Master programme

M.A. International Sport Development and Politics

The M.A. International Sport Development and Politics aims at a comprehensive understanding of structures, actors and conflicts in sport and physical activity. It offers an international focus on sport, including transnational and comparative dimensions. In order to obtain a profound knowledge and understanding of sport in its political, social, cultural and economic framework, the Master programme combines sport sciences with humanities, social sciences and economics. The programme is highly research oriented and fosters problem-solving capacities as well as methods for understanding and analysing sport.

M.A. International Sport Development and Politics at a glance...

Target Group

Target Group

The programme aims primarily at graduates of sports, social sciences and humanities who have a strong interest in the political, cultural, economic and social aspects of sport. However, due to the interdisciplinary nature of the master programme, it is in principle open to applicants from other disciplines. There are 30 places allocated per year.  



The Master Programme enables the graduates to link interdisciplinary content from politics, history, sociology, economics, law and sports. 

The learning outcomes of the M.A. International Sport Development and Politics are reflected in the five categories: academic orientation, career orientation, international outlook, diversity and key competences.

  • Advanced research skills: The course aims at teaching a wide range of approaches of different disciplines. Concepts of social sciences, economics and humanities are taught as an essential basis for further studies in the field of sport science. Based on the three dimensions polity (form), politics (process) and policy (content), the Master’s course conveys theory-based systematic and analytic approaches to political and social realities of sports, qualitative and quantitative methods of empirical social research and hermeneutic processes. During the first two semesters the acquisition of general knowledge in various (inter-)disciplinary approaches to sport development takes centre stage. The third and fourth semester target a specialisation of the acquired skills as well as their testing and application in current research and the professional world. The final goal is to make students able to integrate their newly acquired skills and perspectives to solve real-world problems both in the field and in academics.
  • Independent knowledge acquisition and critical thinking: It is intended that students will be able to critically assess and reflect on current issues pertaining to sport development and politics. The utilization of different theoretical and methodological approaches takes centre stage to this target in order to inform well-founded arguments. A research-based approach to teaching and learning confronts students with the complexities of sport as a social and political phenomenon. The problemsolving capacities of students are fostered by numerous guest lectures held by academics and practitioners. Students’ inputs, debates and discussions are essential to achieve the aspired qualification target. The relevance of the Master’s thesis, accounting for the workload of one full semester, underlines the emphasis placed on this outcome.
  • Professionalism and vocational orientation: Research and practical seminars are a core feature of the programme aiming to enable students to apply the theoretical background in national and international projects. Learning outcomes include the ability to become familiar with current developments in the sport sector quickly and to contribute to the theoretical and practical development of the area. The international course enables students to act competently in international projects and professions. Thus, graduates will have the opportunity to work in ambitious positions in sports clubs, associations, NGOs and in management as well as in the sports science area at universities or other research facilities. Students are encouraged to undertake internships over the course of the programme to apply their acquired skills in real life scenarios and to build networks for a successful transition into the job market. Frequent guest lectures and presentations by practitioners enrich the vocational orientation of the degree programme. The Master’s programme is also a great basis for doctoral studies.
  • Internationalisation and intercultural learning: With a European and international approach, the Master’s programme is able to show the complex system of structures in sport that has developed in the last few decades. The programme conveys essential knowledge about sport systems, structures and development with examples from different countries across the globe. Learning outcomes in this context include achieving an understanding of the supranational European multi-level system as well as specific conditions for sport in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Special attention will be paid to transnational cooperation in sport. Furthermore, there will be exchanges and cooperation with international universities. Based on the diverse composition of students’ groups, the programme aims to foster intercultural learning through curricular and extra-curricular activities. Students’ inputs and a participatory approach to teaching mark a critical and important feature to achieve such outcomes.
  • Diversity competence: Based on the German Sport University’s guiding principle of diversity, the productive integration of diversity will be another learning outcome of the Master’s programme. Diversity is to be understood from three perspectives. First, special attention is paid to a mix of German and international students in the course. Second, a wide range of subjects in the area of social sciences is taught. Third, to a great extent contents of the course will be dedicated to issues like gender, age, religion, sexual orientation and disabilities with regard to sport. Standards of humanities and social sciences will be applied through a critical and reflective approach that will be practiced in every lecture.
Career Perspectives

