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- A problem-driven approach with a substantive focus on topics such as social networks and social capital, social integration, stratification and inequality, households, organizations.
- A strong focus on the integration of social theory, empirical research, and methods of data-analysis.
- In various courses, students gain extensive hands on experience in state of the art social science data analysis.
- Students gain hands on experience in writing a publishable research article in English: the master's thesis that completes the program is written in the format of a publishable research article. In fact, many students do indeed submit their thesis or a revised and adapted version of their thesis to a journal and quite some of these submissions are accepted for publication. Meanwhile, research articles that have developed from master's theses of the program have appeared in or are accepted for publication in journals like Social Forces, Social Networks, Journal of Marriage and the Family, European Union Politics, and others. Students regularly present their master's thesis at international conferences outside the Netherlands. Quite some students meanwhile gained prizes and awards for their theses. An overview of various publications resulting from theses is attached, likewise providing an impression of the breadth of topics that are available for master's thesis projects.
- The program comprises a master class taught by an outstanding visiting professor from abroad. Previous visiting professors include Andreas Diekmann, ETH Zurich; Hartmut Esser, Mannheim; Frank Kalter, Leipzig/Mannheim; Hans-Peter Blossfeld, Bamberg; Ted Mouw, North Carolina. Upcoming visiting professors include Walter Muller, Mannheim; Robert J. Sampson, Harvard, and Karen Cook, Stanford. Furthermore, Sociology and Social Research students themselves organize a mini-conference on their own research projects at the end of the first or the beginning of the second year of the program. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in summer schools like Essex or Ljubljana in the summer period between the first and the second year of the program.
The quality of the program can be inferred, among other things, from numerous and consistently very favorable external evaluations of research and teaching in Sociology at Utrecht University and the ICS. For example, sociology at Utrecht University is repeatedly ranked highest and obtains excellent scores in the authoritative comparative assessments of Dutch research programs in sociology that are carried out regularly under the auspices of the Quality Assurance Department of the Association of Dutch Universities, including the recent 2008/2009 Research Assessment Sociology. Another well-known annual ranking, widely used by incoming students, is provided by the Dutch weekly ELSEVIER and includes field-specific rankings based on a survey among all full professors and associate professors in the particular field in the Netherlands. In the most recent 2009 ELSEVIER survey, Utrecht has been chosen by a wide margin as the overall best Sociology Department in the Netherlands and also as the Department with the best bachelor's and master’s programs, the best teachers in Sociology, and the best publication record.
Students in the program benefit from intensive supervision. Instructors involved in teaching the program and supervising students inlude prominent researcher from the Department of Sociology and the ICS such as Vincent Buskens, Henk Flap, Tanja van der Lippe, Ineke Maas, Paul Nieuwbeerta, Anne-Rigt Poortman, Werner Raub, Rene Torenvlied, Frank van Tubergen, Beate Volker, Jeroen Weesie, and others. Students likewise benefit from much interaction and collaboration in a relatively small group of peers. Drop out rates of students from the program are very low and almost all students entering the program do complete it in due time within two years. The profile of the program ensures that the labor market position of alumni is excellent: students who have completed the program are very successful in acquiring subsequent positions as PhD students at the ICS or elsewhere in and outside the Netherlands, as researchers in institutes and organizations outside the university system, as trainees, etc.
"Sociology and Social Research" is part of the integrated graduate training program of the ICS that likewise comprises research master’s programs at the universities of Groningen and Nijmegen and a jointly taught PhD program. Students can thus attend selected courses in Groningen and are well-prepared, for example, for an application for a position as PhD student at the ICS after having completed "Sociology and Social Research".
The target group of students consists of promising students with a Bachelor's degree or an equivalent period of at least three years of undergraduate study and qualifications that justify the expectation of successful completion of the program in due time. This includes students with a BA Sociology or Social Sciences, broadly conceived and including Economics, Political Sciences, Public Administration, Demography, and (Social) Psychology. While the program is designed for students with above-average grades, motivation of students and affinity with the program have proven to be important. Quite some students with good but clearly less than excellent grades from previous studies have entered and enjoyed the program and have completed it with very good results, due to a clearly structured curriculum, sound supervision, and interaction and collaboration with peers. Applicants with deficiencies in methods and statistics can be admitted conditional upon participation in a methods and statistics summer course right before the start of the first year of the program that is offered specifically for incoming research master's students by the Graduate School of Social and Behavioral Sciences of Utrecht University.
Students from outside the Netherlands are explicitly encouraged to apply and can easily follow the program since it is taught in English. About 30-50% of the students are students from outside the Netherlands, up to now including students from Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, various countries in Central and Eastern Europe as well as students from, e.g., China, Israel, Taiwan, and Turkey. Admission to the program is selective. "Sociology and Social Research" is one of Utrecht University's Prestige master's programs and thus benefits from special funds of Utrecht University. Some teaching and research assistantships are available for students. Also, funding is available for participation in summer schools outside the Netherlands (for example, Essex, Ljubljana, and Ann Arbor).
Each year, a new group of students enters the program. We are currently searching for talented candidates for the academic year 2010/2011. Courses for this group will start on September 1, 2010. The DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS for the academic year 2010/2011 is March 1, 2010. The number of new students per year is limited to 15-20.
Detailed information on the program, including courses taught, is available at
Information about the Department of Sociology of Utrecht University is available at
for any inquiries about the program and about admission procedures.
Please don't hesitate to draw the attention of talented students to the program. Also, please don't hesitate to forward this message to other colleagues who might wish to inform students on the program.
Werner Raub | Department of Sociology/ICS | Utrecht University | Heidelberglaan 2 | 3584 CS Utrecht | Netherlands | phone +31-(0)30-253 2101 | [log in to unmask] | www.fss.uu.nl/soc/raub | www.fss.uu.nl/sociology | www.fss.uu.nl/soc/iscore | Sociology and Social Research www.uu.nl/sasr