International Programmes 2019/2020

Comparative & Middle East Politics and Society (CMEPS) Comparative & Middle East Politics and Society (CMEPS)

University of Tübingen • Tübingen

Master of Arts (MA)
Course location
In cooperation with
The American University in Cairo (AUC), Egypt
Teaching language
  • English

The CMEPS programme is entirely taught in English.

Of the total of 120 ECTS (credits), 36 are allocated to compulsory Arabic courses. These language courses are partly taught in Arabic in accordance with the students' language proficiencies.

Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
More information on beginning of studies
1 October
Application deadline

At the University of Tübingen:
15 May

At the American University in Cairo:
1 February (first round) and 1 April (second round)
1 April (application deadline)

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Additional information on tuition fees

Students from EU countries do not pay tuition fees.

Approx. 1,500 EUR per semester for students from non-EU countries and 650 EUR for students who already have a Master's degree from EU countries

More information concerning tuition fees:

Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

All students will take the core courses Middle East Politics and Societies, Regime Change and Democratisation, Comparative Politics of the Middle East, and Development Politics and International Cooperation.

Middle East Politics and Societies
This course provides an in-depth examination of the nature and dynamics of the politics of the Middle East. It explores some of the region's key political and social structural traits, as it aims at generating an understanding of the fundamentals of the modern Middle East. The course will focus on state formation, national identities, leadership, elites and the impact of the West.

Regime Change and Democratisation
This course addresses the academic debate on authoritarianism, regime change and democratisation from a theoretical and empirical perspective. It provides knowledge about key concepts and theoretical approaches to analyse processes of systemic political change, such as political regime analysis, theories of democratic transition and consolidation. Hybrid regimes are a further topic of analysis. While the focus of this module is on concepts and explanatory approaches as well as on international factors in regime change, empirical cases chosen from different continents allow students to apply concepts to real-world cases.

Comparative Politics of the Middle East
Polity, economy and society are considered to be interconnected areas for research in comparative politics. In this course, the debate about theory in the politics of the Middle East is explored in relation to comparative work on other areas; it examines key concepts and questions of comparative politics with the help of cases taken from the Middle East and North Africa, chiefly covering questions of state-society relations, political regimes, civil society, statehood and political economy. By doing so, it gives an overview of the region's key characteristics on an advanced level of studies.

Development Politics and International Cooperation
This course examines the main features of the politics of development and international development cooperation, including, but not limited to, conceptual issues such as the changing understandings of "development" itself as well as theoretical approaches to explain development or its absence; key bi- and multi-lateral as well as state and non-state actors in development cooperation; prominent challenges for development cooperation actors (climate change, poverty, good governance, etc.) and key trends of practical development cooperation. This course may take place as a joint seminar for all CMEPS students at the AUC and at the University of Tübingen.

In addition to the political science core modules, each student at the AUC will take courses on the foundations of political science during his or her first year of study, while students at University of Tübingen will, depending on their first degrees, attend courses on the foundations of political science or basic Arabic language training. Students will take Arabic and German language classes, respectively.

Elective courses
In addition to these compulsory courses, students will have the possibility to specialise in a certain field. At the AUC and at the University of Tübingen, they can choose from a variety of elective courses that are listed under "Course organisation" (subject to availability).

Course organisation

During their studies, CMEPS students complete either an exchange semester with the American University in Cairo (exchange track) or an extended internship (professional track).

At the University of Tübingen, CMEPS studies are organised as follows:
24 ECTS credits for the alternate modules (depending on students' first degrees)

  • Module 1: Foundations of Political Science
  • Module 2: Theories and Methods of Comparative Politics
  • Module 3: Language Acquisition Advanced Learners
  • Module 4: Language Acquisition 1
  • Module 5: Language Acquisition 2

53 ECTS credits for the compulsory modules

  • Module 6: Issues in Comparative & Middle East Politics and Society 1 - The Modern Middle East
  • Module 7: Issues in Comparative & Middle East Politics and Society 2 - Political Changes and Challenges
  • Module 8: Issues in Comparative & Middle East Politics and Society 3 - Development (for professional track students as a blocked course, during the third semester)
  • Module 9: Language Acquisition 3 (only for exchange track students, during third semester)
  • Module 10a: Short Internship or Transdisciplinary Qualifications (for exchange track students)
  • Module 10b: Long Internship (for professional track students, during the third semester)

13 ECTS credits for the mandatory elective modules (for exchange track students in semesters one to three, for professional track students in semesters one to two)

  • Module 11-1: Issues in Cultures and Civil Societies of the Middle East
  • Module 11-2: Special Issues in Political Science

30 ECTS credits for the examination module

  • Module 14: Examination

At the AUC, CMEPS studies are organised as follows:
Compulsory courses:

  • POLS 504/5204 - Advanced Political Science Methods (three credits, first semester)
  • POLS 535/5235 - Middle East Politics (three credits, first semester)
  • POLS 558/5258 - Comparative Politics and the Middle East (three credits, second semester)
  • POLS 570/5270 - Special Topics in Political Science for Graduates (three credits, third semester)
  • POLS 530/5230 - Regime Change and Democratisation (three credits, first semester or Tübingen equivalent during third semester)
  • Elementary German classes

Four mandatory elective courses in consultation with the Graduate Adviser/Coordinator of the joint programme

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Types of assessment

Students will be assessed and graded via oral examinations, research and short papers, and presentations as well as the Master's thesis and its defence.

