Bachelor of Science in Sociology
A sociologist studies human interaction. This interaction presupposes at least two people, but the reality is usually more complex. Sociologists investigate how group context influences interaction and social action. They look for patterns and mechanisms, they look at the cohesion and interaction between groups, in addition to social movements and changes.
Based on the premise that people live together, sociology wants to understand and explain human behaviour: what do we do, think and feel? While a biologist looks closely at the physical aspects, and a psychologist studies the functioning of the brain, a sociologist focuses on society and the relationship between people and society. Who we are and what we do is perhaps most particularly determined by our relationships with others. These relationships can either be personal (e.g. the influence of parents on their children), or social, i.e. between groups of people with the same characteristics (e.g. age, education level, gender, ethnicity), and who share a similar position in society (e.g. the influence of stigmas on the well-being of ethnic minorities). In addition, there are large organizations such as schools, multinationals, non-profit organizations, media companies and states that determine our lives (e.g. the influence of large mining companies on the health of Peruvian farmers). Looking to understand all this, sociology is the discipline that truly focuses on the study of humans in 21st-century society.
You are fascinated by how people live together and how they interact in our 21st-century society. You pay close attention to what is said and written in the media, but at the same time you adopt a critical attitude towards that information. You want to study the causes and effects of social phenomena, such as inequality and solidarity, suicide, poverty, gender roles, North-South problems etc.... . Not only do you wish to think about these phenomena, but you want to examine them in practice in an academic way. For that purpose, you are interested in methods and techniques for conducting academic studies. Our study programme does not require any specific prior knowledge. A good working knowledge of Dutch and English are important, both to be able to analyze texts properly and quickly, and to make presentations, formulate problems, etc... .
The Faculty of Political and Social Sciences offers three Bachelor's degree programmes, i.e. Political Sciences, Communication Sciences, and Sociology. From the first year onwards, you choose one of these three discipines.
In addition to building theoretical insights into 21st-century society, the sociology programme focuses on developing three other competencies. You are trained to become a sociology expert, who practices the different steps of developing a research project. Armed with knowledge of social science methods, you learn to integrate new knowledge. A sociologist’s thoughts and actions result in an oral or written final product. To this end, you develop various communication skills such as presenting, reporting and debating. A number of elective course units give you the opportunity to give shape to your curriculum according to your interests. International exchange projects offer the possibility of gaining experience abroad. The bachelor programme emphasizes on training professionals who are able to function under supervision in a variety of professional contexts. However, the main objective of the Bachelor's programme is continuation into the Master’s, in which you actively and independently learn to set up and conduct research .
In the Master's programme you will perfect your knowledge of the core concepts, the main explanatory models, advanced research skills and approaches to general sociology.
In the Dutch-taught Master of Sociology, you immerse yourself in a subdiscipline of your choice by means of a major: Health and Social Demography, Culture and Education, Political Sociology, Conflict and Development in a Global World.
There is also an English-taught Master in Sociology, a programme that consists of three cornerstones: Applied Research, Internationalization, and an Academic Approach to Contemporary Social Problems.
In addition to the (domain) master described here, you can also opt for the Master's Programme in Teaching (in Dutch: 'Educatieve Master') educatieve master (90 sp).
Graduated sociologists are in great demand for their understanding of society, their research skills, their project-based way of acting, and their communication skills. An education in sociology teaches you to gain insight into social phenomena and to manage sociological problems, so that you are well-prepared for the independent execution of academic projects commissioned by a university, the government or a research department. In addition, as a sociologist you are also well-prepared to design, implement and manage actions for social change, as a policy advisor or non-profit organization staff.
An education in sociology also yields benefits in more co-ordinating positions, when managing departments and projects within organizations (e.g. human resources). Finally, you can apply the skills you have been taught to interpret and explain social phenomena and sociological problems as a journalist or teacher.
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
Unique Selling Points
- An understanding of 21st-century society: in our study programme you will learn to understand the challenges of today’s world: diversity, migration and integration, gender issues, social inequity and education performance, depression and well-being, cultural exclusion, conflict and development in the Global South, globalization, citizenship and social participation.
- We run a hands-on programme in which you learn to look past commonplace explanations. By means of the practical research skills you acquire you to become a specialist in analysing society in a complex and nuanced manner. Our programme features quantitative as well as qualitative research.
- In the context of Community Service Learning, we take our students beyond the walls of traditional lecturing halls. Several course units and research assignments offer opportunities for gaining practical experience as a professional sociologist.
- Our graduates face a variety of career perspectives thanks to a combination of analytical understanding and research skills. They find employment as researcher or world changers in e.g. a university context, the government sector or civil society.
- Multiperspectivism: while sociology is our core business, the curriculum also has room for course units on psychology, biology, politics, public administration and cultural studies, ….
- The Sociology programme is relatively small-scale. This has clear advantages in terms of group sizes, sociability, and of course increased interactivity.
- Some of the active teaching methods included in our curriculum are writing exercises, conducting research in group, microteaching, presentations, debates, … It’s a hard day’s work!
- Talent development and feedback: our small-sized class groups and active teaching methods can count on continuous support by our lecturers and teaching assistants.
- Knowledge creation: our curriculum boasts strong ties between research and education, and teaches our students how to create new academic knowledge.
- Approachability: being a small-scale programme, we place great store by immediate and intensive personal contact between our lecturers, teaching assistants, and our students.
- Labour Market Entry: our students are in high demand on the labour market but are not always sure what their assets are. We want to remedy this with a ‘career trajectory’ for our Master’s students.
- We want our students to feel more involved in our day-to-day programme management. Student involvement results in enthusiasm and participation, and crucially, also results in timely action if necessary. Our programme has student representatives whose existence deserves extra attention.
This study programme is accredited by the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (Dutch: NVAO). Accreditation was extended following the positive outcome of the institutional review in 2017. Programme quality was validated by a quality review, i.e. a screening of the Education Monitor by the Education Quality Board. The Quality Assurance Resolution (in Dutch) can be found here.
This information was last updated on 26/01/2023.
In case of questions or suggestions with regard to the publicly available information, please contact the study programme.