Sociology – Field of study catalogue MU
“The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.” (Pierre Bourdieu)
The Master’s degree programme in Sociology offers a rigorous course of instruction that will prepare you to investigate and understand the complexities of contemporary societies. The curriculum includes courses in classical and contemporary sociological theory, practical training in quantitative and qualitative research methods, and cultivation of your critical thinking and writing skills. The programme has been carefully designed to offer you a rich and complete sociological education, while simultaneously offering flexibility and opportunities for you to follow your personal interests.
The programme offers intensive instruction in a smaller number of challenging courses with high credit values, rather than extensive instruction in a high number of less demanding courses. This model of teaching is used at top international universities and it also helps you to become flexible and to transition smoothly to doctoral degree programmes if you decide to continue your studies. Our curriculum focuses on independent study combined with consultations with experienced lecturers, which enables you to develop skills needed for autonomous, thorough, and creative problem-solving. Methods that help you solve problems and complete tasks are given priority over broad factual knowledge in sociology, which can quickly become obsolete, is too extensive to be mastered in a two-year course of studies, and is usually easily available in digital databases and other types of information sources. Skilled use of such databases (e.g. being able to determine the relevance or reliability of data and information) is one of the skills that you learn during your Master’s studies.
After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:
- Understand the mechanisms behind the functioning of social systems and how these systems reproduce, how they are controlled, what rules they follow, which types of actors are formed/required by these systems, and what helps and disturbs social cohesion.
- Understand how people see social reality and how their perception of this reality influences their behaviour.
- Identify and use various types of social information for analysis, including statistical data, written and visual records, own observation, etc., and identify basic values and patterns of social behaviour.
- Identify specific social characteristics of different social environments and groups (based on ethnicity, religion, class, generation, nationality, etc.) and analyse them using sociological tools.
- Analyse specific social situations (value crises, social disintegration or conflict, important points and stages of individual, social, or organizational development and relate them to a wider institutional or cultural context.
- Identify the nature, social causes, and consequences of specific processes or problems (including migration, urbanization, social exclusion, lifestyle changes, corruption, asymmetrical communication, authoritarianism, education, and media).
- Consider and suggest solutions to specific problems, including the (unintended) consequences of various solutions to social problems and possible reactions of individual social actors or institutions.
- Understand the tools used for statistical processing of data, estimate the predictive value of collected data, and take advantage of the possibilities offered by programs for computer processing of statistical data (such as SPSS or STATA).
A degree in sociology prepares you for further post-graduate study or for a professional career in fields ranging from state administration, marketing, and business to education, journalism, and the non-governmental sector. Our graduates often find employment in social and land development (at private companies, local authorities, labour offices, etc.) and in market and public opinion research agencies.
Sociology is a single-subject Master’s degree programme and the standard duration of the studies is four semesters. Before taking the final state examination, students need to earn 120 ECTS credits: 60 credits by completing required courses (including 12 credits for Thesis Project and 24 credits for Thesis Seminar) and 60 credits by completing selective courses (including up to 12 credits for elective courses). Students in all matriculation years must complete at least one sociology course in English (this requirement can also be met by completing a course in English at a university abroad). Students are also expected to be able to study and communicate in English even in courses that are taught in Czech and they need to prove minimum language competence for Master’s degree programme graduates before taking their final state examination. The recommended study plan includes two required courses in the first two semesters of the study; please note this is not compulsory and most selective courses can be enrolled in without completing required courses first. However, completing a specific set of required and selective courses is compulsory for students who decide to specialize in one of the disciplines offered by the department (Social Anthropology, Gender Studies, and Urban Studies).
As a part of the Master’s final state examination, students take a written exam and defend their Master’s thesis. The thesis can be theoretical or it can be based on students’ own empirical qualitative or quantitative research. The thesis should be between 126,000 and 162,000 characters long and serves to show that students are able to apply their knowledge of sociological analysis to specific problems or topics and formulate relevant, accurate, and critical arguments. Students also need to show that they can choose the right methodological approach and framework and apply it properly.
The written exam comprises three essays in the following three topic areas:
(1) Sociological theory; (2) specialized sociology I, (3) specialized sociology II.
The Department announces the broad topics for each area no later than three months before the final state examination; for specialized sociology I and I, students choose a topic according to their own specialization (such as sociology of the family, sociology of culture, or sociology of migration). The announced topic areas include relevant literature available at the faculty library. By writing the essays in their chosen disciplines of sociology, students prove their ability to understand and analyse basic social processes in various institutional contexts, including their relationship to social and cultural contexts, and offer a critical sociological reflection on key elements of the given social processes and relationships. The exam in sociological theory tests the students’ knowledge of various paradigmatic traditions and perspectives in sociology as well as their ability to use theoretical concepts critically and analytically to analyse social phenomena, relationships, and processes, while understanding the wider socio-cultural or historical context.
Each part of the final state examination is evaluated separately by the board for the final state examination based on suggestions by the supervisor and readers (for the diploma thesis) and by individual examiners in each topic area (for the written exams in sociological theory, specialized sociology I, and specialized sociology II).
Graduates of the programme can enrol in various doctoral degree programmes in the Czech Republic and abroad.