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Curriculum

Sociology

The Bachelor's in Sociology is a full-time degree programme lasting three years. Every academic year is worth 60 credits and consists of two semesters, each of which is subdivided into three study periods. The first semester runs from the beginning of September until the end of January and the second semester runs from the start of February until the end of June.

The Bachelor's programme is structured in such a way that, in principle, it equates to a 40-hour working week. Every week you will have approximately eight hours of lectures and six hours of tutorials, with the rest of the time spent studying literature, conducting research and writing papers and essays.

MOOC Classical Sociological Theory
Bart van Heerikhuizen

Are you curious about what the classical sociologists had to say? If so, you can watch the MOOC in Classical Sociological Theory by Bart van Heerikhuizen. This online course was developed to share information about the founders of the discipline with people around the world with an interest in sociology. 

  • First year

    During the first year, you will learn a new way of looking at society through sociological research, you will make connections between knowledge acquired about society and the work of sociological thinkers, and you will be introduced to sociology as a craft by means of your own research.

    1. A new perspective on society

    The results of sociological research provide new perspectives to issues that may previously have seemed intuitive and straightforward. The knowledge gained by sociologists offers tools to formulate new questions, analyse social problems and devise innovative solutions to social issues.

    • In the first semester, Introduction to Sociology (and to the Netherlands) will give you a broad introduction to the work of sociologists and allow you to orient your academic career. What is sociology about? What do sociologists study? How do they study it?
    • Sociology of Institutions addresses the structure of Dutch society and major changes in recent social history such as the rise of the welfare state, urbanisation, secularisation and migration.
    • Philosophy of social sciences offers an introduction to different styles of science and the way sociology fits into them.
    • Evolution of human kind introduces you to a variety of scientific styles and how sociology fits into them.

    2. From classical to contemporary

    The programme has a strong focus on theory. You will be introduced to 19th century pioneers of sociology such as Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim. Besides reading classical texts, you will also be studying modern work that builds upon the trailblazing work of these intellectuals.

    3. Studying the city

    Methodology is an important facet of this programme. You will learn about important methodological approaches and gain practical experience with a variety of methods such as:

    • interviews
    • observations of everyday life
    • surveys
    • statistical analysis
    • text analysis.

    You will also acquire vital skills such as reasoning, formulating research questions, providing critical commentary and writing essays.

    You will round off your first year with a large fieldwork project in which you will apply your acquired knowledge and research skills to a concrete social issue and independently conduct research within a group of fellow students. For example, last year's students investigated how people react differently to homosexual and heterosexual couples kissing in public, the admissions policy to Amsterdam nightclubs, how shopkeepers prevent shoplifting, and how some Lidl customers show that they are not poor or uneducated.

  • Second and third year

    The second year will broaden your sociological knowledge across six key domains of the field, before your third and final year allows you to deepen specific interests through various options of study and a final year thesis project. 

    Domain courses

    In the second year, you will broaden your knowledge of the discipline via six domain courses:

    • Urban Places and Social Problems
    • Intersectionalities: Class, Race, Gender & Sexuality
    • Migration & Citizenship
    • Globalising Cultures
    • Life Courses, Family & Health
    • Education & Work

    Electives, work placements and studying abroad

    The third year is mainly structured by the students themselves: you can take electives within Sociology or in other programmes, you can do a work placement or you can choose to study abroad.

    Bachelor's thesis

    You will round everything off with the ultimate test of your skills: your very own Bachelor's thesis. Although you will write your paper individually, the research will be conducted within a collaborative project. This will be headed by a lecturer who will introduce you to their specialisation: the topic of the final-thesis working group will be closely related to the lecturer's research. During your research, you will utilise all of the sociological skills you have acquired in order to become an expert in a subject via your selected project.

  • Teaching methods

    Students of sociology are required to attend lectures and tutorials.

    • During the lectures, the lecturer will add colour and depth to the literature you have studied in advance, putting it into perspective and giving examples.
    • During the tutorials, you will take a more in-depth look at the subject matter together with a lecturer and a group of students. You will participate in discussions, complete assignments, ask questions and analyse examples.

    Most of the courses are concluded with one or more assessments such as a written or oral examination, an essay or a talk.

    Go tot the Course catalogue Sociology

  • Honours and talent programme

    Are you a talented student looking for more challenges and more in-depth knowledge? If so, the Honours and talent programme of the College of Social Sciences would be a good choice for you.

    The aim of the programme is to provide an extra stimulus to motivated Bachelor’s students and to introduce them to scientific research in a unique way.

    You will take a challenging set of courses for a total of 30 additional ECTS credits. The focus of your talent programme is up to you.

    There are some requirements for this programme: you have to score at least a 7 on average during the first year and write a motivational letter when you apply.

    Additional benefits:

    • the programme offers innovative education;
    • small groups work together at an advanced academic level;
    • you take courses with other talented students from the College of Social Sciences (Anthropology, Sociology, Geography & Planning and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences), creating a multidisciplinary environment of motivated students;
    • you take Honours courses at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS), an institute that offers interdisciplinary courses for all Honours and talent students of the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

      Honours and talent programme

  • Domain courses

    In the second year, you will be introduced to a wide range of sociological themes and complete six domain courses.

