Master Politieke Wetenschappen- Internationale Politiek

Disclaimer: Please note that the Master's program is mainly taught in Dutch. There are some courses in English to accommodate foreign exchange students.


The Master in Political Science – specialization International Politics offers a solid knowledge and insight base with regards to contemporary world politics. This also includes international law and Belgian foreign policy. Next to that, students are welcomed to introduce their own accents, for example international economy, international energy politics, the European Union, the Global South, or international law. The program also allows the possibility of internships, societal fieldwork or international exchanges.

This Master is meant to be a solid preparation for the Belgian diplomatic exam.

The educational program offers an extensive range of optional subjects, of which three have to be chosen. It is recommended to take into account the subject of your master’s thesis when picking your subjects. It is also an advantage if you make a cluster with regards to content, with subjects that are closely related but complementary, such as:

  • International political economy + Economic globalization
  • European Common Foreign and Security Policy + European foreign policy + decision-making in the EU
  • Politics of conflict + politics of development



The full program can be found in the study guide , but we would like to introduce some courses organised by GIIS staff on this page.

Global Energy Politics (English)

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, energy has been a key driver of world politics and every shift in global energy patterns has brought changes in international relations. This specialized course aims to introduce students to the history and functioning of major energy markets (oil, gas and electricity), the geopolitics of energy security, and the challenges and ramifications of efforts to decarbonize our economies. Next to attending the lectures, students should write an essay and participate in an in-class simulation exercise.

European Common Foreign and Security Policy (English)

The subject covers the EU’s development into a global strategic player. The EU has long been a world player in trade and development cooperation and is increasingly emerging as one in diplomacy and defence. Hence the subject’s focus on European Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The subject places the EU’s strategic vision in its political and conceptual context and analyses its main tenets. It then takes a critical look at the EU’s implementation of the ambitious goals it has set itself. The topics covered in this course, focusing on the area of ECFSP and the security dimension, are: institutions and mechanisms, the European Neighbourliness Policy, multilateralism and the UN, military and civil capabilities and operations, relations with NATO and the US, strategic partnerships, with the emphasis on China 

Foreign Policy of Belgium (Dutch)

We take a look at Belgium's foreign policy in the long term, to identify permanent factors but also discontinuities, and also discuss actual foreign policy and future options. Both dimensions will be highlighted in each of the following distinctions: economic diplomacy, security policy, European policy, Africa politics, the organisation of diplomacy, the defense policy, etc. Diplomats and civil servants from both the federal ministry of foreign affairs and from the Communities and Regions and officers from Defense will illustrate some of the current policy developments during guest colleges. The students are thus invited make connections between diplomatic history and current developments and between theory and practice. Moreover, students who wish to participate in the diplomatic exam will familiarize themselves with the day-to-day reality of diplomacy during this course. The yearly conference on Belgian foreign policy, organised by Ghent University, UCLouvain and the Egmont Institute is an integral part of the course.

Common Security and Defense Policy (Dutch)

Het vak handelt over de ontwikkeling van de EU tot een mondiale strategische actor. Waar de EU sinds lang een mondiale actor is op gebied van handel en ontwikkelingssamenwerking, wordt ze dat ook meer en meer op gebied van diplomatie en defensie, d.w.z. het Gemeenschappelijk Buitenlands en Veiligheidsbeleid (GBVB) de focus van het vak. Het vak zal de strategische visie van de EU situeren in zijn politieke en conceptuele context en er de krachtlijnen van analyseren. Daarna zal het de uitvoering van de ambitieuze doelstellingen die de EU zich heeft gesteld kritisch onderzoeken. Onderwerpen die daarbij aan komen, met focus op het GBVB en de veiligheidsdimensie, zijn: de instellingen, het Europees Nabuurschapsbeleid, multilateralisme en de VN, militaire en civiele capaciteiten en operaties, relaties met de NAVO en de VS, strategische partnerschappen, met nadruk op China.

This course tackles the development of the EU into a global strategic actor. Whereas the EU has been a global actor in the areas of trade and development cooperation for quite some time, It is more and more also growing into one in the areas of diplomacy and defense due to the Commons Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) which is the focus of this course. The course will situate the strategic vision of the EU in its political and conceptual context and analyse its policy objects. Next, we will critically evaluate the implementation of the ambitious goals the EU has imposed upon itself. Subjects that will be tackled include: the European institutions, the European neighborhood policy, multilateralism and the UN, military and civil capacity and operations, relationships with NATO, and the US, and strategic partnerships with emphasis on China


During the Master in political sciences - international politics, students are offered a chance to apply the knowledge and insights they have gained throughout the bachelor years into the practical reality of international politics. The goal is to offer students a look behind the curtains of an organization that is involved with international of transnational themes

The duration of the internship normally ranges between 140 to 160 hours and takes place in the second semesters. This total can be achieved by interning during:
  • Five working days per week for four weeks
  • four working days per week for five weeks
  • three working days per week during six of seven weeks

Master's thesis

The Master's thesis is the most important student assignment and the conclusion of the Master in political sciences. All GIIS-professors and post-doctoral students can act as supervisors. We developed an informative guide (in Dutch) offering more information about the Master's thesis.