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1 year
Full time
Master's degree
Scholarships available
On campus
01 September 2021

Program description

Social Inequalities

Why are social divisions in society increasing? This master track offers insights into causes and consequences of social inequality, and sheds light on ways in which social policies can reduce it.

Our programme offers a unique interdisciplinary perspective on how social inequalities come about, are maintained or strengthened and how they can also be reduced. Using insights from stratification and family sociology, public policy, work and organisational psychology, pedagogy and welfare state research, students will learn about the causes and consequences of social inequality and the social processes that sustain it. Moreover, they will learn how social policies can reduce it.

Professors with extensive expertise on the different topics will share their knowledge during the lectures. Small-scale interactive tutorials help to develop in-depth insights and analytical skills.

Admission requirements

Prior education

Depending on the specialisation you wish to apply for, you are eligible for admission to the programme if you have obtained a relevant bachelor or undergraduate degree (comparable to the Dutch academic level according to the standards of the Dutch Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic)) from a research university that includes at least 7,5 EC in social science research methods and techniques. Some examples of relevant bachelor programmes are:

  • Social Sciences
  • Sociology
  • ESSB pre-master Sociologie (in Dutch)
  • Management of International Social Challenges
  • Public Administration
  • Gender Studies
  • Social Policy
  • Demography
  • Pedagogical sciences
  • Liberal Arts
  • Political Science
  • European Studies
  • International Relations
  • Communication Sciences

Please have a look at the additional information regarding your prior education. The eligibility of your bachelor can only be determined after you have submitted an application and only after we have received all requested documents. Prior inquiries will be purely hypothetical.

Language requirements

A good command of English is essential. You might be exempted from presenting the proof of English proficiency, please check our website for all of the exceptions.

Academic performance 

In addition to the credentials mentioned above, the Admissions Board will also take into account your academic performance, i.e. your grades. Please note that there is no minimum score or average grade mentioned; your application will be assessed against the pool of applicants of the given year.   

Contributing aspects

You may choose to provide the Admissions Board with additional information about yourself by uploading additional documents that you think might contribute to your profile. An example of such documents could be motivation and/ or reference letter.

If you would like to know more, please send an information request or click on the institute's web page.

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Program content

The programme consists of 60 ECTS. Three core courses and a thesis together add up to 45 ECTS focused on the master specialisation Social Inequalities. The remaining 15 ECTS are devoted to a methods course and an elective. 

The program features one elective in block 2, but an elective can also be selected from courses offered in other master specialisations in Sociology.

Scholarships & funding

There are scholarships and grants for two groups:

1. Students from abroad, who wish to study at EUR or are already doing so;

2. Students studying at EUR, wishing to go abroad for a while during or after their current study program.

Request information to learn more about the available scholarship opportunities and to find out if you qualify. 



Career opportunities

The master programme Social Inequalities is a comprehensive and wide-ranging programme. It provides an introduction to a range of interdisciplinary approaches to the social scientific analysis of social inequalities. This master programme prepares you for policy, research and applied careers:

  • in the government sector;
  • at NGOs;
  • in politics;
  • in public administration;
  • at social and health services
  • in journalism and (human resource) management.

The programme will enable you to develop theoretical awareness of different conceptions of the meaning of inequality. It introduces you to different methods that can be applied to measure inequality, both quantitative and qualitative. In addition, this programme equips you with in-depth insight in the complex interplay between individual behaviour, family environment, organisational characteristics and social structure. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme provides you with critical, analytical and methodological skills. Thus, you are able to deploy your specialist expertise in a clear, efficient and effective manner. You will develop transferable skills in research, analysis and communication. Furthermore you develop in-depth knowledge you can apply across a range of domains and contexts.

After graduation

After the completion of this master programme you will:

  • have developed theoretical awareness of different conceptions of the meaning of inequality;
  • be able to apply an interdisciplinary theoretical framework to analyse issues of social inequality;
  • have in-depth insight in the complex interplay between individual behaviour, family environment, organisational characteristics and social structure;
  • be able to assess the impact of changes on the macro level on individual life courses and outcomes;
  • be able to illustrate how the institutions of welfare states and the labour market mitigate social risks while they simultaneously produce new social risk (often as unintended consequences);
  • have critical, analytical and methodological skills with which you can deploy your specialist expertise in a clear, efficient and effective manner;
  • have transferable skills in research, analysis and communication, as well as in-depth knowledge that can be applied across a range of domains and contexts.

About this institute

Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB) is home to a vast diversity of study programs and scientific disciplines: Public Administration, Pedagogical Sciences, Psychology and Sociology. In addition, the Erasmus University College, IHS, and two research institutes RISBO and...

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Average rating 4

Based on 1 reviews.

This program will be a good fit if your interests are diverse, but in many ways concerned with social justice and social inequalities. It really asks students to think of contemporary issues within society in a diverse and interesting, theorize them and consider the possibilities for further research and policy changes. However, a course on rese...
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Program rating
Based on 1 reviews.

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