What are the aspirations and objectives of the PPE – Master in Social TransFormation?

The PPE – Master in Social TransFormation is situated in, and responds to, calls of our current time and for a more sustainable future to come.

Our present economic and socio-political situation and its complex globalized context, is characterized by a multiple crisis, unethical practices and unsustainable developments. Understanding and dealing with these realities require a more integral approach and holistic perspectives.

On the academic and public policy fronts, this is due to the fact that conventional theoretical and empirical approaches are fragmented, oftenmerely focusing on one specialized discipline, which is inadequate. Isolated perspectives are insufficient for a much needed comprehensive and inter- and transdisciplinary understanding of the pressing political, social and cultural as well as ecological/economic challenges we face.

Furthermore, with the emergence of new forms of populism, nationalism, and the rising tide of authoritarianism, and fundamentalism, democratic institutions are weakened and civic liberties restricted. Accordingly, there is a growing need for thinking and acting in terms of a post-national and intercultural orientation, especially concerning meaningful policy-making and collective-decision-making.

Based on these developments and needs, the overarching objective of this master program is to qualify students to become adept andresponsible that is ethically reflective leaders (or being part of team-leadership or distributed leadership practices), who can analyse critically and deal with uncertain, conflictual or ambiguous situations and problems in our complexified world. Studying the master program “Leadership --- Politics, Philosophy and Economics” enables one to critically analyze, understand and reflect in a holistic way.

This study course starts in March (spring semester) and in September (fall semester).

Content of the L-PPE Program

What will be emphasised, throughout the study, is the exercise of critical reasoning as well as developing the capability of judgement. Connected to this astute reflexivity on societal, political and economic or organizational questions, issues and problems, will be the learning of more practical skills. These skills serve communicating and implementing ideas, decisions, and policies as well as assessing their efficacy. Thus, the emphasis is laid on a theoretically rigorous and critical investigation, together with a practical orientation, both related to real world challenges of our time and for a future to come.

Following the self-understanding of Karlshochschule as a place of higher education the overarching goal is bringing out an educated, emotional and socially intelligent person,who contributes responsibly to the transformation of civic society and economy.

Studying Leadership --- Politics, Philosophy, and Economics is not only about acquiring a diverse set of knowledge, but much more about the ability to change perspectives and to study in a cross-disciplinary fashion in order to understand interdependencies and interconnected dimensions in real world, applicable way.  

As part of an integral education with this study program at Karls University as an “university of the future”, it provides a transformative civic education or “Bildung”.This education aims at contributing to a rethinking, reimaging and redoing as well as reintegrating of the political, economic and philosophical realms whilst being practically informed. Moreover, these re-orientations are also about redesigningalternative ways of living, recreating a world beyond capitalism as we know it, serving as a pathway for legitimized reform of the political and economic life-worlds.

Overall the study program aspires to mediate a transformation towards SustainableDevelopment for a more just, wiser world to come on various levels and in a plurality of enriching ways.

The Structure

The disciplines of Philosophy, Politics and Economy are studied in an inter- and transdisciplinary form. Inter-disciplinary here means between the disciplines and transdisciplinarily means moving beyond academic disciplines, relating to non-scientific spheres, especially of life-worldly practice.

Furthermore, all areas of Philosophy, Politics and Economy are systematically linked to leadership and organisation studies and practices.

Building on each other, the contents of the semesters are all interwoven, following a holistic structure – each module addresses different levels and is a “holon”, that is part of a whole – which allows oneself to take multiple perspectives.

The differentiating, integral design of the study program, gives each discipline an independent place, whilst seamlessly tying them together.

Leadership - Politics, Philosophy & Economics (M.A.): The Modules

The main (mandatory) modules are like a backbone, which are complemented by what we call holistic specialisations that are elective modules partly in connection with the Management study program, like Sustainability, Creativity or Diversity.


The design is organised for and will be enlivened by those, who care about shaping the world we live in and becoming a game changer! Accordingly, the program serves both to develop the capacity to think beyond current confines and to engage – in a theoretically informed and philosophically reflective way – with developments in the real political and economic life-worlds. That is, studying here is both being a visionary for a possible world, and also working within the parameters of the possible.


