What is urban about sneakers? Why is the city a refuge for queer people? How much does Instagram say about a city? What are the politics of building a mosque, a church and a Buddhist temple? What is participatory about the participatory design? Urban Sociology track provides its graduates with an in-depth, research-informed and theoretically driven understanding of urban society.
The programme draws its strength directly from the exceptional expertise of its international faculty and its location, Amsterdam. This celebrated, vibrant city serves as a laboratory for students’ exploration of urban topics. Classes may take place in parks and assignments invoke streets. To make their skills relevant students learn about other cities of the Global South, as much as the Global North, where they also have an option to conduct their individual research.
A special focus in the program is on social organisation and its relationship to the physical environment, while the methodological emphasis is on ethnography and the qualitative methods of research. By learning about what shapes urban spaces, how they respond to change and politics, and how to research and understand them, students become experts in the field of social relations, social problems and policy in the urban context. A combination of theoretical training, practical exercises and internship prepares students to the realities of working in international contexts and facing a constantly diversifying social ecologies of cities.
Urban sociology at the University of Amsterdam addresses the fundamentals of urban inequality, justice and politics through a close engagement with a diversity of publics: city residents and politicians, workers and entrepreneurs, bus drivers and drug users, and many more. Direct contact, observation, casual conversation and pre-arranged interviews, mental maps and auto-ethnography are some typical actions that our students take and skills they use when researching. The program combines the knowledge acquired in the classroom with its practical application during the research period and the internship work. It is intense and rigorous, and requires a good amount of independent work. Students are drawn from a variety of fields in social sciences, but are expected to have an experience of conducting a socio-scientific research.
The Urban Sociology track offers a strong grounding in sociological thought and produces students who are able to:
You are provided the theoretical tools to understand how large cities operate in a global world, the factors that make some cities more successful than others, the driving forces behind urban conflicts, the policy instruments available to address pressing urban problems, and the role of civil society organisations in ameliorating the lives of urban residents.
Moreover, the comparative nature of the courses allows you to bring a uniquely international understanding to your knowledge about cities.
Lastly, as all the courses are in English, you will finish the programme with advanced abilities to reason, debate, and write in this language. These competencies make you desirable to a diverse range of employers engaged in urban issues.
The lecturers in the Urban Sociology programme are engaged in many of the cutting edge debates on cities in a global setting. Moreover, their international backgrounds provide students with a unique opportunity to approach the “urban” question through a uniquely comparative lens. While the lecturers share a common vision of what Urban Sociology is, they also draw on different theories and perspectives to explore the impact of cities on our social worlds.
For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master’s programme in Urban Studies and Social Sciences.
Urban Sociology is a track of the accredited degree programme Sociology. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in Sociology and the title Master of Science (MSc).
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