The curriculum of the first year is devoted to enhancing students' theoretical and methodological knowledge. Course work includes three core courses, two elective courses, and two courses in research methods.
Core courses and many of the elective courses are offered by IMPRS-SPCE faculty.
Students individually choose methods courses according to the skills they bring from their previous studies and the additional qualifications they need for their dissertation project. Popular methods courses students are the Summer and Winter Schools offered at the Universities of Essex and Ljubljana, by ECPR or GESIS (Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences) and comparable institutions.
Students participate in the IMPRS-SPCE's biweekly Research School Colloquium at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies and, depending on the advisor they are working with, additional colloquia in the field of political science, sociology, or history.