Universität Bielefeld

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The Master of Arts in Sociology at Bielefeld University comprises 120 credit points (CP).Credit points are the measure of study load. 1 CP is equivalent to 30 hours of work in a course, which includes all kinds of work: time spend in class, preparation time for the sessions and/or exams etc. The standard duration of MA studies (Regelstudienzeit) is two years. In order to complete your master's studies in two years, you have to complete ca. 30 CP per semester.

Structure of the master's programme

Introductory Module

The Introductory Module consists from three courses on sociological theory, quantitative methods and qualitative methods. For each course you will receive 2 CP, so that the whole module will give you 6 CP. The Introductory Module is mandatory and is offered in winter semester, as a rule. The idea of introductory courses on the master's level is not to provide an introduction to absolute beginners, but to refresh/systematize/re-arrange your previous knowledge and to bring students with diverse academic backgrounds to a „common ground“.

Thematic Modules

Main part of the MA Sociology is six thematic modules. Modules can be compeleted in each thematic area of MA Sociology (see below), for example “module in sociology and anthropology of the global world” or “module in political sociology”. Each thematic area offers a number of seminars each semester. In order to complete a module in a specific thematic area, you have to complete two seminars offered in this area (they can be offered in different semesters), in one of the seminars you have to take an examination. One seminar gives you 4 CP and an examination 6 CP, so that one thematic module (one seminar without examination 4 CP + one seminar with examination 4 + 6 CP) will give you 14 CP.

One of six thematic modules must be studied in the form of student research project module (see below), which will give you 14 CP as well. You are free to choose different thematic modules, but you must decide on a profile (see below), which consists of three modules from the same thematic area.


In each thematic area of MA Sociology, a number of seminars are offered each semester. Usually, concrete seminars are offered only once and won't be repeated. In the seminars, lecturers give different tasks, the so-called “study performance”. These tasks might be text summaries, oral presentations, response papers or similar tasks. Study performance is non-graded and you will receive 4 CP for it. In every seminar, you can opt for an examination, which is graded and gives you additional 6 CP. To complete a module, you have to complete two seminars from the same thematic area, one without examination (4 CP) and one with examination (10 CP). You are free to choose in which seminar you want to take the examination.


Examinations in the seminars of MA Sociology are term papers. A term paper has to be 20 – 25 pages long and must be written after the rules of academic writing. A term paper is always graded and the grade of the term paper will be the grade of the thematic module. In one of the two seminars of a thematic module, you must write a term paper in order to complete the module.

Student research project (LeFo)

The student research project is a special kind of thematic module. It is mandatory to complete one student research project, to receive your master's degree. In this module, students learn to develop their own research project. It has either the duration of two semesters (classical form), which consists of one seminar in the first semester and a follow-up seminar in the second semester, or it has the duration of one semester (intensive form), which consists of only one semester-long seminar with double amount of class hours per week. In the end of the seminar, you have to write a research project report, which is your examination. The report has to be 20 – 30 pages long and is graded. The student research project in classical form normally starts in summer semester, the intensive student research project is usually offered in winter semester.

Student research projects always belong to one of thematic areas of MA Sociology, for example "student research project in political sociology". We recommend to compelete a student research project in your profile thematic area, i.e. as one of three modules in this area, but it is not mandatory.

Profile and other modules

You are free to choose thematic areas of your six modules, but you will have to follow a certain structure. First of all, you will have to decide on a profile, i.e. your major field of study, focus of your MA studies. A profile consists of three thematic modules from the same thematic area. Other three of your thematic modules must be from other thematic areas: Either from three different areas (three single modules), or from two different areas (specialization and single module). A specialization is two thematic modules from the same thematic area. Single modules, specialization and profile must be from different thematic areas. This means that you can only study a maximum of three modules in one thematic area and you can only do this once (you cannot have two profiles). It is recommended to have your profile in “Sociology and Anthropology of the Global World” or “Social Structure Analysis and Social Inequality”, since in these thematic areas a broad range of courses in English are offered.

Thematic areas

The Faculty of Sociology offers 10 different thematic areas to study. It is not possible to have a profile in every thematic area. For students of the International Track it is strongly recommended to have their profile in “Sociology and Anthropology of the Global World” or “Social Structure Analysis and Social Inequality”.

Thematic area

Profile possible?

Sociological Theory


Sociological Methods


Sociology of Organizations


Political Sociology


Social Structure Analysis and Social Inequality (recommended as profile)


Sociology and Anthropology of the Global World  (recommended as profile)


Media Sociology


Sociology of Gender


Sociology of Labor and Economic Sociology


Sociology of Law and Regulation




Grade Description






very good: an outstanding achievement









good: an achievement substantially above average requirements









satisfactory: an achievement which corresponds to average requirements









sufficient: an achievement which barely meets the requirements



not sufficient/fail: an achievement which does not meet the requirements

Master's thesis and colloquium

Your master's thesis and colloquium will be the final part of your studies. In colloquium, you will present and discuss work-in-progress of your master's thesis. The master's thesis has to be approximately 70 pages long and you have 6 months to write it. You will have two supervisors of which one has to be a professor. They supervise you before and during the progress of writing and grade your thesis in the end. There is no oral defense of the master's thesis. The thesis and colloquium gives you 30 CP. The participation in a colloquium is mandatory.

Regulation regrading master's thesis by examination oficce can be found here.

Registration form for your master's thesis can be found here. Please note that on the date, on which your first supervisor signed the form, 6 months countdown starts.

Study examples

Please read the information above carefully before having a look on the study examples.


Events & Deadlines

Erasmus+ Sprechstunde/ Office hours:
Aktuell bieten wir eine online Sprechstunde an. Bitte kontaktiert uns zum Termin vereinbaren per Mail an erasmus.soc@uni-bielefeld.de

// At the moment we are offering online office hours. Please contact us to make an appointment by mail to erasmus.soc@uni-bielefeld.de


PDF-DokumentCourses taught in English - WS 2020/21

Alle Kurse für das kommende Wintersemester 2020/21 sind auch im eKVV online einsehbar! Englischsprachige Veranstaltungen finden Sie HIER.

All courses for the upcoming winter semester 2020/21 are also available online in the eKVV. You can find an overview of courses in English  HERE.









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