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Sociology

Are you interested in the complex interaction between individuals and their social environment? As a sociologist you understand how complicated living in a society can be, and you are equipped with knowledge and skills to find solutions for a variety of societal challenges.

The Master's degree programme in Sociology primarily focuses on policy development and research. The various specializations invite students to engage at a deeper level with the skills and knowledge they developed in their Bachelor's degree programme.

University of Groningen Master's students in Sociology can choose from four specializations:

  • Sociology of Employment Relations & Life Course
  • Crime and Safety
  • Sociology of Health, Care and Wellbeing
  • Social Studies

All the specializations in this Master's degree programme help you develop a general conceptual framework that can be applied to a variety of social issues. In addition to compulsory course units within your specialization, you also follow a number of electives.

The degree programme is concluded with an internship and a thesis. We also offer an Educational Master's degree programme in Social Studies.

There is also an international track: Social Networks in a Sustainable Society.

Ben jij geïnteresseerd in de wisselwerking tussen het individu en de sociale omgeving? Wil jij begrijpen hoe complex samenleven kan zijn en zoek je graag naar oplossingen?

Mensen kunnen niet zonder de samenleving waarin ze leven. In interactie met de samenleving realiseren mensen hun doelen en de bevrediging van behoeften. Sociologie gaat over de wisselwerking tussen het individu en zijn sociale omgeving. Of anders gezegd: over de invloed van het individu op het collectief en andersom.

Sociologen laten zien hoe complex het menselijk samenleven is en waarom simpele oplossingen veelal onbedoelde neveneffecten tot gevolg hebben. Sociologen zijn toegerust met kennis en vaardigheden om een breed scala aan maatschappelijke vraagstukken te helpen oplossen.

Ons master programma biedt 5 specialisaties, namelijk

vier Nederlandse afstudeerrichtingen:

en één Engelse track:

More about this programme
  • Master's week faculty Behavioural and Social SciencesGrote Kruisstraat 2/1More information
  • Master's week faculty Behavioural and Social SciencesGrote Kruisstraat 2/1More information
  • Testimonial of Erik Geerlink

    Researcher for a marketing research company called InSites Consulting in Rotterdam.

    Before I started studying Sociology I did the Bachelor's programme 'Management, Economics and Law'. I wanted to do a Master's in another field and sociology seemed interesting, because it focused more on people and not just on numbers or economics. I had to do a pre-master, which was quite hard with a lot of statistics, but also very interesting.


    I wanted to work during my Master's and one day I decided to visit the Centre for Employment and Policy (CAB) in Groningen to ask for an internship. I worked for them as an intern during my Master's for two days a week. The CAB is a research and consultancy agency that mainly researches social welfare and security on behalf of local governments.

    From the start, I was directly involved in the research. I read policy papers and held interviews, for example. It was fun and very useful because I could directly apply the things I learned during my studies in practice.

    After my graduation I worked at the CAB for a while. After some time I changed jobs because I wanted to know what it was like to do research in a different field. Now I work as a researcher for a marketing research company called InSites Consulting in Rotterdam.

    This company does market research for big, international companies. We test how consumers see a company. We show the results to the company and give them advice on how to improve their image. It is very nice when, after a while, you see an advertising campaign or a product based on your advice.
    The topic I do research on has changed, but the research methods I use are the same; interviewing people, analysing results, writing reports. The pace in this company is quite fast, clients want their answers quickly, which makes my work challenging. I really like my job, there is usually quite some distance between companies and their consumers, and we bring them closer together.

    I still use the skills I learned during my Master's programme on a daily basis, especially the research skills. I can recommend every student to do an internship during their studies. You will learn a lot from it, and it makes it much easier to find a job.

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    – Erik Geerlink
  • Testimonial of Hinke van der Werf

    Student Hinke van de Werf

    I first followed a nursing programme at a university of applied sciences and then the pre-Master's programme and the Master's degree programme in Sociology of Health, Care and Wellbeing. I wanted to specialize in this field because it most closely matched my background in nursing.

    Contrary to most people, what I enjoyed most were the course units in statistics: I find it really useful to be able to represent quantitative results correctly. I also found the Master’s course units really interesting, in particular the course units on policy and the electives on Health, Care and Wellbeing.

    At first I found it difficult to write well-structured texts. Luckily, this is something that the degree programme in Sociology pays ample attention to. This really helped me in writing my thesis, which I found to be the greatest challenge: it requires you to prove that you can conduct research and put in words how you went about it. What I enjoyed most about my study programme was the placement. I was asked by Delft University of Technology to conduct research on the socio-economic conditions for developing a water-related health intervention in Delhi (India). This involved conducting research for a period of three months in Delhi working-class districts.

    Alongside my studies I continued to work as a nurse. I also engaged in sports a few times a week and I had enough time for my social life.

    I would love to have a job that would combine practice and research, for example as a teacher or researcher doing a lot of fieldwork. I want to bridge the gap between practice and science. I believe that there could be a lot more cooperation between the two, in particular in the medical field.

    My tip for new students: immerse yourself in your future work field. What sounds like fun to you? Where would you like to do a placement? Start looking for an interesting placement early on and do not hesitate to look outside the boundaries of ‘sociology’.

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    – Hinke van der Werf
  • Testimonial of Klazien Offringa

    'It was interesting to observe this operation at close quarters'

    Degree programme: Master's track in Health, Care and Wellbeing

    'During my Bachelor's degree programme I was really interested in medical sociology. Take for example a phenomenon such as medicalization. Why are we currently seeing such an epidemic of ADHD? When do we call something 'an illness'? And how do people behave once they are officially diagnosed as 'ill'?

    As part of my Master’s specialization in Health, Care and Wellbeing I followed a placement at Addiction Care Northern Netherlands (Verslavingszorg Noord-Nederland). For my final thesis, I used an experiment to investigate how to reduce ‘no show’ (clients not showing up for their appointments).

