Sociology M.A.

 

Key Info

Basic Information

Degree:
Master of Arts
Start of Studies:
Winter Semester, Summer Semester
Standard Period of Studies:
4 semesters
ECTS Credits:
120Mehr Informationen

What does that mean?

ECTS are credit points that measure the workload of one's studies.

Language:
German

Admission Requirements

  • First university degree, required qualifications according to the examination regulations Mehr Informationen

    What does that mean?

    A first recognized university degree, through which the necessary education background for the Master course of study can be proven. The necessary knowledge needed in order for studies to be successful is determined in the respective exam regulations (PO).

     

  • Proficiency in German --- Mehr Informationen ---

    What does that mean?

    You must provide documentation of your language skills for the language of instruction at the time of enrollment. The exam regulations stipulate the relevant requirements.

Admission to First Semester

Open
No NC

Admission to Higher Semesters

Open
No NC

Dates and Deadlines

 

Technology shapes social experience and behavior- and this, in turn, gives rise to demands on technical developments. RWTH Aachen University takes up this connection by offering a scientifically based Master’s degree in Sociology focusing on socio-technical transformation.

The Master’s degree in Sociology gains its unique profile by focusing on a theoretically sound and methodologically broad understanding of sociology, emphasizing technology research. Shaping socio-technical transformation is increasingly a challenge that requires in-depth theoretical knowledge and special methodological skills. The demand for transformations also means that the framework conditions for these changes must be renegotiated. Situational flexibility and the ability to shape change must be maintained, if not expanded, at the same time. The ability to shape and control socio-technical change is anything but easy to maintain because of the conflicts that accompany it.

Embedding this kind of degree program in the research environment of a technical university enables our students to closely examine technological innovation worked on in other faculties from a scientific-technical point of view. This Master’s program combines insight on the analysis of socio-technical change with in-depth knowledge of sociological theory and methodology training, enabling students to acquire knowledge and skills in the following three areas:

  • Analysis of knowledge production processes in dynamic environments
  • Gaining an understanding of the particular challenges, but also the potential inherent in conflicts arising in the context of such change processes and the ability to recommend various strategies to address them
  • Conceptualization skills for complex research approaches and their practical realization in research processes.

Characteristics of the Course of Study at RWTH

The Master's course of study in sociology at RWTH distinguishes itself from other sociology programs in Germany through its embedding into one of the leading technical universities. Sociology puts topics and developments, that are researched at a university from an engineering or natural science perspective, at the focus of its own interest. An example will help: in the technical sciences' search for "intelligent" threads, the sociological question arises about the commercialization of nanotechnological basic research: How are scientific discoveries from a university environment transported by companies into an environment shaped by market processes and profit orientation? How are universities and companies interwoven in the field of nanotechnology as two different spheres of innovation? The Institute of Sociology website contains information about the research collaborations currently taking place between sociology and technology at RWTH? This interdisciplinary inclusion is condensed in the Master's program. The opportunity may arise in individual courses to directly participate in a technology-related interdisciplinary research project. The Hum-Tec Project House website contains more information about the interdisciplinary collaboration at RWTH and promotion for the collaboration through the Excellence Initiative.

 

Degree Content

The Master's degree program consists of four building blocks:

  • Acquiring foundational knowledge in the three central pillars of sociological theory, methods, and technology
  • Participating in thematically focused, research-oriented teaching and learning modules
  • In-depth study of selected and current topics in basic sociological research
  • Writing a Master's theses building on and combining the skills and knowledge gained in the three building blocks prior to this.


The degree program comprises courses from 10 compulsory modules and one interdisciplinary elective module.

Example Program Layout

Module Winter Summer Winter Summer
1

Sociological Theories I, Sociological Theories II

2

Sozio-technichal Transformation

3

Empirical Research and Mixed Methods I,
Empirical Research and Mixed Methods II

4

Research Designs
5

Research problems of socio-technical transformation

6 Analyzing socio-technical transformation: Conflicts Analyzing socio-technical transformation: Conflicts
7 Analyzing socio-technical transformation: Knowledge Production Analyzing socio-technical transformation: Knowledge Production
8

Analyzing socio-technical transformation: Design

Analyzing socio-technical transformation: Design

9

Current sociological debates

Interdisciplinary elective

10

Colloquium

Master's thesis
 

Details about the Modules

Sociological Theories Module

In the courses, knowledge of sociological theories is systematically deepened and interpreted. As a subject area, the topic of “societal change” (for example, changes in societal values and norms; collapses and transformations of societies; changes in societal formations; institutional change) will be examined in particular.

Socio-Technical Transformation Module

The courses in this module deal fundamentally with the topic of socio-technical transformation. On the one hand, the focus is on theories, concepts, and empirical studies that emphasize the indissoluble interdependence of technical and social change. On the other hand, different approaches to social science innovation research are explored.

Empirical Research and Mixed Methods Module

This module serves to deepen and expand the methodological knowledge acquired during your Bachelor’s studies. Particular emphasis is placed on the combining of different survey methods as well as the selection, adjustment, and use of methods appropriate to the subject matter in the social science research process.

