Is digital transformation taking over society? How are governments tackling secure data exchange and cybersecurity? How is and how should data analytics be employed in politics and governance? Are governments and public institutions allowed to profile citizens? Could digital transformation lead to greater discontent with politics and renewed authoritarian tendencies? How can democratic political leaders govern with higher efficiency whilst respecting citizens’ data privacy?
These are important challenges to tackle, especially in the digital era. The MA programme in Politics and Governance in the Digital Age offers you the knowledge and skills for this enquiry.
This MA programme integrates key fundamentals of governance, digital transformation and data analysis as essential aspects of political developments in the contemporary world. Understanding digital governance is key for building a successful career in modern government, digital civil society, politics or international organisations.
The programme provides in-depth knowledge about core topics of political science such as modern political institutions, elections, political behaviour and ethics, combined with data-driven governance, e-democracy and critical thinking in the digital society. This is reinforced by training in data analytics, research methods and quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques.
Political science is among the highest-ranked specialities of the University of Tartu (see Rankings & Surveys).
A career in government and politics requires three things:
The MA programme in Politics and Governance in the Digital Age delivers these objectives by integrating the study of politics with the rigours of analytical thinking and training in effective communication. In addition, you can complement your studies with a semester abroad as the Institute has numerous exchange opportunities.
Our learning outcomes include:
Your 5 reasons:
The programme deals with questions that have characterised the social and political transformation in Estonia over the last two decades. Estonia is the leader in e-government, internet-based voting and other governance fields. For years, Estonia has been ranked as one of the most dynamic reformers in Europe, while at the same time maintaining a stable democracy and social environment.
The MA programme in Politics and Governance in the Digital Age is based on learning from this success story against the backdrop of global theories and trends in politics. We believe that Estonia is the place to study how digital governance can be implemented in today’s world of globalization and digital transformation.
In academic scoreboards, the University of Tartu ranks among the top 1.2% of universities in the world (see Rankings & Surveys).
The University of Tartu offers advanced study facilities, excellent libraries, well-equipped computer labs and modern residence halls. Interactive and innovative teaching and learning methods are widely used. There is a wide variety of opportunities to study abroad, including Erasmus agreements with a broad range of European partner universities.
Studying in Tartu is both attractive and affordable – it means high-quality education at a low cost in a country that both has traditions and is very modern, is close to nature as well as technologically advanced, is proud of its unique culture and traditions as well as open to the world (Estonia is a member of the EU and NATO and it belongs to the eurozone and the Schengen space).
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The following structure of the programme applies to the current academic year. To view the most updated version, please visit the University of Tartu Study Information System and choose the next academic year (if available).
The MA programme in Politics and Governance in the Digital Age is taught by a young and diverse faculty trained at some of the world’s best universities (Columbia, Cambridge, European University Institute, University of Arizona, Central European University). Our staff encompasses people from nearly a dozen nationalities, offering students a multi-faceted perspective on politics and change.
Research themes include:
Johan Skytte was the initiator of the idea of founding a university in Tartu, and since 1632, the first chancellor of Tartu University. In his inaugural address, he said that besides noblemen and burgesses the peasants, too, should have the right to study at the university. Jakob Skytte, the son of Johan Skytte, was a student of the University of Tartu, and at the same time the first rector of it.
Read more about the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies.
The Politics and Governance in the Digital Age programme provides you with essential skills and knowledge both in comparative political science and governance. Combined with data-driven governance, e-democracy and critical thinking in the digital society, students can explain how digital transformation affects modern political processes and public administration. This opens up many possibilities for applying your skills and knowledge after graduation from this programme.
Political scientists study the structure and theory of government and seek practical and theoretical solutions to political problems. This MA programme prepares students for advisory positions, high-level positions in ministries and governments, or to be employed at the highest levels of administration. Similarly, it enables students to start a career in the private sector, e.g. in consulting, given the expertise in the digital transformation of the public sector.
Former students have been employed at international organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme, the European e-Government Programme in Luxembourg, the European Commission or an embassy in Washington D.C. as a technology attaché. Some have opted for academia and continued in doctoral studies. The master's programme in Politics and Governance in the Digital Age equips students to operate in vast arrays of professional fields.
the score of the admission interview (yields 50% of the final score)
The motivation letter must be submitted with your online application by 15 March at the latest.
The motivation letter (in English, up to 5000 characters with spaces) should address the following points:
Each letter will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
The maximum score for the motivation letter is 100 points and the result is positive only if the applicant gains 51 points or more.
