Master’s studies

Master Programme in Sociology of Education 2018/2019

Photo for Master Programme in Sociology of Education 2018/2019

Education, and the way students should be educated, is a heavily debated and political subject. The Master Programme in Sociology of Education focuses on the analysis of what education really is and what functions it fulfils. As a student in the programme, you will acquire the means to make independent and advanced analyses of education as a social phenomenon, shaped by historical, cultural and economic conditions. It will prepare you for a career in research or the area of education administration.

Why this programme?

In the Master Programme in Sociology of Education at Uppsala University, education – in the broad sense of the word – is explored as a social phenomenon. It is related to the overall social structure and to social transformations, such as processes of globalisation, individualisation, marketisation and privatisation. A focal point is the encounter between the symbolic or material assets held by pupils and school teachers or students and professors, as well as their embodied dispositions and beliefs, and the prevailing social and cultural order in the educational system.

Other important areas of study are the rise and transformation of educational systems, the history of and competition between educational institutions, the significance of education for the class structure and the relation that education upholds with cultural, economic or political fields. As a discipline, sociology of education is based on more general traditions in social and historical sciences.


The programme leads to a Master of Arts (120 credits) with Sociology of Education as the main field of study. After one year of study it is also possible to obtain a Master of Arts (60 credits).


The programme comprises four core courses in Sociology of Education equivalent to 30 credits. While two core courses address theoretical and methodological traditions relevant to sociology of education, the other two include a historically oriented course on the rise and development on educational systems and another course focusing on their current transformations.

In addition, at least four more specialised courses in Sociology of Education are offered yearly and may be included in the studies leading to a Master’s degree according to your study orientation. These courses vary between years, since their content is connected to ongoing research and to visits by international researchers in the area.

You are also encouraged to take courses at advanced level relevant to Sociology of Education that are provided by other disciplines at Uppsala University or other universities in Sweden or abroad. In relation to the Master’s thesis work, courses and fieldwork can be carried out abroad, in particular at universities and research environments with which close collaboration is upheld.

For a Master's degree, at least 60 credits in Sociology of Education are required, including your 30 credits Master's thesis. 

Courses within the programme

Core courses in Sociology of Education:

  • Sociology of Education, Traditions, 7.5 credits
  • Sociology of Education, Methods, 7.5 credits
  • Current Transformations of Educational Systems, 7.5 credits
  • The History of Educational Systems, 7.5 credits
  • Master's Thesis in Sociology of Education, 30 credits
Additional courses in Sociology of Education:
  • Geometric Data Analysis, 7.5 credits
  • Histories of Modern Societies: Contextualising Education, 1800–2000, 7.5 credits
  • Sociology of Education, internship, 7.5 credits or 15 credits
  • Pierre Bourdieu's Sociology of Education, 7.5 credits
  • Sociology of Power, Elites and Elite Education, 7.5 credits
  • Transnational Educational Strategies, 7.5 credits

Learning experience

The courses offered in the programme have a foundation in empirical research, theory and critical reasoning, with active researchers as teachers and supervisors. International guest researchers with an expertise in various fields within or connected to sociology of education are invited to lecture or give courses.

Through a combination of lectures, seminars, regular written assignments with feedback from lecturers, seminars, oral presentations and individual as well as group supervision, you are supported in gradually developing methodological skills, theoretical knowledge and critical judgment capacities. As training progresses, you are expected to take increasing responsibility for your learning, with a view to gradually acquire professionally relevant and research based knowledge and skills.

The programme is taught in English and you are encouraged to advance your mastery of English for writing, presentation and discussing. Upon completing the programme you should have gained both broad and specialised knowledge and skills in the main field of study, being able to critically examine various types of studies on education and its social role. You should also have gained advanced knowledge and skills in formulating scientific problems, conducting studies and communicating the results both verbally and in written form.


In contemporary society, education assumes a key role and is also crucial for how countries cope with global competition. During the last half century, education systems have expanded dramatically and more people than ever are engaged in some kind of educational training. This expansion, along with decentralisation and deregulation in terms of governance, have made the landscape of education programmes and institutions increasingly complex, both at national and international levels. As a consequence, there is a demand for well-informed, analytically advanced knowledge of education, both within the education system itself and in organisations and knowledge-oriented companies.

The Master Programme in Sociology of Education prepares you for a professional career where such knowledge is particularly important. The programme opens the door to the PhD programme in Sociology of Education and to future positions in academia as a teacher or researcher, as well as to professions related to planning, design, organisation, administration and evaluation of education.


Master Programme in Sociology of Education

120 credits

Autumn 2018 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2018-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M4311 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.
Also required is 90 credits in the humanities or social sciences.

Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:

  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
More information about English language requirements

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies;
  • the relevance of previous studies;
  • the quality of the Bachelor's thesis or equivalent essay (c. 8000 words); and
  • a statement of purpose.
The statement of purpose must include a description of your previous university studies, your academic interests, your future plans, and the reason you are interested in the Master's programme. The statement of purpose must be written in English. Send the thesis and the statement of purpose no later than 1 February 2018 to:

Uppsala University
Department of Education
Box 2136
SE-750 02 Uppsala, Sweden
Please mark your envelope 'Master Programme in Sociology of Education'.


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 50000

Tuition fee, total: SEK 200000

Contact and further resources

Department of Education

von Kraemers allé 1, Uppsala

P.O. Box 2136, SE-750 02 Uppsala, Sweden

For programme-specific information, please contact the study counsellors:

For general information about Master's studies at Uppsala University, please send an email to: