Global Labour University

University of Kassel/ Berlin School of Economics and Law

Master's Programme: Labour
Policies and Globalisation

The master´s programme Labour Policies and Globalisation (LPG) started as a pilot course in Germany in October 2004. The one-year programme takes place at the University of Kassel and the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR) and is taught in English.  

It constitutes a part of a wider project to promote cooperation between trade unions and the research community and to strengthen the analytical and policy development capacity of trade unions.

The curriculum was jointly developed by universities and trade unions from around the world with a focus on Global Challenges to Labour, International Labour Rights, Processes of Globalisation and Economic Responses to Globalisation.

The application deadline is currently open deadline is July 1, 2024.)


About the programme:

The didactic concept of the modules within the course Labour Policies and Globalisation is research-oriented learning. This objective strives towards promoting an innovative curriculum by offering modules that focus on student participation.

New knowledge for the subjects will be jointly developed by both academic teaching staff and students. Emphasis is placed on investigating new types of research, new modes of studying, and broadening the interaction between academic fields and trade union practices. Wherever possible, an interdisciplinary approach will be developed that strives to integrate the different cultural backgrounds of the students.

Since all of the students have already obtained a first academic degree, and also due to the fact that they have elaborate knowledge and experience with trade union work or with work in comparable organisations, there is lesser need to introduce them to academic structures. This prior experience challenges the traditional positions of learner and instructor.

The programme helps strengthen the capacity and competence to promote universal respect for basic human rights, workers’ rights, social justice and protection, and for the representation of weak and disadvantaged members of society.

It, therefore, pursues the following learning and teaching objectives:

  1. Basics for the understanding of global economic, political, and social changes open new opportunities and new challenges for trade unions: new approaches to sustainable development, strategies to combat poverty and discrimination, and to extend social protection; reforms of policies, laws, and institutions, improvements in employment access, working conditions, labour relations, and human resource development (including capabilities for learning and organisation-building). 
  2. Competences to identify social problems in society and to develop appropriate solutions, to incorporate social analyses and participation into the design and implementation of development projects, to do quick and robust research, to collect and generate relevant data, to use empirical tools including indicators used to assess impacts, to monitor performances, and to evaluate the effects of problem solutions and projects.
  3. Abilities to transfer knowledge, to identify and disseminate good practices as well as lessons learned from failures, to mobilise and organise workers in the formal and the informal economy in order to advance their own interests, to build up networks with a wide range of actors and groups from trade unions and civil society, to build up pools of expertise, to contribute to successful forms of social dialogue, to ensure that all segments of society can make their voices heard, to improve and strengthen the work of trade unions, especially in international and trans-cultural contexts.

In achieving these objectives both universities place special emphasis on:

  • considering gender equality in opportunities and rights;
  • a multidisciplinary approach;
  • internships in particular with trade union organisations at the company, local, national or international level;
  • the integration of the team approach and research workshops with individual advice.

Programme Structure

All seminars mentioned here are subject to possible alterations.

  • 1st Semester (Winter): University of Kassel 
    • Trade Union Strategies in a Global Economy
    • Governance of the World Market
    • Advanced Research Methods and Writing Skills
    • One World Seminar
    • Various electives in the field of global political economy, development studies, gender, migration, and political theory
    • Internship and internship report
  • 2nd Semester (Summer): Berlin School of Economics and Law 
    • Global Workers’ Rights
    • Decent Work in Global Value Chains
    • Economic Policy and the Role of the Trade Unions
    • Various electives in the field of global political economy, development studies, gender, migration, and political theory
    • Master Colloquium
    • Master´s Thesis & Oral Defence

The Universities will organise several excursions to trade unions and economic and political institutions in Germany. All excursions will be accompanied by faculty members. Guided Tours will be held in English as well as the talks and discussions.

Application for the Programme 2024/2025

Application (via eCampus) with a degree earned in Germany:

Apply from 01.06.2024 – 01.09.2023

Application (via uni assist) with a degree earned outside Germany:

Apply from  20.12.2023 – 01.07.2024


The MA programme addresses students who have acquired their first degree (Bachelor/Diploma) in Political Sciences, Sociology, Law or Economics and who have a particular interest and work experience in the field of trade unionism and related areas.

