Documents on sociology studies

Sociology is at the heart of the social sciences, and addresses all aspects of human coexistence. For instance, it asks what norms and values guide our behavior, analyzes the phenomenon of social change, investigates how social integration or gender relations operate, and grapples with issues such as identity, migration, digitalization and globalization. This vast spectrum of subject matter has led to the emergence of diverse sub-disciplines within sociology, such as political sociology, cultural sociology, developmental sociology, media sociology, and so on. In Basel, we attach great importance to providing a well-rounded education in sociological theories and methods. Besides engaging with the discussion on the manifold forms of social relations, practices, processes and structures, the bachelor’s program focuses on the questions of how society is possible at all, how it functions, and what problems it generates. Core thematic areas include social inequality, conflict and cooperation, globality, sustainability, identity, and knowledge and culture.

Focal areas of teaching and research

The Bachelor's Degree Program in Sociology encompasses sociological theory, and the critical and reflective analysis of all forms of society. Students will benefit from a nuanced education in theory (cultural theory, social philosophy, anthropology and political theory), which is closely intertwined with more practically oriented training in qualitative and quantitative empirical social research methods. The main focus of the program consists of two thematically organized modules:

The Politics, Development and Social Inequality module bridges the fields of political and developmental sociology. This combination enables in-depth analysis of diverse phenomena in the area of social inequality at the regional, national and international level. The main themes covered in this study option include social inequality, work, conflict and cooperation, and globality and identity.

The module Economy, Knowledge and Culture focuses on the sociocultural creation and shaping of economic practices, structures and knowledge forms. It offers an introduction to foundational theories, questions and topics relating to economy, knowledge and culture, combining cultural and socioeconomic perspectives.

The individual disciplines are brought together by integrated courses addressing overarching themes. To enable students to develop a research-based learning approach early on, particular emphasis is placed on interactive forms of study. This is achieved by means of small tutor-led groups and project-oriented tasks.

Program structure

A bachelor’s is the first degree a person can earn. It requires a total of 180 credit points (CP). The Bachelor's Degree Program in Sociology is one of two subjects studied, each worth 75 CP. Free electives (30 CP) are also included. One ECTS credit point equates to approximately 30 hours of work.

Bachelor of Arts (180 CP)
Sociology
75 CP
Degree subject of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
or extra-faculty
75 CP
Free electives
30 CP
Two degree subjects

Combination of subjects

Students can choose a subject offered by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences or a subject from another faculty as their second bachelor’s degree subject

Students are free to choose any free elective. These courses allow students to deepen their knowledge of their degree subjects, gain an insight into other degree subjects offered by the University of Basel, or acquire language skills.

Bachelor’s admission requirements

The Student Administration Office at the University of Basel is responsible for admitting students to bachelor’s programs in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. This is based on the admission regulations of the President’s Office:

  • with Swiss educational qualifications, 
  • foreign educational qualifications, or
  • as a visiting student (not working toward a degree at the University of Basel)

Holders of a Swiss federal Maturität certificate will be admitted to all bachelor’s degree programs.

If you have any further questions, please consult the information provided here.

Registration dates

Students must register for their bachelor’s or master’s degree program within a specified timeframe – even in cases of delayed registration.

Information events

The University of Basel organizes regular information events for bachelor’s and master’s programs. Details can be found on the <link de fakultaet aktuelles external-link-new-window internen link im aktuellen>events page of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 
Some subject areas also offer their own separate information or welcome events. Please consult the page for the relevant subject area for event dates and locations.

Bachelor’s examination & degree

Deadlines and dates Bachelor studies (see information sheets under documents and information sheets)

Students can register for the Bachelor's examination if they have achieved 60 CP in the subject to be examined or 120 CP in the degree program and have completed the seminar papers that count towards the degree in the subject to be examined or in the degree program. Proof is provided by presenting the module assignment.

It is now also possible to examine only one subject per session. This means that the two Bachelor's examinations can be divided into two sessions (note: only for subjects - it is not possible to separate the two examinations for degree programs).

Please consider: As a resolution the upcoming Bachelor exams will be taken online in the open book format until further notice. For detailed information please read the information sheet Registration Bachelor Examination as well as the information sheet Procedure Bachelor Examination carefully.

 FS 2022SS 2023FS 2023
Registration forms (degree subject / program) available fromexpired23.01.2328.08.23
Registration periodexpired06.03. - 24.03.2325.09. - 13.10.23
Examination09.12. & 16.12.2215.05. & 22.05.2308.12. & 15.12.23
Notification of grades20.01.2330.06.2319.01.24
Degree application forms available no later than06.01.2303.07.2305.01.24
Examination inspection and application for graduation23.01. - 10.02.2331.07. - 18.08.2322.01. - 09.02.24
Graduation ceremony22.04.2314.10.2320.04.24

Subject to subsequent changes.