Career Perspectives

The demand for skilled professionals who have the ability to think in an interdisciplinary manner will continue to increase thanks the international growth of numerous associations and sports, as well as the increasing importance of development with and through sport. The Master 's programme International Sport Development and Politics (M.A. DEV) meets the requirements of the labour market and prepares students the professional world. In particular, the linking of methodical knowledge and social science aspects with economic issues and sport makes graduates open to a relatively wide field of work.  

Graduates of the M.A. International Sport Development and Politics are well-equipped for leading positions in:

  • national and international sport clubs and organisations
  • governments and administrations
  • NGOs
  • social agencies and commercial enterprises

Graduates are also qualified for further academic research pursuing a doctoral degree.

For insights into the careers of graduates, please also refer to the section "testimonies"



The Master Programme International Sport Development and Politics is based at the Institute of European Sport Development and Leisure Studies and the Institute of Sports History. The organisation of the curriculum is done in close cooperation with the Institute of Sport Economics and Sport Management. The Institute of Sociology of Sport and the Institute for Sports Law are also involved in teaching.

Study Design and Methods

Study Design and Methods

Broken down into 13 modules, the curriculum features basic, advanced and specialized courses that enable a progressive learning process. Module 1 is primarily aimed at acquiring a general expertise in the field. Since the students have different qualifications and study backgrounds from their Bachelor’s degree programmes, Module 1 primarily aims to bring everyone to the same knowledge level.

Module 2 presents methodological skills and thus marks an intersection between disciplinary background and expertise on content.

With strong integration of the humanities and social sciences approaches with elements from the fields of sport management and sport economy, the degree programme supports both broad and specialized academic development. Modules 3 and 4 focus on national and European perspectives on sports and on Olympic policy, both of which are key topics in international sports development. The teaching of core knowledge is deepened in the second half of the programme. Module 5 focuses on sociological and legal aspects as well as on sport business. Module 6 delves into sport economics. Module 7 challenges students to develop and conduct an individual research project.

The third semester then bundles the previously acquired qualifications in light of the methodological skills and specific knowledge. Modules 8 to 11 are focus on sport for development, sport policy and sport systems and focus on both current research questions and professional examples. Individual profiles can be developed through elective classes. Module 12 provides the opportunity for students to deepen their professional and academic practice through selecting specific career-related classes.

Finally, in the fourth semester, students conduct their own research in the form of a Master’s Thesis, which represents Module 13.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

Based upon the general admission regulations for all master programmes there are the following admission requirements for the MA International Sport Development and Politics:

  • Completed degree (no less than six semesters) in a related field of study (for instance B.A. in Sport Management and Sport Communication at the German Sport University or business degrees)
  • Proof of ability (above-average final grade of either 2.5 or higher in the German system or B according to ECTS)
  • Personal qualification (proven by Curriculum Vitae (CV) and letter of motivation) and professional qualification.

Lectures and courses will be held in English. Therefore all students must have sufficient certified English language proficiency. The test scores (TOEFL or IELTS) are required; there are exceptions e.g. for native speakers, graduates holding a Bachelor of an English degree programme obtained at an university within the European Union or in a country where the official language is English.

For the Master's Degree courses "Sports Management", "Human Technology in Sports and Medicine", "International Sports Development and Politics" and "Psychology in Sports and Exercise" special knowledge of English must also be provided by one of the following language test certificates: TOEFL iBT (≥ 95 points), IELTS (≥ 7 points) or Cambridge Certificate (CAE) at C1 level in accordance with the European Reference Framework for Languages (GER). 

German language proficiency is not compulsory for a successful application, however we strongly recommend all students to have some basic knowledge of the German language.

