Why this programme

Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts
Student RMSMCA on campus

Challenge yourself. Combine social-scientific training and hands-on research experience. Develop your own research interests. Prepare yourself for a PhD, or a research-oriented career outside of academia.

This two-year Master of Science (MSc) Programme is specially designed for academically talented and driven students, who have a nose for research in sociology, media studies, and arts and culture studies. If you have demonstrated academic excellence and motivation during one of the regular Erasmus University one-year master programmes in Sociology, Arts and Culture Studies, Media, or Communication and your English meets the standard, you may apply for admission to an abridged version of the programme.

This advanced, research-oriented programme is offered by the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) in collaboration with the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (ESSB). It is taught by top researchers from the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCC) and Erasmus University's Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS), with occasional guest lectures given by renowned experts and visiting professors. The programme will train you to independently carry out high-quality research, at the same time giving you the chance to more clearly outline your own research interests, with the help of leading scholars in the field.

The research master not only prepares you for a PhD in sociology, arts and culture studies, media studies and related fields, but also offers a solid base for a career in applied research, policy, or consultancy.

More reasons to study Sociology of Arts, Culture and the Media in Rotterdam

  • You will acquire advanced social-scientific research skills next to state-of-the-art knowledge in the field;
  • this research master has proven to be a perfect stepping stone to a PhD position or a research oriented career outside of academia;
  • you will receive hands-on, personalized instruction from an enthusiastic team of internationally renowned scholars who actively support you and who provide intensive and individual coaching;
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam is a top-rated university, famous for its cutting-edge research in the fields covered in this degree programme;
  • you will become part of a vital and cosmopolitan research community, including students and scholars from all of the world;
  • in your second year you will have the opportunity to study one semester abroad at one of our international partner universities; 
  • you will be able to develop your professional network and get to know your future employer during your studies, for instance when participating in the research traineeship.

More information about this programme:

A word from

Suzanne Abrahamse

Suzanne Abrahamse - Student Research Master Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts

The traineeship and exchange enable me to put my knowledge and skills into practice while also creating experiences outside of class.
Portrait picture of Suzanne Abrahamse
The traineeship and exchange enable me to put my knowledge and skills into practice while also creating experiences outside of class.

I am a graduate from University College Utrecht where I majored in urban sociology and anthropology. This is a challenging and interdisciplinary bachelor’s program with an international focus. For my Master’s, I was looking for something similar: a program which offers more than ‘just’ the courses. This is what I found in the Research Master ‘Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts’. 

Knowledge, skills and experiences outside of class

Erasmus University Rotterdam is the ideal environment for me to continue my education. So far, the program has introduced me to many talented people, offered me a stimulating work environment, and has given me high-quality education. It is everything that I expected and more.

I have always tried to get the most out of my studies and this research master allows me to do this. There are many extra dimensions to the master, allowing students to further explore their interests. For example, the traineeship and exchange enable me to put my knowledge and skills into practice while also creating experiences outside of class.

Favourite course

One of my favorite courses so far, has been ‘Consumer Culture’. In class we both discuss established social theories as well as newer papers and relate them to current day events. Everything that is discussed in class, you start detecting in your own life. I can’t watch an advertisement or TV show anymore without having an existential crisis about society. In addition, the small-scale and interactive class format creates optimal opportunity for learning and allows you to really get to know your peers. They become not only your study buddies, but also your friends.

Talking about the pressure

The program can be a bit intense at times. I have doubted whether I am doing ‘enough’, as all students are extremely motivated, performing well in class while also participating in extra projects. However, talking about this pressure with the other students made me realize that everyone is experiencing these feelings. Having open and honest conversations and learning to not compare myself, has helped release some of this pressure.

Enthusiasm for research

Before I started this Master’s, doing a PhD or having a future career in research had never crossed my mind. However, the program has boosted my confidence and sparked my enthusiasm for research. Over the past few months, I have realized that a career in academia might not be as unlikely for me as I once thought.

In addition, I have always wanted to become a professor, spreading my knowledge and having discussions with students. I also highly value active engaged citizenship and would like to make a positive impact on society. However, there are so many options and I have honestly not given my future too much thought.

For now, I am focused on making the most out of my degree and enjoying every step of the way. This master is giving me the skills and confidence that I am sure I will be prepared for the future and the complexities of life.

Portrait picture of Suzanne Abrahamse

Jasper Bosma

Jasper Bosma - Student Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts

I have never had the opportunity to develop myself at such a rapid pace as I currently can.
Portretfoto Jasper Bosma
I have never had the opportunity to develop myself at such a rapid pace as I currently can.

While taking part in the master Politics & Society at ESSB last year, I realised how much I enjoyed writing and thinking about and conducting research. One of my tutors advised me to look into the research master Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts at ESHCC, which I immediately found interesting.  

The freedom to explore and expand your own fields of interest

Having finished the first block of the research master, I can conclude that I’ve made the right decision. As I had no background in media or arts studies, I was not sure whether the master would suit my interests perfectly. However, at the start of the programme, it became clear right away that the topics of media and arts are mostly used as a backdrop against which we are introduced to sociological theories and methodological approaches, which we then get to apply in assignments on topics of our own interest. In other words, we get the freedom to explore and expand our own fields of interest.

