Why are social cleavages in society increasing? This master track offers insights into causes and consequences of social inequality, and sheds light on ways in which social policies can reduce it.
The programme consists of 60 ECTS. Three core courses and a thesis together add up to 45 ECTS focused on the Master’s programme specialisation Social Inequalities. The remaining 15 ECTS are devoted to a methods course and an elective. Please click on one of the courses in the programme overview below to see the course descriptions.
The programme features one elective in block 2, but an elective can also be selected from courses offered in other Master’s specialisations in Sociology.
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.
The curriculum is subject to alteration. No rights can be derived from this information.
- Social Inequalities: An introduction
- Social Science Research in practice
- Families and Inequalities
- Governing Social Inequalities: The role of welfare states and labour market characteristics
- Infrastructures of Power
- Political Attitudes and Behaviour in Context
Why study Master Social Inequalities
This programme trains you to become an expert in the field of social inequality. You will approach the issue of social inequality from different scientific perspectives. The theoretical pluralism of the programme provides you with essential critical, analytical and methodological skills.
" In the last couple of decades, throughout the world, social inequalities have grown. We need in-depth insight into the complex interplay between individual behaviour, family environment, organisational characteristics and social structure to understand the social processes that sustain inequality and to develop social policies that can reduce it."
Coordinator of the programme
What is this specialisation about?
Why is the gap in social, behavioural, and financial outcomes between individuals from higher and lower social strata increasing over time? Why are family ties becoming more important in order to be successful in life? How can welfare policies help to reduce social inequality in a given society? If you are keen to answer these questions, this Master’s programme is the right choice for you.
At the local, national and global level, an intense period of social transformation and fragmentation can be observed. Catchphrases such as detraditionalisation, globalisation, neoliberalization and automation involve real transformations of work and family life, of cities and states, and of citizen’s entitlements and international mobilities. Certainties in work are increasingly being replaced by uncertainties in the course of flexibilisation. Migration has changed the face and structure of both cities and families whereas new technologies transform both work and urban government. These social transformations have led to growing social inequalities across countries in the world. Within this context, scientists, politicians and policymakers realise that it is vital to gain a better understanding of social inequalities as it enables them to address these issues.
To do so, scholars have stressed the need to look beyond individual characteristics and take into account the interdependencies in people’s lives. Life chances and well-being are not solely structured and determined by individual cultural and human capital, but increasingly by partner relationships, parenthood, care and work obligations, and intergenerational transmissions of e.g. knowledge or skills between family members as well. Furthermore, organisational, legal and policy contexts create conditions that mitigate or strengthen these social (gender, class and generational) inequalities. In order to understand the complex interplay between social structure, family environment, and individual behaviour, it is important to bridge divisions between disciplines to provide a detailed understanding of the ways in which social inequality manifests itself across diverse communities and contexts at the national and international level.
Why study the Master’s programme Social inequalities?
Our programme offers a unique interdisciplinary perspective on how social inequalities come about, are maintained or strengthened and how they can also be reduced. Using insights from stratification and family sociology, public policy, work and organisational psychology, pedagogy and welfare state research, students will learn about the causes and consequences of social inequality and the social processes that sustain it. Moreover, they will learn how social policies can reduce it. Professors with extensive expertise on the different topics will share their knowledge during the lectures. Small-scale interactive tutorials help to develop in-depth insights and analytical skills.
Due to the unique interdisciplinary approach offered at Erasmus University Rotterdam, you will learn to answer questions like:
- What has been the impact of the recent economic crisis on individuals' living and working conditions, on their family and career choices, and on social inequalities?
- How does the interaction between markets (e.g. availability, quality, and cost of services) and states (e.g. social policies and national laws) shape family experiences and social inequalities?
- What is the impact of changes on the macro level (e.g. policy changes such as those aiming at higher levels of individual responsibility; parental leave) on individual life courses and outcomes (e.g. employment, health, and socioeconomic status)?
- How do the institutions of welfare states and the labour market mitigate social risks?
Career opportunities for Master Social Inequalities
The Master’s programme Social Inequalities is a comprehensive and wide-ranging programme that provides an introduction to a range of interdisciplinary approaches to the social scientific analysis of social inequalities. This Master’s programme prepares you for policy, research and applied careers in the government sector, at NGOs, in politics, public administration, social and health services, journalism, and (human resource) management. The programme will enable you to develop a theoretical awareness of different conceptions of the meaning of inequality. It will introduce you to different methods that can be applied to measure inequality, both quantitative and qualitative. In addition, it will equip you with in-depth insight into the complex interplay between individual behaviour, family environment, organisational characteristics and social structure. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme provides you with critical, analytical and methodological skills. Thus, you are able to deploy your specialist expertise in a clear, efficient and effective manner. You will develop transferable skills in research, analysis and communication, as well as in-depth knowledge that can be applied across a range of domains and contexts.
After the completion of this Master’s programme you will:
- Have developed theoretical awareness of different conceptions of the meaning of inequality.
- Be able to apply an interdisciplinary theoretical framework to analyse issues of social inequality.
- Have in-depth insight into the complex interplay between individual behaviour, family environment, organisational characteristics and social structure.
- Be able to assess the impact of changes on the macro level (e.g. policy changes such as those aiming at higher levels of individual responsibility; parental leave) on individual life courses and outcomes (e.g. employment, health, and socioeconomic status).
- Be able to illustrate how the institutions of welfare states and the labour market mitigate social risks while they simultaneously produce new social risk (often as unintended consequences).
- Have critical, analytical and methodological skills with which you can deploy your specialist expertise in a clear, efficient and effective manner.
- Have developed transferable skills in research, analysis and communication, as well as in-depth knowledge that can be applied across a range of domains and contexts.
- Official CROHO name: Sociology
- Programme name: Social Inequalities
- Instruction language: English
- Type: Master
- Duration: 1 year
- Location: Campus Woudestein, Rotterdam
- Tuition fees (2019-2020):
- €2.083 (Statutory fee)
- €11.900 (Institutional fee: EEA/EU students)
- €14.900 (Institutional fee: NON-EEA/EU students)
Program taught in: