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Varieties of Democracy and Democratization

Master’s level
15 credits (ECTS)
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Full education cost: 22 000 SEK
First payment: 22 000 SEK

No fees are charged for EU and EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students.

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Application opens 15 September 2022


This course confronts theories of what democracy is and ought to be with different approaches to measuring varieties of democracy across time and space. Through this course, you gain advanced knowledge on theories of democratization and the failure of democracy, and get training in how to systematically analyze and evaluate these theories.

The course is offered as a semi-elective in-depth course within the Master's program in Political Science, and as a single subject course.


In the wake of the Cold War, the word ‘democracy’ has begun to sound like a mantra, but what does it really mean? There is no consensus about how to conceptualize and measure it well enough to support meaningful and accurate comparisons through time and across countries. For policymakers, activists, academics, and citizens around the world, it matters how democracy is conceptualized and measured.

There is a large body of work in social science that deals with these issues, i.e., the nature, causes, consequences, and trajectories of democracy around the world. This course deals with the dynamics of democratization from the perspective of theoretical debates, and with analysis of historical experiences as well as with immediate policy questions. The course scrutinizes how democracy has been conceptualized, measured, even explained, and offers the opportunity to analyze comparative case studies and to provide in-depth analysis on the themes covered.

In the course, you approach the topics in a theoretically guided manner and with emphasis on methodological challenges. You make extensive use of both qualitative and quantitate data, including the new Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) database co-produced by University of Gothenburg and University of Notre Dame (US).

Prerequisites and selection


Admission to the course requires 15 credits at the second cycle from the course SK2121 'Political Science Analysis' or a minimum of 15 credits from courses the first semester in the Master's Programme in European Studies or Master's Programme in International Administration and Global Governance. Applicants must prove their knowledge of English: English 6/English B from Swedish Upper Secondary School or the equivalent level of an internationally recognized test, for example TOEFL, IELTS.


Selection is based upon the number of credits from previous university studies, maximum 165 credits.

After graduation

The course can be combined with other in-depth courses in political science as well as method and thesis courses on the advanced level.


The Department of Poltical Science is located in Campus Haga, which lies in the centre of the city of Gothenburg.

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