The faculty integrates a broad range of sociological, social sciences and political sciences research. The high number of 31 professorships enables both wide-ranging examination and collaboration with other scientific disciplines. Besides a great number of individual projects that usually take place in the research and teaching units (AB) and working groups, the faculty currently has two main research areas in the field of world society research (IW) and in the sector of inequality research (until 2016 institutionalized as a network by SFB 882).
In addition, Niklas Luhmann’s extensive scientific documents and papers, acquired by the university in 2011, are accessible in the Niklas Luhmann-Archiv. In 2005, the university and the faculty initiated the Niklas Luhmann guest professorship, in the scope of which every one to two years internationally renowned social theorists teach and research in Bielefeld. The Centre for German and European Studies in St. Petersburg, in which the faculty plays a leading role, has since 2004 been ensuring the exchange of Russian, German and European scientists to enable very good interdisciplinary academic training and research. The research data centre (FDZ-BO), the objective of which is archiving research data from the sector of organizational research and its provision for social sciences secondary analysis is an additional renowned research project of the faculty. All externally funded current and past research projects are incorporated into one database, as are publications reflecting the quality of the research.
The research in the faculty is also shaped by educating and socializing young academic researchers. Thus, research already takes place at the level of the bachelor and master programmes, particularly in research training or related event forms of research-based learning and project research. At the intersection between research and teaching, the faculty has been active in structured doctoral training for years. Together with the history faculty, this doctoral training is institutionalized in the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), in which in total more than 200 doctoral students are pursuing structured doctoral training. Since 2007, the BGHS has been supported by funds allocated in the German Universities Excellence Initiative; this forms one element of the faculty’s interdisciplinary profile. The doctoral and post-doctoral thesis topics reflect the diversity of the faculty’s broad spectrum of research. Since 1985, 82 scientists have qualified as professors in the faculty.