CIVICA’s master’s courses in social sciences offer multicampus perspectives


This week, CIVICA launches this academic year’s joint and multicampus courses, continuing the alliance’s work towards a true European campus. The courses are one of CIVICA’s many transnational experiences enabling students to pursue academic paths beyond any one institutional or national context.

This year’s suite of joint course offerings for master’s students includes two brand new courses.

“The Making of the Present: A Global History of Globalisation from St. Helena to Davos” is taught jointly by Andrea Colli (Bocconi) and Mario Del Pero (Sciences Po) and will examine the process of global integration and disintegration over the last two centuries.

“Policy Evaluation: Praxis and Politics” is taught by Central European University’s (CEU) Thilo Bodenstein with Diane Stone  and Gaia Taffoni (EUI) and Ann Revillard (Sciences Po). It will illuminate fundamentals of qualitative evaluations for public policy and cover the political preconditions for the implementation of evaluations. “The cooperation with EUI and Sciences Po allows for an enormous diversity of course participants. We expect students from very different study programmes and disciplines. From the EUI side, the School of Transnational Governance will be involved. From Sciences Po, the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policy, and from CEU the Department of Public Policy,” said Bodenstein in regards to “Policy Evaluation: Praxis and Politics”. He added: “This enables a broad approach to the topic of evaluation. The students also gain insights into the respective institutions involved and have the opportunity to expand their networks.”

Bodenstein highlighted the importance of including a range of scientific disciplines from public policy and political science, to sociology and gender studies, noting that monitoring by evaluators takes place in numerous areas and will continue to gain importance in the future. Discussion topics include the history of evaluation research, key methodological and analytical procedures, as well as ethics of evaluation and processes for evaluation use.   

Three returning CIVICA joint courses throughout this academic year will also include “Welfare States in Transition” with Bruno Palier (Sciences Po) and Anke Hassel (Hertie School), “Diving into the Digital Public Space” with Marton Karsai (CEU) and Jean Philippe Cointet (Sciences Po médialab), which covers the use of data science methods to investigate a research question related to social and political dynamics at large; and “Gendering Illiberalism” taught by CEU’s Andrea Peto with Alina Dragolea from SNSPA, unpacking the buzzword “illiberalism” and critically investigating the loopholes in the related literature. This year, the “Gendering Illiberalism” course, which was first taught in 2021, builds on previous editions, incorporating a new exchange visit for students to go to SNSPA in Bucharest, with travel for the participants funded by CIVICA.

“The field trip of CEU students to SNSPA provides an opportunity for students to work together on common projects and to develop their academic writing skills. These intensive three days of personal meetings in Bucharest will help not only to bring the much-needed comparative perspective in gendering illiberalism but also to foster academic and personal ties,” said Peto.

In addition to learning from Peto and Dragolea, students in this course will have the chance to engage with (on zoom) leading scholars of the field, such as Marlene Laruelle, Matthijs Bogaards, Zuzana Madarova, Heidemarie Winkel and Oana Baluta. Participants will conduct a small research project covering one gendered aspect of the illiberal turn in a global context. 

Also opening for enrollment this fall is the third edition of CIVICA’s flagship multi-campus course, “The Future of Europe”, which is taught jointly by a team of faculty from alliance universities, critically exploring European policy challenges. In addition to a series of live online lectures grouped into four modules, students work in transnational teams to complete a capstone assignment developing policy solutions to EU-relevant policy problems.

Mariyana Angelova, Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics at CEU who teaches the module on “Democracy, Governance, and Populism in the EU” as part of the course, said: “Last year, from my module, the related capstone project policy issue was about effective polarisation on social media, and how social media influences the ways in which people divide themselves into ‘us versus them’. Students in this course came up with recommendations they would propose to policy officials to overcome this problem.” The practical exercise is one of the benefits of “The Future of Europe” course.

The capstone project includes the development of a policy paper and a one-page policy brief, “which can be seen as an elevator pitch aimed at EU politicians,” said Angelova. Skills for this type of policy writing are taught by Thu Nguyen from Hertie School during the “Policy Paper Training Camp” component of the course.

Small teams of students from different universities work on finding a creative solution to a concrete ongoing problem. Excellent projects automatically participate in the Boroli Prize Competition, which awards three prizes of 4,200 euros each, split evenly among the team members, to the teams with the best three capstone projects submitted in the course. More than 240 master’s students across the CIVICA alliance have benefitted from this cross-border interdisciplinary experience over the past two years and a new multicampus course on “The Road to the Green Transition” will be launched in spring 2025.

Students from all CIVICA alliance universities can view the list of upcoming courses on

A similar version of this article was written and first published by CEU’s communication team.

Photo credits: Matt Langthorne (Hertie School).