    1.Urban Places and Social Problems

    Pamela Prickett

    We will venture into Amsterdam together and ask questions about what we see. We will examine how hipsters, seniors, students, drug addicts and British tourists make themselves at home in the city. We will investigate how the urban environment is inextricably linked with different subcultures, lifestyles and customs, using Amsterdam as our laboratory for the study of urban life. 

    2. Intersectionalities: Class, Race, Gender & Sexualities

    Sarah Bracke

    Why is it that when men start talking during meetings, women often fall silent but not vice versa? Why is it that white Dutch people often find it difficult to understand criticism of Black Pete? Identities are complex and far from straightforward. However, societal structures do exist that shape our everyday experiences. We will investigate how four puzzle pieces that help shape our identity – class, race, gender and sexuality – can be decisive in determining our ideas, experiences and opportunities. 

    3. Migration & Citizenship

    Jan Willem Duyvendak & Bram lancee

    There is currently a heated debate in the Western political arena regarding migration and integration. In this course, we will take a step back and view current events from a broader perspective. We will investigate why people migrate, compare the border policies of various countries, study statistics about migrants' educational and labour-market opportunities and discuss the recent rise of xenophobia and nationalism.

    4. Globalising Cultures

     Olav Velthuis

    Some expressions of culture have spread across the entire world, such as McDonalds, football and hipsters. Financial institutions, educational systems and NGOs have also extended their reach to encircle the globe. In this course, we will investigate the implications of these developments. Will everyone and everything start to look the same? Will a 'global culture' ever exist? Or will cultural globalisation result in even more conflict?

    5. Education & Work

    Bowen Paulle

    In the Netherlands, it seems that virtually everyone believes in the importance of as many people as possible going through higher education. In this course, we ask why so much value is placed on university degrees. Is a highly educated population necessary as the jobs of today and tomorrow require more knowledge than ever before? And is this typical of the Netherlands or does every country want a highly educated population? What types of inequality are created by our preference for higher education?

    6. Life Courses, Family & Health

    Matthijs Kalmijn

    Every parent wishes for one thing during childbirth: a healthy baby. In this course, we will examine the issue of health in three different phases of the human experience: childhood, mid-life and later life. We address a multitude of questions, such as how can we explain the increased number of autism diagnoses? Do unhealthy lifestyles lead to social exclusion? Are children willing to care for their parents later in life.

  • Minors & electives

    Sociology offers a wide range of opportunities to shape your Bachelor's programme in line with your own ambitions and interests. In addition to choosing two specialisations, you can also take electives from other programmes, spend a semester abroad or do an internship.

    Minor

    As part of your electives, you can opt to take a minor: a coherent study programme within a different degree programme that comprises 30 credits. This allows you to select combinations that suit your personal interests and supplement your sociological knowledge, e.g. a minor in Conflict Studies or Gender & Sexuality.

    Minors at the UvA

    Abroad

    You can also take electives while studying abroad for a semester.

    Electives

    It is also possible to take separate electives or do an internship as part of your Bachelor's programme.

  • Internships and studying abroad

    Internships

    You can also use your third-year elective programme to do an internship, e.g. in the field of journalism or within a social organisation. You can also do a research internship.

    Studying abroad

    International collaboration is vitally important to science. The UvA has made agreements with over 90 universities around the world in relation to student-exchange programmes. The Sociology programme has also agreed exchange contracts with a variety of other sociology departments, including universities in Berkeley, Berlin, Prague, Antwerp and Manchester. These exchange programmes allow you to spend a semester abroad during your third year. Nearly a quarter of all Sociology students take this opportunity to gain international experience.

    More information about stydying abroad

  • Academic student counselling and BSA

    Tutor and coordinator

    In the first year, you take part in a tutorial group with 20 to 25 students to develop your academic skills. Your lecturer is also your tutor. You will have two class meetings each week and two individual meetings with your tutor every semester. In addition, you can consult your tutor when you want to discuss issues that are related to your study progress or if you have other questions about your study.

    During the following years, you will receive feedback from your lecturers in all courses, who are also willing to answer questions related to the programme and, specifically, their courses.

    Study advisers

    Throughout your studies, you can contact the study advisers if you have questions regarding admission and course entry requirements or your academic plan (the various choices that you can make within the programme), but also to discuss personal problems affecting your study or matters such as study completion delay, study skills, exemptions, and university rules and regulations. Conversations and correspondence with the study advisers are considered confidential and will not be shared with, for instance, the lecturers without your consent.

    Binding study advice (BSA)

    In the first year of the Sociology Bachelor’s programme, you can obtain 60 ECTS credits. At the end of your first year of study, the faculty will issue a binding study advice (bindend studieadvies), based on your progress.

    For the Bachelor's programme in Sociology, this BSA means that you must have obtained at least 42 credits in first-year courses by the end of the first year of study.

    When you meet the requirements of the BSA, you will be given a positive study advice and you can continue your studies.

    If you do not meet these requirements, a negative binding study advice will be issued. In this case, you are not allowed to enrol for the same programme or a related programme at the UvA. If you fail to obtain the required number of credits due to personal problems such as illness or other issues in your personal life, you can make an appeal against the negative BSA. Be sure to consult the study advisers when preparing your appeal.