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Modern Societies and Cultures (M.A.)

Taught in German and English | Proof of sufficient German language skills required for enrollment




The Master's course "Modern Societies and Cultures" is a consecutive study programme, which is based on a completed and relevant Bachelor's degree. Further information about the admission can be found under "Application".

The MA degree course Modern Societies and Cultures is a research-oriented response to sociological diagnoses of current social challenges. Current social diagnoses indicate that the conflicts of contemporary societies are increasingly expressed in cultural terms (religion, faith, lifestyle, milieu, but also different scientific cultures). While on the other hand the category of the culturally becomes reflexively accessible to the actors.

Therefore, the concept of culture is from the point of view of social self-organisation not unproblematic, because culture can appear at the same time

  • as a normative instance with its own validity logic,
  • as the object of conflict and
  • as a resource.

The corresponding dynamics and reflective significance of the cultural in the articulation of social problems forms the centre of the courses of studies.
The focus of your studies is the acquisition of sociological reflection knowledge and articulation skills in relation to the cultural dimension of social challenges. Students acquire these skills through activating forms of teaching and learning and through cooperation with other institutes of Justus Liebig University within the framework of cooperation modules. These cooperation modules provide you with a perspective on areas of social conflict and problems both through sociological analysis and through the corresponding specialist knowledge from the cooperating subjects.
The course is characterised by its theoretical orientation and its sociological-transdisciplinary orientation (cf. cooperation modules).

The core area of the study programme is about

  • the mediation of different concepts of the relationship between culture and society,
  • to explore different perspectivations of the concept of culture, and
  • its shift into reflection in contemporary societies.

In this context, the development of sociological cultural concepts in the second half of the 20th century in particular should be taken into consideration and newer discussions should be included, for example:

  • life world analysis
  • constructivism,
  • linguistic turn,
  • practice/performative turn,
  • pictorial turn,
  • deconstruction,
  • theory of practice,
  • science and technology studies.

Methodological and methodological questions are dealt with in close connection to empirical questions.

Duration of studies 4 Semester 120 Credit Points (CP)

Duration of Studies

4 Semesters - 120 Credit Points (CP)

Composition of the Study Programme

Composition of the study programme

Composition of the Study Programme

The 4-semester Master`s course consists of nine modules – 6 mandatory modules and 3 electives:

Among the six mandatory modules are the core modules 1 to 3 (each 10 CP) and the theory and practice modules 1 and 2 (each 15 CP), which extend over the first two semesters, and the thesis module (30 CP) in the fourth semester. The mandatory modules consist of work to be done in the Department of Sociology.
There are three further elective modules to be taken (each 10 CP), which are planned for the second and third semester. These are described as cooperation modules because students can attend the classes in the Department of Sociology and those in the cooperating departments. If the elective modules have all been planned into the third semester, the third semester can be studied at another university inland or abroad.

Mandatory modules:

  • Introduction to Cultural and Social Theory (MA-GKM-K-1)
  • Cultural and Social Transformation in Specific Areas (MA-GKM-K-2)
  • Cultural Differences (MA-GKM-K-3)
  • Cultural Observation and Theory Formation (MA-GKM-TP-1)
  • Practical Training (MA-GKM-TP-2)
  • Thesis (MA-GKM-Thesis)

Cooperation modules:

  • Mediality
  • Identity and Conflict
  • Language, knowledge and performativity
  • Cultural Values, ethics and moral
  • Cultural change and social transformation

The proportion of the workload which is non-mandatory is 25%. Further examples of non-mandatory classes or self-responsibly arranged working time are to be found in

  • the practical training (Theory-Practice Module 2),
  • in the project work (Theory-Practice Module 1),
  • in the teaching-research projects (Core module 3, Cooperation module 1), and
  • in the choice of a topic for the MA thesis,

so that all in all there is quite a high level of freedom of choice. The absence of a mandatory sequence of classes to be taken reflects this –there is only a recommendation for the sequence of classes taken. The cooperation modules should but do not have to be completed in the third semester. It is possible to begin with these modules in the first semester. This additionally increases the freedom of selection and the flexibility of the students.


Application: Entrance requirements

Entrance requirements

The requirement for acceptance into the Master`s course is a completed  Bachelor`s degree in the subject groups of

  • social sciences (sociology, political science, ethnology, social and cultural anthropology, ethnic studies),
  • philology,
  • cultural sciences (incl. communication science, media science, journalism, theology),
  • history, and philosophy, achieved at a German university or abroad. 

Applicants who have not specifically completed a sociological or social science course should be able to prove at least 30 CP in sociology, social sciences or anthropology/ethnology elements of their studies. In certain accepted cases the board of examiners can allow acceptance of applicants with a reduced workload in the subjects named.

Language requirements:
A very good knowledge of German and English - the two languages of instruction - is required.

Application not limited only winter

Application / Enrolment

  • The study programme is not subject to admission restrictions.

  • The enrolment period for the winter semester begins at the beginning of June.

  • The end of the enrolment period is determined anew each year, please enquire in the application portal during the enrolment period.

Different rules apply in some cases for international applicants. More...


Career Options

Career options

Career options

The research-oriented sociological Master's programme Modern Societies and Cultures trains generalists who are able to acquire knowledge independently, effectively and flexibly, and to apply it in fields of work.

It prepares students for professional work in social science research within and outside the university, in educational and cultural institutions, in national and international institutions of conflict resolution, mediation and arbitration, in political, association and management consulting, in development cooperation and in the field of the development and evaluation of measures and institutions of intercultural dialogue and integration.

The programme qualifies you for the following, for example

  • current and academically excellent doctoral and research programmes with a strong interdisciplinary/cultural-scientific or cultural-sociological orientation;
  • the scientific monitoring and evaluation of social and cultural policy projects in the fields of intercultural/ interreligious communication and social integration;
  • the development and testing of methodological instruments for measuring cultural dimensions of social inequality (ethnic affiliations, lifestyle milieus, gender-specific inequalities, generations, etc.);
  • Activities in political-, business and management consulting and in development cooperation;
  • Scientific support and evaluation of adult education measures (e.g. in diversity management, mediation, museum pedagogy or in internal and external continuing education measures).


Doctoral Studies at JLU

Doctorate possible with a Master's degree


Graduate Centres

International Giessen Graduate Centre for Humanities



Information about studying at Justus Liebig University Giessen (incomings)


Contact persons of faculty 03

International Office
General counseling of international students
Dr. Saltanat Rakhimzhanova, Patrycja Zakrzewska

Goethestr. 58, Room 38
35390 Giessen

Contact and office hours

Further Information

Further Information: Documents

PDF documents for the courses of study

Examination- and study regulations


Courses offered in the course catalogue

International pages

Please have a look at our International Pages for more information in English.

Any Questions

Any Questions?

Information- and advisory services of JLU can be found under the category “contact” on this page!


Subject Advisor

Subject Advisor

Prof. Dr. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez
Institut für Soziologie
Philosophikum II, House E, room 014
Karl-Glöckner-Straße 21
35394 Giessen
Tel.: 0641 - 99 23220


Central Study Advisor

Frank Uhlmann (Dipl.-Sozialw.)
Central Student Services

Directions and welcome desk