Dual Degree in Political Science
- Students get to know two distinct academic cultures.
- Students benefit from all courses offered by two political science departments.
- Upon completion of their studies, students receive both a Swiss AND a Canadian Master's degree.
- Students registered at the University of Lucerne only pay tuition fees in Switzerland, even during the time they’re studying in Ottawa.
- Despite being different in size, Switzerland and Canada share many characteristics, such as federalism and multi-lingualism. This generates many opportunities for mutual learning. While studying overseas, students from Lucerne find themselves in the centre of Canadian politics – in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada.
Read the experience of our first Dual Degree student at Carleton University in Ottawa!
This page primarily aims to inform those students who plan to register at the University of Lucerne. Information for those who will register at Carleton University can be found here.
The Dual Master’s Degree in Political Science provides you with different accounts and experiences of this discipline. It deepens your skills and knowledge in political science and widens your horizon inasmuch as you are being exposed to different contexts and approaches.
As a student who is interested in politics and political science, you will not only delve into research on two different federal political systems – Switzerland and Canada – but also with European and North American approaches of conducting research in political science.
You will be registered at the University of Lucerne and will study one semester in Lucerne before moving to Ottawa for half a year; after that you will return to Switzerland for your third semester. In the final semester you will write your master’s thesis – wherever you wish – supervised by a professor at Carleton University and one at the University of Lucerne.
2 MAS incl. MAS paper
Spring & summer
Beginning of January – Mid-August
3 courses (incl. research paper)
1 MAS incl. MAS paper
Spring & summer
Lucerne & Carleton
Master thesis incl. defence
Students will enjoy a genuinely international learning and research environment and will benefit from the strengths and specializations of two different universities. Furthermore – and in contrast to other options of student mobility –, you will receive a Swiss and a Canadian certificate of both the political science departments participating in the programme.
The Department of Political Science at the University of Lucerne is a small, but widely connected department. In teaching and research, it focuses on fields like party politics and European integration, citizenship and democracy, domestic support of international cooperation, policy diffusion and policy evaluation. Normative and positive theories are introduced and applied. A broad spectrum of methods are taught and applied. Not only quantitative methods (advanced statistics) and qualitative methods (diverse case study designs), but also configurational methods (see the Lucerne Cluster for Configurational Methods).
The Department of Political Science at Carleton University is one of the largest political science departments in Canada and offers a broad spectrum of courses and specializations. To learn more about research, faculty staff, campus life and Ottawa’s "capital advantage," you can visit their website.
Courses in Lucerne
Course offering: current term and archive
Course offering: current term
Courses in Carleton
The Dual Master’s Degree in Political Science is a disciplinary master’s programme comprising 120 ECTS. It will start each year in the fall and usually takes four semesters to complete. If necessary, the study period can be extended.
Students are registered at one of the two universities and will only pay tuition fees at their home institution for the duration of their studies. They are admitted as full-time students at both institutions, and have the same rights and duties as regularly registered students.
Please note that term periods differ at the two institutions.
- University of Lucerne: Fall term = August - January (classes: September - December, individual writing period: January); Spring term = February - July (classes: February - May, individual writing period: June - July)
- Carleton University: Fall term = September - December; winter term = January - April; summer term = May - August.
Students who are registered at the University of Lucerne will study at Carleton University in the period between January and August (winter and summer terms).
The dual degree master’s program consists of three parts:
- courses attended at the home university (first and third Swiss term, 44 ECTS),
- courses attended at the host university (second Swiss term, 36 ECTS),
- master’s thesis and defence (40 ECTS). During the period of writing the master’s thesis, there is no mandatory attendance at one of the participating universities. The defense of the master’s thesis will be held at the home institution.
Upon successful completion of the study programme, the partner universities award the following two degrees:
- «Master of Arts in Political Science» (Carleton University)
- «Master of Arts (MA) in Politikwissenschaft der Universität Luzern»
In Lucerne and in Ottawa, all required courses are taught in English. Admission to the Dual Master’s Degree programme therefore requires a good command of English (see the section on “Application and Admission” for details). Students are free to add one or two courses that are taught in another language (German or French) to their study programme if they have the necessary command of that language.
Pursuing the Dual Master’s Degree programme in Lucerne and in Ottawa allows you to get familiar with two different academic environments and two approaches to research in political science in Europe as well as North America. This, together with the fact that all courses are taught in English – the “lingua franca” of the (social) sciences – makes the programme especially suitable for students who may be considering pursuing a scientific career. It is the perfect stepping-stone for conducting a PhD in political science.
The dual degree programme is not only suitable for students planning to pursue an academic career but also for those who may be planning to work in an international environment – in the public, private, or non-profit sector. Graduates of the dual degree programme will have considerably increased their chances of later employments in institutions such as the G20, the OECD, UBS, Nestlé, the International Labour Organization ILO or an international NGO, such as Greenpeace.
The Dual degree programme starts in the fall term only. More information on the application procedure, admission deadlines and the online application tool for enrollment are on the website of the Student Administration Office.
The required qualification for admission to the Dual Master’s Degree in Political Science is a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science or an equivalent degree covering at least 60 ECTS in political science. Please refer to our Admission Guidelines for detailed information.
Please note that applicants must prove their language proficiency in English for admission to this programme. In accordance with a resolution of the Joint Committee of the partner universities of the programme, the following language certificates and scores are recognized as proof of adequate competence:
- TOEFL (Internet-based): 86 (20 in reading and listening; 22 in speaking and writing) or higher
- IELTS (Academic): 6.5 IELTS (min. 6 in each band)
- Cambridge: 176 or higher
In order to be accepted, language certificates need to have been obtained within two years of the date of application to the programme.
In addition to the language certificate, a letter of motivation in English has to be provided.
As the Swiss and Canadian students all need accommodation during their third semester in the host country, we recommend that you consider “exchanging” your accommodation in Ottawa and Lucerne. This has to be organised by the students themselves, however. Please let us know whether you would be happy for us to pass on your email address to other students.
For incoming students
Practical information for incoming students about visa, insurance, etc. is listed on the webpage of University of Lucerne's International Office. Please note that Canadian citizens require a visa.
Students from Carleton are invited to contact the International Relations Office via mobility for further assistance in their search for suitable accommodation in Lucerne. @ unilu.ch
For outgoing students
Find practical information on the webpage of Carleton University's International Student Services Office ISSO.
For detailed information regarding the study and examination regulations, please refer to the following documents:
- Study and examination regulations for the Dual Degree Master in Political Science
- Study and examination regulations for the Dual Degree Master in Political Science (English version)
- Guidelines on the Dual Degree Master in Political Science
- Guidelines on the Dual Degree Master in Political Science (English Version)
- cooperation agreement
Michael Widmer, BA
Study Programme Coordinator
Department of Political Science
University of Lucerne; Frohburgstr. 3; P.O. Box 4466
Mondays to Wednesdays: Room 3.A53, T +41 41 229 55 89
Appointments by prior arrangement