The School of Political Sciences

The University: Basic profile

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is the largest university in Greece. The main campus is located in the centre of the city of Thessaloniki, and covers an area of about 33.4 hectares. It comprises 10 faculties which consist of 40 schools and 1 single-School Faculty. Some educational and administrative facilities are located off campus for practical and operational reasons. A number of these facilities are located outside the city of Thessaloniki or even in other cities. 

About 73.930 students study at the Aristotle University (65.026 in undergraduate programmes and 8.472 in postgraduate programmes, of which 3952 at doctoral level). There are 2.024 faculty members. There are also 11 teaching assistants, 58 research fellows, 248 members of the Special Laboratory Teaching Personnel (S.L.T.P.), 69 of whom belong to category Ι and 179 to category ΙΙ, as well as 15 foreign language teachers and 4 foreign instructors. Faculty members are also assisted by 213 members of the Special Technical Laboratory Personnel (S.T.L.P.). Administrative services consist of 400 permanent employees and 528 employees under a private law contract of indefinite duration. Moreover, 596 people employed by third parties provide services at the university.

At the end of 2015 the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki was evaluated by an External Evaluation Committee, consisting of International Experts. The External Evaluation was conducted under the supervision of the Hellenic Quality Assurance & Accreditation Agency for Higher Education (ADIP). Our University was evaluated as ‘Worthy of Merit’ (the highest grade in a four-grade scale), having received in the individual sections 11 ‘Worthy of Merit’ and 15 ‘Positive Evaluation’, which is considered an excellent evaluation for all sections.

Read the external evaluation report:

The University: Brief history

Eleftherios Venizelos was the first politician to start efforts to found a university in Thessaloniki at a time when Northern Greece had just been liberated and when reinforcing the “New Territories,” as the newly liberated areas were then called, emerged as a national need. Plans provided also for founding a university in Smyrna. However, the Asia Minor disaster thwarted these plans. Eventually, it was due to the initiative taken by the government of Alexandros Papanastasiou that the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki was founded in 1925. After considerable discussions, the founding act of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (no. 3341/14-6-25) was signed and ratified on 5 June 1925 by the constitutional assembly of the time, and was published in the Government Gazette on 22 June 1925. Problems continued to exist, however, after the enactment of the act, because of the political upheaval of the time. Thus, the Aristotle University first opened its doors a year later, in 1926. Georgios Chatzidakis was the first Head of the university and the second one was Christos Tsountas.

In order to meet the needs and demands of the time, special emphasis was placed on the development of the humanities. Thus, the Faculty of Philosophy was the first to open its doors in 1926. At first, it was housed in the “Allatini” building, which now hosts the Prefecture of Thessaloniki services. Soon, however, the location proved to be problematic and, in October 1927, the Faculty of Philosophy was transferred to a mansion in Ethnikis Amynis street, which previously housed the 2nd Military Hospital. The building was repaired and a third floor was added a little later. Today, it is the most historic building of the university and houses part of the Faculty of Philosophy.

The Faculty of Physics and Mathematics opened its doors in 1927. Much later, one of its schools, the School of Forestry, along with the School of Agriculture became part of the newly created Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry which opened its doors in 1937. The Faculty of Law and Economics opened its doors in 1928, whereas the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Theology were founded later, in 1941. The School of Veterinary Medicine was founded in 1950, the Institute of Foreign Languages in 1951, the Faculty of Engineering in 1955, and the School of Dentistry in 1959 as part of the Faculty of Medicine (it acquired its present status as an independent School in 1971). In 1982, Law no. 1268 providing for the structure and operation of Greek Higher Educational Institutions brought about a complete restructuring of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, since it promoted the school as the basic academic unit, a restructuring of faculties and the organization of schools into new faculties: the Faculty of Theology, the Faculty of Philosophy, the Faculty of Sciences, the Faculty of Law and Economics, the Faculty of Geotechnical Sciences, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Engineering.

The Faculty of Education was founded in 1983, the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1984, the independent school of Physical Education and Sports Sciences in 1983 and the independent School of Journalism and Mass Media in 1991. The School of Education in Florina was founded in 1993 and is now part of the University of Western Macedonia. New schools were added in the already existing faculties, such as the School of Political Sciences in the Faculty of Law, Economics and Political Sciences, the School of Psychology in the Faculty of Philosophy, and the School of Informatics in the Faculty of Sciences. Among the newer schools are the following independent schools: the School of Energy Resources Management Engineering in Kozani (1999), the School of Balkan Studies (1999) and the School of Education (1993) in Florina, which are part of the University of Western Macedonia as of 1 January 2004 (Senate meeting 2753/28-8-2003). Two new schools were founded in 2004: the School of Film Studies, part of the Faculty of Fine Arts, and the School of Urban-Regional Planning and Development Engineering (in Veroia), part of the Faculty of Engineering.

The School: Overview

The School of Political Sciences was founded in 1999; it admitted its first undergraduate students in 2000 and its first postgraduate students in 2006. The number of undergraduates admitted per year to the School of Political Sciences, as well as the criteria for their admittance (linked to a central examinations system), are set by the existing Greek laws and regulations of student admittance into all state higher education institutions and is currently 120 plus students of special categories and transfer students. The number of postgraduate students is set each year by the School itself following the entry examinations held yearly in January and cannot exceed a total number of 80 (20 for each study area).

Through its study programmes (undergraduate and postgraduate) and its multiple research activities, the School of Political Sciences focuses on the study of politics and policy-making: on political institutions, structures, processes, and antagonisms. Its main goal is to cultivate and disseminate the theoretical and empirical tools necessary for the scientific analysis of the structure of, and relationships between, collective and individual identities within organized society.

Its study programmes combine theoretical and empirical analysis so as to achieve a rigorous and multi‐layered approach towards political action and political structures. The School aims at producing graduates capable of describing and analyzing identities, relations, ideologies and policies, as well of supporting decision‐making processes in the public sphere. Above all, it serves and encourages the exercise of critical thought in the spirit of academic freedom that characterizes a democratic institution like a public university.

The School awards an undergraduate degree (ptychion), a postgraduate degree and a doctoral degree. To qualify for the first degree a student must attend a minimum of eight semesters (four years); and for the postgraduate degree, a minimum of three semesters (one and a half years).  The minimum time required for the completion of a PhD thesis is three years, while the maximum time is six years.  In the academic year 2016-2017, our School community consists of 17 members of academic staff, 1.137 undergraduate students, 76 postgraduate students and 46 doctoral students.

In the beginning of 2014 the School was evaluated by an External Evaluation Committee, consisting of International Experts. The Committee concluded that: ‘the faculty maintains an ambitious research agenda, which compares favorably with those of their counterparts in major American and European universities. […] Despite inadequate resources, the faculty manages to publish rather extensively. It appears that a good number of faculty is research active, with many publications in foreign language refereed journals, mainly English and French. Many faculty are leading and/or participating in national and international research projects and research collaborations. Faculty attend and present in professional association conferences, such as those of IPSA, APSA and ECPR. […] Although this is a relatively new Department, it enjoys a strong reputation in the country and could be considered a leader in the fields of political theory/political philosophy and political analysis. Faculty members appear to get along and the Departmental environment is amicable and student-friendly. Students feel well served and have a close rapport with the faculty. The research record of the faculty is strong, and well established, faculty are well-engrained and active in civil discourse and public life. These attributes significantly contribute to the enhancement of the Department’s standing and student fulfillment’.

Read the external evaluation report: