What is the meaning of citizenship in modern culture? What is the value of democracy? What does today's sociopolitical atmosphere mean for the future of liberty itself? Given the current international backdrop of cultural conflicts, political strife and radical new technologies, a thorough understanding of such issues is more urgently needed than ever. In the master's programme in Politics and Society, you will gain insight into how culture has become a source of concern and conflict in the national and international political arenas. You will also explore the different professional roles a student of politics and society can play in political organisations, in the media or in think tanks.
You can choose to follow this programme completely in English or completely in Dutch. You will get an MA in Arts and Culture with a specialisation in Politics and Society.
Why this programme?
Multiculturalism. Integration. Neopopulism. Meritocracy. These are some of the hottest topics around today, and they are all on the table in this programme. The common thread: how culture has become a source of concern and conflict in the national and international political arenas.
You will analyse these topics and new political developments from a broad range of perspectives. After all, this programme does not train you to become a political scientist, historian, philosopher or sociologist, but a generalist who can combine approaches from all these disciplines.
You will learn to critically diagnose contemporary problems and practices in the area of politics and society. This requires three crucial academic skills, which you will develop during the programme:
Identifying and pursuing your own intellectual passions is a must. The overall aim is to get a grip on the pressing issues confronting Western societies from an interdisciplinary perspective. Since societal and political developments are interwoven, this integrated approach is crucial.
In this programme, you will:
Do you want to broaden your knowledge of European politics and policies in a programme that combines the study of political science with international relations, history and sociology? Are you ambitious, with a keen motivation to pursue a career that requires strong research competences, such as in a think tank or in academia, or jobs in politics and journalism? And are you interested in being part of a small, close-knit community of students and researchers? If so, the two-year interdisciplinary European Studies programme is the right choice for you.
Why this programme?
The research-intensive master’s in European Studies is an interdisciplinary programme that combines political science and international relations with history and sociology. Research plays a primary role from the outset, with research projects integrated into each core module. You will gain in-depth training in methods such as quantitative and qualitative techniques, comparative methods and discourse analysis. You will also develop skills in designing research, writing research proposals, publishing your work and applying for funding and research positions. For the elective component, you can choose to take specialised courses, complete a research internship or do an exchange abroad. The master’s programme culminates with a thesis and the development of a PhD research proposal.
In this programme, you will:
Do you have a passion for research and work in the field of globalisation and development, rooted in undergraduate studies or experience in the field? Are you interested in individuals and communities, as well as in the broader relations between the Global North and South? Do you have the ambition to develop your academic research skills and to use academic insights to make a positive impact in the world? If so, this may be the right programme for you. The master’s in Globalisation & Development Studies is a social science programme that focuses on how the dynamics of globalisation affect developing areas. You will develop the theoretical, analytical and practical skills that are essential for either an academic or professional career in globalisation and development.
Why this programme?
The master’s programme in Globalisation & Development Studies is a social science programme that focuses on how globalisation trends affect and interconnect different areas of the globe while marginalising others and how they produce diverse ‘local’ responses. While acknowledging the roles of the state and the market, you will examine the processes of globalisation and development ‘from the ground up’. You will look at how they are experienced in the everyday lives of families, indigenous communities, migrant diasporas, grassroots organisations and NGOs.
This programme builds on 20 years of globalisation and development teaching at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. It has a pronounced global and transnational orientation: from the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, to emancipation and empowerment, hybrid identities, transnational social and political formations, and new possibilities for transforming society. You will develop a sound knowledge basis in the concepts, theories and issues relating to globalisation and development. Using Problem-Based Learning (PBL), which is very well suited for Globalisation and Development Studies, your learning is problem-driven and theory-driven and requires students to be active rather than passive.
Judged best in the field
The highly regarded Keuzegids Master’s Selection Guide 2017 ranked Utrecht University’s Conflict Studies and Human Rights programme as the best in the field in the Netherlands.
In this year's Elsevier Best Studies Survey, students have also rated Conflict Studies as the best programme.
Conflict Studies and Human Rights: Theoretical analysis and grounded research
Why has ’nationalist’ violence erupted in Ukraine? Will cities become the war zones of the future? How is the term ‘human rights’ used and abused in times of violent conflict? What role did social media play in the rise and subsequent collapse of the Arab Spring? What are the ethical and political issues associated with the use of drones in zones of conflict - and what impact does this have on the subjects of surveillance? Who defines ‘evil’ and what does ‘doing good’ mean? How do ‘humanitarian wars’ affect the everyday lives of the ‘victims’ they protect?
