Modules in complementary studies

As a forum for interdisciplinary academic dialogue for all Masters students, Complementary Studies are an essential part of the unique teaching philosophy at Leuphana, and this is reflected at all levels of the university in the Bachelors, Masters and doctoral programmes as well as the part-time degree programmes in the Professional School. Complementary Studies therefore form an integral part of every Masters programme. In addition to advanced studies in their fields, the students of the Graduate School engage in critical reflection on a wide range of interdisciplinary issues.

By adopting an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach to organizing our Complementary Studies, the Masters programme at Leuphana seeks to foster dialogue and critical thinking while teaching the skills that students need to step back and see things from a holistic and critical viewpoint. To do this, it is important to engage with unfamiliar academic traditions and forms of knowledge, intellectual history, diverse understandings of research results and fundamental humanistic questions in philosophy and ethics. This kind of outside perspective provides a wider context for students' knowledge about their own fields and helps them understand findings from a wide range of other disciplines and establish connections between disparate fields and forms of knowledge that allow them to go beyond the familiar and see their fields in a new light. In this way, our Complementary Studies takes disparate, contingent experiences combined with a relationship-oriented, socially responsible way of thinking and acting and turns them into an integral part of an interdisciplinary process of knowledge acquisition that qualifies our student for an academic career in a range of fields in the business world.

After completing their studies, academics can look forward to exciting and challenging responsibilities in demanding positions. Students who have completed their Masters degree will not typically be dealing with routine situations. Instead, they will be faced with uncertainty, competing interpretations, conflicting standards as well as different professional wisdom and forms of knowledge. Those who work in positions of responsibility and in changing teams undergoing complex processes of transformation, or those who must evaluate new or unfamiliar information outside of their field need a holistic, academically based ability to judge and reflect critically. This is more valuable than technical knowledge that quickly becomes obsolete. Closely related to this is the ability to collaborate and analyze complex interactions that occur between parties in dialogue with the help of a methodological approach that evaluates according to ethical criteria while at the same time combining disparate and conflicting perspectives that allow one to be able to reach an authoritative decision and act confidently.

The central content and goals of our Complementary Studies are reflected in the three modules Engaging with Knowledge and Sciences, Reflecting Research Methods and Connecting Science, Responsibility and Society. In line with Leuphana's international profile, the principal language of instruction is English.

The central content and goals of our Complementary Studies have been translated into three modules of 5 CP each, and these build a basic framework for the contents of the programme. In keeping with Leuphana's international profile, the three modules are mainly taught in English.

Module: Engaging with Knowledge and Sciences

In this module, students will explore fundamental issues, questions and concepts about the philosophy of science and theories of knowledge from the entire spectrum of majors from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. The focus here is on developing an understanding of knowledge, its various forms and genesis, intellectual history, concepts of truth, paradigms in the philosophy of science, processes of transformation in the sciences as well and inter- and transcultural production of knowledge. Last but not least, this module also allows students to consider the ethical issues surrounding responsibility in research and the relationship between science and society.

Module: Reflecting Research Methods

In the module Reflecting Research Methods, students are encouraged to explore unfamiliar research methods from outside their fields. Together with their fellow students in different majors, they apply the methods discussed and reflect on the ethical issues they raise for research and the contexts in which such methods could be used in interdisciplinary research. Moreover, students consider the possibilities and limitations of familiar methods and cultures within their fields through the mirror of standard practice in other disciplines. This also includes the examination of different concepts of interdisciplinary research.

Module: Connecting Science, Responsibility and Society

The contents of the first two modules is put into a thematically focused and ethically responsible context of scientific knowledge production in the module Connecting Science, Responsibility and Society. In the context of current issues and the societal challenge to achieve sustainable development, students discuss the ethical and responsible understanding of knowledge and research and the social responsibility of academics. From several syllabus topics, individual areas that are relevant for all majors can be taken as an example to further explore, in an interdisciplinary context, theoretical and empirical points of view or an applied perspective. This can then be related to the methodological and epistemological insights gained in the first two modules.

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