    After graduating from the Master’s specialization in Health, Care and Wellbeing I was looking for a job as a researcher when I heard about BMC. BMC is a consultancy agency that supports organizations in the public sector in developing, implementing and enforcing policy.

    As a trainee in social development I have a 40-hour contract. For 36 of these hours I am seconded to a client, in my case right now a municipality. In addition I spend four hours a week training skills such as written and professional communication, but also learning about substantive issues such as the process of decentralization that is currently taking place. I therefore combine work and training. The fact that I began in a group with other recent graduates made it easier for me to feel at home in the organization.

    I work on developments in the social domain. Following three sizeable decentralizations, as of 1 January 2015, the Dutch municipalities have acquired a lot of responsibility in the field of care and social support. As a project supporter I help giving shape to new policy. I attend meetings, help with reports and write policy papers and council committee plans. There are many decisions to make and things to organize. Does the municipality want to work with a social district team? And how can we show appreciation for informal carers?

    It’s exciting and interesting to observe this operation at such close quarters. I am really thrown in at the deep end. In principle I have been seconded for a set period of time. Afterwards I will start on a new project. I really enjoy the variety. I also think it’s very informative: no two municipalities are the same.

    As part of my degree programme, I conducted research on quality of life and social cohesion in districts. Very current topics now that the municipalities wish to increase the inhabitants’ self-reliance by asking them to rely more on their own network. In addition the degree programme taught me that problems rarely appear in isolation. This is precisely what municipalities are required to anticipate right now. Instead of having lots of professionals trying to each address a separate problem, there is an ongoing shift towards the idea of ‘one family, one plan, one coach’.

    In my work I really benefit from the degree programme in Sociology’s focus on writing and presentation skills. In retrospect I do wish I had followed more policy-oriented course units, something that is now compulsory for Master’s students. Because now I see clearly that policy is almost everywhere.’

    If you want to ask Klazien a question about the Master’s track in Health, Care and Wellbeing or about her work as a trainee policy advisor, do not hesitate to contact her.

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    – Klazien Offringa
  • Testimonial of Loes van Rijsewijk

    'Suddenly I was treated as a colleague'

    Degree programme: Research Master's

    'I decided to study sociology in order to become a teacher. But while writing my Bachelor's thesis, I found out what doing research is really about. I was working with a personal supervisor and a topic of my own choosing: the influence of school performance on problematic behaviour. This allowed me to experience how interesting scientific research can be when you work on a topic that you are really interested in.

    This made me decide to follow the Research Master’s. This Master’s degree programme involves a select group of clever and motivated students from different disciplines. It has greatly widened my perspective. The programme offers a lot of room to learn new things. It was only during my Research Master’s that I began to understand what can be done with statistics.

    Even more important was the fact that I learned how to interpret and critically examine my own research and that of others. Within my research group I was suddenly treated by experienced researchers as a colleague with valuable input.

    The Research Master’s also taught me about the importance of finding one’s own scientific niche: a topic that has not yet been thoroughly researched. This is how I discovered that although we know a lot about young people’s problematic behaviour, we know very little about their positive behaviour. I used my final thesis about helpful behaviour among young people as the basis for writing a research proposal. This led to me being awarded a national research talent grant, thanks to which I can now do research for four years.

    Using network data from young people at a large secondary school I investigate who helps who. Who helps you do your homework? Who helps you fix you bicycle tyre? Who helps you when you are feeling low? My preliminary results show that like-minded people help each other. For example, young people with lots of emotional problems tend to help other young people with emotional problems. Maybe they understand each other better. But this also carries a potential risk if they talk each other into feeling gloomy.

    The work of a researcher is free and diverse. I study articles, develop questionnaires, and collect and analyse data. I write scientific articles about my findings, which I present at conferences to researchers from other countries. I hope in this way to contribute to our understanding of young people. Progress may be slow, but it is progress nevertheless. I currently also supervise first-year students in the context of a project, which gives me the opportunity to gain some teaching experience.’

    If you want to ask Loes a question about the Research Master’s or about her work as a scientific researcher, do not hesitate to contact her.

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    – Loes van Rijsewijk
  • Testimonial of Ralph Mennes

    'We are looking for the hidden population'

    An important area of expertise is our ability to reach what is known as the hidden population. This group is usually found on the margins of society – the homeless, the addicts, the prostitutes. To find out what is going on within this group you have to go to them. For example, we interview cannabis users in coffeeshops. So I don't spend all my time at the office, and this makes my work more varied.

    ‘During my Master’s degree programme I became interested in the relation between antisocial behaviour and popularity among young people. While conducting a social network analysis of secondary-school students for my final thesis I noticed how much I enjoy doing research. So I found a way of prolonging my research for a few months by taking on a student assistant position.

    After graduating I applied to a number of research agencies, but due to the economic crisis it was a difficult time to find work. Via a job experience traineeship I finally ended up at Intraval and that turned out to be the perfect place for me.

    Intraval conducts policy research for various clients: primarily ministries and municipalities, but also organizations in the health and security sectors. The research and advice we offer focuses on four themes: quality of life, wellbeing, youth and addiction. We form a bridge between science and policy by basing our conclusions on solid research. In this context we try to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods. A single study might use both in-depth interviews and statistical analyses.

    I often work on multiple projects at once. Sometimes two, sometimes five. The first study I was involved in was a study of feelings of insecurity in Tilburg. The local government had been creating policy for years, but they couldn’t reduce people’s feelings of insecurity. We used surveys and interviews to find out why people felt this way. It was so much fun to be able to work with such a large data collection.

    In our report we conclude that feelings of insecurity are fed by a deeply rooted distrust of institutions such as the police and the municipality. This spreads to distrust of other local residents. In our report we make a number of recommendations that should help the municipality regain people’s trust. These feelings of insecurity are a complex social phenomenon that cannot be resolved by a few strategically placed streetlights. As a researcher, I spend my days unravelling these kinds of sociological issues.’

    If you want to ask Ralph a question about the Master’s track in Crime and Safety or about his work as a researcher, do not hesitate to contact him.

