Students participating in a lecture

Program and courses Sociology: Politics, Policy and Society in Comparative Perspective

Study issues such as populism, social movements and the welfare state. Learn to evaluate social policy and use research as input for new policy. You look at important societal questions from a sociological standpoint, and investigate problems related to politics, social cohesion and inequality.

Program overview

This one-year Master's program consists of 60 credits (ECTS):

  • 5 core courses (36 ECTS)
  • Master’s thesis (24 ECTS)

The program is divided into four blocks and has two intake moments. You can start either at the end of August (first intake moment) or at the end of January (second intake moment). You can find the program content for each intake moment below.

Program content

This Master's program has three orientations: social, research and policy. In the socially oriented part of the program, you will investigate questions related to the rise of populism, differences between countries, impact of class difference, globalization, and inequality. In the research orientation, you will learn research methods that you can use for your Master's thesis, and which give you the analytical tools to be critical and to find answers. In the policy orientation, you will investigate the effect of social policy on behavior and society. You will also look at the effectiveness of policy and write a policy paper in one of the courses.

Block 1 (August - October) (First intake moment)

You will take the following courses in block 1:

  • Social Movements: Social Media, Democracy and Change
    You get a thorough introduction into the scientific field of social movement research. In a globalizing context and the current network and information society, it has become easier than ever to connect with people, share ideas and mobilize in collective action. In the recent decade we have seen several examples in which local movements spread globally through social media. 
  • Analyse Seminar Master Sociology
  • Master Seminar Sociology: From Theory to Research
    Throughout the program, you participate in the Master's seminar Sociology, which prepares you for writing your thesis. 
Block 2 (October - January)

You will take the following courses in block 2:

  • Social Policy and Social Risks
    Address social policy and welfare states and discover how various 'welfare regime types' have developed over time in different countries, reflective of different concepts of social solidarity and leading to varied outcomes in terms of economic well-being, stratification patterns, and life-course risks.
  • Master Seminar Sociology: From Theory to Research
    Throughout the program, you participate in the Master's seminar Sociology, which prepares you for writing your thesis. 
  • Analyse Seminar Master Sociology
  • Master's thesis
Block 3 (January - March) (Second intake moment)

You will take the following courses in block 3:

  • The Social Structures of Western Societies
    During this course, you get an outline of the main sociological concepts, theories, research and debates of the social structure of western society in general, and three important elements (social class, family and ethnicity) in particular. Learn to describe and explain the impact of national institutions, history and traditions, and overarching trends such as modernization and globalization in a micro-macro perspective. 
  • Analyse Seminar Master Sociology
  • Master's thesis
Block 4 (March - June)

You will take the following courses in block 4:

  • Politics and Society in Comparative Perspective
    Develop cross-country analyses of politics and societies, particularly focusing on the rise of populistic groups and of populistic rhetoric.
  • Analyse Seminar Master Sociology
  • Master's thesis
Master's thesis

Throughout the program, you participate in the Master's Seminar Sociology, which prepares you for writing your thesis by training you in academic and research skills. In the first block, you will 

  • Preferably, your Master's thesis has a strong link with the departmental research program.
  • You can choose your own research topic, you don't have to choose one from a predetermined list.
  • Your thesis can either have an empirical theoretical accent, with scientifically relevant conclusions, or it could be a sociological analysis of a social or practical problem and existing interventions, leading to relevant policy conclusions. 
  • In case you do the Extended Master, it is preferable (but not mandatory) to connect the thesis to the junior traineeship.

Examples of Master's thesis subjects:

  • Discrimination of minorities in the labor market
  • Is judicial legitimacy declining and why?
  • Health apps and psychological constraints
  • School dropout among ethnic minorities
  • Social contacts and feelings of trust
  • Religiosity and civic morality in the Netherlands
  • Analysis of European values

You will find a detailed description of the courses and required literature in our course catalog.

Go to the course descriptions


Please note: programs are subject to change. We advise you to look up the current program in OSIRIS Student at the start of the year.


Do you want to know more about this Master’s program?

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Extend your Master with a junior traineeship

You have the opportunity to extend your Master's program by half a year, in which you do a junior traineeship (30 ECTS), in Dutch or English. During the traineeship you will dedicate half your time to research activities in the internship organization, and half your time researching and writing your Master's thesis. After completing the traineeship, you will receive a professional certificate in addition to your MSc. 

Generally, if you want to do an Extended Master, you can do it if you are hired by the partner organization. You can either do your Extended Master at one of the Academic Collaborative Centers at Tranzo, or at one of the partner organizations of the Extended Master.

Admission and Application Extended Master

You can only apply for the Extended Master once you have started the Master's program in Sociology: Politics, Policy, and Society in Comparative perspective. 

At the start of the Master’s program in Sociology: Politics, Policy and Society in Comparative Perspective, you get more information about the Extended Master's program in a track-specific meeting. During this meeting, you will be informed on the application procedure (motivation letter + cv + interview with the partner organization), application deadline, possible partner organizations, and the structure of the program and the traineeship.

Partner organizations:

  • Gemeente Tilburg (onderzoeksdepartement) 
  • AO Consult (Arbeid Opleidingen Consult) 
  • Movisie (Landelijk Kennisinstituut en Adviesbureau voor maatschappelijke ontwikkeling) 
  • Mulier (Instituut ter bevordering van de sociaal-wetenschappelijke kennisontwikkeling en beleidseffectiviteit op het terrein van sport) 
  • Nivel (Nederlands instituut voor onderzoek van de gezondheidszorg) 
  • PON (sociaal-cultureel planbureau voor Brabant) 
  • ROA (The Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market, Maastricht) 
  • SCP (Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau) 
  • Oberon (Onderzoeks- en adviesbureau voor de onderwijs- en welzijnssector, Utrecht) 
  • OI (Onderwijs Inspectie (OW)) 
  • Inspectie SZW (Sociale Inlichtingen- en Opsporingsdienst, Ministerie van SZW) 
  • CBS (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek) 
  • Gemeente Helmond (Afdeling Onderzoek en Statistiek)  
  • Gemeente Breda (Afdeling Onderzoek en Informatie) 
  • Verweij Jonker Instituut 
  • European Values Study, Tilburg University 

Short overview of Sociology: Politics, Policy and Society in Comparative Perspective

  • Become part of a small-scale, interactive education environment, with excellent individual thesis supervision
  • Apart from lectures, you will have interactive seminars with group and individual assignments. The program offers blended learning, with work-from-home elements as well as on-campus seminars and lectures.
  • Enhance your skills and gain relevant work experience by doing a traineeship in the Extended Master's program.
  • With a Double Degree program, you have the opportunity to earn a degree from both Tilburg University and one of our partner universities.

Interested in the MSc Sociology?

Check your eligibility and the deadlines for application

Related tracks:

Double Degree programs: