Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS)


CIS Zurich

The Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS Zurich) was founded in 1997 under the leadership of Prof. Kurt Spillmann as a way of bringing together political science scholars from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the University of Zurich. Today, the Center includes a dozen faculty members and about 150 PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and other scientific and administrative staff from the ETH Zurich’s Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the University of Zurich’s Department of Political Science. CIS Zurich has two campuses, one in the heart of Zurich and one in Zurich Oerlikon.

Research at CIS Zurich

In an era of rapid global transformations and ever denser multilateral networks, national and international politics are becoming more and more intertwined. At CIS Zurich, we therefore seek to integrate the study of national political systems and the study of international politics, focusing on the complex interconnections between domestic, international and transnational political processes, structures, and institutions.

In doing so, our research concentrates on a variety of topics, including:

  • Democracy, Democratization and Public Governance
  • Conflict Research and Security Studies
  • International Political Economy
  • International Development Cooperation
  • Policy Analysis
  • Swiss Politics
  • European Politics
  • Social Science Research Methods

Our methodological approaches range from formal theory, qualitative case studies and field and experimental research to econometric methods and computational modeling.

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This school also offers:


Master of Arts in Comparative and International Studies

Campus Full time 3 - 4 semesters September 2018 Switzerland Zurich

The MACIS is a research-oriented graduate program in political science, offered by the Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS), one of the leading political [+]

The MACIS is a research-oriented graduate program in political science, offered by the Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS), one of the leading political science research centers in Europe. The CIS is a joint institution of ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. The 2013 Leiden Ranking placed ETH Zurich at the very top in the social sciences and humanities in Europe. The MACIS is a 90-ECTS program and takes 3-4 semesters to complete. The curriculum concentrates on questions of democracy, political violence, political economy, and sustainable development. All courses are taught in English by a team of internationally renowned professors. With small class sizes of no more than 15-20, MACIS students benefit from close student-faculty interaction, and an intellectually stimulating environment. Admission is on a competitive basis. With its strong emphasis on theory, methods, and research, the program serves as an excellent preparation for subsequent research leading to a PhD degree, or research-oriented employment in the private or public sector. Around half of our students enter a PhD program at the CIS or elsewhere upon graduation from the program. Others pursue careers in the private sector, government, or international and civil society organizations. MACIS offers financial support for around ten students per cohort through research and teaching assistant positions, as well as an excellence scholarship provided by ETH Zurich. Tuition fees are very low by international comparison. Those students pursuing PhD research following their MACIS studies are fully funded by one of the research groups at the CIS.... [-]