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    – Ralph Mennes
  • Testimonial of Tom Drukker

    'I want to teach my pupils to develop a substantiated point of view'

    Degree programme: Educational Master's

    'I hesitated for a long time about which Master's degree programme to follow. In the end, education as a sector proved to be the decisive factor, mostly due to my idealistic conviction that good education matters.

    I see education as an essential link between personal and social development. At first I was not attracted to teaching as such. But I did believe that if you want to do something in education, you have to get down and dirty, and spend time in front of a class.

    As a social studies teacher I want to teach my students to use arguments to develop a specific perspective on a social problem or development. When the time comes for them to vote, I hope that they can make a well-informed choice. I don’t care whether they vote for a left-wing or a right-wing party, as long as their choice is not random.

    The Educational Master’s degree programme has two components: a substantive component (What will you teach?) and a didactic component (How will you teach it?). Social studies centres on themes such as politics, justice, the wellbeing state and the pluralistic society. Sociological concepts such as social cohesion and social inequality are incorporated within these themes, but as far as I am concerned, there could be more focus on sociological aspects.

     In the new examination programme for the in-depth social studies elective, I do see more focus on sociology. It addresses concepts such as bonding, relation, training and change. I can see how these concepts link to key concepts within sociology: social cohesion, social inequality, identity and rationalization. But this is a bit too abstract for a 15-year old pupil in senior general secondary education. I try to make concepts more concrete by applying them to themes such as education and mass media.

     

    Didactics – How do students learn and how can teachers contribute to the learning process? – is something that can be learned. I still use the lesson structure I developed in the context of my Educational Master’s degree programme. But as a teacher you also need to have a certain personality. After all, you have twenty-five pairs of eyes following you at all times. If you find this difficult, you will start out at a disadvantage. Teaching is not for everyone, I think. Doing a placement really helps you to find out whether this is the right profession for you.

    In the beginning, teaching cost me a lot of energy. But I’m getting better at it all the time. I’ve also changed my approach somewhat. At first I had high expectations of what I could teach my students; now I focus on enjoying the personal contact.

    In addition to my work as a teacher I am also a member of the policy and research group at the school where I teach. In the policy group we discuss topics such as the new school plan, which specifies for instance how we as a school wish to deal with social media. In the research group we follow the implementation of educational innovations, such as digital testing. What I find attractive about teaching is that you can work part-time. In addition to teaching, I recently set up a small agency for social science research.’

    If you want to ask Tom a question about the Educational Master’s or about his work as a social studies teacher, do not hesitate to contact him.

    Close
    – Tom Drukker
  • Testimonial of Siebren Huitema

    Bij het vak Arbeid en Levensloop bestuderen we de positie van social groepen op de arbeidsmarkt.

    Sociologie gaat precies over wat ik interessant vind. Je houdt je bezig met hoe groepen mensen zich gedragen, waarom mensen eigenlijk doen wat ze doen. Behalve het vakgebied zelf spreekt ook de kleinschaligheid van de faculteit en de opleiding me aan. Als je een beetje je best doet, ken je iedereen, de docenten kennen je bij naam en je stapt makkelijk op ze af.


    Ik heb mijn bachelor ook in Groningen gedaan. Ik hoefde niet zo nodig weg na de bachelor: ik houd van de stad, ik voel me prettig op de faculteit en de mastertracks die aangeboden werden leken me leuk. Ik doe de specialisatie Arbeidsrelaties en Levensloop. Daarbij houd je je bezig met economie, maar dan gefocust op mensen in plaats van cijfertjes. We hebben het bijvoorbeeld over de positie van bepaalde sociale groepen – jongeren, ouderen, vrouwen – op de arbeidsmarkt, hoe die positie de afgelopen jaren is veranderd en hoe beleid er invloed op kan hebben.

    Het leuke van de master is dat je veel verder op de inhoud in kunt gaan dan in de bachelor. Dat merkte ik bijvoorbeeld heel erg bij het vak Arbeid en Levensloop. Iedere week moeten we stof voorbereiden en tijdens de colleges gingen we dan echt de diepte in. Ik heb er veel van geleerd.

    Voor je afstuderen moet je drie maanden stage lopen, en daarna drie maanden een scriptie schrijven. Maar daar zijn ze heel flexibel in: ik mag zes maanden stage lopen, en in die tijd ook mijn scriptie schrijven. Ik ga bij de provincie Groningen een onderzoek doen naar de krimp in de provincie. Een mooie kans om alvast ervaring op te doen voor na mijn studie, want het lijkt me het leukst om iets in de publieke sector te gaan doen.

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    – Siebren Huitema
  • Testimonial of Danique Hoftijzer

    We bestuderen theorieën en mechanismen achter criminaliteit.

    Via m'n middelbare school kreeg ik een voorlichting over de studie Sociologie. Wat ik daar hoorde, sprak me ontzettend aan: dat je menselijk gedrag bestudeert, en leert wat daar allemaal achter zit. Ik heb daarna op verschillende universiteiten voorlichtingsdagen bezocht, en op de RUG een meeloopdag gedaan.

    Die meeloopdag heeft me echt over de streep getrokken. We kregen colleges en rondleidingen door de faculteit en door de stad. Ik vond de universiteit en de mensen zo leuk, dat ik uiteindelijk voor de RUG gekozen heb.

    Al tijdens mijn bachelor merkte ik dat ik het meest geboeid werd door crimineel gedrag. Ik heb er mijn keuzevakken en minor op toegespitst en ik heb gekozen voor de masterspecialisatie Criminaliteit en Veiligheid. Het leek me heel interessant om criminaliteit te bestuderen. Waarom gaan mensen de fout in, waarom de één wel en de ander niet, en hoe kunnen we dat op groepsniveau verklaren?

    Tot nu toe vind ik de master erg leuk, vooral de specialisatievakken. Daarin doen we precies waar ik op hoopte: we bestuderen de theorieën en mechanismen die achter criminaliteit zitten. En uiteraard ook beleid om criminaliteit tegen te gaan.

