MSc in Sociology

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Program Description

MSc in Sociology

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences


Master of Science (MSc) in Sociology

Erasmus University

Find out how cities are becoming new nodes in a world previously dominated by nation-states, analyse how national governments manage diversity and inequalities, learn about the ways in which new technologies impact work and its organisation, gain insight into pressing political dissatisfaction and the causes and consequences of political fragmentation.

You’ll learn to answer the above questions by means of the latest insights from both theory and research, provided by dedicated professors who are in the top of their field. It’s not just a cutting-edge programme: Erasmus University Rotterdam is a highly ranked university in a diverse and vibrant city – the ideal setting for acquiring an understanding of contemporary society.

Why study a Master in Sociology in Rotterdam?

  • The programme focuses on pressing social problems and intriguing social phenomena;
  • You will acquire state-of-the-art insights from sociology and related disciplines;
  • You will learn how to apply social theory to the big issues of contemporary society;
  • You will be inspired by enthusiastic scholars who are among the top of the discipline.

Choose your specialisation

Please see below for information about the specialisation within this Master programme. Whether a specialisation is offered full-time or part-time, is indicated accordingly.

Governance of Migration and Diversity

What is this specialisation about?

Migration and diversity are key factors in one of the most fundamental transformations of society today. This transformation does not involve just migrants; it involves society at large. Migration and diversity play a key role in almost any domain of today’s society, at many different levels and in various types of organisations. They play a role in education, housing, labour, international relations, they are on the agenda of the United Nations, the European Union, the national government and increasingly also the local level and even the neighbourhood level of government. Migration and diversity are addressed by governments as well as by businesses, international organisations, research institutes and non-governmental organisations.

This specialisation focuses on sociological theories and research about the drivers of migration and the integration of immigrants in receiving countries. Immigrant incorporation is analysed in both structural terms (labour market positions of migrants and the problem of discrimination) and in cultural terms (specifically related to Islam and Muslims in Europe). Gender and migration is another topic that is addressed in the course.

Do you want to learn more about migration and diversity? Examples of a multidisciplinary perspective on migration and diversity issues can be found here.

Joint programme

The Master specialisation of Governance of Migration and Diversity integrates knowledge from various disciplines with a focus on how public and private organisations can respond to the opportunities and challenges offered by migration and diversity. It brings together history, sociology, politics, international development and urbanism as a foundation for a better understanding of the governance of migration and diversity.

The programme is a collaboration between Erasmus University Rotterdam (including the Institute for Social Studies in The Hague), Leiden University and Delft University of Technology. The cooperation between these universities provides a unique combination of varied expertise within a single Master programme. Students can apply to one of four tracks: History (Leiden University), Sociology, Public Administration (both Erasmus University) and International Relations & Development (ISS, The Hague).

Why choose this programme?

We offer:

  • Knowledge helping you address governance issues related to migration and diversity from a multidisciplinary perspective;
  • Courses offered by leading scholars from three universities and five academic disciplines;
  • Education that directly relates to current issues and trains students to contribute to the governance of migration and diversity in the context of very different organisations.


Besides the general part with mandatory disciplinary courses, you will follow track-specific courses. The general and the track-specific parts each comprise 50% of the Master programme.

Mode of education

The Master programme in Governance of Migration and Diversity provides state-of-the-art courses and training by dedicated scholars from five academic disciplines. Students will take classes in which interaction between the students as well as between students and professors is central. In these classes, attention is paid to the discussion of current events related to migration and diversity.

Management and Organisation

What is this specialisation about?

Are organisations in constant flux? Are we moving towards a New World of Work? Are governments no longer able to steer the labour market? Answering such questions requires in-depth knowledge about the dynamics of organisations, networks, and institutions. The specialisation of Management & Organisation offers students the theoretical, analytical, and empirical means to assess the various dynamics.

In this programme, you will learn to reflect on current changes, theoretically and empirically. It is often argued that we enter an era of the New World of Work. This raises a lot of questions about the governance of economic processes, such as: How are organisations and jobs affected by the technological change? How are organisational networks governed? You learn to assess whether or not the New World of Work represents a clear break with the past as developments in contemporary society are put in a comparative perspective, both historically and internationally.

After completing this specialisation, students have a better understanding of the dynamics of firms, networks and institutions. Hence, they are equipped to analyse and advice organisations and governments on issues such as the management of organisations and labour market issues. Furthermore, the specialisation prepares them to advance a research-oriented career, both applied and academic.

Why choose this programme?

A unique program connecting, firms, networks, and national policies. Interactive discussions in small workgroups. After graduating, you can work as an advisor for firms and governments or as a policy researcher. Curriculum

The programme consists of 60 ECTS. Three core courses and a thesis together add up to 45 ECTS focused on the specialisation Management & Organisation. The remaining 15 ECTS is devoted to two electives.

Mode of education

Each core course is composed of a series of lectures and small-scale tutorials. The lectures present the main theoretical and empirical insights about the topic of the course. In the tutorials, students learn to analyse and apply these insights by discussing and presenting various assignments in small groups.

Politics and Society

What is this specialisation about?

