University of Amsterdam

International School for Humanities and Social Sciences (ISHSS)

Master's Programme in Social Policy and Social Work in Urban Areas


Turfdraagsterpad 9

Kloveniersburgwal 48

Amsterdam, Noord-Holl


Program Information

Degrees Offered:

MSc in Sociology, with the specialisation mentioned in the diploma supplement

Format: Campus

Program Description:

What are modern days' urban troubles? Ideas on what the core problems are vary with time and place. Poverty and/or social exclusion? Racism or failing integration of ethnic minorities? Domestic violence and addiction or failing police corps in crime ridden neighbourhoods? Teenage pregnancies and school drop out or failing education, youth help and health care? Failing institutions or failing families and social networks? Ideas of how to solve these problems vary as well. Today there is a lot of stress on failing social networks; policy makers therefore concentrate their efforts in restoring and creating social networks and thereby in building social capital. In earlier days their attention was focused on combating poverty and social exclusion. These varying definitions of social problems and their solutions have direct consequences for conceptions of the role of professionals working in urban areas. Should for example social workers focus on empowerment, trying to help people to raise their voice and augment their influence in social policy? What are their ideas of a good life and a just society, and to what extent should such ideas influence their work? What is the right balance between engagement and adjustment, and between paternalism and indifference? Also, ideas on how different professionals relate to each other vary. Today, social problems are considered to require an integrative approach and collaboration between social workers and other parties such as care workers, police, citizen's organisations and private business. Therefore these days starting, developing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and legitimating social policy and social projects are important professional competencies. This master's programme aims to study the ways in which social problems in urban areas are defined and solved, and analyses the roles ascribed to professionals in these processes.


Social Policy and Social Work in Urban Areas is part of the master's in Sociology ('Sociologie'). ). The quality of this master's programme has been positively assessed by the Accreditation Organisation of The Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This means that upon successful completion of the programme students will receive a legally accredited master's degree and the title Master of Science (MSc).

Facts & Figures

Classification: Non-U.S. Higher Ed. Institution (Not Carnegie Classified)

Locale: Large City

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