Politics and Governance

The BA in Politics and Governance is a contemporary academic programme combining a strong politics and governance core with a variety of choices including international relations, economics and management.

Study level Bachelor's Studies

Duration of study 3 years

Language English

Study form Regular studies

Cost per semester 2156

It is a curriculum aiming to prepare students for the more complex and interrelated world. No country or company is an island these days – they are all affected by political, societal and economic trends, national and international policies, governmental and non-governmental actors. The program equips students with a broad knowledge basis to prepare them for a future not just in the government or party politics, but also as knowledgeable and able actors in international organisations, the third sector or even private sector. 

Take the first step in fulfilling your dreams by studying at Tallinn University's School of Governance, Law and Society!

Ukrainian war refugees beginning their studies in Tallinn University in the Fall of 2022 will be granted a tuition fee waiver for the 2022/2023 academic year.


Who are we looking for?

The programme welcomes students from across the world who are interested in politics, governance and international relations and see their future somehow related to this field. Whether you want to pursue an international career or advance some aspect of life in your hometown, or simply could not tune out from following Donald Trump’s accession to the presidency of the United States, the programme of politics and governance should be both interesting and useful for you. The programme contains many elective courses, so it is a good option for both students who have a strong interest in some particular field of politics and governance, but also suits students who have not yet decided about their specialisation and would like a good general education in social sciences.

Why study with us?
  • The politics and governance BA is a brand new programme launched in 2016, yet is based on the success of its Estonian sister programme which has been one of the most popular programmes with student applicants in Estonia for years.
  • It offers a – roughly half of the programme consists of compulsory courses while the student can choose between different specialisations and free electives in the other half.good ratio of focus and flexibility
  • Good spring board for MA studies – while there is an ample selection of English degree programmes in political science, public management and administration, governance and international relations across Europe, our programme is one of the few English politics and governance BA programmes in continental Europe.
  • Broad career prospects – our Estonian sister programme shows that students have many possible career paths in public service, media industries, political parties and NGO-s as well as in entrepreneurship.
  • Tallinn University has a modern and well equipped campus with all the amenities from a convenient library and 24-hour study rooms to a vegan cafeteria and its own cinema.
  • There are various possibilities to complement your studies with new skills, e.g. by studying languages and cultures (English, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese etc.).
  • There are numerous conferences and public lectures from visiting scholars and practitioners from around the globe taking place at the university.
  • As Tallinn is also Estonia's administrative capital, it is convenient to visit specialised events happening outside the university, network, and find specialised internships.


Course outline

  • The programme offers a substantial amount of elective courses. You can choose at least two of our four specialisations: politics, governance, international relations and economics and management.
  • All courses have a global or international approach so you can focus on a country or region you are most interested in when doing your assignments, but also learn about other countries and regions.
  • You will complete your studies with a bachelor thesis, which will give you the experience of individual research under the guidance of a supervisor. A good bachelor thesis can also serve as a ticket to your desired MA programme.
  • There is no upper limit to the amount of courses you can take – you can study as much as you like.
  • Lectures and seminars take place during weekdays. On average, there is about 15 hours of auditory work per week, but there is also a substantial amount of independent work. 

Study programme

Academic Staff


Leif Kalev is Professor of State and Citizenship Theory and also head of the study area for political, governance and international relations studies. He has worked in the academia since 2002, but also served as Secretary General at the Ministry of the Interior in 2013-2015. In the Politics and Governance programme, he teaches courses like State, Politics and Government, Democratic Statehood, and Parties and Party Systems.

Read a blog post about "Politics and Governance BA: Global Trends in Practice" written by Leif Kalev.


Tõnis Saarts is Associate Professor of Comparative Politics. He has been a visiting professor of the Vienna University (2009 and 2016) and he is also serving as the official representative of The European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) at the Tallinn University. For the Politics and Governance programme, he teaches Research Design, Political Sociology, Political Parties and Party Systems, and Politics and Government in the Baltic States.


Mari-Liis Jakobson is Associate Professor of Political Sociology and also head of the study programme. She earned her PhD degree in 2014 and then acted as post-doctoral researcher at University College London. She has been teaching at Tallinn University since 2009. For the Politics and Governance programme, she teaches Political Sociology, Political Communication, Civic Society, and Qualitative Research Methods.


 Catlyn Kirna is Lecturer in International Relations and one of the most highly regarded teachers among our students. She holds two MA degrees – one in international relations and the other in translation. For the Politics and Governance programme, she teaches Studying at the University and Basics of European Union. European Parlament Conference of Presidents meets with the incoming Estonian Presidency of the Council at Tallinn University", moderated by Caltyn Kirna.


Priit Suve  is Associate Professor of Public Management. He has served as a  police officer more than 26 years in different positions mostly in law enforcement police but also as a CEO of West Prefecture for about ten years. During this full-time work in the police, he earned his Ph.D. degree in 2016. Since 2017 he teaches Basics of Public Management; Management in Public, Private, and Non-Profit Sector. 

