Master's Programme in Sociology of Education 2021/2022

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Education, and the way students should be educated, is a heavily debated and political subject. The Master's 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.

Why this programme?

In the Master's 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 structure of society and to social transformations, such as processes of globalisation, individualisation, marketisation and privatisation. A focal point of the programme 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 the social and historical sciences.

​The programme has a strong emphasis on holistic training in scientific research, including critical and analytical thinking, construction of research objects, research planning, and practice using a broad variety of research methods ond techniques. This training will give you the tools necessary to carry out extensive empirical investigations at an advanced level on topics relating to education.

The Master's Programme in Sociology of Education will prepare you for a career in research and in fields where theoretical, empirical and analytical training are advantageous, such as careers in policy development, data analysis and education administration and evaluation.


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 five core courses in Sociology of Education equivalent to 37.5 credits. While three of the core courses address theoretical and methodological traditions relevant to Sociology of Education, the other two focus on the rise and development of educational systems, one from a historical perspective and another analysing current transformations.

In addition, at least four more specialised courses in Sociology of Education are offered yearly and may be included in your 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 in other disciplines at Uppsala University, other universities in Sweden or partner universities abroad. Furthermore, you will have the possibility of completing an internship either in Sweden or in another country.

Your studies will culminate in a Master's thesis project in which you will engage in individual research and original analytical work. Courses and fieldwork related to the Master's thesis can be carried out abroad as well, in particular at universities and research environments with which close collaboration is upheld.

Courses within the programme

Core courses in Sociology of Education:
Sociology of Education, Traditions, 7.5 credits
Sociology of Education, Methods, 7.5 credits
Sociology of Education, Research Techniques, 7.5 credits
Current Transformations of Educational Systems, 7.5 credits
The History of Educational Systems, 7.5 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

Final research project:
Master's Thesis in Sociology of Education, 30 or 15 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, oral presentations as well as both individual and 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.

Upon completion of the programme, you should have gained both broad and specialised knowledge and skills in sociology of education, with the capacity 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 results both verbally and in written form.

The programme is taught in English, and you are encouraged to advance your mastery of English for writing, presentation and discussion.


In contemporary society, education assumes a key role and is also crucial for how countries cope with global competition. During the last half century, educational 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, has made the landscape of educational programmes and institutions increasingly complex, both at national and international levels. As a consequence, there is a demand for an analytically advanced knowledge of education, both within the educational system itself and within organisations and companies oriented towards education.

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

Previous graduates of the programme have became PhD students in different subjects, as well as researsc assistans, administartors and analysists.

Career support
During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.


Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fee. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit two programme-specific documents: 1. a statement of purpose written in English: you must include a description of your previous university studies, academic interests, future plans, and the reason you are interested in this Master's programme; 2. your Bachelor's thesis (or equivalent essay).

Master's Programme in Sociology of Education

120 credits

Autumn 2021 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2021-01-15

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 and documented written independent academic work (i.e. one or several academic essays or papers).

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.


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


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

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

Department of Education

von Kraemers allé 1, Uppsala

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

Student portal

Student portal

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