Master's Programme in Sociology of Education

Academic year 2023/2024

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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 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, and the prevailing social and cultural order in the educational system. Other important areas of research, studied within the programme are:

  • the rise and transformation of educational systems,
  • the history of and competition between educational institutions and
  • the significance of education for the class structure and the relation that education upholds with cultural, economic or political fields.

​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 and 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 is 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).

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Read the interview
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Name: Ricardo Cevallos
From: Ecuador

How did you choose your programme?
When I looked at options for continuing my education, I wanted to deepen my prior knowledge in Sociology while specialising in education. I find it is crucial for understanding social inequalities to study the educational field and how it contributes to their reproduction.

I chose the Master’s Program in Sociology of Education at Uppsala University because its profile combined theoretical aspects and empirical research in an attempt at explaining and understanding a complex phenomenon, such as education.

Also, when reading the description of the Department of Education, another aspect that I found appealing was an environment inviting me to think of research as a collective effort.

What is it like to be an international student?
Being an international student has been an interesting experience of discovery. Which, in my case might relate to being from a relatively distant place to Sweden, Ecuador, in both cultural and geographical terms. This does not only refer to university dynamics but also to everyday life.

I have discovered many aspects of Swedish society at different levels, from experiencing and trying to understand the functioning of a welfare state, to the well-marked seasons around the year and their specific activities.

I would also like to mention the setting of the department and programme in which students from different countries meet, allowing us to share experiences and knowledge from a diversity of places.

What is the best thing about studying at Uppsala University?
In my opinion, the best thing about studying at Uppsala University relates to the fact that it is a relatively well-recognised institution both within and outside Sweden. I think this allows the university to hold a research orientation that fosters a connection of knowledge from the classroom and different realities, such as education.

Uppsala University has enabled me to develop my academic and research interests, which I continue doing after the Master’s programme since I have been involved in the Department of Education as a research assistant and I will start my doctoral studies in the coming year. For me, the best about studying in Uppsala has definitely been the opportunity and encouragement for pursuing an academic career.

Do you remember your first impression of Uppsala? Please tell!
My first time in Uppsala was during the introductory day for international students at Universitetshuset. The ceremony was held in universitetsaulan, the Grand Auditorium whose architectural details gave the impression of a traditional place. This was then furthered by moving around other campus buildings as Segerstedthuset or Blåsenhus, which produced an impression of a modern setting. But, this was complemented by wandering around Uppsala’s gardens and streets filled with cafeterias, restaurants, etc. My first impression of Uppsala was mostly a collection of moments this day, which gave me an idea of a city with a good mix of places and activities for a university life.

What is your best experience so far?
One of the best aspects of the Master’s programme is its international recruitment. I have met students from different countries and regions of the world. Beyond the educational aspect, making friendships and sharing experiences, advice and knowledge with them have been an enriching part of the student life. Suddenly, one becomes part of a group with common interests and situations both within and outside university.

Two quick questions:
What is your favourite place in Uppsala?
One of my favourite places in Uppsala is Stadsträdgården (the city park). I enjoy taking a walk along Fyrisån (the Fyris river).

Where is the best place to study?
For me, the best place to study is Carolina Rediviva. This library is where I am most able to concentrate for either reading or writing, perhaps because of its proper and calm environment.

Spring 2022

Register your interest


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 transformation.

In addition, at least six 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 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

Gender and Education, 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 expertise in various fields within or connected to the 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 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 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 analytically advanced knowledge of education, both within the educational system itself and within organisations and companies oriented towards education.

Upon completion of the programme, you should have gained both broad and specialised knowledge and skills in the 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 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 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 become PhD students in different subjects, as well as research assistants, administrators and analysts.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.


Below you will find details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what general documents you need to submit, check the application guide. Besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit two programme-specific documents: 1. a statement of purpose; 2. your Bachelor's thesis (or equivalent essay).

The statement of purpose must include a description of your previous university studies, academic interests, future plans, and the reason you are interested in this Master's programme.

Master's Programme in Sociology of Education

120 credits

Autumn 2023, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 16 January 2023

Application 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

Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • an overall appraisal of previous university studies with emphasis on the quality of the Bachelor's thesis (or equivalent project work); 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 50,000

Tuition fee, total: SEK 200,000

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

Last modified: 2022-10-27