International Programmes 2020/2021

Global Political Economy and Development (MA GPED) Global Political Economy and Development (MA GPED)

University of Kassel • Kassel

Master of Arts (MA) in Global Political Economy and Development
Teaching language
  • English

Courses are held in English (100%).

Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
More information on beginning of studies
The programme starts in the third week of October with a Welcome Week.
Application deadline

Usually 15 May for applicants who have earned their degree outside of Germany
Usually 15 July for applicants who have earned their degree in Germany
Please visit our website for up-to-date deadlines!

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme


The two-year Master’s programme "Global Political Economy and Development" is a research-oriented graduate programme that leads to the degree of "Master of Arts in Global Political Economy and Development". It introduces students to the institutions, actors, and processes characterising globalised capitalism, North-South relations, and development cooperation. It focuses on the global level, but it also looks at regional and national settings from a comparative perspective. The Kassel curriculum stands out because it approaches political economy from a North-South perspective that is informed by development theory and practice and postcolonial perspectives.

The programme is interdisciplinary in character and is taught by scholars with a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, among them political science, sociology, and economics. The curriculum is based on a pluralist understanding of political economy and covers both mainstream and critical perspectives. It stresses the importance of an integrated approach to research, which links empirical analysis with methodological and theoretical considerations. Moreover, there is a practical component to GPED: students are expected to complete a two-month internship at NGOs, international organisations, research centres, etc.


The student body is truly international: up to 75 percent of the students come from around the world, from Albania to Vietnam. Lecturers from partner universities (for example, the Universidad Estadual de Campinas in Brazil, the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India, and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa) regularly offer classes. Field research in preparation of the MA thesis can be supported by a limited number of research grants.


Globalisation has challenged conventional thinking still heavily attached to the nation state and has called into question the traditional separation between the economy and the political sphere. Reflecting this, the Master’s programme "Global Political Economy and Development" offers students a comprehensive perspective on the world economy as well as the political dynamics, institutions, and actors that shape it and the imaginaries of development and progress that permeate it. It investigates the forces of globalisation and its contestations, and critically analyses contemporary forms of political and economic governance on the global level as well as actors and policies in international development.


In the wake of globalisation, a critical understanding of the global political and economic dynamics, time spent abroad, and good language skills give graduates a competitive edge on the job market. Correspondingly, the Master’s programme aims at facilitating learning on how to interpret and analyse transnational economic and political process and how to cooperate with peers from all over the world in the process. In so doing, it prepares graduates for careers in areas concerned with globalisation and development, for example, in international organisations, NGOs, consultancies, journalism, and academia. Thanks to its focus on both theory and empirical research, it provides rigorous training for students who are interested in pursuing a PhD after graduation.

Course organisation

The suggest course structure is as follows.

  • First semester: two core courses plus two optional courses
  • second semester: two core courses plus one optional course, eight-week internship
  • third semester: one core course, plus one method, two optional courses
  • fourth semester: Master's thesis, plus colloquium and viva voce

The following core courses are offered:

- Introduction to Globalisation and Development

- International Economics

- Governance of the World Market: Institutions, Instruments, and Experiences

- Theories of Development and International Political Economy

- GPED: Theories and Evidence

- Advanced Research Methods / Writing Skills


Special Options Courses are offered in the following fields (among others):

- Global Environmental Politics

- Gender & Globalisation / Gender & Development

- International Financial Institutions

- Development Cooperation

- Post-Development and Postcolonial Studies

For a clear overview of the programme requirements and suggested study structure, please download the PDF linked below.

PDF Download
Types of assessment

Most courses offered in MA GPED require that the students give an oral presentation on a chosen research topic and produce written work. The students receive detailed written feedback on their research papers.

Furthermore, in some seminars, students are asked to write summaries, provide written answers to questions about the texts, or to write and ask questions that arose while they were reading. Very few seminars end with a written exam.