Do you wonder how political distrust, cultural conflicts and rising support for populist parties can be understood? Are you interested in the influence of media on political attitudes and behaviour? This master programme might be the right choice for you.

A new political culture characterizes contemporary western democracies. Reflecting broader societal transformations of globalisation and individualisation, voters and parties increasingly focus on hotly contested issues related to, for instance, national identities, ethnic diversity, immigration, crime and safety, and law and order. Besides the political landscape is scattered, with ‘floating’ and discontented voters who seem to frequently change their electoral preferences, which now include new populist parties.

Understanding the causes and consequences of massive changes in the relationship between politics and society calls for a unique perspective offered in Rotterdam. We combine both classic and state-of-the-art sociological theories and research with insights from political science to provide an in-depth understanding of contemporary politics. After this programme, you can work as an advisor for policy or politics and are also well-prepared for jobs in journalism, consultancy, (applied) research and (academic) teaching. Thanks to this unique approach you will learn to answer questions like:

  • What are the causes of political fragmentation and what are its consequences for governing modern societies?
  • How does new information, for instance on the effects of immigration, sentencing or vaccine programs, affect citizens’ political attitudes?
  • How can we understand local variation in opposition to asylum seekers?
  • Does public opinion affect governments' policies or are they driven by interest group interests?

Why choose this programme?

  • Other than most Masters’ addressing politics, our programme offers a unique sociological perspective on the relationship between politics and society;
  • Small-scale interactive tutorials help to develop in-depth insights and analytical skills;
  • The programme is taught by dedicated professors who belong to the top of their field.


The programme consists of 60 ECTS. Three core courses and a thesis together add up to 45 ECTS focused on the specialisation Politics & Society. The remaining 15 ECTS is devoted to two electives.

After graduation

After completing this master programme you will be able to:

  • understand the causes and political implications of cultural and economic conflicts in western democracies;
  • understand the political attitudes and behaviour of citizens, social movements, political parties and governments;
  • analyse contemporary politics by applying up to date theories and concepts;
  • present your insights, and contribute to discussions, on contemporary politics in an international setting;
  • critically evaluate and dissect academic texts, provide constructive feedback to peers, and write research proposals.

Mode of education

Each core course is composed of a series of lectures and small-scale tutorials. The lectures present the main theoretical and empirical insights about the topic of the course. In the tutorials, students learn to analyse and apply these insights by discussing and presenting various assignments in small groups.

Urban Studies

What is this specialisation about?

Contemporary society is highly urbanized: the majority of the world population lives in cities and urban populations are growing rapidly all over the globe. Central in this specialisation are the two main features of present-day cities: the increasing diversity of their populations and the inequality of their economies.

This specialisation aims at addressing urban developments and issues in such a way as to both understand urban dynamics theoretically in an encompassing and comparative way, and to provide insights in the possibilities and impossibilities of policies of urban management and urban renewal in the broadest sense of the word. Students will get acquainted with both the main scientific theories on urban diversity and inequality, and the policies devised to deal with contemporary urban problems, as migration and ethnic conflict, and the international competitiveness of cities.

Completion of the programme will make students well prepared for a successful career in urban policymaking, urban research, advice, and academia.

Why choose this programme?

  • The programme offers an international comparative perspective;
  • Linking macro developments as globalisation and individualisation to concrete, everyday urban lifeworlds;
  • A theoretically based, practical and policy focus on urban problems.


The programme consists of 60 ECTS. Three core courses and a thesis together add up to 45 ECTS focused on the specialisation Urban Studies. The remaining 15 ECTS is devoted to two electives.

Mode of education

Each core course is composed of a series of lectures and small-scale tutorials. The lectures present the main theoretical and empirical insights about the topic of the course. In the tutorials, students learn to analyse and apply these insights by discussing and presenting various assignments in small groups.

Career opportunities

Once graduated, you will be able to work in various high-end jobs because you will be able to:

  • Analyse complex social problems using insights from both scientific theory and research;
  • Apply these insights to reflect on future developments;
  • Collect and process data in a scientific manner;
  • Substantiate and clearly communicate your findings.

Governance of Migration and Diversity

After completing this specialisation you will be able to identify and analyse social issues related to migration and diversity and are able to provide advice on these problems.

During this Master programme you will:

  • Develop a multi-disciplinary understanding of migration and diversity, including history, development studies, sociology, public administration and urbanism;
  • Acquire a methodological understanding of how to study migration and diversity;
  • Develop an understanding of the governance implications of migration and diversity at the local (urban), regional, national as well as European and international levels;
  • Obtain professional skills in terms of designing strategies for the management of migration and diversity at the policy level.

Graduates of Governance of Migration and Diversity with a specialisation in Sociology will be suitable candidates for (research) positions in organisations in civic society (e.g., unions, political parties, research institutes), governmental organisations (policy-makers, policy advisors, lobbyists) and business organisations (e.g, HR, consultancy) on the local, national or international levels.

Management & Organisation

Today's economy is characterized by complex organisations that are strongly interconnected. Answering the questions that this raises for the governance of private firms and public organisations as well as the role of the government requires people who possess the analytical skills and the ability to translate theory into practice.

