Since winter semester 2010/11, the Faculty of Sociology has been offering the International Track in its MA Sociology degree programme. The International Track is the English-language branch of a German-language degree programme. Thus, MA Sociology students can combine courses taught in English with courses taught in German, or study their entire MA Sociology degree programme in English.
The MA Sociology International Track prepares students for international careers in research and science, as well as occupational areas outside universities where sociological thinking, international perspectives and experience are required. An increasing number of professions in scientific and non-scientific institutions throughout the world are now internationally oriented. International organisations have become increasingly important in recent years and there has been a growing demand for highly qualified young professionals who are experts in a variety of sociological fields and have had international experience during their studies. Typical career fields for MA Sociology graduates are:
Professors and lecturers of the Faculty of Sociology, and in some cases professors and lecturers from other faculties at Bielefeld University, teach courses in the MA Sociology International Track programme. Additionally, guest scholars from all over the world who come to Bielefeld with the International Guest lecturer programme of the International Office, DAAD guest lecturer programme, Erasmus+ teaching mobility programme and others are regularly invited to Bielefeld to extend the course offering of the International Track.
The International Track focuses on two elective profiles of the MA Sociology, "Social Structure Analysis and Social Inequality" (in German) and "Sociology and Anthropology of the Global World" (in German), in which a broad range of courses in English are offered each semester. In addition, students can complete elective modules in other thematic areas of MA Sociology, such as “Sociological Theory”, “Sociological Methods”, “Gender Sociology”, “Sociology of Risk and Regulations”, “Political Sociology” and others, in which courses in English are offered on an irregular basis depending on the capacities of respective working groups. See more in the section Curriculum.
In the International Track, the MA Sociology degree programme can be studied completely in English and does not require knowledge of the German language. International students who want to complete the MA Sociology programme in English have to indicate in their application that they are applying for the International Track. They don’t have to provide a German language certificate, but instead require proof of English language skills (see more in Application). We encourage all International Track students to attend German language courses at the German language center PunktUm during their studies at Bielefeld, so that in progressive semesters they can also attend sociological seminars in German.
International Track students are enrolled in the MA Sociology and are under the very same regulations as students studying the degree programme in German. They can benefit from all services and programmes that the university provides to the students, such as the Career Service (in German), which supports you in achieving your professional goals, the Erasmus+ programme, which allows you to study abroad at a partner institution of the Faculty for one or two semesters, and manifold other student services and groups that realise activities at the Campus.
In addition to the many services and facilities available to all students, the International Office offers a wide range of specially tailored services to help you adjust to your new surroundings and take full advantage of your studies. Not only is there a wide-ranging leisure-time programme and introductory programme for newly arrived international students, Bielefeld University also provides the Brother–Sister programme: a personal mentoring programme for all first-year international students in which student mentors look after new international students and help them to get everything organised and handle any necessary bureaucracy during their first semester. For more information visit the website of the International Office for degree-seeking students.
Die Fakultät für Soziologie unterstützt internationale Studierende ebenfalls mit verschiedenen hilfreichen Angeboten, damit sie die akademischen Herausforderungen der neuen Studienumgebung meistern. Die Fakultät organisiert regelmäßig Workshops zum akademischen Schreiben für internationale Studierende wie z.B. “Academic Skills Development” und “Writing in Sociology”, die die Services auf Universitätsebene wie Elipsis oder das Schreiblabor, die den Studierenden helfen, ihre Schreibkompetenzen zu verbessern, ergänzen. Eine Einführung in die Fakultät und das International Track wird jedes Semester angeboten. Im Fokus steht hier die Wissenschaftskultur an der Fakultät und die Organisation des persönlichen Studienplans. Zudem gibt es eine Ombudsperson für International Track-Studierende, die bei akademischen Fragen während des Aufenthalts unterstützend berät. Weitere Anreize für das Studium in Bielefeld finden Sie auf der Webseite für Austauschstudierende und in unserem Flyer.
