Master of Arts in Politics
with Focus on Governance of Innovative and Complex Technological Systems


More than ever, society has access to technologies that open up new galaxies of possibilities, ranging from smartphones with which one can communicate quickly to gen-tech with which crops can be modified. This availability raises considerable normative and operational questions, such as whether society should allow genetic modifications in food production, whether governments should have access to personal data, or how to have an influence on the so-called darkweb.

This master program focuses on such questions. We will analyze and discuss the ways in which technology, society and governance are connected and the ways in which these relationships can be governed. We will partake in the technology debate to assess the extent to which technology is deterministic or autonomous, the relationship between technology and democracy, and how governments deal and ought to deal with issues such as privacy, security and surveillance.

Research and education profile

The master program uses examples, theories and methodological tools in order to understand our relationship to technology and the attempts to govern it. As such, we will look for the cross-roads between political science, public administration, science and technology studies, and the complexity sciences. Students who select this master program are expected to have an interest in both the theoretical ideas and the practical applications. The following subjects are offered regularly:

  • Governance of technological systems
  • Theories of complex systems
  • Socio-technological evolution
  • Project management
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Qualitative research methods for complex systems
  • Modeling and simulating
  • Steuerung technologischer Systeme

  • Theorien komplexer Systeme

  • Soziotechnologische Entwicklung

  • Projektmanagement

  • Öffentlich-Private Partnerschaften

  • Qualitative Forschungsmethoden von komplexen Systemen

  • Modellierung und Simulation

  • Wir untersuchten den Einfluss von persönlichen Präferenzen bei der Entwicklung von Rechenmodellen zur Entscheidungsfindung.

  • Wir erforschten die Gründe, warum es so viele Probleme bei der Entwicklung von Hochgeschwindigkeitszügen gibt.

  • Wir untersuchten die Gründe von Kostenüberschreitungen und Verzögerungen bei öffentlich-privaten Infrastrukturprojekten.

  • Wir analysierten, wie Bahnbetreiber und Infrastrukturlieferanten mit Störungen im regulären Betrieb umgehen.

  • Wir verfolgten Stadterneuerungsprojekte, um zu sehen, wie die Bauträger mit den Auswirkungen der Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise fertig wurden.

  • Gerrits, L. (2012). Punching Clouds: an introduction to the complexity of public decision- making. Litchfield Park, AZ: Emergent Publications

  • Gerrits, L. & Verweij, S. (2013). Critical realism as a meta-framework for understanding the  relationships between complexity and qualitative comparative analysis. Journal of Critical Realism, 12(2), 166-182.

  • Gerrits, L. & Marks, P. (2015). The evolution of Wright’s (1932) adaptive field to  contemporary interpretations and uses of fitness landscapes in the social sciences. Biology & Philosophy (2015) 30:459–47

The Programme at a Glance

Module GroupModulesECTS

Political Science Methods

Two of the four advanced seminars on:

  • Foundations of the Philosophy of Science 
  • Qualitative Methods of Social Inquiry
  • Basic Data Analysis
  • Advanced Data Analysis
Core Political Science

Lecture (MA): Governance of Technical Systems II (Theories and Applications of Complex Technological Systems) 

Three advanced seminars on:

  • Theories of Complex Systems
  • Methods of Complexity Informed Inquiry
  • Complexity and Governance





Distribution Electives

Student’s choice of combination of modules from the following fields:  

  • Modules from the political science subsectors in accordance with Appendix 2 of the examination and study regulations , if not completed in the Core Political Science module group;
  • Modules from non-political science subjects comprising a maximum of 16 ECTS or modules from the guided study abroad programme comprising a maximum of 30 ECTS-Points.



at least 44
Master's ThesisThesis on a topic taken from the Governance of Technical Systems subsector30

More information you´ll find in the course guide(354.6 KB).