Final state examination

The final state examination is the conclusive examination of the Master's degree taken after the successful fulfilment of necessary credit values and study requirements. Along with the Master's thesis defence it constitutes the legal basis for the award of your MA title.

State exams in the IREP Master’s programme consist of three parts:

Master’s thesis defence, and two state exam subjects (International Relations and European Politics).

Master’s thesis defence.

You will be asked to introduce your thesis in 10 minutes. Preferably, you distil the core of the thesis by presenting your topic, the method you used for analysis and highlighting your results. Your supervisor and second reader will report, and you will be asked to discuss comments and questions that are implied by their reports (which you will have read beforehand, these are provided before the exam). The whole committee will subsequently have the opportunity to discuss your thesis with you.

State exam

Members of the committee will then draw on the topic lists and formulate questions connecting the thesis and broad discussion topic of the state exam. The aim is not to rehash compulsory courses but to have an expert discussion that will demonstrate overall general knowledge and capability to connect theoretical and empirical aspects of the discipline. As much as possible the discussion will be formulated in terms of the Master’s thesis.


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Final state exam topics

State Exam Topics – International Relations

  • War and peace in international law
  • International regimes of human rights
  • International economic institutions
  • Human security
  • Cooperation breakdowns in IR and liberal prevention
  • Constructive conflict and conflict transformation
  • Great powers and power transition theories
  • Model Question: What are the exceptions for the legal use of military power?

State Exam Topics - European Politics

  • EU in theoretical perspective: boundaries, statehood
  • EU as a political system: politics and policymaking
  • EU and democracy: political competition and democratic deficit
  • Cold War in Europe
  • History of European Integration
  • Economic nationalism and imperialism in modern history
  • European monetary union and its problems
  • European economy in the contemporary world trade regime


  • Foreign Affairs essays (not reviews or topical articles) No 1 and 2 from 2022 and No 6 from 2021
  • Eichengreen, Barry (2008): The European economy since 1945. Princeton University Press.
  • Gilbert, Mark (2012): European Integration: A Concise History. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp. 9-222.
  • Hix, Simon – Hoyland, Bjorn (2011): The Political System of the European Union. Palgrave MacmillanKriesberg, Louis (2015): Realizing Peace. A Constructive Conflict Approach. Oxford University Press. Pp. 1-22, 233-317.
  • Lundestad, Geir (2018): International Relations since 1945. London et al.: SAGE, pp. 37-108. World Bank Group (2018): Pathways for Peace. Inclusive approaches to preventing violent conflict.
  • Security dialogue (2008): No 4, pp 427 - 469
  • Shaw, Malcolm N. International law. Cambridge university press, 2017. Pp. 1-50, 851-1018.

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