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.
The Master’s programme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology teaches students how to do research into the ways in which people experience and cope with global problems at the small scale of their everyday. You will study people who may live lives that are economically fragile, in environments damaged by pollution or disaster or feel they lack the rights of full citizens in the country where they live. However, they manage to survive, keep up hope and laugh with each other despite these difficulties. You will learn to research how people acquire the resilience that allows them to cope with them, and how they maintain continuity in a world that is often difficult to handle.
Through the experience of ethnographic research, you will learn how to enter and participate in another world, and to understand it without becoming trapped in the stereotypes of our own. To this end, experienced researchers co-opt students into their own research specialties and train them to work in field research sites that they select and organize together. Intensive coaching by individual supervisors, course teachers, and field research trainers prepares students for your personal field research project. This also speeds up the process of settling in a field site, understanding its research context, and acquiring the skills and art of reporting results to an audience in an academically responsible way.
The Master’s programme in CA/DS offers a unique set of choices: you can join staff members in their Global Ethnography research specialties; you can work with a company, a museum or an NGO in a Policy in Practice project; or you can set up a Visual Ethnography project (subject to previous training). The staff members who supervise these projects are experienced and enthusiastic ethnographers who are proud of the way their MSc transfers skills to students. Staff members are actively involved in the Field Schools in West Africa (Ghana), Southeast Asia (Indonesia and the Philippines) and the Netherlands, because they offer students the most effective road to a good research result. Alternative sites become available, however, through (for example) Policy in Practice projects.
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.
Scientifically grounded intervention research
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.