Furthermore students in the M.A. International Sport Development and Politics should show the following skills and interests:

The admission requirements include the completion of a relevant Bachelor's degree with at least 180 credit points according to European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The programme should predominantly focus on (at least 90 credits) either sports science, social sciences, humanities, culture or economics. In terms of methodology and field of study, the majors of the Bachelor programme should reveal foundations of empirical social research and hermeneutics (at least > 10 CP), as well as historical or current political or sport related contents (at least must include > 25 CP).

⇒   You can check the eligibility of your Bachelor degree by completing the following form. During the application process, please complete the form to indicate the eligibility of your degree. The document is not mandatory; however the admission committee urges every applicant to complete this form and indicate in which areas eligibility of the Bachelor degree shall be granted. 

Furthermore, good knowledge of English (C1 level in the Common European Framework) is required.

⇒  Contrary to all other degree courses, the sport qualification test is not compulsory for the admission to any master programme at the German Sport University.

Master Thesis

Master Thesis

It is envisaged that the thesis has a high degree of innovation and takes into account both research requirements as well as job-related objectives.

Further information on Master Theses can be found here.

Teaching Staff

Teaching Staff

Dr. Sören Dallmeyer (M.Sc.)
Sören Dallmeyer is a member of the Institute of Sport Economics and Sport Management and a member of the project “Return on Investment in physical education, physical activity and sport”.
One of his publications was Hallmann, K., Breuer, C. & Dallmeyer, S. (2015): Germany. Running participation, motivation and images, in: Running across Europe. The Rise and Size of One of the Largest Sport Markets. Scheerder, J. & Breedveld, K. (editor), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 121-139.

Dr. Kirstin Hallmann
As a doctor of sports sciences Dr. Kirstin Hallmann concentrates her research on the areas of quantitative social research, socioeconomics, event management and marketing. She is an editor at the Journal of Sport Management and the Tourism Review.
Her own publications were among others: Hallmann, K. & Zehrer, A. (2016): How do perceived benefits and costs predict volunteers’ satisfaction?, in: Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. 27, 2, pp. 746-767.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. Ilse Hartmann-Tews
After getting her PhD at the University of Cologne she habilitated at the German Sports University in 1995. Since then she worked as a professor for gender studies, later as a professor for (sport-) sociology and since 2014 she is also head of the Institute of Sociology and Gender Studies at the German Sports University. In that context her research focuses on the social construction of gender and gender - ratios in different social contexts, on somatic cultures and on intersectional inequality research

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mittag
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mittag studied Historical Science, Political Science and German literature at the universities of Cologne, Oxford and Bonn. In 2011 he was appointed professor for sports politics along with Head of the Institute of European Sport Development and Leisure Studies at the German Sport University Cologne. Additionaly his chair was selected as Jean Monnet chair in 2011  .
He dedicates his research to the areas of sport policy and sport history, comparative studies on sports systems, European integration and international politics, tourism and leisure, methods and theories.

Dr. Ansgar Molzberger
Dr. Ansgar Molzberger is part of the Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) and Institute of Sport History.
His latest publications are Molzberger, A. (2016): Mehr als nur ein Sportereignis - die frühe Geschichte der Olympischen Spiele: Basiswissen Olympische Spiele . Frankfurt am Main: Deutsche Olympische Akademie, p. 14-20.
Molzberger, A. (2016):The Swedish Sports Hero as media construction: Rezension: John S. Hellström, Den svenska sporthjälten: Kontinuitet och förändring i medieberättelsen om den svenska sporthjälten från 1920-talet till idag. Malmö: Bokförlaget, in:

Dr. Karen Petry
Karen Petry (PhD) is Deputy Head of the Institute of European Sport Development and Leisure Studies at the German Sport University. She is responsible for the research activities in sport development and leisure studies, European Sport Policy, Sport and Development, Social work and Sport. She has extensive knowledge in the field of Sport and Development, Sport and Gender, Sport Policy and sport participation, as well as a long-standing experience in Monitoring and Evaluation of national and international projects in the area of Sport for Development. Since 2002 Karen is board member (President Elect) of the European Network of Sport Education (ENSE). In 2011 she received the Alberto-Madella-Award for her outstanding engagement in the area of Sport Education. She is also Lecturer at the State University of Rome “Foro Italico”. Karen published several books and articles in the area of Sport for Development, European Sport Policy, Sport structures and systems as well as Sport and Gender.

