MA Federalism and Local Government Studies

Program level: 

Credits (ECTS): 



Program starts every year, first semester.



Duration in semesters: 

4 semesters


After decades of devastating civil war under a centralized system of governance, like many other countries, Ethiopia has also embraced federalism since 1991 de facto to curb disintegration and contain conflicts that are primarily ethnic in nature. Subsequently, the 1995 constitution formally established the country as a federation of nine regional states and two federal districts organized along ethnic lines. The nature, feature and practice of the Ethiopian federal system are predominantly dictated by victors of the civil war who since then remained on power. Consequently, those who operate in the system are largely practitioner politicians and not educated professionals of the field of federalism as a science.

Until 2008 there was no department in any higher institution in the country that is engaged in graduate or undergraduate program related to federalism. Thus, it can be said that the theoretical, normative or institutional studies from higher institutions in support of refining the federal system remained insignificant. The due implementation of federalism in Ethiopia, indeed, has always been seriously hampered by a shortage of competent, skilled professionals to ensure the operation of federal institutions in the legislative, executive and judicial bodies at federal, regional and local government levels. There is therefore an increased demand for professionals qualified in the area of federalism at federal, regional and local government levels and in higher learning institutions.

In light of the above points, the overall objective of the program is to build the capacity of federal, regional and local government institutions by producing qualified and competent professionals in the field and conducting quality research and consultancy to improve and strengthen the federal system. In a bid to accomplish its objective the program combines theory with experiences of federations. It promotes teaching and research in the fields of federal political philosophy, the history of federalism, federal political and constitutional systems, federalism and human rights, federalism as a conflict management tool, fiscal federalism, federalism and intergovernmental relations, state constitutions, local government and political parties and electoral systems in federations.

Prerequisites & Requirements

To be admitted to this program, a candidate must:

  1. have first degree in Law, Economics, Political Science and International Relations, Sociology, Public Administration, Development Administration, Business Management, Development Management, History and related disciplines in the social sciences (as will be decided by the institute) from a recognized higher education institution;
  2. be public servant; and
  3. pass entrance examination of the institute


Exit Level Outcomes

After completing the program, the graduate is able to:

  • Point out the philosophical, political, economic and social theories underlying federalism;
  • Explain the relationship between federalism, ethnicity and nationalism;
  • Explain the societal and institutional factors that determine the success of federalism;
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of federalism as a mechanism of nation and state building;
  • Explain which societal, political, legal and institutional factors that determine the success and stability of a federal system;
  • Implement knowledge of federalism to resolve intergovernmental problems at federal, regional and local levels of government;
  • Evaluate the role of political parties and suggest a better electoral system that takes into account the diverse nature of the country;
  • Recommend adjustments to the federal structure and processes towards realizing its economic and political objectives;
  • Develop policy alternatives to federal, regional and local governments in order to overcome or remedy the challenges of federalism and decentralization in Ethiopia;
  • Monitor the performance of major federal institutions in the implementation of the various dimensions of federalism and decentralization;
  • Develop tools for building capacities of practitioners of federalism and decentralization at federal, regional and local government levels;
  • Assist in the process of change within the framework of the Ethiopian federal system by conducting research and advising where new approaches are required; and
  • Creating linkage between research and policy formulation at federal, regional and local government level.

Individual Clients

The program is primarily designed for practitioners of federalism at federal, regional and local levels. It is, however, also open for those interested in pursuing high ‐ level academic study on several aspects of federalism with a view to serving as policy analysts, advisors and consultants

Other stakeholders

Academic,research and non‐governmental institutions may be interested in the program due to its special focus.


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