Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences (Political Sciences)
The Bachelor in Social Sciences is a joint project of Ghent University and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (registration takes place at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel). This English taught programme throws down the walls between political science, communication sciences and sociology - enabling you to build solid bridges between them.
Complex societies require complex thinking. In a world of rapid changes and shifting boundaries there is a growing need for minds that are capable of switching perspective and thinking outside of narrow academic boxes. That is why the VUB and Ghent University have joined forces to create an innovative model of interdisciplinary and interuniversity education: the Bachelor in Social Sciences (BScSS). Located in the heart of Europe and boasting a student body of seventy different nationalities, the BScSS provides a uniquely diverse learning environment that helps students to tackle the global problems of the future.
First-year students take most of their courses at the VUB main campus in Etterbeek. The lectures and exams of one second-semester course will be held in Ghent. Second year students have 4 out of 10 courses in Ghent. These courses require one day of commuting in each semester. During the third bachelor year, about half of the courses are taught in Ghent or Brussels. The number of days where students need to commute depends on the choice of orientation and electives.
The registration takes place at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (vub.be).
Drawing on the combined insights of three disciplines – political science, communication studies and sociology – the BScSS offers a three-year, English-language programme that provides students with the academic tools that help them to analyze and better understand the societies they live in. Throughout these three years you will become intimately familiar with the three scientific disciplines that build the core of our programme.
Is China on its way to becoming the next global superpower? Did the USA become more polarised under Donald Trump? What explains the rise of populism? Should migrants have the right to vote in their host countries? What does democracy really mean? Political scientists love to sink their teeth into these types of questions, and analyze how societies govern themselves and make decisions. The political pillar of our programme provides you the theories, concepts and techniques to better understand the ways in which power operates from the level of everyday citizen interactions to political struggles situated at the international level.
Which role did the tabloid press play in “Brexit”? How is the refugee crisis portrayed in the media? What is the business model of Netflix? Why do some of us share private information and intimate feelings on social media? Communication scientists are fascinated by these types of questions and wish to know more about the impact of media and communication on our everyday lives and on society as a whole. The communication angle of the programme provides you with the concepts and techniques that help you to critically reflect upon the ever-increasing role of (digital) media in our society.
Why do certain kids do better at school than others? Which factors determine the type of job or income a person will get? Where do differences in musical taste come from? Why is our society so obsessed with beauty and slimness? Why do certain people live longer and healthier lives than others? These are just some of the questions posed and answered by sociologists. From the structure of large-scale social systems – like states or labor markets – to the fine details of everyday interaction, sociologists aim to uncover the basic principles that shape social life. The sociological pillar of our programme provides you with the concepts and techniques that help you study and understand these principles.
At the BScSS we aim to train students who are not only capable of discussing complex problems, but who can also effectively study those problems. That is why a considerable part of the curriculum is devoted to acquiring some of the key methods deployed by the social sciences from statistical analysis to interviewing and from participant observation to content analysis. Through a combination of theoretical lectures and hands-on exercises you will learn to formulate key research problems and pick the techniques that are best suited to solving them.
There is no doubt that your Bachelor of Sciences in Social Sciences (BScSS) will stand out on the labour market. However, the biggest added value of the programme lies in paving the way for ambitious follow-up trajectories, such as master programmes and internships. Your third bachelor year is designed to help you prepare for this choice. You major in one of the three social sciences composing the programme. It allows you to build expertise in this domain, but without losing track of the other two sciences. That way all choices for master programmes remain open, but you’ll have more insight on what you really want to master in. At the same time, this last bachelor year offers you multiple contacts with professionals from organisations gravitating around the EU institutions through guest lectures and site visits. It's a great way to start building your network, with an eye on the future.
At Ghent University, we strive to educate people who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow. For that purpose, we provide education that is embedded in six strategic objectives: Think Broadly, Keep Researching, Cultivate Talent, Contribute, Extend Horizons, Opt for Quality.
Ghent University continuously focuses on quality assurance and quality culture. The Ghent University's quality assurance system offers information on each study programme’s unique selling points, and on its strengths and weaknesses with regard to quality assurance.
Ghent University's Education Objectives