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.

First intake moment - September

You will take the following courses in block 1 (September- October):

  • 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. 
  • 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. 

You will take the following courses in block 2 (October - January):

  • 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. 
  • Master's thesis Sociology

You will take the following courses in block 3 (February - April):

  • 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 from a micro-macro perspective. 
  • 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. 
  • Master's thesis Sociology

You will take the following courses in block 4 (April - August):

  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Master's thesis Sociology
Second intake moment - February

Note: the second intake moment starts with block 3, however, it can be regarded as block 1 et cetera.

You will take the following courses in block 3 (February - April):

  • 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 from a micro-macro perspective. 
  • 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. 

You will take the following courses in block 4 (April - August):

  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Master's thesis Sociology

You will take the following courses in block 1 (September - October):

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Master's thesis Sociology

You will take the following courses in block 2 (October - January):

  • 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. 
  • Master's thesis Sociology
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. 

  • Preferably, your Master's thesis has a strong link with the departmental research program.
  • Your Master's thesis is an individual work on a research topic of your choice.
  • You work on your Master's thesis in a thesis circle with several students and a supervisor.
  • In case you do the Extended Master, it is preferable (but not mandatory) to connect the thesis to your traineeship.

Examples of Master's theses:

  • Factors that explain political trust among first- and second-generation immigrants in Europe
  • How does the LGBTQ+ movement operate in Hungary?
  • The effect of status and emotions on populist voting
  • What are the motives for fighting in a foreign military?
  • The gender gap in welfare attitudes: fact or fable?
  • Are volunteers willing to take on the responsibility of providing welfare?

Watch a trial lecture

You will find a detailed description of the courses of the first intake moment in our course catalog.

Go to the course descriptions - start September

You will find a detailed description of the courses of the second intake moment in our course catalog.

Go to the course descriptions - start February


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.


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Extend your Master's with an internship

You have the opportunity to do an Extended Master's to deepen your knowledge and skills. In the Extended Master's program Sociology: Politics, Policy and Society in Comparative Perspective, you will extend your Master's program by half a year in which you do a half-year internship (30 ECTS) in Dutch or English. During the internship, 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 internship, you will receive a professional certificate in addition to your MSc. This experience will boost your position in the job market.

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 an internship 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: Politics, Policy and Society in Comparative Perspective?

Check your eligibility and the deadlines for application

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