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Information for students

Three study programmes are currently available at the Institute of Sociology: a Bachelor’s programme in Social Sciences, a Master’s programme in Modern Societies and Cultures and a teacher training programme in Politics and Economics as well as in Foundations of Sociology. Graduates in the Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes will be able to develop the methods and interpretive skills needed in order to analyse cultural and social transformations, as commensurate with practically oriented professional training.

The Bachelor’s programme in Social Sciences, which has been run in cooperation with the Institute of Political Science since 2006, conveys extensive foundational knowledge in the social sciences, imparting strong qualitative and quantitative methodological skills as well as theoretical approaches. Apart from the close intermeshing of politically and socially relevant knowledge, this study programme is also characterised by an emphasis on empirical methods, which means that it equips students for careers in culture, education, social matters, politics, administration and business consultancy as well as in advertising and market research. The Institute’s good regional connections make it easier for students to find internships, which enable them to establish helpful contacts while they are still studying.

The research-oriented Master’s programme in Modern Societies and Cultures pursues a strongly interdisciplinary specialisation in matters associated with contemporary social and cultural transformation processes and problem areas in the modern era, including the specific problematisation of the term “modern” itself. The study programme, which was accredited in 2009, lasts four semesters and is targeted to permit an intensive academic exploration of the Institute’s own research focus, cultural transformations. Culture is addressed both as the source and subject of conflicts and as the social bearer of transition and solution processes. That kind of approach systematically incorporates interdisciplinary networking with selected subjects in the programme structure and encourages students to take a semester abroad by focusing on thematic rather than structural integration of what has been attained elsewhere.

The foundational teacher training course and the training course to teach Politics and Economics at high schools (Gymnasium) and lower-level secondary schools (Hauptschule and Realschule) also constitute one of the Institute’s priority teaching focuses. The Institute has a long tradition of, and gives a high priority to, conveying analytical knowledge of society and critical thinking skills that are relevant to the work of teachers. The teaching training courses address socio-structural, organisational and professional change processes. This enables those training to be teachers to practise their future profession with the aid of sociologically oriented critical thinking skills and to perceive the school-teaching/education profession within challenging social and cultural settings. Under the heading of Politics and Economics, sociology plays a major part in training teachers for high-school positions. In addition to institutions, areas of conflict, social movements and social-scientific methods, students enrolled in this programme – as well as students on the foundational teacher training course – benefit from the Institute’s strong profile in the field of educational sociology. Here, “school” is not only the targeted profession, but also the subject of research.

Within Justus Liebig University Giessen, the Institute of Sociology has established a permanent network through cooperative ventures and a variety of different contacts with colleagues in other fields. Many other specialist subjects draw on the Institute’s skills in analysing social and cultural transformation processes.

At the doctoral level, the Institute maintains close relations with both the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) and the Giessen Graduate Centre for Social Sciences, Business, Economics and Law (GGS). Members of the Institute are strongly involved in both graduate centres and thus guarantee a high-level, structured doctoral study period.

Altogether, with its teaching and research priorities in the fields of General Sociology, Educational Sociology, General Social Comparison, Microsociology, Cultural Sociology and Media Sociology as well as in internationally comparative social research, the Giessen Institute of Sociology has well-developed competences in sociological theory construction and methods.