Basic Information 

To be able to take part in the final state exam consisting of the thesis defense and written final exam, students are required to have completed 120 credits (out of which 92 credits should be earned in compulsory courses and 28 credits in optional courses) and have submitted the Master’s thesis by the date set in the departmental calendar. Please note that all of your required course credits and grades must be entered by the teachers into the information system at least 7 days prior to final state exams. 

Thesis Discussion

One week before the Final State Examinations, the Department publishes the Master’s theses defense schedules, which shows you exact time and place of your thesis defense. Students do not have to be present at the opening, but they should come about 20 minutes before their scheduled time, in case there is a shift. 

The thesis defense follows a standard procedure. At the beginning, the student introduces his/her work, then the supervisor and opponent reviews are read, student has a given time to respond to the reviews, and then a general discussion follows. The thesis defense is open to public. 

Final State Exam

The final exam is oral. The general topics are published on the departmental website; the exam then includes 4 open questions. The exam lasts for 60 minutes. See the list of topics below. 


The thesis defense and the written exam constitute two parts of the final state examination. In case of failure in one of these parts, the student resits only the part in which s/he failed. The defense and the written test are evaluated on the following scale: 

A- Excellent, B – Very Good, C – Good, D – Satisfactory, E – Sufficient, F – Failed.

Final Exam Topics and Required Reading

  • Causes of Civil Wars (Collier and Hoeffler 2004, Fearon and Laitin 2003)
  • Economics, inequality, and terrorism (Krueger 2007)
  • Colonialism and Development (Acemoglu et al. 2001)
  • Modernization and Democratization (Boix and Stokes 2003)
  • Security Systems and Actors (Waltz 2001, Buzan 2008)
  • Liberty, Authority, and Legitimacy (Beetham 2013, Talisse 2016)
  • Democracy, Disagreement, and Political Representation(Talisse 2009, Mair 2013)
  • Cybersecurity (Singer and Friedman 2014)
  • Types of Modern Non-Democratic Regimes (Brooker 2000, Chehabi 1998, Linz 2000)
  • Paradigms of Democratization: historical sociology, modernization paradigm, transition theory, democracy promotion (Haerpfer et al. 2009)
  • Theories and types of conflict (Ramsbotham et al. 2011)
  • Dynamics of conflict – causes, actors, intensity and resolution (Bartos and Wehr 2002; Ramsbotham et al. 2011)



  • Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S. and Robinson, J. A. (2001): Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation.American Economic Review, 91(5), pp. 1369-1401.
  • Bartos, Otomar J. and Paul Wehr (2002):Using Conflict Theory.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 12-49 and 98-118.
  • Beetham, D. (2013):The Legitimation of Power. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 3–41.
  • Boix, C. and Stokes, S. (2003): Endogenous Democratization,World Politics, 55(4), pp. 517-549.
  • Brooker, P. (2000):Non-Democratic Regimes. Theory, Government and Politics.Houndmills, Basingstoke Hampshire: Macmillan Press, pp. 7-99 and 226-255.
  • Buzan, B. (2008): People, States & Fear: An agenda for international security studies in the post-cold war era. Colchester: ECPR Press, pp. 18-30 (chapter 1).
  • Collier, P. and Hoeffler, A. (2004): Greed and Grievance in Civil War,Oxford EconomicPapers56(4), pp. 563-595.
  • Fearon, J. and Laitin, D. (2003): Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War,American PoliticalScience Review97(1), pp. 75-90.
  • Haerpfer, Ch. W., Bernhagen, P., Inglehart, R. F. and Welzel, Ch. (eds., 2009):Democratization, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 74-106, 249-265 and 377-385.
  • Chehabi, H. E. and Linz, J. J. (eds., 1998):Sultanistic Regimes.London – Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, pp. 3-48.
  • Krueger, A. B. (2007):What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 23-104.
  • Linz, J. J. (2000):Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes. London: Boulder 2000, pp. 1-40.
  • Mair, P. (2013):Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy. London: Verso, pp. 1–16.
  • Ramsbotham, O., Woodhouse, T. and Miall, H. (2011):Contemporary Conflict Resolution.Malden: Polity Press, pp. 78 – 245.
  • Singer, P. W. and Friedman, A. (2014): Cybersecurity and cyberwar: what everyone needs to know. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 12-165.
  • Talisse, R. (2009):Democracy and Moral Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 11–41 (chapter 1, “The Problem of Deep Politics”).
  • Talisse, R. (2016):Engaging Political Philosophy. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 41–65 (chapter 3, „Liberty“), pp. 66–92 (chapter 4, „Authority“).
  • Waltz, K. N. (2001):Man, the state, and war: A theoretical analysis. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 1-42 (chapter 1).

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