    De master Sociologie is relatief klein. In totaal zijn we met ongeveer vijftig mensen, bij mijn specialisatie zitten er een stuk of vijftien. We doen vaak groepsopdrachten en hebben dus veel onderling contact, wat ik erg leuk vind. Ook met de docenten is het contact heel goed.

    Een groot voordeel van deze master vind ik dat je veel vrijheid krijgt om je eigen stage en scriptie in te richten. Voor mijn stage ga ik meewerken aan een onderzoek dat hier op de universiteit gedaan wordt voor FC Groningen. Het gaat over sociale veiligheid en sociaal-emotionele ontwikkeling bij de jeugdteams.

    Dat is dus niet zozeer gericht op crimineel gedrag, maar ik heb gekozen voor deze stage omdat ik heel graag iets met jongeren wilde doen. Bovendien verwacht ik dat ik er veel van kan leren. Straks zit ik tussen allemaal ervaren onderzoekers, een ideale manier om te zien hoe onderzoek in z'n werk gaat en of het misschien iets voor mij is!

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    – Danique Hoftijzer
  • Testimonial of Josien Schaafsma

    De vakken zijn interessant en de docenten heel boeiend om naar te luisteren.

    Eerlijk gezegd wist ik niet zo goed wat ik wilde, toen ik m'n master moest kiezen. Veel studenten kiezen na de sociologiebachelor voor de richting Criminaliteit & Veiligheid, maar mij trok dat eigenlijk niet.

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    – Josien Schaafsma
  • Testimonial of Reinder van Zaane

    Het vak 'Sociale determinanten van gezondheid' sprak me heel erg aan.

    Vóór mijn master heb ik Fysiotherapie gedaan aan de Hanzehogeschool. Dat vond ik wel leuk, maar ik kwam er gaandeweg achter dat ik geen behandelaar wilde worden. Ik miste de wetenschap en de verdieping.

    Daarom volg ik nu de master Gezondheid, Welzijn & Zorg, de medische specialisatie van de master Sociologie. Dat past bij mijn interesse in de gezondheidszorg, maar is wel anders dan mijn vooropleiding. Bij Fysiotherapie keken we altijd puur medisch en fysiek naar klachten, terwijl we hier met de sociale en sociologische kant bezig zijn.

    Ik vind de master erg leuk! Tijdens het schakeljaar heb ik veel bijgespijkerd, vooral statistiek, er kwam een heleboel aan bod in korte tijd. Nu in de master merk ik juist dat er verdiepende vakken op de voorgrond staan, dat spreekt me erg aan.

    'Sociale determinanten van gezondheid' is bijvoorbeeld zo'n vak. Dat gaat erover hoe sociale en maatschappelijke factoren invloed hebben op je gezondheid. Het effect daarvan kan net zo sterk zijn als dat van roken. Op zo'n manier had ik nog nooit naar gezondheid gekeken! Naast de colleges die we volgden, gingen we voor dit vak langs bij de gemeente en bij een sociaal wijkteam. We zagen dus echt mensen in de praktijk bezig. Dat maakte indruk.

    Ook met de 'gewone' colleges heb ik hele goeie ervaringen. Een vak dat me bijzonder is bijgebleven is 'Beleidsontwerp'. De docent gebruikte geen sheets in zijn colleges, hij vertelde alleen maar. Aan het begin dacht ik: oei, hoe ga ik dit allemaal onthouden? Maar hij wist ieder college weer in twee uur tijd een prachtig verhaal neer te zetten, waarbij je precies snapte hoe dingen werkten. En je onthoudt het, ook nadat je je tentamen al gehaald hebt.

    Na mijn studie zou ik heel graag beleidswerk willen doen, bij de gemeente of de GGD bijvoorbeeld. Of iets doen bij sociale wijkteams. Het lijkt me in elk geval heel erg leuk om me bezig te houden met manieren om de gezondheidszorg nog beter in te richten.

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    – Reinder van Zaane
  • Testimonial of Marieke Lamers

    In mijn werk bij Zunderdorp Beleidsadvies & Management heb ik veel aan de kennis over beleid en onderzoek en medicalisering en sociale cohesie die ik in mijn master heb opgedaan

    Ik heb de master Sociologie gevolgd, met als specialisatieroute Gezondheid, Welzijn en Zorg. Ik was altijd al erg geïnteresseerd in de gezondheidszorg. Na de bachelor sociologie – waarin ik in een keuzevak kennis maakte met medische sociologie– leek deze masterroute me een goed vervolg.

    Tijdens mijn master heb ik stage gelopen bij ZorgfocuZ, een onderzoeksbureau in de zorg- en welzijnssector. Na mijn stage heb ik daar nog zo’n anderhalf jaar gewerkt.

    Nu werk ik bij Zunderdorp Beleidsadvies & Management. Via een docent van Sociologie kwam ik in contact gekomen met dit bedrijf. Hij wist dat er een vacature was en vond het wel iets voor mij. Dat was geluk, want de baan bleek inderdaad goed bij me te passen!

    Zunderdorp verzorgt strategisch advies en procesbegeleiding voor gemeenten, VNG, gemeentelijke netwerken als de G4 en de G32 en non-profit instellingen. Ik werk regelmatig aan zorg gerelateerde projecten, bijvoorbeeld op het gebied van Jeugdzorg of de Wet maatschappelijke ondersteuning. Maar niet alles wat ik doe heeft direct met gezondheidszorg te maken. Ik houd me ook bezig met thema’s als onderwijs en werk en inkomen. Het werk is dus heel afwisselend, en gelukkig is het absoluut niet zo dat ik door de masterroute die ik heb gekozen beperkt ben in de gebieden waar ik me mee bezig kan houden.