These are just some of the pressing questions arising from the complex interconnectedness of today’s world. A solution to these questions can only be found through systematic analysis of processes of inclusion and exclusion, mobilisation, and collective violence. Addressing these topics properly demands critical reflection on the national and international policies developed to contain, manage, resolve, or transform violent conflict.
Our Master's programme in Conflict Studies and Human Rights is a selective, international graduate programme combining the study of theory with in-depth case study analysis.
The programme focuses on both the dynamics of violent conflicts and the problems associated with national and international military or humanitarian intervention by agencies such as the UN, NATO, or non-governmental organisations.
The Master's programme in Conflict Studies and Human Rights will equip you with the necessary analytical and theoretical skills to engage with global and local challenges in insightful and innovative ways. You will acquire solid theoretical, analytical, and methodological expertise in Conflict Studies and Human Rights, as well as field experience in conflict and post-conflict regions.
You will learn about and develop mastery in three key areas:
1. Subject knowledge
You will gain in-depth knowledge of theoretical approaches to understanding and explaining contemporary conflict and human rights. You will also obtain a general understanding of international policy approaches to contemporary conflict and human rights, as well as an understanding of the political contexts in which they are used.
2. Evidence-based social research
You will learn to undertake research that consists of systematic analysis and synthesis and is based on a dialogue between ideas and evidence. In the course of this dialogue, you will be able to identify “sensitising concepts” from theory to facilitate your data collection. You will also use theory to gain an understanding of the evidence you gather and to explain your findings.
3. Critical attitude towards received wisdom
You will have the conceptual and analytical skills necessary to question conventional ideas and accepted courses of action while defining your own viewpoint. You will also be able to assess the problem of violent conflict and human rights by considering interrelated issues of identity, perception, discourse, and practice.
The Master’s programme in Conflict Studies and Human Rights offers good preparation for careers in any sector involving conflict analysis, including the public sector, business, non-governmental and international organisations. Read more about possible career prospects.
Are you a socially conscious, critical thinker? Are you interested in politics and technology? And does the connection between innovation and society intrigue you? Then the master’s European Studies on Society, Sciences and Technology (ESST) might be what you are looking for. As an ESST student, you will investigate the relationship between science, technology, and society, from a cultural, political, economic, and historical point of view.
This programme is offered together with 15 partner universities across Europe. You will spend your first semester taking courses at Maastricht University. During the second semester, you will select a specialisation and write your thesis either at Maastricht University or at one of the programme’s partner universities abroad.
Why this programme?
The emergence of new technology - such as smart phones, social networking, nanotechnology, robotics, sustainable energy, and disability and technology - opens up both opportunities and threats to modern societies and economies. Citizens, governments, businesses and universities face great challenges when trying to take advantage of the seemingly infinite opportunities of scientific and technological innovations, not least because of the unintended consequences that may accompany them.
Convinced that 'innovation' cannot be captured by economics alone and that a purely technical approach is not enough to understand today’s knowledge society, ESST focuses on governance, sustainability and cultures of innovation from a multidisciplinary approach. The ESST programme explores the interrelated worlds of the scientist, engineer, politician, and citizen by examining the values, language, history, politics, and economics of our modern cultures of innovation. Furthermore, the global, multicultural, and environmentally conscious perspective of the programme develops ethical awareness and public responsibility.
At first sight, the arts and sciences appear to be worlds apart. While sciences draw on strict procedures, the arts seem to be exempted from such rules. Yet both practices are governed by conventions - such as a consistent focus on innovation - that help to explain their cultural impact.
Moreover, the arts, science and technology mix and mingle in interesting ways. The arts provide scientists with metaphors to describe their work. The sciences are objects of cultural critique in the arts. The arts continuously incorporate new technologies. And both the arts and sciences “imagine” our culture’s future. That is why it is so important to study the contributions of the arts, science and technology to modern culture. And it is why we study all of these in one programme. CAST has roots in the internationally known field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and is at the same time uniquely embedded in empirical cultural research.
The Research Master in Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology is an intense and highly reputed programme. The programme is designed to give you the best possible preparation for a professional research position. During your master’s, you will therefore not only study theories from history, sociology, philosophy, the arts and the qualitative social sciences, but you will also follow a number of courses that specifically focus on research methods such as qualitative interviewing, conceptual analysis, archival research, ethnographic observations and rhetorical, narrative and discourse analysis. Most importantly, you will actually learn to work with these methods by writing review papers, research papers and proposals. You will work closely with faculty research staff on their projects and gain a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at how academic research is actually done.
