Master of Science in Sociology

The Master of Science in Sociology is a new and innovative English-taught programme at Ghent University, centered around three pillars: applied research, internationalisation and an advanced scientific approach to contemporary societal problems.
What are the social conditions that constitute the fundamental causes of health and illness? How can higher education institutions become more accessible? Why have so many young Muslims joined Islamic State the past couple of years? How are power and responsibilities formally and informally distributed within organisations?

This programme addresses these and other contemporary social problems. Students gain a strong scientific approach that allows them to critically address such topics. Sociological imagination is the ability to connect the things that happen to people (such as their success in education, their relationship with their parents and their well-being) to social characteristics (the way schools are organised, the divorce rate, the degree of social inequality). To have this sociological imagination, a person must pull away from the situation and think from an alternative point of view.

Within the Major International internship, students are challenged to use their sociological imagination in real life contexts and take their expertise to the next level. During this experience, students confront theoretical learning with hands-on experience, characterised by social engagement.

Students who choose the Major Policy and Management immerge themselves in courses on human resources management, public administration, governance, change management and international development. This allows an individually tailored study programme based on personal interests and possible future career paths.

In the Major Skills Lab, students explore and develop applied skills to prepare for future careers through courses such as ‘Dare to Venture’, ‘Business Skills’ and ‘advanced Academic English’.

This one-year master program is highly research based. Students gain a thorough understanding of advanced quantitative research methods and are challenged to apply these skills to answer sociological questions. Students write a master thesis and opt for an international internship or follow advanced policy-oriented applied courses.

Opbouw

The Master of Science in Sociology focuses on three main parts:

  • A solid, general formation in advanced sociological courses on health sociology, migration, education, policy and organisation and quantitative analysis, that will unravel the secrets of multilevel analysis.
  • Students can choose an applied major in which practical skills are developed (International Internship, Policy and Management or Skills Lab). Students design their own trajectory based on their personal interest, future career prospects and ambitions.
  • A research based master dissertation in which you perform your own quantitative or qualitative research, and write it up in a scientific paper. The master dissertation is supervised by a Ghent University professor. It can be done in combination with your internship (for instance through interviews of respondents during your stay abroad).

The first semester of the programme is fully dedicated to the core mandatory advanced sociological courses. From the start students begin preparing for their master dissertation or internship. This program is a one-year programme with a high pace but is feasible thanks to the gradual planning. By the end of the first semester, students should have taken all exams and can fully concentrate on their major and master dissertation. At the end of the second semester the course Social Dynamics of Policy and Organisation helps to digest the experiences developed during the thesis research, the internship and the other courses.

If you want to combine your master’s degree with a teacher’s degree, then there is the option of following an ‘Educatieve master’ instead of the above described master. The ‘Educatieve master’ however is a Dutch taught programme. More information can be found on www.ugent.be/educatievemaster.

Arbeidsmarkt

Sociology graduates are highly appreciated by employers for their combination of thorough insights in society, research expertise, communication and project management skills. Sociology graduates from Ghent University start an academic career (as PhD students or research fellows) or work in NGO’s, governmental organisations (on themes such as health prevention and radicalisation) and research agencies (such as market research). The programme prepares you for work on scientific projects in academia, governmental organisations or research institutes. You will be able to research social phenomena such as social inequality, gender differences, quality of labour, democratisation of higher education, migration or health and risk behaviour. Our programme also prepares students for future careers as policy advisors or project managers in human resources, journalism or education.