    De master Sociologie heeft me goed voorbereid op het werk dat ik nu doe. Naast de basale vaardigheden die je sowieso moet leren op de universiteit – zelfstandig werken, kritisch nadenken, schrijven – heb ik dankzij mijn opleiding achtergrondkennis opgedaan waar ik nu nog steeds veel aan heb. Ik heb veel profijt van de kennis die ik in mijn master heb opgedaan over beleid en onderzoek, maar ook over bijvoorbeeld medicalisering en sociale cohesie. De kennis die ik heb opgedaan in mijn master vormt dan ook een goede basis voor mijn huidige werkzaamheden.

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    – Marieke Lamers
  • Testimonial of Arie Glebbeek

    Arie Glebbeek – lecturer in Policy Design & Sociology of Work

    I teach the course unit in Sociology of Work for the Bachelor's degree programme, and in Policy Design for the Master's programme. My areas of expertise are the sociology of work, the sociology of policy and social prosperity. The themes relate to all the major societal problems of the present era. Many of the problems concerning and troubling us are actually socioeconomic issues.

    Sociology of Work is at the heart of these issues. The course unit explores the employment market, labour relations, income development, the relationship between work and leisure and people’s careers. It’s a dynamic field, particularly because new developments are constantly occurring. Or should I say, old problems just keep recurring. The economic crisis of the previous decade is a good example. It was really a fairly ‘classic’ crisis. The cause was much the same as for the great crash in the 1930s. Of course, we also encounter a lot of problems for the first time, such as making the employment market more flexible and improving alignment between work and leisure time. Modern information technology has led to huge overlaps between these different worlds.

    Policy Design looks into all areas of policy. We deal with issues relating to education, criminality and healthcare. The scope is very broad. I always try to use topical examples in my lectures.

    The degree programme in Sociology is structured along the four main establishments within society: the market, government, organizations and the community. I often borrow knowledge from other disciplines (such as economics) to illustrate my course units, and I incorporate a lot of economic insights into them. So what makes the domain of sociology unique? Sociologists understand perfectly that people have social needs. All the goods and services we produce and provide lead to prosperity, but our prosperity largely depends on the time and space we allocate to each other. An outstanding example of a social benefit for people is social appreciation, the appreciation you give to each other. This appreciation is just as important to people as the goods and services they have. I specifically try to incorporate social prosperity and the sources of social appreciation into my course units.

    Sociology is traditionally a fairly general degree programme, which opens up a whole range of professions and sectors for graduates. The majority find themselves working in public sector policy departments. These obviously include The Hague and government ministries, but a larger group work in lower-level government; municipal or provincial authorities for example. In addition, there’s the world of applied research, mainly made up of commercial research agencies. The healthcare sector is also becoming increasingly important. The fact that many health-related problems are rooted in social issues means that a lot of sociologists now find their way into this sector. Take, for example, stress-related illnesses, loneliness or lifestyle. Doctors are aware that joining forces with behavioural and social scientists will help them to see the bigger picture.

    Sociology is a small-scale degree programme. You’re a person, not a number. It’s a small-scale setting, with lots of student/lecturer contact. Focus areas during the programme are reading academic literature and learning to conduct research.

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    – Arie Glebbeek
  • Testimonial of Jan Kornelis Dijkstra

    Universitair hoofddocent MSc Sociologie, route Criminaliteit en Veiligheid

    Mijn naam is Jan Kornelis Dijkstra en ik ben universitair hoofddocent bij de master Sociologie en daar ben ik betrokken bij de route Criminaliteit en Veiligheid, één van de specialisaties die we bij deze master aanbieden.

    De route Criminaliteit en Veiligheid bouwt deels voort op wat er in de bachelor gedaan wordt, maar is een zelfstandige opleiding. Het is een verdieping van theorieën, toegepast op verschillende specifieke vormen van criminaliteit zoals georganiseerde criminaliteit, zedenmisdrijven en organisatiecriminaliteit. Belangrijk is dat de beleidskern van de opleiding die de studenten van alle routes samen volgen. Dit zijn vakken als Beleidsontwerp en Beleidsevaluatie. Dit is een verdieping op het gebied van beleid en interventies.

    Bij andere universiteiten heb je de opleiding Criminologie. Daar draait dus alles om Criminologie. Bij ons is het een specialisatie binnen de Master Beleid. In die zin denk ik dat we onze studenten breed opleiden. Ze zijn daarom ook breed inzetbaar.

    We werken vaak met essays en opdrachten. Afgelopen jaar moesten studenten bijvoorbeeld kijken naar de inbraakcijfers in Groningen. Wat zijn nou precies de hot spots? Kunnen we dat verklaren met de data die we hebben? In dat project werken we samen met de politie. Dat is heel leuk en erg leerzaam.

    Zelf ben ik verantwoordelijk voor een theorievak en daarnaast begeleid ik scripties en stages. Vaak vallen stage en scriptie samen. Studenten lopen dan ergens stage en gaan vanuit daar verder met een onderzoek. De scripties variëren van beleidsscripties waarbij bijvoorbeeld gekeken wordt naar de politie-inzet tijdens Oud en Nieuw en hoe dat geoptimaliseerd kan worden tot meer criminaliteitsscripties die gaan over de inbraakcijfers tussen verschillende wijken in Leeuwarden. Mijn specialisatie is de jeugdcriminaliteit, maar ik houd me ook veel bezig met georganiseerde criminaliteit.

    De studenten van ons komen eigenlijk altijd wel goed terecht. Het thema criminaliteit en veiligheid is een thema dat blijft spelen. Terrorisme, jeugdcriminaliteit: het is vaak in het nieuws. Het is en blijft actueel.

    Close
    – Jan Kornelis Dijkstra
  • Testimonial of Erik Geerlink

    Researcher for a marketing research company called InSites Consulting in Rotterdam.

    Before I started studying Sociology I did the Bachelor's programme 'Management, Economics and Law'. I wanted to do a Master's in another field and sociology seemed interesting, because it focused more on people and not just on numbers or economics. I had to do a pre-master, which was quite hard with a lot of statistics, but also very interesting.


