Politics and Society

Master in Sociology

Dr. Jeroen van der Waal,
Coordinator of the programme

“If you are interested in understanding today’s politics, it does not suffice to simply look at the political field itself. Instead, you should analyse the complex interplay between political and societal developments. And that is what the exciting specialisation Politics & Society is all about.”

What is this specialisation about?

Do you wonder how political distrust, cultural conflicts and rising support for populist parties can be understood? Are you interested in the influence of media on political attitudes and behavior? This master programme might be the right choice for you. 

A new political culture characterizes contemporary western democracies. Reflecting broader societal transformations of globalisation and individualisation, voters and parties increasingly focus on hotly contested issues related to, for instance, national identities, ethnic diversity, immigration, crime and safety, and law and order. Besides the political landscape is scattered, with ‘floating’ and discontented voters who seem to frequently change their electoral preferences, which now include new populist parties.

Understanding the causes and consequences of massive changes in the relationship between politics and society calls for a unique perspective offered in Rotterdam. We combine both classic and state-of-the-art sociological theories and research with insights from political science to provide an in-depth understanding of contemporary politics. After this programme, you can work as advisor for policy or politics and are also well-prepared for jobs in journalism, consultancy, (applied) research and (academic) teaching. Thanks to this unique approach you will learn to answer questions like:

  • What are the causes of political fragmentation and what are its consequences for governing modern societies?
  • How does new information, for instance on the effects of immigration, sentencing or vaccine programs, affect citizens’ political attitudes?
  • How can we understand local variation in opposition to asylum seekers?
  • Does public opinion affect governments' policies or are they driven by interest group interests?

Why choose this programme?

  • Other than most Masters’ addressing politics, our programme offers an unique sociological perspective on the relationship between politics and society;
  • Small-scale interactive tutorials help developing in-depth insights and analytical skills;
  • The programme is taught by dedicated professors and evaluated very positively by our students.


The programme consists of 60 ECTS. Three core courses and a thesis together add up to 45 ECTS focused on the specialisation Politics & Society. The remaining 15 ECTS is devoted to two electives. Please click on one of the courses in the programme overview below to see the course descriptions. 

Block 1
Sept - Nov

Block 2
Nov - Jan

Block 3
Jan - March

Block 4
March - May

The Social Bases of Politics 

7.5 ECTS

Political Attitudes and Behaviour in Context 

7.5 ECTS

Citizens, Parties and Governments in Global Times

7.5 ECTS






7.5 ECTS


7.5 ECTS


7.5 ECTS


Total study load: 60 ECTS


Students developing a political campaign

After graduation

After completing this master programme you will be able to:

  • understand the causes and political implications of cultural and economic conflicts in western democracies;
  • understand the political attitudes and behaviour of citizens, social movements, political parties and governments;
  • analyse contemporary politics by applying up to date theories and concepts;
  • present your insights, and contribute to discussions, on contemporary politics in an international setting;
  • critically evaluate and dissect academic texts, provide constructive feedback to peers, and write research proposals.

Mode of education

Each core course is composed of a series of lectures and small-scale tutorials. The lectures present the main theoretical and empirical insights about the topic of the course. In the tutorials, students learn to analyse and apply these insights by discussing and presenting various assignments in small groups.


Jessie Renne, student Politics & Society

"Questions puzzling us about the link between politics and society can’t be answered by looking only at the political systems within a country. A broader perspective is needed, and political sociology offers exactly that by looking at the political system, as well as the society.

After graduation I want to contribute to social equality, and I couldn’t have chosen a better program to prepare me for it; insights into social dynamics behind politics and political participation provide valuable understandings that are of great importance for my future career."