Dr. Till Müller-Schoell
Dr. Till Müller-Schoell is a research associate at the Institute of European Sport Development and Leisure Studies. His research interests and publications give attention to political-science-approaches to the politics of sports; interestgroups, interest-intermediation and governance; labour market and social policy and comparative political economy.
His latest publication was Petry, K. & Müller-Schoell, T. (2015): Children Rights and Mega Sporting Events in 2014. Media Monitoring within the framework of Children Win, Cologne: Institute of European Sport Development and Leisure Studies.

Dr. Stefan Walzel
Dr. Stefan Walzel studied Sport Science at the German University Cologne, majoring in Sport Economics and Sport Management and at Victoria University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. He completed his doctoral studies at the German Sport University in 2010. He has been teaching sports marketing, international sports management, and sports business for more than 10 years. His research interests include sports sponsorship and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in and through sport. He was awarded a research grant by the UEFA, and researched the effects of CSR activities of football federations. In a voluntary capacity, Stefan works as Secretary General for the European Association for Sport Management (EASM).

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stephan Wassong
Prof. Dr. Stephan Wassong (1969) is a sports historian focused on Olympic history and sports educational theory. Since October 2011 he is the head of the Institute of Sport History as well as the head of the Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) at the German Sports University. Moreover he is a member of the Olympic Educational Commission, a member of the German Olympic Sports Confederation and coordinator of the 2nd International Colloquium of the Olympic Studies Centres.
His latest publications include Wassong S./Chappelet J.-L. (2016):  Pierre de Coubertin and the Future: CIPC-Symposium Lausanne 24th-25th January 2014, Kassel: Agon Sportverlag;
Wassong S./Bertling C. (2016): Striving for Athletic Excellence: A Core Value and Challenge for the Profile of the Ancient and Modern Olympic Games, in: International Journal of the History of Sport, pp. 434-450.


Guest lecturers

Prof. Dr. Paul Downward (Loughborough University, UK) Profile
Prof. Dr Richard Parrish (Edge Hill University, UK) Profile
Dr. Karolin Heckemeyer (FHNW, Switzerland) Profile



What is the deadline for applications for the master's degree programme?
For Germans and EU-citizens - 15th of July
For Non-EU citizens - 31st of May

Please note that the the proof of language skill can be handed in until August 31st. In such case, send the certificate via e-mail at

Please also see the website of the student secretariat.


Which documents must be submitted to the application?
A certificate of completed undergraduate studies [or proof from the University and the Transcript of Records], CV and motivation letter are required. Trainer certificates, internship certificates, references and information on relevant activities are also welcome, if applicable. For the precise details, please refer to Section 4 of the Approval Procedure.

What subjects are required?
Primarily sport and social science courses. Due to the interdisciplinary orientation, other disciplines are possible as long as the first degree was completed with a grade point average of at least 2.5.

Is a sports aptitude test necessary?
No. For the M.A. International Sport Development and Politics, no sport aptitude test is required.

What costs are involved with the study?
The fixed costs per semester are restricted to the semester social fee. A trip to Brussels will add costs of approximately 100 €.

How high is the probability for an admission to study?
There are only 30 places available per year. Anyone who meets the general admission requirements and completely submits the application documents has overcome the first hurdle. A well-formulated letter of motivation, the representation of personal professional perspectives and experience in the relevant area increase the probability of success. Prior to the conclusion of the respective application phase, however, statements cannot be made about the chances of admission.