Current courses

Winter semester 2023/24

Intelligence Agencies and International Relations

This seminar is aimed at students of the master's programmes of the Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences. The language of instruction is English.

You can find more information about the course on the Moodle learning platform. Please enrol there using the university-wide enrolment key.


Sessions: 19.10.2023 - 1.2.2024 Thursdays, 8-10 a.m., LG 1/332.

Oral examinations: 8.2.2024


This seminar considers intelligence agencies as a part of world politics. From this perspective, we will look at the historical origins of modern intelligence agencies and study a number of different examples. Students will be introduced to intelligence studies as an academic field, including different theoretical and methodological debates. The question of how intelligence agencies are controlled and governed, how they function internally and as part of a governmental system, will be addressed. Consideration will be given to the role of domestic political monitoring within both democratic and authoritarian states. In short, this seminar addresses and queries the role and function of intelligence agencies in relation to modern statehood and modern international relations.

Introduction to the Social Sciences (lecture series)

Advice and Guidance for IR students

Professor Sophia Hoffmann is the advisor for the BA International Relations. Answers to the most frequently asked questions can be found on theFAQ website. Please direct any additional, subject-specific questions about the BA courses offered in law to Katharina Kassar by e-mail.
Questions about your individual study planning and assignments should first be discussed with your mentor. General questions about your studies that do not specifically concern International Relations should be directed to the general student advice and counselling service.

Supervisor of BA and MA theses

BA theses in International Relations are distributed via a central allocation procedure. Information on the procedure can be found here. Due to the large number of BA theses within the IB, unfortunately no theses from other subjects or outside the allocation procedure can be accepted. If you know in advance that you would like to write your BA thesis with Professor Hoffmann, you can provide this information in the allocation procedure.

Scope and structure of supervision with Professor Hoffmann

At the beginning of the semester, all students supervised by Professor Hoffmann are invited to a joint meeting. Please bring your exposé (or similar) to this meeting. This is followed by several more joint sessions, depending on the number of students, in which the BA projects are discussed in an informal colloquium.

Date Sessions: Thursday, 10-12 h, LG 1 conference room.

Depending on need, each student can attend a one-time personal counselling appointment.

In the fourth or fifth week of the semester, the formal issue of topics (see form ) takes place so that the time frame specified in the examination regulations can be adhered to. The deadline for handing in the BA thesis is the last week of the semester; exceptions are only granted with a doctor's certificate. BA theses are submitted via Wiseflow.

If you are aware of any personal circumstances that may require an extended deadline (nursing, illness), please discuss these with Professor Hoffmann at the beginning of the semester.

For an enquiry regarding the supervision of an MA thesis , please send an email to Katharina Kassar.

Scientific work and successful studying

Learning to write effectively

Learning to read effectively

Writing seminar papers and BA theses

How to write seminar papers and BA theses

Here you will also find some general advice on how I mark papers. I don't fill in the evaluation sheet every time I give a mark, but use it as a general reminder to consider all the individual criteria:

1. evaluation critera

2. assessment sheet for written work

Examples: Seminar papers

Examples: BA Work

Office hours

During the semester, my weekly office hours take place on Wednesdays between 16:00-17:00. To coordinate, please make an appointment with Ms Kassar. You can also try it spontaneously, I am usually in the office at that time.

My weekly office hours during the semester 2023 are Wednesday, 4-5pm. For better coordination, please arrange an appointment with Ms. Kassar.

Past courses

Introduction to International Relations

Intelligence Agencies and International Relations

Archival Research as a Method for Political Science

Refuge and Migration in West Asia

Course Content

The modern Middle East has not just been shaped by but has indeed emerged from human mobility in all its forms: nomadism, labour migration, violent displacement through war and conflict, and due to environmental change. Throughout the 20th and 21st century, Middle Eastern societies have integrated, both temporarily and permanently, migrant communities from neighbouring countries and from further afield. Migration continues to play a huge role in Middle Eastern politics today, both domestically and as part of the region's international relations. This course offers a critical and compassionate introduction to the personal and political dramas - for if migration is always political, it is also always emotional in some form - in which human mobility expresses itself in the region and beyond.

Proceeding from different case studies focused on the Middle East, we will study the political and economic frameworks that shape human mobility today, both in the region and globally. We will look at the role of international refugee law and compare it with national frameworks for handling migrant communities. A critical discussion of nationalism as a basis of modern politics will improve our understanding of why and how border controls are becoming increasingly violent in the Middle East and Europe. We will look at both the oppression and the liberation that migration may result in and study the complex reasons that motivate people to move. Students who take this course will gain a good understanding of the key political, economic, humanitarian and academic debates surrounding migration in the Middle East today. The course is based on a wide variety of texts. Aside from academic analyses, we will learn from NGO reports, memoirs, fiction, newspaper clippings and films.

Introduction to the Social Sciences (Joint Lecture)

Supervisor of bachelor's thesis

Scope and structure of supervision