    I wanted to work during my Master's and one day I decided to visit the Centre for Employment and Policy (CAB) in Groningen to ask for an internship. I worked for them as an intern during my Master's for two days a week. The CAB is a research and consultancy agency that mainly researches social welfare and security on behalf of local governments.

    From the start, I was directly involved in the research. I read policy papers and held interviews, for example. It was fun and very useful because I could directly apply the things I learned during my studies in practice.

    After my graduation I worked at the CAB for a while. After some time I changed jobs because I wanted to know what it was like to do research in a different field. Now I work as a researcher for a marketing research company called InSites Consulting in Rotterdam.

    This company does market research for big, international companies. We test how consumers see a company. We show the results to the company and give them advice on how to improve their image. It is very nice when, after a while, you see an advertising campaign or a product based on your advice.
    The topic I do research on has changed, but the research methods I use are the same; interviewing people, analysing results, writing reports. The pace in this company is quite fast, clients want their answers quickly, which makes my work challenging. I really like my job, there is usually quite some distance between companies and their consumers, and we bring them closer together.

    I still use the skills I learned during my Master's programme on a daily basis, especially the research skills. I can recommend every student to do an internship during their studies. You will learn a lot from it, and it makes it much easier to find a job.

    Close
    – Erik Geerlink
  • Testimonial of Hinke van der Werf

    Student Hinke van de Werf

    I first followed a nursing programme at a university of applied sciences and then the pre-Master's programme and the Master's degree programme in Sociology of Health, Care and Wellbeing. I wanted to specialize in this field because it most closely matched my background in nursing.

    Contrary to most people, what I enjoyed most were the course units in statistics: I find it really useful to be able to represent quantitative results correctly. I also found the Master’s course units really interesting, in particular the course units on policy and the electives on Health, Care and Wellbeing.

    At first I found it difficult to write well-structured texts. Luckily, this is something that the degree programme in Sociology pays ample attention to. This really helped me in writing my thesis, which I found to be the greatest challenge: it requires you to prove that you can conduct research and put in words how you went about it. What I enjoyed most about my study programme was the placement. I was asked by Delft University of Technology to conduct research on the socio-economic conditions for developing a water-related health intervention in Delhi (India). This involved conducting research for a period of three months in Delhi working-class districts.

    Alongside my studies I continued to work as a nurse. I also engaged in sports a few times a week and I had enough time for my social life.

    I would love to have a job that would combine practice and research, for example as a teacher or researcher doing a lot of fieldwork. I want to bridge the gap between practice and science. I believe that there could be a lot more cooperation between the two, in particular in the medical field.

    My tip for new students: immerse yourself in your future work field. What sounds like fun to you? Where would you like to do a placement? Start looking for an interesting placement early on and do not hesitate to look outside the boundaries of ‘sociology’.

    Close
    – Hinke van der Werf
  • Testimonial of Klazien Offringa

    'It was interesting to observe this operation at close quarters'

    Degree programme: Master's track in Health, Care and Wellbeing

    'During my Bachelor's degree programme I was really interested in medical sociology. Take for example a phenomenon such as medicalization. Why are we currently seeing such an epidemic of ADHD? When do we call something 'an illness'? And how do people behave once they are officially diagnosed as 'ill'?

    As part of my Master’s specialization in Health, Care and Wellbeing I followed a placement at Addiction Care Northern Netherlands (Verslavingszorg Noord-Nederland). For my final thesis, I used an experiment to investigate how to reduce ‘no show’ (clients not showing up for their appointments).

    After graduating from the Master’s specialization in Health, Care and Wellbeing I was looking for a job as a researcher when I heard about BMC. BMC is a consultancy agency that supports organizations in the public sector in developing, implementing and enforcing policy.

    As a trainee in social development I have a 40-hour contract. For 36 of these hours I am seconded to a client, in my case right now a municipality. In addition I spend four hours a week training skills such as written and professional communication, but also learning about substantive issues such as the process of decentralization that is currently taking place. I therefore combine work and training. The fact that I began in a group with other recent graduates made it easier for me to feel at home in the organization.

    I work on developments in the social domain. Following three sizeable decentralizations, as of 1 January 2015, the Dutch municipalities have acquired a lot of responsibility in the field of care and social support. As a project supporter I help giving shape to new policy. I attend meetings, help with reports and write policy papers and council committee plans. There are many decisions to make and things to organize. Does the municipality want to work with a social district team? And how can we show appreciation for informal carers?

    It’s exciting and interesting to observe this operation at such close quarters. I am really thrown in at the deep end. In principle I have been seconded for a set period of time. Afterwards I will start on a new project. I really enjoy the variety. I also think it’s very informative: no two municipalities are the same.

    As part of my degree programme, I conducted research on quality of life and social cohesion in districts. Very current topics now that the municipalities wish to increase the inhabitants’ self-reliance by asking them to rely more on their own network. In addition the degree programme taught me that problems rarely appear in isolation. This is precisely what municipalities are required to anticipate right now. Instead of having lots of professionals trying to each address a separate problem, there is an ongoing shift towards the idea of ‘one family, one plan, one coach’.

    In my work I really benefit from the degree programme in Sociology’s focus on writing and presentation skills. In retrospect I do wish I had followed more policy-oriented course units, something that is now compulsory for Master’s students. Because now I see clearly that policy is almost everywhere.’

    If you want to ask Klazien a question about the Master’s track in Health, Care and Wellbeing or about her work as a trainee policy advisor, do not hesitate to contact her.

    Close
    – Klazien Offringa
  • Testimonial of Loes van Rijsewijk

    'Suddenly I was treated as a colleague'

    Degree programme: Research Master's

    'I decided to study sociology in order to become a teacher. But while writing my Bachelor's thesis, I found out what doing research is really about. I was working with a personal supervisor and a topic of my own choosing: the influence of school performance on problematic behaviour. This allowed me to experience how interesting scientific research can be when you work on a topic that you are really interested in.