Continuing on to a master’s degree

  • Master of Arts in Sociology

Academic advice

Teaching committee

Sociology is dedicated to the theory and analysis of past and present societies. As a science of social relationships, it seeks to explore diverse social practices, processes and structures along with their interdependencies and transformations. It investigates how society is possible, how it functions, what problems it causes, and which of them it solves. The master's program in Basel is characterized by its tightly integrated combination of theory and applied science, enabling students to develop in-depth knowledge both of social theory and of applied quantitative and qualitative social research skills. Key topics of study include poverty and exclusion, violence, work, migration, digitalization, economic practices and discourses, education and religion.

Focal areas of teaching and research

The way in which the Master's Degree Program in Sociology is organized allows students to specialize in particular thematic areas while developing a sound methodological and theoretical knowledge base.

In the Sociological Theory module, particular emphasis is placed on the areas of social theory, power and authority, anthropology and evolution, and the development of interdisciplinary theory at the interface between sociology, social philosophy and cultural studies. Two modules are devoted to developing students' skills in qualitative and quantitative Empirical Social Research Methods. Meanwhile, Inequality, Conflict and Culture addresses topics such as poverty and exclusion, violence, migration, digitalization, economic practices and discourses, and education and religion, as well as other relevant phenomena in contemporary society. 

Research at the University of Basel’s Department of Sociology focuses on the following topics:

  • nationally and internationally oriented research in inequality
  • international and transcultural research in conflict and violence
  • issues in socioeconomics and economic anthropology
  • historical sociology
  • digital transformations
  • sustainability
  • corporate governance
  • migration, transformations in the labor-oriented society, postcolonial theories and protest movements

Over the course of the program, students acquire transferrable skills and competencies which will prepare them for a wide range of professions beyond those specifically linked to sociology. These skills include the ability to conduct independent empirical research applying appropriate methods and techniques for problem identification, analysis and solving, the ability to critically evaluate different conceptual alternatives, capacity for innovation, social skills, time management, and many others.

Program structure

A master’s is a second degree that a person can earn after completing a bachelor’s. The master’s program requires a total of 120 credit points (CP). The Master's Degree Program in Sociology is combined with a second degree subject, each worth 35 CP. The subject in which students write their master’s thesis (30 CP) is considered to be their major; the other subject is their minor. Free electives (20 CP) are also included. One ECTS credit point equates to approximately 30 hours of work.

Master of Arts (120 CP)
Major of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
65 CP (35 CP + 30 CP for the master thesis)
Minor of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
or extra-faculty
35 CP
Free electives
20 CP
Two degree subjects

Combination of subjects

Students are free to select a second master’s degree subject that meets their specific interests. Students can choose a subject offered by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences or a subject from another faculty. 

Students are free to choose any free elective. These courses allow students to deepen their knowledge of their degree subjects, gain an insight into other degree subjects offered by the University of Basel, or acquire language skills.

Career opportunities

Thanks to their broad theoretical and methodological training, graduates in sociology from the University of Basel are sought-after in many professional areas. Depending on their degree level (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate) - and in some cases in combination with a further diploma or course of study - sociology graduates may find employment in the following professional areas: public administration (culture, education, family, social affairs, statistical services), industry and trade (human resources and organizational departments, as well as market and opinion research), political parties, associations, social services and social pedagogy, adult education, cultural and knowledge management, tourism, advertising, mass media, specialist curating in libraries, development cooperation and migration, integration work in international organizations and NGOs, or research and teaching in universities and advanced technical colleges.

Master’s admission requirements

Admission to master’s programs is regulated by the university student regulations and the stipulations of the individual degree program descriptions. More details of the general master’s admission requirements are provided here.

For students to be admitted with no additional requirements, they must hold a bachelor’s degree worth 180 CP from a higher education institution recognized by the University of Basel.

Subject-related requirements are defined in the admission requirements (section 3) of the study program for the relevant subject. The guidelines may also contain further useful information that is key to successful studies.

Registration dates

Students must register for their bachelor’s or master’s degree program within a specified timeframe – even in cases of delayed registration.

Information events

The University of Basel organizes regular information events for bachelor’s and master’s programs. Details can be found on the <link de fakultaet aktuelles external-link-new-window internen link im aktuellen>events page of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 
Some subject areas also offer their own separate information or welcome events. Please consult the page for the relevant subject area for event dates and locations.

Academic advice

Teaching committee

At the University of Basel’s Department of Sociology, doctoral candidates can either study for a doctorate separately, or as part of the doctoral program of the Graduate School of Social Sciences doctoral program. In both cases, potential doctoral students must agree on a project idea with their supervising professor and draw up a written proposal.  

