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Versatile - with the Integrative Social Sciences degree program

Photo: RPTU/Koziel

Her degree course is a mixture of political science, sociology, economics, philosophy and psychology, reports Hanna-Lea Hackländer. The career prospects are correspondingly diverse - and practical experience is not neglected during her studies either: she completed an internship in the Bundestag - and was able to learn about foreign policy and nuclear disarmament as part of an excursion to Vienna. 

“I'm studying integrative social sciences. When my friends first heard about it, they thought I was studying social work with a focus on integration. But that's not the case at all,” laughs Hanna-Lea Hackländer, who originally comes from the Southern Palatinate - and came to Kaiserslautern to study about four years ago. Why did she choose this subject of all things? “After leaving school, I knew that I wanted to go into political science. At first I thought about becoming a teacher. But then I found out that there was a course in integrative social sciences.” She was immediately attracted by the diversity it offered. Because, as the term “integrative” in the name suggests, the course combines several disciplines into one big whole: “The mix that this course has to offer is much more than what is commonly thought of as social sciences. It is a combination of political science, sociology, economics, philosophy and psychology.” Students attend various courses in all of these areas. “You won't find this in this form at any other university in Germany.”

Bachelor's thesis on extremism research

Hanna-Lea Hackländer is now in her ninth semester. Her upcoming Bachelor's thesis will be about extremism in Germany: “I'm still researching it at the moment. The exact research question for my Bachelor's thesis has not yet been decided.” What options does your degree program offer? “You can choose between specializing in politics or sociology in your Bachelor's degree.” With the new examination regulations, a third focus will be added, adult education. A technical focus is also possible in the Master's degree. Hanna-Lea Hackländer decided to focus on political science. “I took social studies as an advanced course at school. Among other things, it was about political theories. I wanted to delve deeper into all of that.” She is also interested in foreign policy and security policy.

Practical experience in the Bundestag

She is also expanding her knowledge as a student assistant in the Department of Political Science: she has already helped to prepare courses and has even given tutorials: “In a tutorial, I worked with first-semester students to consolidate their introductory lecture.” Another course she organized was about academic work: “Here, for example, we explained what is important when writing an academic paper.”

Hanna-Lea Hackländer explains that she even lived in Berlin for some of her studies. This is because her degree course includes a three-month compulsory internship. She was able to put her theoretical knowledge into practice in the office of a member of the Bundestag. “Among other things, I did research for the work in the committees. Many people don't know that the actual work in the Bundestag takes place in various committees and not just in the plenary chamber.” She was also able to take part in speeches and contribute her own ideas. “It was all incredibly interesting.”

On site in Vienna: focusing on nuclear disarmament and foreign policy

The fact that “thinking outside the box” is the motto of her degree course is underlined by a week-long excursion to Vienna, which she undertook together with fellow students. The whole thing was organized by her department together with the German Armed Forces. One of the topics covered was nuclear disarmament: “We attended a seminar where we learned a lot about Austrian politics. We visited the Austrian Armed Forces, the German embassy and institutes in Vienna.” International politics is very complex and multi-layered, an insight that she was able to deepen. “And how international relations can change, for example due to the war in Ukraine.”

Political organizations, parliaments and research: there are many career prospects

What do you do with a degree in Integrative Social Sciences? “Some people think you can only become a cab driver afterwards. But of course that's not the case,” smiles Hanna-Lea Hackländer. “There are many professions. I wasn't even aware of that at the beginning.” After a Master's degree, for example, you could stay at university and do a doctorate. You could then pursue an academic career as a lecturer or even a professor. But journalism is also a possible career path. You can also work as a research assistant for members of the Bundestag or in a state parliament. Political organizations are also a potential employer - as are foundations. “We also offer courses in personnel and organizational development on our degree course.” This also opens up career prospects: In the field of management consultancy, for example.

High willingness to read required

And what should prospective or first-year students know in advance? “You need to be very willing to read. You read a lot of scientific articles throughout your studies.” It is also important: “You should be aware that mathematical knowledge is also required. Some people decide to study social sciences because they don't want to do maths. But that's a mistake. We deal with statistics and data collection during our studies. That's not a focus. But it's just part of it.” And you shouldn't shy away from group work and giving presentations either. Hanna-Lea Hackländer is very happy with her choice of degree course. She doesn't yet know exactly where she will end up: “Maybe in the direction of teaching or consulting, we'll see.” The opportunities are extremely varied - as they were during her studies.

Photo: RPTU/Koziel