What glues a society together? How can trust and cooperation be promoted and conflict be avoided? What is the role of social networks, social norms and formal institutions in these processes? What causes inequality in general and inequality between men and women in the job market in particular? Why do immigrants have higher unemployment rates and lower-paid jobs? How do environments and institutions shape people’s values, attitudes and behaviours? And how do these individuals’ values, attitudes and behaviours shape society at large?

In the Master’s program Sociology and Social Research, you will learn how to answer these questions. We will teach you to develop explanations for relevant social phenomena using state-of-the-art theory from Sociology, but also other disciplines such as Economics and Psychology. You will test these explanations using quantitative empirical research methods.

This program is closely related to the research program of the Department of Sociology and is embedded in the Interuniversity Centre for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS). The program is recognised as a high quality program and has been awarded high ratings by different organisations in the Netherlands.


The program’s international character offers you global perspectives on sociological topics as well as a broad range of research opportunities. About 40% of our students come from abroad and prominent international scholars teach masterclasses. During your electives, you have the opportunity to follow courses or do an internship at another university or research institute in the Netherlands or abroad. You will be able to choose your thesis topic from a broad range of topics.


In this two-year Master’s program, you will learn to operate as a highly qualified social science researcher. You will integrate social theory and state-of-the-art quantitative empirical research methods. You will have the opportunity to make choices that fit your goals, by choosing to do an internship and by selecting the topic of your thesis from a list of major sociological research questions, provided by our excellent researchers and lecturers who will be your supervisors. Interdisciplinary cooperation and methodical rigor are the basis for a creative addressing of today’s and future societal challenges, and these are the skills that you will acquire in the Master’s program Sociology and Social Research. Your studies will prepare you for a career that requires strong research skills in the public or private sector, or as a PhD student.


There is a need in society for well-trained researchers with extensive knowledge of social science theories and methodologies. This Master’s program connects with current major social issues and prepares you for a career in research, whether in academia (PhD training), at research institutes, or governmental organisations. You will also be prepared for a non-scientific career path.


As a graduate of this program, you will be a highly trained researcher and well-qualified to work as a scientific researcher in the social sciences.

Graduates are working in positions such as:

  • Typically, around 58% of our graduates continue on to a PhD. Our graduates have obtained PhD positions at institutes such as the Interuniversity Centre for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS), Cornell University, Ithaka, US; University of Mannheim, Germany; University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
  • Researcher a research institute (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI); Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL); Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS) or research institutes in the private sector.

What does your job involve?

PhD student:
You will conduct research at a university in the Netherlands or abroad, writing scientific publications and working as a lecturer for Bachelor’s and Master’s students.

Researcher at a research institute:
You will perform research in various areas of society and contribute to reports that monitor or support government policies.


Students who regard the MSc as the terminus of their academic education can capitalise on their:

  • research experience;
  • analytical, research, and reporting skills; and
  • successful completion of a demanding program.

Graduates are working in positions such as:

  • Advisor
  • Policy officer
  • Demographic researcher
  • Researcher in market research

A lot of companies and governmental organisations offer jobs that require strong research competence. Examples are the Ministries in The Hague and market organisations.

What does your job involve?

Advisor/policy officer:
You will advise companies on organisational issues, such as change management, policy implementations, and structural changes.

Demographic researcher:
You will support the government in identifying and evaluating policies. You will perform demographic research and analyse demographic data.

Researcher at market research:
You will determine which business strategies work well and which don’t through the analysis of market data. You will be responsible for the design, implementation, and analysis of research.

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated August 23, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
2 years
2,083 EUR
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee 2019-2020): € 2,083. Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee): 2018-19: € 15,575, 2019-20: € 16,600
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