Current research topics at the seminar are (a) nationally and internationally oriented research on inequality with an emphasis on distribution of material goods (b) research in international and transcultural conflict and violence (c) issues in socioeconomics and economic anthropology (d) historical sociology, (e) sustainability, and (f) migration, transformations in the labor-oriented society, postcolonial theory, and protest movements.

In addition to the information below, we recommend students from abroad to read the information sheet step by step – Preliminary information for international PhD candidates at the University of Basel.

Admission and matriculation

To be admitted to a doctorate, applicants must hold a master’s degree in a field related to the desired subject of doctoral research with an average grade of at least 5.0 rounded to the nearest tenth (the Swiss system awards grades from 1 to 6 with 6 being the highest grade and 4 being a “pass”). Other degrees from a higher education institution recognized by the University of Basel may be deemed partially or fully equivalent on the condition that the applicant acquires any missing credits. Acontinuing education program qualification from a university (e.g. Master of Advanced Studies) does not entitle an applicant to be admitted to a doctorate.

Application

Admission applications must be submitted online to the university’s Student Administration Office. Applications can also be submitted after the official application deadline has passed. However, there is no guarantee that the application will be processed in time for the desired semester, or that the applicant will be able to attend courses in the current semester.

Admission to a doctoral program

Before you can be accepted onto a doctoral program, you must successfully apply for admission to doctoral studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Basel. Once you have been admitted, you can begin your search for a place on a doctoral program. For application information, please see the website of the relevant doctoral program.

Cotutelle de thèse

The University of Basel website provides information about how to conduct a doctoral project at the University of Basel and at a second university in a foreign country, leading to a double doctoral degree or “cotutelle de thèse”.

Language requirements

The main languages of instruction in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences are German and English (with the exception of the Department of Languages and Literatures). To ensure your studies are successful, you should be proficient in the languages of instruction for your doctoral subject to at least C1 level as defined in the European Framework of Reference. The Language Center at the University of Basel helps students to attain the required level of proficiency.

Office of the Dean of Research

Student Administration PhD

A doctorate usually lasts between three and five years and includes a dissertation, curriculum-based courses, and the doctoral examination. Curriculum-based courses make up at least 12 credit points in individual doctorates and at least 18 credit points in doctoral programs. First, however, a doctoral committee must be formed that will define the framework for the doctorate and work with you to draw up a Doctoral Agreement including an individual study plan.

Doctoral committee

Structure and tasks

Every doctorate is supported by a doctoral committee. This committee usually consists of a first and second supervisor but can also include a third person. The first supervisor is primarily responsible for making sure that the doctoral project is conducted correctly and that suitable supervision is provided. The doctoral committee defines the curriculum-based courses to be completed and provides the doctoral candidate with feedback on the quality and progress of his or her work during regular supervisory meetings. All members of the doctoral committee produce an independent, graded evaluation report on the dissertation submitted.

Forming and appointing the committee  

The first supervisor must be appointed when the application for admission to a doctorate is submitted. The application to act as first supervisor must be submitted to the Student Administration Office together with the application for admission. Ideally, all other supervisors should be appointed by the time the doctorate begins. However, the doctoral committee must be named and appointed by the doctoral board at the latest 12 months after the start of the doctorate. The deadline by which the doctoral committee must be appointed is provided to the doctoral candidate along with their admission letter.

Any Group I professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Basel can serve as first supervisor. Members of Group II (assistant professors without tenure track, honorary professors who hold a doctorate, and private lecturers with a postdoctoral qualification from the faculty) can serve as first supervisor provided the second supervisor is a Group I professor. In this case, the second supervisor must be named in the first supervisor’s application when the application for admission to a doctorate is submitted. Upon request to the doctoral board – the doctoral agreement shall suffice in this case – honorary professors from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences who hold a doctorate and Group I members from a different faculty at the University of Basel may be deemed equivalent to Group I members from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in matters concerning the doctoral committee.
Any of the Group I and II faculty members mentioned above may serve as second supervisor. Upon request – the doctoral agreement shall suffice in this case – the doctoral board may also permit a second supervisor to be appointed from outside the faculty or outside the University of Basel. This person must hold a comparable qualification and position as internal second supervisors and hold the right to confer doctorates at their home institution. All contact details for the external second supervisor requested must be specified in the doctoral agreement (connection to their university, postal and email addresses). The doctoral board decides whether to approve the external second supervisor.
The doctoral candidate may apply to the doctoral board to add a third supervisor to the doctoral committee. In the case of a three-person committee, either the second or third supervisor does not need to hold the right to confer doctorates; however, this person must have a demonstrable link to a higher education institution or possess a high level of expertise in the doctoral topic. An informal application letter must be submitted to the doctoral board explaining why the supervisor has been chosen and providing details of their position, institutional connection, and addresses (postal and email address). The application must be supported by the first supervisor. The doctoral board decides whether to approve three-person committees.

