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Contents & Aims

The Master’s program “Sociology – European Societies” is a research-oriented program. It reflects current debates in theory-driven and problem-oriented research and students learn to develop their own empirical research project in the third semester. The curriculum offers a range of approaches to theory and (mostly quantitative) methods – spanning fields of culture, social structure, politics, European integration and transformation. Furthermore, it encourages active participation in research, from the identification of relevant questions to delivering sound results. The program has a strong focus on quantitative methods for the social sciences.

The program emphasizes the comparative sociological study of European societies in a globalized and transnational world. It aims to enable students to apply theoretical and empirical tools of sociology to:

  • describe and explain social structural, economic, and cultural differences across European countries;
  • understand the ways in which European societies are transformed by processes of regional integration;
  • investigate Europe in the context of globalization and in contrast and connection to other world regions.

All lectures and most seminars are taught in English, some seminars are offered in German.

The following research groups are involved in the teaching of the Master’s program:

Our Program Network

The Master’s program benefits from the involvement of renowned research centers and institutes:

Modules & Courses

The following table shows you the ideal course of the master’s program “Sociology – European Societies” with all its modules and ECTS credits. There is no obligation to complete the program in exactly this manner. However, we strongly recommend this study schedule as a blueprint for structuring your studies. Furthermore, it is important to note that the modules are offered only in a particular time period; for example only during the winter or the summer term.

The program is divided into four stages: Basics – Consolidation – Specialization – Final stage.



ECTS Credits

Basics (1st)


Module 1

The Political Unification Process in Europe and the Development of European Societies since 1945
(10 ECTS credits)

Module 2

Sociological Theories of Social Change and Integration (10 ECTS credits)

Module 3

Methods of Comparative Research in Social Sciences (10 ECTS credits)


Consolidation (2nd)


Module 4

Social Structure and Inequalities in European Societies (10 ECTS credits)

Module 5

Culture and Values in European Societies (10 ECTS credits)

Module 6

Globalization and Regional Development (10 ECTS credits)


Specialisation (3rd)


Module 7

Research Placement (15 ECTS credits)

Module 8

Area of Specialisation (15 ECTS credits)


Final (4th)


Final colloquium

Master's Thesis (30 ECTS credits)





Teaching Contents 1. Semester (Winter)

The first semester consists of the three modules that give an overview of

  • the political system of the EU and the development of European societies since 1945 (Module 1),
  • sociological theories and methods used to describe developmental processes of modern societies (Module 2),
  • social research methods deployed in analyzing these processes (Module 3).

In the Methods of Comparative Research in Social Sciences module, all students will learn the main elements of research design and methods for contemporary Sociology. Particular attention is paid to quantitative methods, both in theory and in practice. The module covers the basics of understanding, interpreting, and conducting statistical analysis for sociological research, and prepares students for more advanced seminars later in the study program.

Courses and Assessment

Each module consists of two parts: a compulsory lecture and a companion seminar. There are five to six seminars offered in each module. The students choose one seminar per module.

 Further information on module exams/requirements of Modules 1-3.

Teaching Contents 2. Semester (Summer)

The second semester focuses on the analysis of the main characteristics of social structures (Module 4) of European societies and cultural similarities and differences among them (Module 5). Moreover, in Module 6 Europe is analyzed within the context of globalization, and in comparison to other world regions (particularly North and Latin America).

Courses and Assessment

The second semester encompasses three modules. Each module consists of a compulsory lecture and a companion seminar. There are three to four seminars offered in each module, out of which at least one is offered in German and at least one in English. The students choose one seminar per module.

Further information on module exams/requirements of Modules 4-6.

Teaching Contents 3. Semester (Winter)

The third semester consists of two modules: area of specialization with two seminars and a research placement.

In the center of the third semester is the research placement (Module 7). The students are given an opportunity to combine the methods skills and theoretical knowledge they acquired in the previous semesters and to put them into practice during their own empirical research project. Each winter term three or four research placements of thematic and methodological variety are offered. These research placements are four-hour, intensely supervised classes with a small number of participants. Qualitative, quantitative or experimental methods are applied to research into structural and cultural aspects of European integration and European societies.

The second module of the third semester (Module 8) consists of two specialized seminars of thematic diversity and more in-depth approach to specific social phenomena more generally discussed in previous semesters. The students are given a possibility to deepen their knowledge on research topics and problems that are particularly interesting for them. 

 Further information on module exams/requirements of Modules 7-8.

Teaching Contents 4. Semester (Summer)

In the fourth semester students write their Master’s thesis. Moreover, they attend a final colloquium in which their thesis design and results are presented and discussed.

The thesis has to be completed within five months (some 25,000 words or 80 pages long, 30 ECTS credits).

Exemplary topics of the Master’s thesis can be found in OSA. Exemplary theses can be accessed on the Blackboard of the FU Berlin (only with FU-ZEDAT-account) in the area “Community: Master Sociology – European Societies” under Sample Papers.

 Further information on the Master's thesis.