Doctoral Research Group Political Science

This doctoral program analyzes political and social challenges of democracy and processes of change in the development of civil society in the 21st century.

Areas of Research

In the doctoral research group three lines of research are pursued. They concentrate on the legitimization and the performance of democracies:

Value Change and Human Empowerment

  • How are 'emancipatory cultures' promoted in which freedom of choice and equal opportunities are respected?
  • How do 'emancipatory cultures' change civil society?
  • How does the process of human empowerment influence the development of democracy?

Party Government and Institutional Change

  • What is the impact of formal and informal institutional patterns on the performance of party government?
  • In how far does the 'personalization of politics' determine change in the democratic structures of liberal societies?
  • What are the social and political conditions for institutional reform in 'old' and 'new' democracies?
  • What is the role and function of political leadership in representative democracy?

Participation and Public Policy

  • Which old and new forms of democratic representation, participation and deliberation exist within and beyond the nation state?
  • How do political actors formulate and pursue political strategies in democratic societies?
  • What possibilities and limits of participatory and deliberative approaches of democratic problem solving and conflict resolution exist in differentiated policy fields and how can they be analyzed and evaluated?

Doctoral Degrees

Depending on the subject and method of the dissertation, the respective faculty confers the following doctoral degrees:

  • Dr. rer. pol.
  • Dr. phil.


  • Prof. Dr. Christian Welzel

Doctoral Supervisors

  • Prof. Dr. Sarah Engler
  • Prof. Dr. Dawid Friedrich
  • Prof. Dr. Belén González
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Koß
  • Prof. Dr. Tobias Lenz
  • Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Saretzki
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Welzel

Associated Researchers & Research Centres

Doctoral topics, positions and scholarships

Doctoral Courses

As a doctoral student at Leuphana, you not only write your dissertation, but also participate in the interdisciplinary doctoral courses, which include three interdisciplinary modules in addition to the subject-specific colloquia. You can find more information about the doctoral programme here.


If you wish to pursue your doctorate at Leuphana, you must be enrolled as doctoral student. Information about admission to the doctorate at Leuphana and the application procedure can be found here.

Leuphana Graduate School offers advice and coaching to academics in the qualification phase. The Graduate School's advisor will be happy to support you in questions of decision-making, challenges in the course of your doctorate, and career planning and development. You can find more information about the counselling and coaching services here.