The Faculty of Sociology, founded in 1969, is unique in the German university landscape. It is the only independent faculty of sociology in the Federal Republic of Germany and is also one of the country’s largest research and educational institutions. Alongside sociology, the faculty is also home to political science, social anthropology, and interdisciplinary social science and is divided into 11 research units. Currently, 25 professors are employed at the faculty, which in 2013 ranked 46 in QS World University Ranking for sociology
The size and interdisciplinarity of the Faculty of Sociology are reflected in its broad spectrum of research themes Alongside basic theoretical research, for example the development of sociological systems theory building on the work of Niklas Luhmann, numerous research projects deal with contemporary social issues, often in cooperation with institutes either in Germany or abroad, with interdisciplinary institutes at Bielefeld University, or simply with other disciplines. Two particular foci are the Collaborative Research Center SFB 882, “From Heterogeneities to Inequalities” and the institutionalized research on inequalities (supported by the DFG since 2011) as well as social science research conducted at the Institute of World Society Studies. In addition, many individual research projects and interests are situated at the faculty (see Research). The faculty also publishes the bi-monthly journal, Zeitschrift für Soziologie.
At present, the faculty offers 11 courses of studies. Alone, it hosts three Bachelor programs (with a focus on sociology, political science or social science – the latter also with a focus on education) and two Master’s programs (sociology and political communication). The Faculty of Sociology is also a leading partner in six interdisciplinary Master’s programs (gender studies, media studies, social science education, inter-American studies, statistics, and history, philosophy and sociology of science) (see Courses/Teaching). Currently, 2600 students are enrolled in the faculty.
Research and teaching intersect in the faculty’s long-term commitment to a structured doctoral program. In collaboration with the Department of History, these activities are institutionalized in the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), where more than 200 doctoral candidates participate in a structured doctoral degree program. The BGHS has been supported within the framework of the Excellence Initiative since 2007.