic service. You will also be able to continue for research education studies at advanced and doctoral levels after completing your degree.


An education that reflects on the changes in society


Peter Hallberg is Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Department at the Department of Global Political Studies. He is pleased with the new master programme that in a clear way reflects on the rapid changes in the world. 

Why is it necessary to know more about global politics?
– The world is changing in a perhaps faster pace than ever before. This means that knowledge about the world is also changing, and I feel that an educational programme that deals with global politics need to reflect this. As a profoundly interdisciplinary department, we are in a very good position to offer this in, I would say, a natural way. Our focus on how global developments influence the ways in which policies are developed at the local level also seems to me highly relevant for those who plan to engage in global issues today.

Who should apply to this master’s programme?
– This programme is well suited for students with a bachelor degree in the social sciences, such as political science, human rights, peace and conflict studies. I believe that it can attract students not only interested in theoretical perspectives but who want to better understand how a changing world impacts policy choices at the local level, and who want to increase the potential for political and societal change.

In what way does it have an international touch?
– The program deals with global issues and we anticipate a very international student body. In addition, our department is itself quite international. Our teachers are either trained outside of Sweden or they have spent considerable portions of their careers abroad. We also encourage our teachers to do exchanges with partner universities around the world.

You want to emphasise cooperation, why is this so important?
– We believe in combining traditional lectures with small seminar discussions. We emphasise individual and, especially, group work since we think that a modern education in the social sciences should stress that the best results are reached by working together. And I believe that cooperation and working together is essential for higher education. I don’t like the image that higher education institutions are somehow separate from the surrounding society when universities always have played a central role in reform movements and commenting on current events in the public sphere.

– Since the start Malmö University’s vision has been that higher education should not be pursued in isolation of the social world. I’d like to think of Malmö University as a public university in the true sense of the term, and our programme reflects this commitment.

All three passions in one place

  Student Jason Holness

Jason Holness studied the former master programme in Global Politics, which the current master Global Politics and Societal Change is based on. He enjoyed life in Malmö and is now looking forward to a career in International Relations. 

About Malmö University
– When I was researching Universities I discovered that Malmö University was a fairly new University that had grown so quickly. I read reviews about the University and they were all really positive. I love the topics international relations, peace and conflict and human rights and the programme incorporated all three of these issues. It was perfect because all three of my passions were in one place!

About Malmö and Sweden
– I think that Malmö is one of the world’s best kept secrets. I feel that the city gave me such a warm welcome since the moment I arrived which only got better as time went by. To sum it up in on word, my experience in Malmö was ‘fantastic’.

About the programme
– The master programme really helped me to develop many skills which will be important for me in the future. I feel that I really needed to take my own responsibility for my learning and to take my own initiative when planning my work. In the real world it is important that one takes their own responsibility and I really feel empowered to do so now. Overall, I am really happy with my master studies and it is going to be really helpful for my future plans.

– During my studies I was involved with local cooperation’s like RFSL (The Swedish Federation for Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights) and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transexual) rights group and their projects. I was also engaged with UF Malmö (Malmö Association of Foreign Affairs) and worked as their Deputy Head of PR.

About the future
– I would like to do a PHD in International Relations, hopefully back in Sweden. This will be a great opportunity for me to combine both work and study.


Syllabus for students admitted autumn 2017

Other semesters:

Programme Code:
SAPSM revision 3
Swedish name:
Statsvetenskap: Global politik och samhällsomvandling, magisterprogram
Date of establishment:
19 June 2014
Date of ratification:
12 September 2016
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
29 August 2017

Entry requirements

A Bachelor’s Degree within a social science field, e.g., Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies, International Relations, Human Rights or a related major field. English B/6


The basic theme of the programme is the changing role of the national state and its consequences for the organization and practice of politics. The aim of the programme is to give students a basis for understanding and critically relating to four central development tendencies in contemporary political life: (1) a movement away from the totally predominant role of the national state towards an increasing role of international organizations, NGOs, businesses and other actors; (2) a movement away from government towards governance , i.e., a movement away from politics as structured in terms of top-down relations within national states towards more complex forms of governance; (3) the growing importance of international norms within politics both at the international and the national level; and (4) the development of other conflict patterns than those concerning socio-economic resources, e.g., culture, religion and gender. The overarching aim of the programme is to identify and problematize the way global transformation processes affect the possibilities to organize and pursue politics on the local level.
Semester 1
  • Political science: Visions of global politics (7.5 credits)
  • Political science: Post-Westphalian politics (7.5 credits)
  • Political science: Multilevel governance and transnational policy (7.5 credits)
  • Political science: Norms of the international community (7.5 credits)
Semester 2
  • Political science: The politics of pluralism (7.5 credits)
  • Political science: Research design and method (7.5 credits)
  • Political science: Essay (15 credits)



For programme with start Autumn 2017:
Autumn 2017 - Semester 1
Spring 2018 - Semester 2
  • -

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
Following successful completion of the course students should be able to:
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the developing tendencies identified in the programme that relate to its overarching themes, including a qualified overview of current research on globalization and of how different processes on the global level relate to and affect societal changes on the local level
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of methodological approaches in the field of global studies and of their consequences for research outcomes.
Competence and skills
  • Following successful completion of the course students should be able to:
  • analyze complex phenomena and issues on the basis of different types of material.
  • autonomously identify gaps in knowledge, formulate issues and design research based on relevant theories and methods.
  • communicate research outcomes in speech and writing in a professional way to different audiences and recipients.
  • demonstrate the ability to participate in research dialogue and project work.
Judgement and approach
Following successful completion of the course students should be able to:
  • identify and reflect on ethical aspects on research.
  • evaluate research results on the basis of the parameters of reliability and generalizability for the purpose of estimating the limitations of research.
  • identify their personal needs for further knowledge and learning


Master's Degree (60 credits).
Degree of Master of Arts (60 credits) with a major in Political Science

Other Information

The language of teaching is English.
Each individual syllabus contains the entry requirements for advancing in the programme.


Further information

Anna-Karin Holm, Student Services Assistant
Phone: 040-66 57317
E-mail: anna-karin.holm@mah.se

Michael Strange, Programme Coordinator
Phone: 040-66 57216
E-mail: michael.strange@mah.se

The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the department Department of Global Political Studies.