The Faculty of Sociology, which was founded in 1969, is a unique facility in the German university landscape. The central academic structures were mostly influenced by sociologist Helmut Schelsky. The worldwide renowned Norbert Elias was honorary doctor and for some years Guest Professor at the faculty. There is no other university where sociology has the institutional autonomy of a faculty. Therefore, this Bielefeld faculty is one of the largest scientific facilities for the subject sociology in Europe. Simultaneously, it integrates other social science disciplines such as political science and social anthropology into both teaching and research which are organised in various areas of study.
The size of the faculty and its interdisciplinary relations are reflected in a wide spectrum of research themes. Alongside theoretic basic research, such as, for example, the further development of sociological system theory, referring to the work of Luhmann, there are currently numerous research projects running which deal with current social themes and which are often carried out in cooperation with institutes both in Germany as well as internationally (siehe Research). In addition, the Zeitschrift für Soziologie is edited at the Faculty of Sociology.
Currently, the faculty offers seven courses of studies: three bachelor-courses, two master’s courses and one PhD course and the soon to end diploma course. Additionally, the faculty participates significantly in three further master’s courses with an interdisciplinary character (see Courses/Teaching).