A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • Integrated study abroad unit(s)
  • Language training provided
  • Study trips
Integrated study abroad unit(s)

For the exchange track, an exchange semester at the German (the University of Tübingen) or Egyptian (American University in Cairo) partner institution is an integral part of the programme, as are joint seminars and the joint supervision of the MA thesis by faculty members from both universities.

The professional track includes a long internship instead of the exchange semester.

Integrated internships

CMEPS students in Tübingen complete a mandatory short internship (exchange track) or a long internship (professional experience track) during the course of their studies.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Additional information on tuition fees

Students from EU countries do not pay tuition fees.

Approx. 1,500 EUR per semester for students from non-EU countries and 650 EUR for students who already have a Master's degree from EU countries

More information concerning tuition fees:

Semester contribution
Enrolment fees at the University of Tübingen are currently about 160 EUR per semester. This includes use of local public transport free of charge from Monday to Friday in the evenings, at weekends, and on public holidays. In addition, students may purchase a semester ticket for unlimited use of public transport in the city of Tübingen and the surrounding area (currently about 100 EUR).
Costs of living
According to the Tübingen Student Services Organisation (“Studierendenwerk”), estimated basic student expenses are about 850 EUR per month, including rent for student accommodation.
Funding opportunities within the university
Academic admission requirements

The selection of students is based on academic capabilities, personal qualification and motivation. You are eligible to study in the CMEPS programme if you:

  • hold a BA degree or equivalent

a) in political science or a related social science or

b) in Middle Eastern studies, Islamic studies or a related discipline (only at the University of Tübingen)

  • provide evidence of your proficiency in English (see below)

At the University of Tübingen, applicants' Bachelor's grades must be 2.5 or better (on the German grading scale); at AUC, a GPA of at least 3.2 is required.
At the University of Tübingen, required documents for application comprise the following: high school diploma, BA certificate / transcripts of records, CV, a letter of motivation (up to two pages), proof of English language requirements
Optional documents are: evidence of other achievements (internships, work experience, etc.), contact details of an academic referee (if desired – to be noted in CV)

At the American University in Cairo:
Make sure to select "Graduate Admissions" and the correct entry date as well as the concentration for the MA in Comparative & Middle East Politics and Society (CMEPS) on the application form.

Language requirements

Applicants must provide evidence of proficiency in English, e.g. through TOEFL (score: at least 90), IELTS (at least 6.5, writing section at least 7.0) or by providing a similar certificate. Students are exempt from certifying their English language skills under certain conditions (mother tongue, previous study experience in English-language programmes); please consult our homepage for details.

German language skills are not a prerequisite at either of the partner institutions.

Application deadline

At the University of Tübingen:
15 May

At the American University in Cairo:
1 February (first round) and 1 April (second round)
1 April (application deadline)

Submit application to

Online application:

For questions regarding the application process, please contact the office of "Advising and Admission of International Students". E-mail:


Accommodation is available through the student services organisation (“Studierendenwerk“) or on the private market. Rooms in student accommodation cost approx. 200-400 EUR per month. As Tübingen is a very attractive place to live, private accommodation is more expensive and can take some effort to find. To make sure you find a suitable place to live, you should start looking as early as possible.

We recommend you to apply for student accommodation through the “Studierendenwerk” at the same time that you apply for admission to the programme (See: and and send in a copy of your notification of admission as soon as you have received it. (Your application won’t be processed until the “Studierenwerk” has received proof of your admission.) For further information, check out the “Studierendenwerk” website on housing in Tübingen (

Career advisory service

Information concerning career advisory services:

Supervisor-student ratio

University of Tübingen

Content Bild
Institute of Political Science in Tübingen

Political Science at Tübingen University
The University of Tübingen, founded in 1477 and one of the oldest universities in Germany, stands for quality and innovation in research and teaching. The university is one of Germany's most respected educational institutions and provides an excellent environment for academic studies. With its problem-oriented and theory-driven approach to studying democracy, state-society relations and development, the Master's programme builds on the University of Tübingen's long-standing research expertise in the MENA region. Most modules will be taught by the Institute of Political Science, one of Germany's top-ranked political science institutions, which excels in comparative political science research on non-OECD countries, especially MENA countries. Language teaching and modules on the culture and civil society of the Middle East will be offered by the Department of Oriental and Islamic Studies.

Political Science at AUC
The American University in Cairo (AUC), founded in 1919, is the region's premier English-language university today; it is an essential contributor to the social, political and cultural life of the Arab world. In an increasingly globalised society, the AUC offers a vital bridge between the cultures of East and West through scholarly research, study abroad programmes and partnerships with other academic and research institutions. The AUC builds leadership, lifelong learning, continuing education and service among its graduates and is dedicated to making significant contributions to Egypt and to the international community in diverse fields.
For more information on the department, see

50 Percentage of international students
20 Participants per year

University location

Small steps, narrow alleys and pointed gables shape the silhouette of old Tübingen on the way up to its castle. The Swabian university town is home to 90,000 inhabitants and some 28,000 students. It combines the flair of a lovingly restored medieval town centre with the colourful bustle and typical atmosphere of a young and cosmopolitan students' town. The town offers numerous sidewalk cafés, wine taverns and students' pubs, special shops, restaurants and taverns. Taking a boat trip in a famous Stocherkahn – a boat navigated by means of a long wooden pole that is exclusive to Tübingen – offers a scenic view of the picturesque Neckar waterfront with the famous Hölderlin Tower.

Cairo is the largest city in the Arab world and Africa. It has long served as the cultural, political and social capital of the Middle East. Home to one of the oldest and richest civilisations in the world, Cairo is unique with its ancient monuments and historical landmarks that date back thousands of years, from the Great Pyramids to Al Azhar University and the Hanging Church.