University of Amsterdam

International School for Humanities and Social Sciences (ISHSS)

Social Theory and Public Affairs


Turfdraagsterpad 9

Kloveniersburgwal 48

Amsterdam, Noord-Holl


Program Information

Degrees Offered:

MSc Sociology, with the specialisation mentioned in the diploma supplement

Format: Campus

Program Description:

Social scientists, economists, historians, artists, writers, and of course philosophers have been engaged in public affairs since antiquity. Since they emerged as a distinct set of academic disciplines and specialties, the social sciences too have sought to address public affairs. They take up and develop cultural understandings, visions of man and gender, notions of identity and social interaction and narratives of historical development, rationality, enlightenment, and 'otherness'. A profound understanding of the social theories informing social research and public debates and policy is essential to both academic work and public service in the social sciences. The master's programme in Social Theory and Public Affairs allows students to develop their grasp of social theory and public affairs, their symbiosis and their role in the modern world. The master's programme in Social Theory and Public Affairs provides the student with a solid theoretical, conceptual, and methodological foundation in the social sciences. It offers students an interdisciplinary approach to the main concerns of our time. The historical and comparative dimensions emphasized in the majority of the courses train the student to analyse issues in society and culture from various perspectives and to put them in their wide-ranging sociological, political and cultural contexts. The combination of empirical studies with theoretical reflection and reading will provide the intellectual tools and abilities that students need to better understand, analyse and cope with the world's contemporary problems and complexities. The specialised course in Social Theory and Public Affairs is organised around a colloquium in which specialists in various approaches give presentations. In their master's thesis students focus on in-depth analysis of one or two theoretical approaches in relation to an important public affair.


Social Theory and Public Affairs 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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