The Faculty of Sociology also supports international students with different offerings that are helpful to manage the academic challenges of a new study environment. The Faculty regularly organises workshops on academic writing for international students, such as “Academic Skills Development” and “Writing in Sociology”, in addition to university-wide services helping students to improve their writing skills, such as Ellipsis and Writing Centre. An introduction to the Faculty and the International Track is offered every semester, which explains the academic culture at the faculty and organization of the study plan. There is also an ombudsperson for International Track students that guides them with academic inquiries during their studies in Bielefeld.
International Track courses are open to every student enrolled in the MA Sociology. The diverse and international atmosphere in the International Track courses will allow you to get international experience without leaving Bielefeld and prepare you optimally for your semester abroad. Heterogeneous study groups bring together students from different social and cultural backgrounds, which may enrich the discussion and perspectives on the course topics. English language skills become more and more relevant for the working areas of graduates in the social sciences. International Track courses are a good opportunity to practice and improve oral and written skills in academic English.
According to the subject-specific regulations (in German) of the MA Sociology, you have to prove either your German or English language skills for admission to the MA Sociology. Therefore, if your native language is German, you completed your secondary school or undergraduate studies in German, or you can prove your German language skills with a certificate, you have to select “Soziologie (Master, fachwissenschaftlich, deutschsprachig)” from the list of degree courses in the application portal. You don’t have to provide proof of your English language skills. The option “Soziologie International Track (Master, fachwissenschaftlich, englischsprachig)” in the application portal is designed only for those students who want to gain admission to MA Sociology course based on the English language certificate and do not have sufficient German language skills.
International Track courses are indicated in eKVV with the phrase “this lecture is taught in English”. Alternatively, you can find all courses offered in English at the Faculty of Sociology here (scroll down to the Faculty of Sociology). Please note that this list also contains courses offered in English on the BA and PhD levels.
If you obtain at least 75 out of 120 credit points required for the MA degree from International Track courses, a certificate on completing of the International Track will be issued to you upon graduation. Your MA thesis (30 credit points) must be written in English. Credit points obtained during a semester abroad are fully recognized as credit points for the International Track as long as they are obtained in a language other than German. You can study all courses required for the MA degree in English except the lectures of the Introductory Module.
As an exchange student you can benefit from the wide range of courses offered in English on the master’s level in the International Track, so you can come to study in Bielefeld even without German language skills. You will get credit points in the courses of the MA Sociology International Track according to the regulations for MA Sociology students. Please note that as an Erasmus+/exchange student you are not able to obtain a degree from Bielefeld University. After your semester abroad in Bielefeld you will have to return to your home university and complete your studies there. For more information visit our website for Erasmus+ Incoming students.
There are no tuition fees both for domestic and international students at Bielefeld University. All you have to pay is a social fee, which is currently about 300 EUR per semester. The major part of this fee is for your semester ticket, which entitles you to use public transport (excl. high-speed trains) free of charge throughout the North-Rhine-Westphalia (trips to Cologne, Düsseldorf, Bonn etc.). Besides this social fee, remaining costs including accommodation, personal expenses and the health insurance that is mandatory for all temporary and permanent residents in Germany are usually about 700-800 EUR per month. You will need to provide evidence that you have at least 10,332 EUR per year (as of Janury 2021) for the period of your stay to obtain a visa for study purposes from the German Embassy (further information on visa regulations provides the DAAD).
Bielefeld University doesn’t provide any scholarships for international students for the whole study period, but sometimes announces (partial) scholarships for restricted time periods of usually one semester. See more on the website of the International Office. As a student of Bielefeld University, you can also apply for a partial Erasmus+ scholarship if you plan to study abroad as an exchange student for one or two semesters. There are many external funding opportunities for students in Germany. The International Office provides information on various sources of financial support available to students. See also their website for more information on financing.