Research Designs Module

This module serves to develop research designs for sociological questions appropriate to the subject matter. Based on the knowledge acquired in Module 3, students learn how to methodically devise research questions on socio-technical change to best research them. Students will also learn to embed research problems in a concrete everyday research situation. Resource-effective creation of research designs is another critical skill they are taught here.

Problems in Researching Socio-Technical Transformation Module

Socio-technical transformation is a complex phenomenon requiring researchers to make many theoretical-conceptual decisions. Against this backdrop, this module spotlights current issues in the field of socio-technical transformation and outlines strategies for translating these issues into research problems.

Analyzing Socio-Technical Transformation – Conflicts Module

This module deals with the fault lines and areas of conflict regarding socio-technical transformation. Students acquire a basis for analyzing and critically reflecting on the conflicts and negotiation processes surrounding the field of socio-technical transformation. This can take the form of a course research project, in which controversies, conflicts, and negotiations in socio-technical transformation are examined conceptually, methodologically, and in terms of translating research into practice using concrete case studies. Alternatively, students can also take a more theoretical-reflexive approach to the topic.

Analyzing Socio-Technical Transformation – Knowledge Production Module

This module explores knowledge production as a central element of socio-technical transformation. Students acquire a foundation for analyzing and critically reflecting on the processes of knowledge production and innovation in the context of socio-technical transformation. This can take the form of a research project, in which students use concrete case studies to methodically examine the process of new knowledge emergence, creation, and consolidation. Alternatively, students can take a more theoretical-reflexive approach to the topic.

Analyzing Socio-Technical Transformation – Design Module

This module focuses on how the social sciences can help shape socio-technical transformation processes. Students can either complete a research project using a concrete case study on technological advances to conceptually and methodologically integrate their sociological knowledge. Or they can take a more theoretical-reflexive approach to the topic of co-design.

Current Sociological Debates Module

Students acquire detailed knowledge about internationally debated topics and the latest research.

Interdisciplinary elective

Advanced Sociology
Students interlink their sociological knowledge in interdisciplinary contexts and learn to take a transdisciplinary point of view toward issues.

Current Topics in Applied Computational Social Sciences
Applied Computational Social Science (ACSS) is an emerging field that focuses on the quality, validity, and reliability of new types of data, data collection methods, and computational data analysis methods for the social sciences. Besides methodological challenges that arise when collecting and analyzing digital behavioral data to build models of human behavior, attitudes and characteristics, the impact of digitalization on society and science is investigated. In this seminar, students will examine ACSS papers about one selected topic area and critically reflect on the quality, validity, and reliability of new types of data, data collection methods, and computational data analysis methods.

Introduction to Applied Computational Social Sciences
Applied Computational Social Science (ACSS) is an emerging field that focuses on the quality, validity, and reliability of new types of data, data collection methods, and computational data analysis methods for the social sciences. Methodological challenges that arise when collecting and analyzing digital behavioral data to build models of human behavior and attitudes, and characteristics will be examined. The impact of digitalization on society and science is furthermore investigated. In this lecture, students will learn about social phenomena (e.g., culture, inequality, segregation) and how these phenomena can be investigated with the help of new types of data (e.g., social media data, sensor data, Google street view images) and computational methods. We will discuss the advantages and limitations of these new types of data and computational methods.

Master's thesis

This module comprises the Master's thesis as well as an oral examination on the Master's thesis. The Master's thesis is intended to show that the candidate is able to independently work on a problem within a given period of time according to scientific methods under guidance. The students are also able to defend the topic developed in the master's thesis discursively within the framework of a presentation.
 

 

Programs Abroad

As a Master's program with flexible modules, Sociology offers ideal prerequisites for completing a stay abroad based on one's own wishes. The institute helps students plan their stay abroad, for example through clarifying which courses students will get credit for abroad. Partnerships currently exist with the following universities: Sapienza Universita di Roma in Italy, University Pablo Olavide Sevilla in Spain, University Klagenfurt in Austria and South-West University Neofit Rilski in Bulgaria.

 

Prerequisites

Exam regulations govern the requirements for starting studies in §3. Furthermore, they regulate academic goals, the course of study layout, and exam procedures. The appendix to the regulations contains the description of the modules, from which the course of study is composed.

 

Career Prospects

The sociology Master course of study qualifies students to work in a variety of career fields. Good career opportunities are particularly available in:

  • Science and Research
  • Technology Transfer, Organizational and Technology Consulting
  • Associations, Politics, and Administration
  • Market Research and Public Relations
  • Human Resources
 

Examination Regulations

Regulations that apply for all Bachelor and Master courses of study as well as detailed information about the necessary documentation of required language skills can be found in RWTH’s Comprehensive Examination Regulation. Examination regulations are only published in German as they are legally binding.

Subject Specific Exam Regulations regulate academic goals, the course of study layout, and exam procedures. The appendix to the regulations contains the description of the modules, from which the course of study is composed.

 

Faculty

The Master's course of study in Sociology is offered by the Institute of Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.