After graduation you can work as:

  • Consultant to support private firms and public organisations on strategic issues and human resource policies;
  • Advisor or policymaker for the government, in particular with regard to social policies;
  • Leader of a network organisation, such as a temporary public-private alliance geared towards a specific project;
  • Policy researcher in a diversity of fields, such a labour markets, social policies, and organisational policies;
  • Scientific researcher pursuing an academic career in the area of organisational studies, social policy studies, and so on.

Politics & Society

Today’s political landscape urgently needs people with in-depth insight into the interplay between politics and society. New pressing issues such as rampant political cynicism and discontent, the rise of populism, and ‘floating’ electorates, all call for experts who are able to analyse the link between societal and political developments.

After graduation, your sharp analytical, sociological eye and your thorough knowledge of social scientific research, provides a solid basis for favourable career opportunities in various fields. You could for instance work as:

  • Policy officer at supranational, national, regional or local governments;
  • Policy officer at political or public think tanks and social scientific advisory councils;
  • Policy officer at NGOs addressing social problems;
  • Researcher at governmental institutions, consultancy firms, research centres, and (applied/ research) universities;
  • Consultant for (semi-)governmental institutions;
  • Journalist, media advisor, or editor at outlets focusing on politics and society.

Urban Studies

This Master specialisation provides insights, tools and competencies that can be applied to complex urban problems found anywhere in the modern world.

After graduation you can work as:

Researcher or advisor for national, regional or local governments dealing with urban renewal, spatial segregation, housing problems, crime, migration and integration; Co-worker in urban organisations as housing associations, real estate developers and architectural firms to provide the social input for urban planning and design; Coordinator of neighbourhood and district projects focusing on activating and mobilizing deprived groups in order to strengthen social cohesion, participation and local attachment; Representative of a municipality who is engaged in city marketing and city branding in order to attract investments, tourists and events to a city in order to strengthen its local economy; Teacher on urban issues and policies in institutions of higher learning. Pursuing an academic career?

If you want to proceed with advanced, research-oriented education in the field of sociology you can apply for our Research Master’s in the Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts. This programme is specifically designed to prepare you to carry out research leading to a doctorate degree.

If you have demonstrated academic excellence and motivation during your Master’s specialisation in Politics & Society and your English meets the standard, you will be allowed to complete an abridged research Master’s programme of approximately one year.


Prior education

Depending on the specialisation you wish to apply for, you are eligible for admission to the programme if you have obtained a relevant Bachelor or undergraduate degree from a research university in the following fields of studies:

Admission to Prior education in
All specialisations Social Sciences /Sociology / Public Administration
Governance of Migration and Diversity Political Science / European Studies / International Relations / Social Geography/ Liberal Arts
Politics & Society Political Sciences / European Studies / International Relations / Communication Science
Management & Organisation Labour Studies / Organisational Studies / Economics / Business Administration / HR Studies
Urban Studies Urban Studies / Human Geography / Urban and Regional Planning
Politics & Society, Management & Organisation and Urban Studies Apart from a relevant degree you are expected to have:
  • familiarity with sociological theory and social science methodology;
  • had courses related to the chosen specialisation and affinity with global/ international contemporary social problems (e.g., by having had courses in the bachelor curriculum).

Proof of proficiency in the English language

Please note that the test may not be older than two years at the time of application. Also, note that it takes several weeks before the results of the tests are known. Take this into consideration when you think of applying. Without the results, we will not be able to assess your application.

Language Test Minimum Score Minimum Sub-scores
TOEFL (our TOEFL ID Code 5971) 90 (internet based) 20
IELTS 6.5 6.0
CEF (Common European Framework) C1-level -
Cambridge EFL (English as a Foreign Language) Examinations CAE level B; CPE level C -


You might be exempted from presenting the proof of English proficiency if:

  • You are a native speaker of English (i.e. a national of one of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America) and you have obtained a diploma of secondary education in English for at least 2,5 years in one of the above countries and/or
  • You have obtained a diploma of International Baccalaureate (valid for 5 years) and/or
  • You have obtained your diploma of higher education in English (the entire programme).

Please mind that in case you believe that you qualify for an exemption you need to present a proof thereof. If you have obtained your diploma of higher education in English we need to see a written proof of it in the form of either a passage in the diploma, grade list, or a letter from the university stating that the language of instruction was English for the entire programme.

Academic performance

In addition to the credentials mentioned above, the Admissions Board will also take into account your academic performance, i.e. your grades. Please note that there is no minimum score or average grade mentioned; your application will be assessed against the pool of applicants of the given year.

Contributing aspects

You may choose to provide the Admissions Board with additional information about yourself by uploading additional documents that you think might contribute to your profile. An example of such documents could be motivation and/ or reference letter.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated March 15, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
1 year
Full time
14,300 EUR
€ 2.006 (EU/EEA)*, € 14.300 (Non EU/EEA)
Netherlands - Rotterdam, South Holland
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
Netherlands - Rotterdam, South Holland
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info