Study year 1  

Specialization I


Specialization II


Introduction Philosophy of Action


Introduction Political Action & Agency


Introduction Behavioural Economics


Rhetorics and Stylistics


Specialization I


Specialization II


Relational Practices and Political Philosophy of Resonance, Resistance & Responsibility


Political Practices, Social Movement & Civic Engagement


Alternative Organisational & Socio-Economic Practices


Power & Conflict


Study year 2  

Specialization I


Specialization II


Integral, Practical Wisdom & Global Justice


Integral Political Institutions & Global Governance


Integral Pluralist, Global Economics


Creativity, Improvisation & Play


Research Colloquium


Master Thesis incl. its Defense


Personal Renewal


Master Leadership: The Specializations

In our opinion the question of selecting your Areas of Specialization is mostly a matter of gut-feeling. It comes down to what you are interested in as a person. What feels right? What are you good at? What do you want to know more about? 

But let's give you a helping hand. Here is some inspiration of the most popular combinations our Master Leadership PPE students have gone for and what kind of job directions you might be looking at with them:

Students about the Karls

100+ partner universities, international groups of students, lecturers and staff, as well as the variety of language courses make experiencing interculturality a natural part of everyday life at Karls.

Intercultural, Every Day!

We are a gathering point for highly motivated and open-minded individuals with the passion and desire to innovate and co-create sustainable change.

Co-Creation Space

A degree is nothing if you cannot live up to it. In our programs, we provide the ground to transform, embrace and share experiences in a creative but critical way, and thereby develop personally.

Personal Growth

Our network in economy, art, culture, politics, science and society does not only exist on paper. It develops every day through a lively exchange with our partners.

Lifelong Network

The manifold participation in joint projects with real practical relevance gives a foretaste what it is like to perform on the world stage and opens up opportunities to make new contacts for future professional projects.

Best (is) Practice

Karls people have a strong, intimate bond and close relationships. Students, professors, staff and alumni relate to, engage with and appreciate each other. Here, in Karlsruhe and all over the world.

Academic Home & more

Located right in the center of Karlsruhe, a young, vibrant, multi-cultural student city in southern Germany, we are at the pulse of Europe: cultural and economic diversity, urban lifestyle and pure nature.

Heart of Europe

We engage in new perspectives on management & society. Our interdisciplinary programs empower to tread new paths.

ReThinking Management & Society

All our programs have been accredited by FIBAA with highest praise and received 8 premium seals. That places us among Germany's top management universities.

In the Lead

Our students learn to think critically about today's realities, seek responsibility and find disruptive solutions to complex problems.

Change Makers & Care Takers

Answers to the big questions

Who is this study program for? 

We are looking for students, who are interested in continuing and deepening their expertise and engagement in the fields of political economy, democratic processes, societal and economic transformation, European and post-national integration and global socio-economic-cultural dynamics.

In terms of qualification requirements, for enrolling into thisconsecutive master program you would need a bachelor degree in philosophy, political sciences, sociology, economics or a closely related field from social sciences or humanities.

As all modules are international and taught in English, an excellent command of spoken and written English is necessary.

Information about all necessary application documents can be found here.

Other expectations would be: an open-mindedness, curiosity, motivation, commitment, and an interest in working with other students with diverse ethnic backgrounds. You should be ready for learning in small groups, as well as expressing ideas and findings in class and public presentations.

Thus, this program invites students, who have a love for learning in experiential and experimental ways and who are intrigued by possibilities for further co-developing this very study program.

It is for those personalities, who have ingenuity, imagination, and an interest in cultivating a discerning judgment, while being keen to educate themselves in critical thinking.

At the same time, it welcomes adults seeking to improve their emotional, social and practical intelligence, while being able to take perspectives and contribute to the well-being of others and futures to come.

What would be important is a certain readiness for an exposure to otherness and methodical cultivation of a degree of estrangement from one's own culture and history ... as this qualifies as essential to a political and sociological cosmopolitanism, thus a cosmopolitan commitment that is integrating otherness. The Karls is the perfect place to experience a cosmopolitan society in action.

Overall, this study program is for all those, who have a curiosity, open-mindedness and an engaged interest in our world and its further development towards a more sustainable, just and flourishing future to come.

How is the study program organized practically in terms of teaching, learning and didactics? 

Karls has a unique approach towards learning, didactics and education!The learning here takes place in a very diverse international and inter-cultural context. Basically, there is not the standard, spoon-feeding lecture, but more seminars with a participatory teaching approach. This is characterised by a strong emphasis on critical reflection and intensive social inter-action in small classes.

Various trainings offer possibilities for developing one’s theoretical skills alongside one’s practical policy oriented and diplomatic practices.

Much of the learning is realised in the form of co-inquiry as well as other ways of peer learning, including debates. Experimental and experiential forms of teaching/learning are combined with propositional more cognitive learning and workshops on academic research and writing.