A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Training in intercultural skills
Integrated internships

An internship of at least eight weeks is to be completed during the summer breaks. Programme advisers will assist student in finding the appropriate internship.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution
There are no tuition fees as such; however, each semester students pay a registration fee of up to 300 EUR, which covers the cost of their transportation ticket, as well allows students to eat at the university's refectories and cafeterias at reduced prices. The registration fee for the winter semester 2020/2021 will be approximately 300 EUR.
Costs of living
In order to cover personal expenses while studying in Kassel, it is recommended that students budget around 750 to 900 EUR per month for accommodation, food, health insurance, books, and miscellaneous expenses.
Funding opportunities within the university
Academic admission requirements

Bachelor's degree in social sciences, political science, economics, law, or a related field

  • At least six semesters of full-time study
  • Minimum cumulative grade of "good" or "upper second-class honours", or an equivalent to 2.5 on the German grading scale
  • The BA degree profiles must indicate the following:
    • good knowledge of political science or economics
    • basic knowledge of sociology, political science, and economics
  • Knowledge of the English language equivalent to level C1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
  • At least one year of volunteer and/or work experience in the social sciences (e.g., politics, university policy, policy-oriented civil society organisations)
  • A motivation letter (maximum three pages long) covering the following aspects:
    • Relation between previous qualifications and prospective professional aims to the MA GPE
    • Description of your social-political commitment
    • Discuss one specific problem of the global political economy

Admission requirements should be evidenced by transcripts from the applicant's first degree and the motivation letter (socio-political experience).

Language requirements

Proficiency in English is necessary for participation in the programme. Non-native English speakers should present one of the following certificates: TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English, DAAD Sprachzeugnis, or an equivalent certificate. The score needed for admission is 95 points in TOEFL (iBT, Internet-based), 7.5 in IELTS, or C1 in Common European Framework of Reference of Languages. Applicants who have completed their first degree entirely in English are exempt from this requirement.

Application deadline

Usually 15 May for applicants who have earned their degree outside of Germany
Usually 15 July for applicants who have earned their degree in Germany
Please visit our website for up-to-date deadlines!

Submit application to
Possibility of finding part-time employment

Students can apply for various part-time jobs or work as student assistants on campus. Please have a look at Some departments also provide positions as tutors or working students.


International students enrolled at the University of Kassel can choose between staying at a student residence hall ("Wohnheim") or private accommodation. There are about 1,000 rooms available in the student residencies around the campus. Please have a look at Rent for a room varies between 200 and 350 EUR per month depending on the location and facilities. Students can choose single apartments with en-suite facilities or a shared flat with fellow students. Private furnished or unfurnished accommodation in Kassel is also available and can be found in the local paper, on flyers on campus, or on the Internet (e.g., social media).

Specific specialist or non-specialist support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Welcome event
  • Tutors
  • Cultural and linguistic preparation
Supervisor-student ratio
A maximum of 10 students for each instructor, frequently lower thanks to international guest professors

University of Kassel

The University of Kassel, founded in 1971, is characterised by a multi-layered competence network focused on nature, technology, art, and society. The university, with its ten faculties and its School of Art and Design, has committed itself to international cooperation and interdisciplinary research. It hosts 3,000 international students from over 130 countries among its 25,500 students. Approximately 300 professors teach and research in the fields of engineering, natural sciences, and mathematics as well as the humanities, human sciences, environmental engineering, informatics, and arts.

The faculties are located on the main campus (Holländischer Platz) and on other campuses (Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at Heinrich-Plett-Straße, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Wilhelmshöher Allee, Kassel School of Art and Design at the Karlsaue Park, Institute of Sports and Sports Science at the Aueparkhalle, and the “Murhardsche” Library at Brüder-Grimm-Platz). The Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences can be found in the nearby village of Witzenhausen.

Internationally orientated, short-term study courses as well as English-taught Bachelor's and Master's programmes make the university an attractive place to study and do research. International partnerships at home and abroad strengthen its position in the area of national and international higher education.

The university also provides a wide range of leisure-time activities such as sport facilities, cultural activities, international meetings, and social events.

University location

Kassel, with approx. 200,000 inhabitants, is located at the centre of Germany, close to the Fulda River. The city offers rich cultural and economic diversity. Opera and theatres, concerts, open-air-events, famous art museums, and castles enrich the capital of the German “Fairytale Route”. Every five years, the world-famous “documenta” contemporary art exhibition turns Kassel into a cosmopolitan city. There are many parks and forests in Kassel and its surroundings where you can relax in the open air or be active. The “Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe”, Europe’s largest mountainside park, is the most famous sight in Kassel. In 2013, the park and its water cascades became a UNESCO World Culture Heritage Site. An excellent highway and railway infrastructure provides you with the means to explore other German and European cities in a fast and easy way (e.g., three hours to Berlin, Hamburg, or Munich).

Witzenhausen — where the Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences is located — is a small, typical Hessian town, some 35 km from Kassel. Approx. 1,000 students live and work here. Historic, half-timbered houses lend a unique charm to the small town, which is famous for its cherry orchards in the surrounding areas. The annual spring cherry blossom celebration is a highlight for both young and old.