How can we understand the EU’s response to the financial crisis or to the confrontation between Ukraine and Russia? How do we account for the EU’s reaction to the refugee crisis provoked by conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa? What is Europe’s peacekeeping role and capacity? The master's programme in European Studies trains you to answer these complex questions. Because you cannot study Europe from just one angle, the programme examines global developments and multi-level governance in a broader context, combining political science, history, international relations, economics and cultural studies. This student-centred, interdisciplinary programme is among the largest, and certainly the most international, in Europe and has an excellent reputation. You will study the internal and external dimensions of European policy, governance and administration. The focus is on the underlying issues of power and influence, governance and culture within the European milieu and between Europe and the wider world.
Why this programme?
The Master of Arts in European Studies focuses on the international dimensions of policy, governance and administration. The programme looks beyond the institutions of the European Union and the mechanics of European integration to examine global developments and multi-level governance in a broader context. The programme employs an interdisciplinary approach, combining political science, history, international relations, economics and cultural studies. The focus is on the underlying issues of power and influence, governance and culture.
The programme offers three specialisations:
What critical role do artists, philosophers, writers and poets play in today’s society? What is the point of art in public spaces? What can your role as a future student of culture mean to society? If you are passionate about such issues, the master’s programme in Art, Literature and Society could be the programme for you. The programme is aimed at critical and creative thinkers who have a large array of interests. As a graduate of this programme, you will have broad insights into modern day questions of national and international importance. You will also have experience conducting incisive debates and will be able to contribute to contemporary discussions surrounding art and literature.
You can choose to follow this programme completely in English or completely in Dutch.You will get an MA in Arts and Culture with a specialisation in Art, Literature and Society.
Why this programme?
The master Art, Literature and Society addresses contemporary debates in literature, art, religion, philosophy and culture. The key term here is interdisciplinarity: you learn to approach debates not as a philosopher, student of literature, sociologist or art historian, but rather as a student of culture who can combine different approaches from all of these various disciplines.
You will use interdisciplinary insights to debate issues such as:
The debates and discussions you will have during the programme, as well as the lectures and skills trainings, will help you:
Do you ever wonder why mothers are more likely than fathers to work part-time and care for their children? Or why some countries oblige unemployment benefit recipients to follow strict activation requirements while others do not? Maybe you’ve thought about what the expected and real-life benefits and challenges of the decentralization of care are? Or how societies are changing as a result of increasing cultural diversity and social inequality?
If you are interested in studying such issues, this one-year Master's programme is for you. You will develop knowledge about interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives on social policy and interventions, which will help you gain in-depth insight into the methodology and skills needed to research social policy and intervention issues in the domain of health and wellbeing, in particular related to work, care and participation. More specifically, you will look into problems such as:
You will also study people's strategies for dealing with social risks, including:
This will be done by combining knowledge from the behavioural and social sciences.
The academic staff in our faculty participate in a wide variety of research projects into the problems that are central to this Master's programme, including themes as diverse as:
Our Master’s programme is truly an international programme, in both its teaching and its orientation. Many of the problems focused on in this Master's programme have a strong European or global dimension, such as: ageing and care, migration and ethnic relationships, individualization and solidarity, gender and sexual diversity, and social environments and health. The same goes for the policy and intervention approaches that are used to tackle these issues. You will find that this international perspective is a key feature of the programme. You will learn to take this international perspective in a global teaching environment, with staff and students from the Netherlands, Europe and beyond.
In addition to its international, comparative perspective, the programme is also characterized by its interdisciplinary and multi-method approach. This international, interdisciplinary and multi-method focus also applies to the research you will undertake for your master’s thesis, as well as in the exploration of professional practices. In your research, you will draw on a combination of scientific perspectives from the behavioural and social sciences, in particular psychology, sociology, and cultural anthropology. In exploring professional practices, you will also draw on a combination of scientific perspectives, through a focus on social policies, mostly informed by social science, and interventions, mostly grounded in behavioural sciences.
This Master's programme is intended to enable you to become an academic professional. As a graduate of the Social Policy and Public Health programme, you will be able to study social problems from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. You will also have acquired the professional and academic skills necessary to design, implement, and evaluate social policies and interventions. These skills will allow you to pursue a career as a social scientist, working with government agencies, social service organizations, civil society organizations, or private sector companies.