Furthermore, there are many opportunities for innovative and creative projects-ideas due to a highly inspiring learning atmosphere. What is unique is the combination of theoretical and applied knowledge-transfer.

At the Karls, we do not spoon-feed you with mere factual knowledge or a 'universal truth', instead, our students learn to think critically about today‘s realities, seek responsibility and find disruptive creative responses and solutions to complex issues and problems.

Our students are chosen because they want to co-create sustainable change, they are shifters and shapers thus change agents, who are willing to assume responsibility. They believe leadership is an opportunity to serve others and society, and leading themselves, others and institutions towards a more just and sustainable world.

Correspondingly to this understanding of education Karls has already followed for many years the “Principles for Responsible ManagementEducation” as part of the UN Global Compact.

What can a student do with a degree of this study program in terms of career? 

Studying a degree “Leadership --- Politics, Philosophy, and Economics” at Karls equips students with capabilities and proficiencies required in the public and private sectors, and for work in civil organisations.

Our students will have the opportunity to gain strong theoretical and methodological skills also for the empirical analysis of complex societal, political and/or economic phenomena and wicked problems. These skills and competencies are highly valued in various professional fields, including consultancy, law and civil service, but also NGOs, NPOs etc.

Potential employment in international and supranational organizations, like the EU, WTO, various sub-organizations of the UN etc.; and international nongovernmental, or publicinstitutions, e.g. development aid, charities, foundations, networks, associations, government administration, (international or transnational) business corporations. Furthermore, there are employment opportunities in professional research, e.g. in policy-oriented domestic or international think tanks as well as political or other consultancy. Additional, other possible fields include education, journalism, or new media etc.

Moreover, for those who are interested in an academic career, there will be options for further postgraduate research at the PhD level.

What makes this program unique? 

The master study program “Leadership --- Politics, Philosophy, and Economics” at Karlswould be among the very few English-only programs in the German speaking countries. In particular, it has an edge with its focus on a culturalist and integral perspective that aims at understanding the interplay of philosophy, politics and economics as well as leadership as an interwoven nexus.

There are specific potential synergies and possibilities to integrate with the existing Master management structure and students. As this is a non-management program some of the more generalist, holistic specializations and modules apply, e.g. from “Cultural Change & Society” and “Sustainability” along with some aspects of the main Master program already in place (Culture, Markets & Consumption; Governance: Norms, Rules, Rituals; Legitimacy: Ethics & Aesthetics).

The Karls is a truly international environment! Experiencing interculturality is an inherent, normal part of everyday-life at the Karls. Our community is composed of students, faculty, and staff from more than 50 countries around the world.

Alongside the existing Master’s program, the new study program will have students with an international background, who help create a vibrant ethnically diverse place also for inter- and transcultural learning. In fact, we embrace diversity at all levels  – whether it be nationality, age, gender, race, sexual orientation, belief system, political orientation, study background, work experiences etc. Accordingly, we see ourselves as an international and intercultural hub for collaborative experiences. Furthermore, the Karls is a member of the ATLAS network, Businet, and EAIE with over 100 partner universities around the world.

Another reason for taking this program is that you will study in Heart of Europe: the German city of Karlsruhe! Located right in the center of Karlsruhe, a young, vibrant, multi-cultural student city in the South of Germany (close to the Black Forest and France), you will find your new home in the warmest and sunniest city in Germany, also known as its internet capital, holding the name technologie region Karlsruhe (Technologieregion Karlsruhe) with a vivid start-up community.

We are at the pulse of the European quality of life: culture, economy, urban lifestyle, and nature. Travelling around is fast and easy and there is a lot to explore all around this wonderful part of Europe. After successfully completing your degree in our program, you will automatically be eligible to stay in the country for up to 18 months on a job-seeking visa. And since you have the opportunity to learn German as part of your studies at the Karls, the Master program really gives you the chance to take a crucial step towards a job and a professional career in Germany and Europe)afterward.

Strong Community and Lifelong Networks

Our students, faculty, and staff have a strong, intimate bond and close relationships in a community where they relate to, engage with and appreciate each other. Our networks in academia, business, arts, culture, politics, science and civil society are more than ink on paper. They are alive and kicking in the ongoing interactions with our partners and stakeholder– not just at the city or country level, but vibrant at the international stage as well.

What does it cost? And how is the payment organized? 

  • Costs/Price 8,280 EUR per year
  • Flexible payment system