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Master of Science

Master Sociology - Social Research

Insights and Data Skills for a complex World

If you are already taking the Master's programme Sociology - Social Research and would like to find out more about specific details, please visit the pages on the programme structure and organization of the programme.

Master Sociology: Social Research

Key Facts

Degree: Master of Science
Duration: 4 Semesters
Credits: 120 ECTS
Language: English
Content: Study sociology with a special emphasis on advanced methods of social research and gain substantive knowledge on societal challenges and trends.
International: 1 Optional Semester Abroad

This programme provides you with:

  • key qualifications in empirical research that are demanded and rewarded on the labour market.
  • insights into societal and organisational challenges and how to address them (e.g. aging workforce, ethnic diversity, social inequality, crime).
  • a coherent learning experience that follows a clear paradigm of theory-driven empirical research.
  • plenty of opportunities for practical experiences in private and public research institutes.

This master’s programme offers me practical, empirical research on current topics, as well as the possibility to develop my own interests and pursue research questions. I appreciate the international atmosphere in the programme. This not only helped me to improve my English language skills but also enabled me to network internationally.

Laura, student at the WiSo-Faculty

The Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology (ISS) of the WiSo-Faculty is Germany’s leading sociology department (first rank in the Shanghai Ranking in 2018, 2019, and 2020, and in TOP 50 internationally in 2020) and is well-known for a strong integration of theory, methods, and substantive research areas.

As a student, you will therefore benefit from an interdisciplinary learning environment while developing your research skills. Moreover, many third-party funded research projects at the ISS as well as neighboring research institutes in Cologne will allow you to gain research experiences and work as a student assistant.

This programme is right for you if you:

  • have successfully completed a bachelor’s or equivalent degree in sociology or related study fields (refer to admission regulations for the exact entry requirements).
  • are interested in understanding societies and social change and motivated to learn new things.
  • are interested in further developing your analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, as well as your writing and language skills.
  • want to improve as a team player, because working in groups is often practiced in seminars and will be an asset to you within a working environment.
  • are eager to develop a profile that will prepare you for working responsibly in exciting areas.

Programme Overview

Preparing you for future challenges

The Cologne Master in Sociology – Social Research combines advanced training in sociology and social research with the opportunity to take courses in business administration, data analytics, economics, and other social sciences. By choosing this study programme, you will benefit from the multi-disciplinary strengths of the Faculty of Management, Economics, and Social Sciences.

The programme emphasizes both scientific rigour and practical relevance. We build on a strong research reputation, regularly publish in internationally leading academic journals, and present our work at conferences around the globe. Since most of our research is empirical in nature, we collaborate with various organisations and institutes – which gives you plenty opportunities to gain practical experiences in private and public research institutes. Among other organisations, strong ties exist to GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, as well as to the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) and the Federal Institute for Vocational Training (BIBB).

Clemens Kroneberg

The Cologne Master in Sociology – Social Research has a strong reputation for its focus on advanced methods of data collection and analysis. Our approach is practice and research oriented and deals with current topics such as ageing, ethnic diversity, education, family or the economy.

Clemens Kroneberg , Professor at the Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology (ISS)

The empirical and analytical focus of the programme enables you to analyse social phenomena using state-of-the-art research methods and to carry out an independent research project. Upon graduating from the programme, you will be ready for a professional career in many areas as well as for PhD programmes in social sciences with us or worldwide.

Strong Focus on Data and Research Skills

The Research Seminar gives a hands-on approach to social research. Another module is devoted to learning how to apply scientific knowledge to solve real-world problems in organisations and society as a whole. The methods training is strongly application-oriented. Furthermore, the department hosts numerous research projects funded by international and national funding agencies.


English-taught programme

The M.Sc. Sociology – Social Research is taught entirely in English and welcomes students from countries all over the world.

Optional semester abroad

The integration of the “Studies Abroad” module into the programme provides you with attractive options for spending a term abroad.

International Option

Double Master’s Programme in Demography and Social Inequality

We offer a double degree Master in Demography and Social Inequality in combination with the University of Groningen. This alternate programme gives you the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of two top-ranking universities in two different countries:

  • Enjoy the advantages offered by the interdisciplinary approach and the participation of two renowned universities: University of Cologne and Groningen University.
  • Study at each university for one year and graduate with two master’s degrees: spend your first year in Cologne followed by your second year in Groningen.

Find further information on the Double Master’s Programme in Demography and Social Inequality online.

Career Opportunities

By completing this programme you will acquire skills that are highly demanded on the labour market, such as analytical thinking, problem-solving, the collection and statistical analyses of large-scale observational data, as well as substantive knowledge on societal challenges and trends.

It will prepare you for an increasingly data-rich professional life. By taking introductory and advanced courses in empirical methods and statistics, you will learn to collect, prepare, analyse, and interpret data. Teaming up with co-students and working on your own research project will prepare you for a broad set of positions.

Ruben Wienigk

In this master’s programme, quantitative methods as well as statistical techniques of data analysis are deepened. Together with the strong analytical skills acquired in the degree programme, this creates valuable core qualifications for the free labour market that have helped me in pursuing my professional career.

Ruben Wienigk, Data Scientist „Deutsche Rückversicherung AG“ and Alumnus of the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences

Example job opportunities include work within

  • companies and organisations that look for heads of data science divisions (e.g. automobile industry, law enforcement).
  • companies in market and opinion research.
  • statistics agencies.
  • associations concerned with social and economic policy or social planning.
  • research institutes.
  • media research departments within mass media corporations.
  • human resources and data science departments in corporations.
  • government agencies at local, state, federal and international levels (e.g. in departments responsible for school, family, urban or environmental policy).

Due to its strong research orientation and international reputation, our M.Sc. degree is an excellent base for applying for doctoral degree (Ph.D.) programmes, whether in Cologne or at other leading national and international universities.



All information about the Master's application at the WiSo Faculty.

Detailed information and contact

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Beratungssituation: Dialog im WiSo Student Service Point

For students the WiSo Student Service Point  offers not only advice on studying but also support on all aspects of career choice, career planning and the application process: