Master's Programme in Sociology of Education

120 credits

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.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

Autumn 2024 Autumn 2024, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

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,
  • 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 the degree of Master of Arts (120 credits) with Sociology of Education as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is possible to obtain a degree of Master of Arts (60 credits).

The programme comprises five core courses in Sociology of Education equivalent to 37.5 credits. Three of the core courses address theoretical and methodological traditions relevant to Sociology of Education. Two of the core courses 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
  • Sociology of Education, Internship, 7.5 credits or 15 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

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.

As a student, you are supported in gradually developing methodological skills, theoretical knowledge and critical judgement capacities. This is achieved through a combination of lectures, seminars, regular written assignments with feedback from lecturers, oral presentations as well as both individual and group supervision. 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.