What else does our staff do? 

Professor and political scientist Tõnis Saarts gives his comments to Estonian Public Broadcasting about the recent president of Estonia – "Kaljulaid must demonstrate capabilities, learn politician's role".

Admission Requirements

General requirements
Entrance exams:
  • The entrance exam consists of a written assignment and an interview. The maximum number of points is 100 (50% written assignment, 50% interview).
  • Students receiving at least 30 points of the written part are allowed to the interview.
  • Minimum programme enrollment threshold: 65 points out of 100.

Motivation letter (750-850 words) that gives insight into the reasons for applying and answers to the questions concerning the motivation and desire to study at the programme. The motivation letter must also include answers to the following questions:

  • The choice of the study programme: Why Tallinn University? Why this specific programme? What interests you about politics? What kinds of courses and fields are you most interested in and why?
  • Previous experience and studies: What have you done before applying here? Where and what have you studied? What kind of previous work or volunteer experience do you have?
  • Having read the text (see below), what do you agree and disagree with and why? What are the two main points the author made?
  • In what ways is this text relevant to studying politics and governance? If not, elaborate. How did you find reading this text? What were the positives and the challenges? Why did you choose this specific text?

Choose one of these four articles to read:

  1. How COVID-19 became a ‘crisis’

  2. Racial Security: The Unobserved Threat in IR
  3. Introductory essay

  4. Linking Climate and Inequality

These articles do not represent the views of Tallinn University, they were simply chosen for discussion.

NB! Plagiarised motivation letters are not accepted in any form and will be failed!


All applicants must show an identification document (passport or ID card) at the interview. With international applicants, the interview will be carried out via Zoom and for the purposes of identity verification, the admission committee has the right to record the interview.

There are no additional materials that need to be studied to prepare for the interview. The interview questions vary depending on the candidate and the interviewer. The purpose of the interview is to find out the candidate's motivation and willingness to study, knowledge of the chosen programme and the field of study. 

Estonian citizens and holders of a long-term residence permit

If you are an Estonian citizen or a holder of a long-term residence permit, you can find information regarding the admission requirements and the application procedure in Estonian here and in English here.

Post-graduate destinations

A graduate of any BA programme is primarily expected to continue studies to obtain an MA degree. More than 20 years of experience indicates that our graduates are well prepared to enter further studies in European universities and beyond. The Politics and Governance BA programme also provides basic competences to work, especially in NGOs but also in public administration, enterprises and international organisations. This is supported by a more specialised elective module and practical training.

Examples of the currently high ranking politics and governance alumni of Tallinn University include Deputy Secretary General for economic development in the ministry of economic affairs and communications Viljar Lubi, head of the Estonian foreign intelligence service Mikk Marran and head of national financial control department in the ministry of finance Kaur Siruli, but also the head of Elering (one of the largest companies in Estonia) Taavi Veskimägi, deputy chairman of the Estonian Centre Party Jaanus Karilaid and programme director of the TV channel ETV+ Darja Saar.


Why School of Governance, Law and Society?

  • Size means variety – Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society (SOGOLAS) is the largest academic unit in Tallinn University with ca. 1800 students, 26 different study programmes and ca. 100 staff members. This means the students can choose from a large set of subjects from all of the major fields of social sciences.
  • Internationalised staff with high qualifications - the study areas of political science and governance and international relations and future studies include 7 professors and about 25 other permanent academic staff members, from Estonia and abroad. Everyone teaching in the programme has international teaching experience.
  • Opportunities to continue studies with us – the institute also has 1 English MA programme (International Relations), and a PhD programme accessible to English-speaking students.
  • Technologically advanced – all course materials can be accessed online, so you do not have to spend extra on coursebooks and copies.
  • Small study groups – most of our English courses are relatively small, normally hosting around 15-30 students, which allows a more interactive teaching style.
  • Vibrant student life – SOGOLAS has an active student union Civitas, and a vibrant student life around International Relations Society organised by the students themselves. Additionally, you can join the international club of the university.

Tallinn University has a modern urban campus located in the center of the city. The airport, train and bus stations are just a few minutes away by public transport. The beautiful view of the harbour is a constant reminder that students studying at Tallinn University are in the center of a major European hub. Our students have access to physical and online libraries, computer labs, cafeterias and cafes. Further, the university has all the facilities necessary for a productive learning environment and ample opportunities for leisure, sports, and social activities, all leading to an exciting and well-balanced student life. Take a walk around our campus via the virtual tour!

Our Politics and Governance program is taught entirely in the English language. Our student body is international, with students from many countries in Europe, as well as students from Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Day-to-day student life is always international at Tallinn University, as our program is closely connected with other English language programs and among your classmates, you will frequently find Erasmus students who have come to visit.


Contact us

  • Specific questions regarding the programme should be directed to the School of Governance, Law and Society: Marianne Mitt


  • For additional guidelines regarding admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist:

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