Please note that applications for this joint degree programme are processed only by the University of Kassel. The application procedure for the new cohort starts in December and applicants interested in studying at the programme should contact the GLU coordination office in Kassel for further information:


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in economics, law, pedagogy or social sciences.
  • A total of 240 acquired ECTS credits. In case you have earned less than 240 credits during your BA studies, it is still possible to get admitted to our programme. The admission will then be conditional on completing the missing credits during your MA studies by completing more courses or extending your studies by one or two semesters.
  • Knowledge of the English language – equivalent to level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF).
  • Advanced knowledge on issues of labour relations and at least one year of practical experience in the representation of workers’ interests.
  • A motivation letter (maximum 3 pages long) covering the following questions:
    • How are your previous qualifications and your prospective professional aims and aspirations related to the Labour Policies and Globalisation programme?
    • What is your experience and knowledge in the field of labour relations?
    • Which challenges can you identify for trade union work in the context of a globalised economy and how can these challenges be researched (research proposal)?

Exceptions to the eligibility criteria are decided by the Selection Committee.


A limited number of scholarships will be awarded to students. The scholarship includes travel costs and a monthly grant to cover living expenses.

To apply, send an email to by March 1, 2024.

A support letter from a trade union organisation is an application requirement. Please also note that the scholarship is a matching grant. It will only be awarded, if a trade union or another institution is co-sponsoring the programme with 1,500 EUR. The potential co-sponsor has to be indicated on the application form and his/her contribution has to be paid before the start of the programme to the University of Kassel.

own Contribution

The Master Programme Labour Policies and Globalisation is a very unique programme that is geared towards trade unionists globally to enhance their knowledge and ability to engage in international trade union movements and struggles. For this purpose, the programme maintains and facilitates close contact and exchange with various trade union organisations and experts, which exceeds the regular academic curriculum of a master’s study programme.

 This close interaction in the form of guest lecturers, workshops and field trips involves financial expenditures and structural programme costs, which cannot be covered in total by the administrative semester fee. Thanks to a number of funding parties, we can cover most of these costs but, unfortunately, not all of it.

For this reason, we charge every participant an own contribution of 1500 €. Traditionally, the one-time contribution of 1500 EUR is covered by the endorsing trade union or organization supporting the student’s application.


The Academic Board of the Programme Labour Policies and Globalisation in Germany consists of Prof. Dr. Li­sa Cars­ten­sen (Kassel University) and Prof. Dr. Martina Sproll (Berlin School of Economics and Law).

Prof. Dr. Li­sa Cars­ten­sen

Dr. Anne Lisa Carstensen has been Head of the Department of “Global Political Economy of Work under Consideration of Gender Relations” since September 2022 and Executive Director of the Intitute for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) at the University of Kassel since October 2022.


Lisa Carstensen received her PhD from the University of Osnabrück in 2018 with a thesis on modern slave labor in Brazil. Most recently, she worked at the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS) at the University of Osnabrück, where she researched the relationship between migrant mobilizations and trade unions in Germany.


She is currently researching the role of time in conflicts over labor and migration. Her research focuses on migration and labor, trade unions, intersectionality, and global networks of production and reproduction. At the University of Kassel, she will, among other things, direct the master’s program in Labor Policies and Globalization and contribute to the establishment of the Kassel Institute for Sustainability.



Prof. Dr. Martina Sproll

Martina Sproll is a Professor of Social Sciences (Structural change and the Welfare State in international perspectives), at the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR Berlin). She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Labour University.

Her research focuses on Transnational Production and Labour, Digitalisation, Gender Relations, Social (intersectional) Inequalities, Political Economy and Sociology of Latin America and Europe.


Link to publications:



Prof. Dr. Martina Sproll

HWR Berlin/ Berlin School of Economics and Law

Campus Schöneberg

Building B, Room B 2.46

Badensche Straße 50-51

10825 Berlin Germany

Teaching Staff in Kassel
Teaching Staff in Berlin

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Contact Person

For further information, please contact:

Aleksandra Draganic
Program Coordinator, University of Kassel

Visitor‘s address and express package delivery:

Kleine Rosenstr. 3, D-34117 Kassel

Phone: +49 (0) 561 804 7789

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