For more information about the process for completing a doctorate, visit the website of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Contact

Registering for the doctoral examination

Once doctoral candidates have written their dissertation, passed all curriculum-based courses, and fulfilled all other requirements, they can apply for admission to the doctoral examination. Each candidate must complete the following steps:

Candidates should register for the doctoral examination at the latest four months before the desired oral examination date. Doctoral examinations cannot be held during master’s examination sessions. Doctoral candidates are admitted to the doctoral examination once their dissertation has been accepted by the supervisors. The Dean’s Office must be informed of their decision to accept or refuse the dissertation within the four months after the dissertation was submitted. The candidate will be provided with confirmation that the dissertation has been accepted and they have been admitted to the exam when they receive their examination invitation and schedule.

Exam organization and doctoral examination

The examination is held at the latest within two months of acceptance of the dissertation. Doctoral candidates must remain matriculated until the exam takes place. The examination is organized by the Student Administration Services of the Dean’s Office. The doctoral examination is accepted by the supervisor who is chiefly responsible; where possible, the other supervisors on the doctoral committee should always take part in exams. Examiners may participate via Skype upon request, provided that they are participating from a foreign country and that the first supervisor and the candidate attend in person. For an examiner to participate via Skype, all exam participants must provide informal, written consent to the Student Administration Services of the Dean’s Office. The candidate is responsible for the technology required. The Dean’s Office is usually able to provide the necessary devices and internet access. 

Doctoral examinations last for 60 minutes and are not usually open to the public (exceptions must be arranged beforehand with the Student Administration Services of the Dean’s Office). The exam includes a dissertation defense based on the evaluation report provided in advance. The defense starts with a presentation lasting around 15 minutes followed by a discussion, which can cover the wider subject area to which the dissertation belongs. Once the candidate has passed the doctoral examination, the examination chairperson confers the provisional doctorate. Until the doctorate becomes legally binding, the candidate may use the title Dr. phil. des. (Doctor philosophiae designatus).

Doctoral degree transcript and graduation ceremony

The degree transcript is presented at the graduation ceremony. Candidates who pass their exam between February 1 and July 31 attend the ceremony held the following September; candidates who pass between August 1 and January 31 attend the ceremony held the following March. Candidates who are unable to attend the ceremony in person may receive their graduation documents by post upon request.

Publication, doctoral certificate, and right to bear title

The doctoral process is not deemed complete until the candidate has fulfilled their duty of publication and the certificate has been presented. The candidate is obliged to deliver the dissertation in the format specified in the faculty publication guidelines within three years of the doctoral examination. The university library’s instructions for printing and binding dissertations must also be taken into account. Detailed instructions on how to publish dissertations in electronic format can be found in the E-Dissertation section of the university library’s edoc document server.

Once the candidate has fulfilled their duty of publication, the doctoral certificate will be issued, ideally within two months. The doctoral certificate entitles the bearer to use the academic title «Dr. phil.», or «PhD» in English. The doctorate will be announced in the Kantonsblatt Basel-Stadt.

Contact

Financing options for doctorates

A doctorate usually lasts between three and five years. It is important to start thinking about financing for a doctorate at an early stage and to work with your first supervisor to find a solution before you start your studies. 

Doctoral students should consider preparing a competitive application for a scholarship or a project position during the first project phase in order to continue and successfully complete their doctorate within the framework of third-party funding. Information on funding opportunities (Doc.CH, Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Basel research fund, foundations, etc.) and the University of Basel advisory services can be found on the relevant webpage of the Career Advancement Office. The Research Professional database is anotherstructured tool for identifying suitable financing options.

Printing cost contributions for dissertations

The Max Geldner Dissertation Fund grants contributions to the printing costs of dissertations at the Faculty of Philosophy and History. In addition to costs incurred in the printing of monographic dissertations, contributions are also made for articles published in the open access procedure for cumulative dissertations. Furthermore, applications for language editing can be submitted if the dissertation was not written in the author's first language or if the author's language skills are not sufficient for a high-quality final editing.

The application form (see below) must be submitted together with a recommendation from the first supervisor before going to press.

Applications received by the Office of the Dean of Research by February 15 or September 15 at the latest will be considered at the following meeting in February/March or September/October respectively. For more details, please see the information sheet

Applications and documents should be sent to:
Max Geldner-Dissertationenfonds
Dekanat der Phil.-Hist. Fakultät
Bernoullistr. 28
4056 Basel
Schweiz

Subsidies for doctorate printing costs can also be requested from the Vice President’s Office for Research at the University of Basel.

Academic advice

Teaching committee

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