Political science is conceived of as an “integrative science” (Ernst Fraenkel) or a “synoptic science” (Arnold Bergstraesser). The unique profile of the current study program of the Bavarian School of Public Policy has been created by integrating four individual disciplines into a coherent whole.
The Political Theory and Philosophy Department exposes the foundations of political actions. Its subjects are the normative principles of human coexistence. It discusses terms such as freedom and justice, power and force; it tries to clarify the relationship between community, society and state, and examines the development, function and results of schools of thought relating to the history of ideas such as liberalism, conservatism, Marxism, socialism etc. Its methods concentrate on analyzing these fundamental concepts as well as studying and interpreting the political theories of great thinkers, from antiquity to the present.
The Law and State applies itself to the teaching of political systems and empirical analysis of political institutions, structures and processes. It focuses on the political structure of the Federal Republic of Germany and other relevant states. Starting with constitutional questions, it explains the structure and functioning of the modern state. Separation of powers, basic rights, governing bodies, federal arrangements as well as the ways in which citizens can participate in government through voting in elections, party membership and political organizations are of special interest.
The Economy and Society Department explains the theoretical principles of economics as well as the basic issues of economic policies. It mainly deals with the fundamental phenomena of macro- and microeconomics. Special courses address economic policy, its agents, goals, institutions and ideologies (mercantilism, classical liberalism, Marxism, neo-liberalism etc.). Courses in sociology and communication science are also offered.
The Department of International Relations and Contemporary History focuses on the external relations of political systems and the interplay of foreign policy activities of states.
Theories of International Relations such as realism, neo-realism, institutionalism, liberalism, constructivism and others are examined and analysed. A profound understanding of international relations demands the study of international organizations, international law and human rights, but most importantly, the study of modern history (from the French Revolution onwards).