Frequently Asked Questions
How to access literature from outside the Campus?
Connect to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) of Freie Universität Berlin:
1. Download the software “AnyConnect Client” (https://www.zedat.fu-berlin.de/VPN - choose your respective operating system)
2. Click on the AnyConnect-Icon. Choose the name of the VPN-Server (vpn.fu-berlin.de), then click connect.
3. Enter your username and password and press ok.
Mailing Lists: We run two mailing lists that students of our program can subscribe to:
This is our internal mailing list for important information about the MA program, advertisments, events, etc. With this list, you get regularly informed about teaching, research, and job offers at the Institute and its affiliated research centers. You can subscribe to the internal mailing list here.
This is our external mailing list for external job advertisements and information on academic events that are not organized by members of the Institute but might still be relevant to you. You can subscribe to the external mailing list here.
You can also use this mailing list to inform your fellow students about events, job advertisements, etc. Please note, however, that the mailing list is moderated and only relevant content will be forwarded.
In principle, we are unable to assist with visa application procedures. However, the program can issue a letter confirming that the MA is an in-presence program, emphasizing the expectation for students to be in Berlin, especially at the commencement of the lecture periods. Additionally, upon request, we can furnish a letter specifying the language of the program, affirming that the MA program is entirely conducted in English. All compulsory lectures and the majority of seminars are exclusively offered in English.
Regrettably, beyond these services, we cannot contact embassies or provide any other forms of documentation.
Please ensure that you apply for your visa (if needed) well ahead of time. If you anticipate any difficulties or delays, kindly contact your respective lecturers to inquire whether they would be willing to accept delayed arrival in Berlin.
Modules & Courses
In the initial two semesters, each seminar and lecture carries a weight of 10 ECTS credits. Moving on to the third semester, the Research Placement and the Specialisation areas contribute 15 ECTS credits each. The Final Colloquium is not assigned any ECTS credits, while the master's thesis holds a weight of 30 ECTS credits.
The suggested curriculum for first-semester students is to complete modules 1-3. For all these modules, you must choose 1 seminar and the lecture of that module. There is only one lecture offered per module, but several seminars that you can choose from. However, you cannot attend more than 1 seminar per module. So the 10 ECTS for each of these modules are completed by passing one seminar, the lecture, and the module examination:
Title of module 1: European Integration and the Development of European Societies since 1945
Consists of 1 lecture + 1 seminar + written exam in the lecture
Title of module 2: Sociological Theories of Social Change and Integration
Consists of 1 lecture + 1 seminar + term paper in the seminar
Title of module 3: Methods of Comparative Research
Consists of 1 lecture + 1 seminar + written exam in the lecture
If you follow this suggested curriculum for first-semester students, you would attend 1 lecture + 1 seminar in all three above-mentioned modules, i.e. 6 courses in total during the first semester.
At the commencement of the semester, there remains a possibility of additional vacancies emerging after the initial days of classes. Therefore, it is crucial to regularly monitor the campus management system for any updates. If, however, such vacancies do not materialize, an alternative approach would be to reach out to the seminar professor directly. In doing so, inquire whether they may consider accommodating you, particularly if you possess a specific need for the course, such as for research purposes, etc. However, bear in mind that it is not always possible to secure enrollment due to class size limitations.
According to the Study Regulations (that you find here), you do not get a certain number of ECTS for a single course, you only get the total amount of 10 ECTS for one completed module (for modules 7 and 8, you get 15 ECTS in total). In other words, there is no certain number of ECTS assigned to a single seminar/lecture, only for the whole module.
You can use these two forms to register for courses that you cannot enroll in via Campus Management or to unregister from courses after the second registration period has ended.
Please email the forms as PDF/scan to the Study Office: Studienbuero@PolSoz.FU-Berlin.de
...write a term paper/essay?
See our Term Paper Guidelines.
...how to write a Master's thesis?
See our Master Thesis Guidelines.
...write an exam?
All lectures are completed with a written exam (90 minutes) or test (<90 minutes). The lecturer decides about his/her specific exam conditions. S/he will explain it at the beginning of the course. The written exam normally consists of questions directly referring to the lecture’s topics. We recommend attending the lectures regularly and always reading the basic texts. If you have understood issues within their contexts, you don’t have to learn by rote at the end of the semester.
… write an essay?
Some lectures prefer three essays instead of a seminar paper. An essay examines a scientific question in a precise and ambitious form (about 5-8 pages). In contrast to a seminar paper, the essay is not a systematic and comprehensive handling of a topic but more a “lax”, but critical reflection. A good essay needs to raise an interesting question that has to be answered plausibly (question, thesis and topic). It also needs an argumentative structure.
The Harvard College Writing Center provides valuable strategies for essay writing.
An oral exam takes about 20-30 minutes. The lecturer will explain his/her conditions at the beginning of the seminar. You either choose two or three topics from the seminar or you prepare a lecture about a topic of your choice and the lecturer will ask some additional questions. A good preparation is to hold a speech about your topic on your own or to your friends.
This option is only possible if the professor teaches the same seminar in the following semester. If he is not offering it, you must wait until the seminar is offered again or choose another seminar to do from the beginning. It is important to consult the seminar professor about this possibility.
It is important to note that once a student has confirmed his/her topic with the lecturer and then decides to not submit it, it counts as a first attempt. This means you will be graded “insufficient (5,0)” or “fail” and the attempt will be counted against the maximum number of attempts!
If you have a good reason for not handing in your work before the deadline, please contact the examiner and/or the examination board immediately.
Please read all relevant information about plagiarism carefully.
Sample papers can be found on the Blackboard of the FU Berlin. The selection is meant to give students an orientation in writing their own seminar papers (semesters 1 & 2), research reports (semester 3), and master's thesis (semester 4). Access: Follow the link to Blackboard, login, go to "Community", search for the organization Master "Sociology - European Societies" (just search for "sociology"), and become a member. In this organization, there is a separate area "Sample Papers".
The outcome varies based on whether the professors plan to offer the same course in the upcoming semesters. In such instances, you may have the option to submit an alternative paper instead of repeating the entire seminar. However, if the professor is not offering the course anymore, you may need to start a new seminar from the beginning.
The Statistical Consulting provides individual assistance in writing term or graduation papers. This includes support in identifying the appropriate statistical methods, ensuring accurate application to your data, and interpreting the results. Notably, these services are offered free of charge. However, it is essential to have a clearly defined research question in advance, and the agreement of the paper's supervisor is required.