    This made me decide to follow the Research Master’s. This Master’s degree programme involves a select group of clever and motivated students from different disciplines. It has greatly widened my perspective. The programme offers a lot of room to learn new things. It was only during my Research Master’s that I began to understand what can be done with statistics.

    Even more important was the fact that I learned how to interpret and critically examine my own research and that of others. Within my research group I was suddenly treated by experienced researchers as a colleague with valuable input.

    The Research Master’s also taught me about the importance of finding one’s own scientific niche: a topic that has not yet been thoroughly researched. This is how I discovered that although we know a lot about young people’s problematic behaviour, we know very little about their positive behaviour. I used my final thesis about helpful behaviour among young people as the basis for writing a research proposal. This led to me being awarded a national research talent grant, thanks to which I can now do research for four years.

    Using network data from young people at a large secondary school I investigate who helps who. Who helps you do your homework? Who helps you fix you bicycle tyre? Who helps you when you are feeling low? My preliminary results show that like-minded people help each other. For example, young people with lots of emotional problems tend to help other young people with emotional problems. Maybe they understand each other better. But this also carries a potential risk if they talk each other into feeling gloomy.

    The work of a researcher is free and diverse. I study articles, develop questionnaires, and collect and analyse data. I write scientific articles about my findings, which I present at conferences to researchers from other countries. I hope in this way to contribute to our understanding of young people. Progress may be slow, but it is progress nevertheless. I currently also supervise first-year students in the context of a project, which gives me the opportunity to gain some teaching experience.’

    If you want to ask Loes a question about the Research Master’s or about her work as a scientific researcher, do not hesitate to contact her.

    Close
    – Loes van Rijsewijk
  • Testimonial of Ralph Mennes

    'We are looking for the hidden population'

    An important area of expertise is our ability to reach what is known as the hidden population. This group is usually found on the margins of society – the homeless, the addicts, the prostitutes. To find out what is going on within this group you have to go to them. For example, we interview cannabis users in coffeeshops. So I don't spend all my time at the office, and this makes my work more varied.

    ‘During my Master’s degree programme I became interested in the relation between antisocial behaviour and popularity among young people. While conducting a social network analysis of secondary-school students for my final thesis I noticed how much I enjoy doing research. So I found a way of prolonging my research for a few months by taking on a student assistant position.

    After graduating I applied to a number of research agencies, but due to the economic crisis it was a difficult time to find work. Via a job experience traineeship I finally ended up at Intraval and that turned out to be the perfect place for me.

    Intraval conducts policy research for various clients: primarily ministries and municipalities, but also organizations in the health and security sectors. The research and advice we offer focuses on four themes: quality of life, wellbeing, youth and addiction. We form a bridge between science and policy by basing our conclusions on solid research. In this context we try to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods. A single study might use both in-depth interviews and statistical analyses.

    I often work on multiple projects at once. Sometimes two, sometimes five. The first study I was involved in was a study of feelings of insecurity in Tilburg. The local government had been creating policy for years, but they couldn’t reduce people’s feelings of insecurity. We used surveys and interviews to find out why people felt this way. It was so much fun to be able to work with such a large data collection.

    In our report we conclude that feelings of insecurity are fed by a deeply rooted distrust of institutions such as the police and the municipality. This spreads to distrust of other local residents. In our report we make a number of recommendations that should help the municipality regain people’s trust. These feelings of insecurity are a complex social phenomenon that cannot be resolved by a few strategically placed streetlights. As a researcher, I spend my days unravelling these kinds of sociological issues.’

    If you want to ask Ralph a question about the Master’s track in Crime and Safety or about his work as a researcher, do not hesitate to contact him.

    Close
    – Ralph Mennes
  • Testimonial of Tom Drukker

    'I want to teach my pupils to develop a substantiated point of view'

    Degree programme: Educational Master's

    'I hesitated for a long time about which Master's degree programme to follow. In the end, education as a sector proved to be the decisive factor, mostly due to my idealistic conviction that good education matters.

    I see education as an essential link between personal and social development. At first I was not attracted to teaching as such. But I did believe that if you want to do something in education, you have to get down and dirty, and spend time in front of a class.

    As a social studies teacher I want to teach my students to use arguments to develop a specific perspective on a social problem or development. When the time comes for them to vote, I hope that they can make a well-informed choice. I don’t care whether they vote for a left-wing or a right-wing party, as long as their choice is not random.

    The Educational Master’s degree programme has two components: a substantive component (What will you teach?) and a didactic component (How will you teach it?). Social studies centres on themes such as politics, justice, the wellbeing state and the pluralistic society. Sociological concepts such as social cohesion and social inequality are incorporated within these themes, but as far as I am concerned, there could be more focus on sociological aspects.

     In the new examination programme for the in-depth social studies elective, I do see more focus on sociology. It addresses concepts such as bonding, relation, training and change. I can see how these concepts link to key concepts within sociology: social cohesion, social inequality, identity and rationalization. But this is a bit too abstract for a 15-year old pupil in senior general secondary education. I try to make concepts more concrete by applying them to themes such as education and mass media.

     

    Didactics – How do students learn and how can teachers contribute to the learning process? – is something that can be learned. I still use the lesson structure I developed in the context of my Educational Master’s degree programme. But as a teacher you also need to have a certain personality. After all, you have twenty-five pairs of eyes following you at all times. If you find this difficult, you will start out at a disadvantage. Teaching is not for everyone, I think. Doing a placement really helps you to find out whether this is the right profession for you.

    In the beginning, teaching cost me a lot of energy. But I’m getting better at it all the time. I’ve also changed my approach somewhat. At first I had high expectations of what I could teach my students; now I focus on enjoying the personal contact.

    In addition to my work as a teacher I am also a member of the policy and research group at the school where I teach. In the policy group we discuss topics such as the new school plan, which specifies for instance how we as a school wish to deal with social media. In the research group we follow the implementation of educational innovations, such as digital testing. What I find attractive about teaching is that you can work part-time. In addition to teaching, I recently set up a small agency for social science research.’