To me this is amazing, particularly because of the highly interactive setting of our classes, which stimulate discussion between students. Combined, we get such lively discussions where everyone has a different perspective as a result of their own interests. The different backgrounds of me and my peers are, in this sense, a real asset to the programme.  

Opportunity to develop in a rapid pace

I can only say that I have never had the opportunity to develop myself at such a rapid pace as I currently can. It is certainly highly challenging, but for those interested in conducting research in sociology or media and arts studies, this is the programme for you.

Portretfoto Jasper Bosma

Julian Schaap

Julian Schaap - Alumnus Research Master Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts

Due to the combination of cultural sociology and the sociology of media and the arts, I thought the research master was one of the best international programmes available.
Julian Schaap
Due to the combination of cultural sociology and the sociology of media and the arts, I thought the research master was one of the best international programmes available.

"While finishing my Bachelor programme in History I grew an interest in how historical processes continue to shape current societies. This caused a shift in my focus from history to sociology. Due to the combination of cultural sociology and the sociology of media and the arts, I thought the research master was one of the best international programmes available to develop my knowledge on this. Although I started the master with the idea of pursuing an academic career only in the back of my mind, it only took a few weeks into the first courses to make me realize this is exactly what I wanted – and still want – to do.

A piece of advice: Enjoy it as much as you can! In hindsight I realize how amazing it was to be able to read about so many different interesting topics while being in an intellectually stimulating group of peers and being guided by experts in the field. In addition to that, I can recommend to really grasp this ‘openness of your brain’ as long as you can and not decide at the start what you want to focus on. You have ample opportunity (internship, master thesis) to develop ideas at length, so use the different courses to write papers about various topics. It helps you to become truly inter-disciplinary and make the most of the two years the program offers. It goes without saying that going on international exchange is an absolute must."

Julian Schaap

Jose Nederhand

José Nederhand - Alumna Research Master Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts ›R

I think the Research Master prepares you very well for conducting PhD research.
Portrait José Nederhand (Alumni Research Master Media Studies)
I think the Research Master prepares you very well for conducting PhD research.

Why did you choose for studying the Research Master in Rotterdam? Was it a choice for a PhD career or did other factors count too? If yes, which ones?
My choice for studying the Research Master was definitely motivated by PhD-career related arguments. At the time I applied for this Master, I already held a regular Masters’ title in Public Administration. Choosing this particular program allowed me to deepen my sociological knowledge on societal processes such as individualization and social/cultural stratification while at the same time expanding my methodological knowledge. Furthermore, the excellent reputation of this Master played a role in my decision to apply for this program. The program is repeatedly awarded a Top Rated certificate for excellence by the ‘Keuzegids Masters’.  

When did you know you wished to pursue a PhD degree? Could you explain why a PhD trajectory was appealing to you?
My choice for pursuing a PhD trajectory is strongly substantively motivated. Working as a PhD candidate allows you to keep expanding and sharing your knowledge with students and practitioners on issues that fascinate you. Personally, my fascination lies in understanding how governments in coalition with non-public parties try to tackle complex social problems. Before I started my PhD trajectory, I already had more than three years working experience at the university as student assistant. During these years, my interest in science gradually developed. I particularly like the varied working practice. Currently, I simultaneously work on multiple research projects, interact with students during teaching, interview practitioners and visit international academic conferences all over the world to present my work such as Hong Kong and Ottawa.

You are currently a PhD candidate at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. How long did it take you to find your present PhD position after graduation and through which means did you find it?
After graduation I first worked as a lecturer and junior researcher within the EU funded LIPSE project on social innovation at the department of Public Administration and Sociology for some months. Then, two Professors of my department were awarded a research grant that enabled them to hire new PhDs. When they started hiring I applied for a position that was partly funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Netherlands School of Public Administration (NSOB).   

What is the (working) title of your PhD project? Could you briefly explain what your PhD project is about? Is there any relation to the topic of your master’s thesis or research traineeship or to other elements of the research master’s program?
The working title of my PhD project is Governance for Smartening Public Private Society Partnerships. In this project I specifically focus upon how local governments try to tackle societal challenges in a smart way (in times of budget austerity) by involving private and societal partners in the creation of public value. The project focusses on examining the smart governance strategies that governments use in overcoming institutional and processual bottlenecks that occur during these collaborative processes. Especially the methodological courses and cultural sociological courses that were offered during the Research Master proved to be very useful.

Would you say you were well prepared for conducting this particular PhD project, and for PhD research in general? Why/Why not?
Yes, I think the Research Master prepares you very well for conducting PhD research. Step by step you become more familiar with what will be expected from you as a PhD candidate and with what pursuing an academic career entails exactly. You get the chance to specialize in several methodological techniques (in my case multi-level analysis and discourse analysis) which I have both applied in my current PhD project.

Do you have any tips and tricks for current research master students?
A tip for current Research Master students is to focus your Master’s thesis on a topic you also want to pursue your PhD in. Being able to demonstrate your affinity with a particular research topic will help you tremendously in the application procedure for pursuing a PhD position on that same topic. 

Portrait José Nederhand (Alumni Research Master Media Studies)

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