The interview is a follow-up to the motivation letter. It will last about 10-15 minutes and will be held electronically. The invitation with the online link will be sent to the candidate a few days prior. In the interview, the candidate should be ready to discuss their motivation to take up studies in the Politics and Governance in the Digital Age MA programme. The candidate should be able to describe their interests in relation to the study programme and be ready to give a brief overview of their planned MA thesis. We will also inquire about the candidate's preparedness to adjust to (a new) academic and cultural environment.
The maximum score for the interview is 100 points. Each interview will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Motivation and ambition (50%);
- Identification of specific research interests compatible with the substantive content of the programme, ability to formulate a research problem/topic (40%);
- Oral skills and command of the English language (10%).
For each assignment, the maximum score is 100 points and minimum score 51 points to be considered for admission. The total admission score will be the weighted sum of the score of the motivation letter and the interview. The maximum number of final points is 100. Only applications which receive 66 points and above as a combined score from both indicators will qualify for admission.
For further information on assessing candidates´ academic performance and calculating admissions´ score see here.
The following information applies to international students and Estonian students who graduated abroad:
Application system opens on 2 January and closes on 15 March. The following documents must be submitted electronically via DreamApply by 15 March:
Submitted applications can not be edited. It is only possible to upload new documents (e.g. graduation certificates). Applicants will receive feedback and notifications through the DreamApply system to their e-mail. Incomplete applications or those submitted by e-mail will not be considered for admission.
The evaluation of applications will be made based on the electronic copies added to DreamApply. A general ranking list will be formed based on the electronically submitted applications and admission results (including offers) will be announced to all applicants personally via DreamApply by May 15 at the latest. Admitted candidates are expected to accept or decline the offer in DreamApply in 7 days. If the decision is not communicated to UT via DreamApply by the stipulated deadline, UT reserves the right to withdraw the admission offer.
NB! It is not possible to postpone the beginning of studies to the next academic year.
Terms and conditions of the admission offer
Admission offers are conditional. This means that there are conditions in the offer which the applicant needs to fulfil in order to be admitted (e.g. sending application documents by post; obtaining the required level of education). If the conditions are not met, UT has the right to withdraw the offer. Also, UT reserves the right to withdraw or amend any offer or revoke the matriculation of a student, if it becomes evident that the application contains fraudulent information, the qualification does not provide access to the chosen study programme or the student is found to have omitted key information from the application. Should such circumstances occur, UT will not be liable for any material or immaterial loss which the student may suffer as a result.
Once the admission results have been announced, all admitted students are required to send the application documents by post to: Student Admissions, University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18-133, Tartu 50090, ESTONIA.
The documents are expected to be mailed only by those receiving the admission offer (unless instructed otherwise by the admissions staff). The documents must reach the university within 3 weeks from the announcement of the offer. If the application documents do not reach us by the deadline, the university has the right to withdraw the admission offer. Applicants will be informed when their documents have arrived.
Requirements for educational documents
All copies of educational documents (diplomas and Diploma Supplements/transcripts) must be officially certified. By certified we mean that the copies should bear an original signature and seal of the authority certifying that these are true copies of the original document(s). The copies can be certified either 1) by an authorised official of the issuing institution, or 2) by a notary, or 3) with an Apostille attached. NB! Country-specific requirements may also specify the way documents from certain countries must be certified.
Please note that UT does not accept simple copies made on the basis of already certified copies (primary copies are needed).
All admitted students are required to present their original qualification certificates upon arrival (unless these were sent directly from the issuing institution).
Paying the tuition fee (applicable to those receiving a fee-based study place offer)
The official admission letter will be sent to admitted students electronically via DreamApply only after the admissions office has received and reviewed hard copies of the application documents, and received the tuition fee pre-payment (if a pre-payment was required, please see step 3 for more details).
NB! The electronic admission letter is also sufficient for non-EU students for applying for visa/residence permit at an Estonian embassy.
Once the admission letter is issued, accepted students may proceed further with arranging their arrival. All non-EU students should first consult information on the process of visa and temporary residence permit application to be sure, as where and when the relevant documents need to be applied. Note that housing at the UT dormitories can be applied during a limited period of time, unless specified otherwise on the website. For housing alternatives please find further information on Tartu Welcome Centre website.
Travel information can be found here.
Based upon common queries, the most important information has been summarised into a pre-arrival information website UT Getting Started.