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Course content

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.

What is the Master of European Social Security all about?

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.

Structure

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:

  • a more practice-oriented track
  • a research-oriented track

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.

Is this the right programme for me?

The ideal prospective student should:

  • have a good knowledge of his/her own social security system and its workings;
  • be able to formulate research questions and carry out corresponding research in the area of social security;
  • have an open attitude toward other scientific disciplines and other national social security systems;
  • have good English language skills. (There are no special arrangements made for improving language skills during the programme.);
  • be able to collect relevant information about his/her own social security system and evaluate this information as to its quality and relevance for the research questions being dealt with;
  • be able to critically evaluate national social security research within his/her mono-discipline;
  • have the ability to form an opinion about social security issues, motivate it with scientific arguments and formulate it in a debate with others;
  • hold an appropriate degree in a social security-related discipline. (Very occasionally, students with an academic education in other disciplines but who possess long-term experience in an area of social security and research skills may be admitted the programme.)

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.

Objectives

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 :

  • design and carry out individual research projects in the area of social security, as well as participate in the conception, execution and supervision of team research;
  • put their national/monodisciplinary approach in a broader perspective by including other disciplines and abandoning a merely national point of view;
  • recognise national and temporal contingencies from essential social security boundaries;
  • take up unfashionable positions if their research so demands;
  • take part in and position themselves on a good multidisciplinary and comparative basis in any debate concerning social security issues;
  • deliver results and opinions that contribute to the advancement of social security related research in Europe;
  • translate research results to the broader public;
  • make research results relevant for policy making; be able to translate questions from policy-makers into research questions, deal with them and explain the results to policy-makers.

Career perspectives

Graduates are professionally active in areas related to social security (social or private insurance institutions, social administrations, social and economic policy-makers).


Visit the European Social Security MA page on the KU Leuven website for more details!

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