The Master of European Social Security is a one-year advanced master's programme organised by KU Leuven's Faculty of Law dealing with the area of social security in its broadest sense, including cash benefit schemes, pensions and health care systems.
The programme provides an in-depth study of social security and social protection from a legal, economical, sociological, administrative and philosophical perspective. In addition to being multidisciplinary, the curriculum contains a strong comparative and multinational component focusing on the provision of social protection rights across Europe. This gives you the opportunity to understand the many different approaches to social security that co-exist within our old continent. At the same time, you will gain a better understanding of your own national system. The programme also includes careful study of the role of international bodies such as the European Union.
As a student in the programme, you become part of an international network of experts in the field of social security. Students come from various European countries and beyond and have different academic backgrounds. The teaching staff consists of renowned professors from KU Leuven and other European universities specialising in various disciplines related to social security.
The programme comprises 60ECTS and starts with the summer school in August. The programme concludes the following academic year (July of next year).
The Master's programme is offered in two options:
The two tracks share 30 ECTS in common coursework and 30 ECTS in specialised, track-specific coursework.
Admission to the research-oriented track is based on your end results of the examinations organised at the end of the Executive Summer School and is subject to the decision of an Academic Selection Committee. Only a maximum of six students are admitted to this track every year.
The classes and workshops organised in Leuven (Belgium) are grouped into a limited number of weeks. Remaining coursework is completed via digital learning platform. The platform connects you to Europe's best lecturers who guide you through their specially designed course materials remotely.
This unique teaching platform offers the best of both worlds: an authentic university experience at one of Europe's foremost universities during your two stays on campus and the flexibility to complete the majority of the programme from home. Throughout the programme, you will be connected to a unique international network of universities and be in contact with teaching staff and fellow participants from all over Europe.
The ideal prospective student should:
While all prospective students should have knowledge of social security acquired by study, those with practical experience, e.g. experience working in a social security administration, are particularly valued. Some previous exposure to European social affairs and/or foreign social security systems is also helpful.
The programme is a specialised, research-based education, dealing with the area of social security in its broadest sense. It provides the students with an in-depth study of social protection from a legal, economic, sociological and administrative perspective, confronting the students with the most recent research and several national backgrounds, thus stimulating individual reflection.
At the end of the programme the participants should be able to :
Graduates are professionally active in areas related to social security (social or private insurance institutions, social administrations, social and economic policy-makers).
At the local, national and global level, we are witnessing an intense period of social transformation and fragmentation. Within this context, there is growing political and policy recognition of the need to better understand and thereby address social inequalities. The social sciences have an important role to play in mapping and understanding how inequalities arise and in tackling their causes and consequences. Innovative developments in the social sciences are offering new methodological, theoretical and empirical insights into entrenched and emerging inequalities of status, resource, outcome and opportunity. This has inspired us to create an interdisciplinary programme focusing on inequality in all its forms and its social, political and economic implications.
This Masters programme equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to engage in and contribute towards work that tackles the realities and effects of social inequality. Capitalising on academic and applied expertise in the School of Sociology and Social Policy and the Leeds Inequalities Research Network, this programme harnesses leading analytical approaches combining qualitative, quantitative and data analytic methods (in close collaboration with the School of Geography).
In addition to offering an advanced understanding of rising material inequality, the programme encourages an intersectional approach to understanding socio-economic stratification and how this links with physical (dis) ability, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, class and age. It provides a stimulating intellectual environment and cutting edge methodological approaches to comparing and contrasting the formation and consequences of inequalities across a range of national and international contexts. Through an examination of geopolitical and socioeconomic shifts, such as urbanisation and globalisation, students are actively supported to critically interrogate the contemporary character and extent of social inequality.
Whilst undertaking this programme, students will join a vibrant and dynamic research led teaching and learning environment in the School of Sociology and Social Policy. You will benefit from the interdisciplinary expertise and extra-curricular activities hosted by the School and its research centres including those in Disability Studies, Ethnicity and Racism Studies, Interdisciplinary Gender Studies and Research into Families, the Life Course and Generations. You will also access events through the Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI), which fosters cross-departmental collaboration, learning and impact, Students will also benefit from workshops on global inequalities by academic leaders from across campus and research seminars with external speakers; along with career development opportunities and events. As such, students can take advantage of academic and applied expertise both within and beyond the University whilst also developing specialist knowledge and transferable skills for their future career development in the public, private or third sector.
The programme bridges disciplinary divides to provide a detailed understanding of the ways in which social inequality manifests across diverse communities and contexts at the national and international level. It offers insight into the character, causes and consequences of social inequality, as well as forms of resistance and policy responses. It has a strong and innovative methodological focus, including traditional qualitative and quantitative approaches to the social analysis of inequality, as well as new approaches to data visualisation and analytics from across the social sciences. The programme uses a range of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars and workshops, complemented by a range of co-curricular activities partly facilitated through the Leeds Inequalities Research Network.
The core modules of the programme introduce students to contemporary research on global inequalities of social difference and disadvantage, emphasizing a diversity of theoretical and research design strategies, including international evidence surrounding the shifting nature and extent of inequality. Students are able to tailor the programme according to their interests and needs by choosing from a specially selected range of optional modules, which address major social and economic inequalities across diverse social science subjects and substantive issues. As such, students can choose to develop in-depth specialist knowledge on a particular area and/or focus more generally on the social processes and arrangements that give rise to inequalities.
PLUS TWO OF THE BELOW:
We use a range of teaching and learning methods including presentations, seminars, workshops, tutorials and lectures. However, independent study is crucial to this degree – it allows you to prepare for taught sessions, develop your research interests and build a range of skills. This is particularly the case for the dissertation/applied project module of this programme.
Supported through workshops and supervision, students develop their research dissertation or an applied project in partnership with external organisations. This offers students an exciting opportunity to gain experience of applying their knowledge and skills to policy and practice.
Your core modules will be assessed using essays. Optional modules may use other forms of assessment that reflect the diversity of the topics you can study, including presentations, book and literature reviews, research proposals and reports among others.
This programme prepares students for policy, research and applied careers across the private, public and third sectors. The interdisciplinary and dynamic nature of the programme equips students with the critical, analytical and methodological skills to deploy their specialist expertise in a clear, efficient and effective manner. You will develop transferable skills in research, analysis and communication, as well as in-depth knowledge that can be applied across a range of domains and contexts.
Due to the rigorous and applied nature of our teaching, graduates might pursue careers across a diverse range of organisational settings such as in government, NGOS, charities, think tanks, social enterprises and business. The programme also offers excellent development opportunities to pursue a career in social research or undertake research at PhD level.