Students participating in a lecture

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

Translate social problems into sociological research from both micro (family, social networks, crime) and macro perspectives (welfare state, solidarity), and learn to evaluate and derive policy from the results.

Program overview

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

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

You can start either at the end of August or at the end of January.

Program content

This Master's program is socially, research and policy oriented. In the socially oriented part of the program, you will engage with questions such as: How can we explain the rise of populist parties? Is there a difference between countries? What is the impact of social class in today's society? Does globalization lead to more inequality?

In the research orientation, you will engage with quantitative or qualitative research techniques for your Master's thesis. 

In the policy oriented part of the program, you will address questions such as: How do different policies shape individual's behavior? How effective are those policies? You will also write a policy paper in one of the courses.

Block 1 (August - October)

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)

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.

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. If you are interested, you must contact the Program Coordinator of the Extended Master for information: Christof Van Mol (  

At the start of the Master’s program in Sociology, there will be an information meeting, where you will be informed on the application procedure, application deadline, possible partner organizations, and the structure of the program and 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

  • Taught in small, interactive workgroups with excellent individual thesis supervision.
  • A chance to enhance your skills and gain relevant work experience by doing an Extended Master's Program. This additional  semester to the total program provides you with a half-year traineeship position.
  • The opportunity to earn a degree from both Tilburg University and one of our partner universities with a double degree program:
  • Apart from the Politics, Policy and Society in Comparative Perspective track, the Master's program offers two other specialized tracks:
    • The Politics, Policy and Societal Development track gives you a different perspective on sustainable development based on the theories and methods pertinent to the Global Management of Social Issues discipline. This specialization addresses societal issues and sustainable development from a sociological perspective.
    • The Health, Wellbeing and Society track combines scientific insights from sociology and health sciences. With a strong collaboration with healthcare organizations, you will learn to become a specialist in the field of healthcare policy, societal resilience, and health and wellbeing

Interested in the MSc Sociology?

Check your eligibility and the deadlines for application

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