MSc in Sociology: Social Problems and Social Policy

University of Amsterdam

Program Description

MSc in Sociology: Social Problems and Social Policy

University of Amsterdam

MSc in Sociology: Social Problems and Social Policy

Language of instruction: English

Starts in: September

Social Problems and Social Policy offers students an insight into the ways in which social problems are defined and tackled within contemporary welfare states, analysing the roles ascribed to citizens, professionals and other stakeholders within these processes. It considers the recent histories of various policy approaches and puts these in a comparative European context.

Social Problems and Social Policy combines a broad foundation of sociological theory and research methods training with a more specific focus on the construction of social problems and attempts by policymakers to solve these. The different components of the programme combine to enhance your skills in applying social theory to deconstruct contemporary social issues from a range of critical perspectives .

The distinctive qualities of the programme are in its combining of constructionist perspectives with applied, case-oriented approaches to evaluate policy effectiveness. In linking these two approaches, the course enables you to develop critically incisive yet constructive insights into a range of contemporary problems and policy approaches. More specialised courses include those focusing on pertinent themes of active citizenship or vulnerable groups, alongside a more comparative approach to European welfare states, industrial relations and labour market policies.

Focus on research

The track's core academic staff are engaged in innovative research in the field of social policy and social problems and are mainly drawn from the UvA Programme Group ‘Dynamics of Citizenship and Culture' (Sociology). Their expertise in the area of Dutch and other European policy environments, not least in relation to major urban centres like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, also means they are active in advising policy makers. Experts draw on their own research in teaching the topics and approaches of the tracks courses. This enables a close synergy between teaching and learning on the one hand and the very latest research perspectives on the other.

In this track students acquire the academic knowledge, critical awareness and research skills needed to play an active and/or research role in this field. The programme is theory-driven, problem oriented and interdisciplinary, linking critical social scientific concepts and theory to applied research in salient policy contexts. The programme culminates in students developing their own thesis research, closely mentored and guided by a supervisor with expertise in the particular area of investigation.

Study programme

First semester

The programme (60 ECTS) starts with a theory course in Sociological Perspectives and a Thematic Core Course which is part of the track. In the second block students follow an elective preferably relevant to the topic of the thesis. The first semester ends with an intensive Winter School in methods. Different courses are offered in both quantitative and qualitative methodology.

During the semester students will also follow a course in Labour Market Orientation, preparing them for the labour market.

Second semester

In the second semester, students start with another elective and a thesis seminar in which they will write their research proposal. The programme is concluded with a Master's thesis.


The Master’s in Sociology culminates in the writing of a thesis, which is the final test of your academic skills. Your thesis should show your ability to carry out independent and creative research, written up in a format which adheres to academic conventions. This makes your thesis the most important and most challenging, but also the hardest part of your Master’s programme.

The Master’s thesis is supervised in thematic thesis groups, which start in the beginning of the second semester. They usually consist of 5 to 10 students. Each tracks has its own thematic thesis groups.

Degree requirements

The Master of Science degree (60 ECTS) is awarded only after successful completion of all the course requirements and the Master's thesis.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Cost & Fees

The statutory tuition fee (except for the part-time rate) is determined annually by the Dutch government. Institutional tuition fee rates are set by the higher education institutions individually, and apply to students who do not meet the conditions for the statutory tuition fee rate.

The tuition fee rate is valid for a full academic year. The rate for enrolment as of 1 February can be determined by calculating 7/12ths of the given rate.

Statutory tuition fees 2016-2017

Specification Amount

  • full-time students € 1,984
  • part-time students € 1,706
  • dual programme students € 1,984
  • AUC students € 4,154
  • PPLE students € 3,968

Information for students from the Netherlands, the EEA, the EU, Switzerland and Suriname.

Students from the Netherlands, other countries within the European Economic Area (EEA), the EU, Switzerland and Suriname pay the statutory tuition fees if they satisfy the legal requirements. Institutional fee for students who do not qualify for the statutory fees

You are required to pay the institutional tuition fee if:

  • you are not a national of an EU or EEA Member State, Switzerland or Suriname;
  • after obtaining your Dutch Bachelor's degree you enrol in a second Bachelor's programme;
  • after obtaining your Dutch Master's degree you enrol in a second Master's programme;
  • you fail to satisfy all the conditions under one of the UvA's transitional arrangements. You can find the regulations in the 2015-2016 Enrolment Provisions or the 2016-2017 Enrolment Provisions (in Dutch).

Last updated December 22, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
12 months
Full time
12,000 EUR
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Start date: Sept. 2017
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2017
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
institutional fee, per year.