M.Sc. Sociology and Social Research

Utrecht University

Application deadline: Start in 1 September: June (non-EEA: April).
Tuition fee:
  • € 1,906 / Year (EEA)
  • € 15,150 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Credits (ECTS): 120 ECTS
Duration full-time: 24 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
More information: Go to university website

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The Master's in Sociology and Social Research focuses on theoretically and methodologically advanced research in sociology; the aim is to develop testable theories to explain social phenomena.

This programme is interdisciplinary in nature and focuses on theoretically and methodologically advanced research in the field of sociology and the social sciences. The substantive focus is on topics such as social networks and social capital, trust and cooperation, social integration, stratification and inequality, households, organizations, and policy studies. Students learn to develop theories that are testable explanations of social phenomena rather than conceptual systems devoid of empirical content. They also learn to test such theories using authoritative empirical data-sets and state of the art tools of social science research methodology and data analysis. The integration of social theory, empirical research, and methods of data-analysis is a core feature of the programme. The programme offers many and varied career opportunities. Looking for more information? On you will find more information on the study programme, on where our alumni start their professional careers and much more.


The first year of the programme comprises course work that is common for all students. The second year offers much room for flexibility and for focusing on students individual interests: it is a research year in which students pursue their individual thesis projects, with weekly meetings in research seminars that provide a common context for the students and support them in their thesis projects.

First year

The first year comprises eight courses (7.5 EC per course),four in each of the two semesters (total of 30 EC per semester). There are two types of courses: (1) four courses on social theory and the application of social theory in empirical research in relevant domains (SaSR-1, SaSR-2, SaSR-5, and SaSR-6) and (2) four methods and statistics courses. The methods and statistics courses are divided into two courses (SaSR-3 and SaSR-7) that provide training in state of the art quantitative methods and two research practicals (SaSR-4 and SaSR-8) that focus on the integration of theory formation, empirical research, and statistical modelling. More specifically, each semester starts with three courses that students follow in parallel, namely, two courses on social theory and the application of social theory in empirical research and a methods and statistics course (SaSR-1, SaSR-2, and SaSR-3 in the first semester, SaSR-5, SaSR-6, and SaSR-7 in the second semester). These three courses cover 10 weeks. Subsequently, each semester concludes with a research practical of 4 weeks (SaSR-4 in the first semester, SaSR-8 in the second semester) that focuses on the integration of the three previous courses of the respective semester. This means that statistical models covered in the methods and statistics course of the respective semester are applied in the research domains that have been covered in the courses on social theory and the application of social theory in empirical research of the respective semester, using existing large-scale data-sets.

Second year

The second year is a research year, very much catering to the students individual study interests. The focus is on the Masters thesis (SaSR-12, 30 EC), i.e., on a project of the students own choosing. Thesis work is supported by two research seminars in a workshop format that provide guidance through and feedback on all steps involved in thesis research and writing. Research seminar 1 (SaSR-10, 7.5 EC) is taught in the first semester of the second year and focuses on theory and hypotheses for the thesis projects. Research seminar 2 (SaSR-11, 7.5 EC) is taught in the second semester and focuses on analyses, results, and reporting of findings. Furthermore, the second year includes elective courses (SaSR-9, 15 EC). The electives are designed individually for each student with the aim of broadening the students expertise in selected fields of sociology and social research. The electives enable students to build up field-specific knowledge, theoretical expertise and statistical expertise in the domain of their masters thesis project through participation in an international summer school abroad, attending one or two relevant courses from other research masters programmes, and a brief traineeship.


For this programme a numerus fixus of 15 applies.

Grade average: We ask for a GPA of 3.4. Students with a GPA between 3.0 and 3.4 may be eligible and will have a chance of being selected if their previous studies fit well within the programme, according to the programme's admissions committee.

Knowledge minimum: This research master programme has a statistical entrance requirement, which entails the following: (i) a basic course in introductory statistics including topics such: univariate descriptive statistics, correlation, univariate regression, one-way analysis of variance (both descriptive and inferential) and a basic course in the methodology of behavioural and/or social science research (experimentation, surveys, observational studies); (ii) knowledge of multivariate analysis tools such as factor analysis, reliability, multiple regression, analysis of variance, dummy variables; (iii) hands on experience with the tools just mentioned (for example, experience with SPSS). In total, it is expected that students have followed courses for about 20 ECTS. If either (ii) or (iii) is (partly) lacking, this can be remedied in a course of multivariate analysis offered by the Summer School of Utrecht University.

Written request: We ask for a motivational letter including curriculum vitae, and two reference letters.

Additional language requirements:

  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English: B1
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: C1
  • IELTS overall band: 6.5
  • IELTS writing: 6
  • TOEFL internet based: 93

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6.5
CAE score: (read more)

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IETLS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever.

75 (Grade B)
TOEFL iBT® test: 93


Scholarships / Grants:

Utrecht University:
The Utrecht Excellence Scholarship offers a number of highly talented prospective, non-Dutch students the opportunity to pursue a degree in a selected number of fields at Utrecht University.
For additional information: Website



Accredited by: NVAO in: The Netherlands

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