    If you want to ask Tom a question about the Educational Master’s or about his work as a social studies teacher, do not hesitate to contact him.

    Close
    – Tom Drukker
  • Testimonial of Reinder van Zaane

    Het vak 'Sociale determinanten van gezondheid' sprak me heel erg aan.

    Vóór mijn master heb ik Fysiotherapie gedaan aan de Hanzehogeschool. Dat vond ik wel leuk, maar ik kwam er gaandeweg achter dat ik geen behandelaar wilde worden. Ik miste de wetenschap en de verdieping.

    Daarom volg ik nu de master Gezondheid, Welzijn & Zorg, de medische specialisatie van de master Sociologie. Dat past bij mijn interesse in de gezondheidszorg, maar is wel anders dan mijn vooropleiding. Bij Fysiotherapie keken we altijd puur medisch en fysiek naar klachten, terwijl we hier met de sociale en sociologische kant bezig zijn.

    Ik vind de master erg leuk! Tijdens het schakeljaar heb ik veel bijgespijkerd, vooral statistiek, er kwam een heleboel aan bod in korte tijd. Nu in de master merk ik juist dat er verdiepende vakken op de voorgrond staan, dat spreekt me erg aan.

    'Sociale determinanten van gezondheid' is bijvoorbeeld zo'n vak. Dat gaat erover hoe sociale en maatschappelijke factoren invloed hebben op je gezondheid. Het effect daarvan kan net zo sterk zijn als dat van roken. Op zo'n manier had ik nog nooit naar gezondheid gekeken! Naast de colleges die we volgden, gingen we voor dit vak langs bij de gemeente en bij een sociaal wijkteam. We zagen dus echt mensen in de praktijk bezig. Dat maakte indruk.

    Ook met de 'gewone' colleges heb ik hele goeie ervaringen. Een vak dat me bijzonder is bijgebleven is 'Beleidsontwerp'. De docent gebruikte geen sheets in zijn colleges, hij vertelde alleen maar. Aan het begin dacht ik: oei, hoe ga ik dit allemaal onthouden? Maar hij wist ieder college weer in twee uur tijd een prachtig verhaal neer te zetten, waarbij je precies snapte hoe dingen werkten. En je onthoudt het, ook nadat je je tentamen al gehaald hebt.

    Na mijn studie zou ik heel graag beleidswerk willen doen, bij de gemeente of de GGD bijvoorbeeld. Of iets doen bij sociale wijkteams. Het lijkt me in elk geval heel erg leuk om me bezig te houden met manieren om de gezondheidszorg nog beter in te richten.

    Close
    – Reinder van Zaane
  • Testimonial of Marieke Lamers

    In mijn werk bij Zunderdorp Beleidsadvies & Management heb ik veel aan de kennis over beleid en onderzoek en medicalisering en sociale cohesie die ik in mijn master heb opgedaan

    Ik heb de master Sociologie gevolgd, met als specialisatieroute Gezondheid, Welzijn en Zorg. Ik was altijd al erg geïnteresseerd in de gezondheidszorg. Na de bachelor sociologie – waarin ik in een keuzevak kennis maakte met medische sociologie– leek deze masterroute me een goed vervolg.

    Tijdens mijn master heb ik stage gelopen bij ZorgfocuZ, een onderzoeksbureau in de zorg- en welzijnssector. Na mijn stage heb ik daar nog zo’n anderhalf jaar gewerkt.

    Nu werk ik bij Zunderdorp Beleidsadvies & Management. Via een docent van Sociologie kwam ik in contact gekomen met dit bedrijf. Hij wist dat er een vacature was en vond het wel iets voor mij. Dat was geluk, want de baan bleek inderdaad goed bij me te passen!

    Zunderdorp verzorgt strategisch advies en procesbegeleiding voor gemeenten, VNG, gemeentelijke netwerken als de G4 en de G32 en non-profit instellingen. Ik werk regelmatig aan zorg gerelateerde projecten, bijvoorbeeld op het gebied van Jeugdzorg of de Wet maatschappelijke ondersteuning. Maar niet alles wat ik doe heeft direct met gezondheidszorg te maken. Ik houd me ook bezig met thema’s als onderwijs en werk en inkomen. Het werk is dus heel afwisselend, en gelukkig is het absoluut niet zo dat ik door de masterroute die ik heb gekozen beperkt ben in de gebieden waar ik me mee bezig kan houden.

    De master Sociologie heeft me goed voorbereid op het werk dat ik nu doe. Naast de basale vaardigheden die je sowieso moet leren op de universiteit – zelfstandig werken, kritisch nadenken, schrijven – heb ik dankzij mijn opleiding achtergrondkennis opgedaan waar ik nu nog steeds veel aan heb. Ik heb veel profijt van de kennis die ik in mijn master heb opgedaan over beleid en onderzoek, maar ook over bijvoorbeeld medicalisering en sociale cohesie. De kennis die ik heb opgedaan in mijn master vormt dan ook een goede basis voor mijn huidige werkzaamheden.

    Close
    – Marieke Lamers
  • Testimonial of Arie Glebbeek

    Arie Glebbeek – lecturer in Policy Design & Sociology of Work

    I teach the course unit in Sociology of Work for the Bachelor's degree programme, and in Policy Design for the Master's programme. My areas of expertise are the sociology of work, the sociology of policy and social prosperity. The themes relate to all the major societal problems of the present era. Many of the problems concerning and troubling us are actually socioeconomic issues.

    Sociology of Work is at the heart of these issues. The course unit explores the employment market, labour relations, income development, the relationship between work and leisure and people’s careers. It’s a dynamic field, particularly because new developments are constantly occurring. Or should I say, old problems just keep recurring. The economic crisis of the previous decade is a good example. It was really a fairly ‘classic’ crisis. The cause was much the same as for the great crash in the 1930s. Of course, we also encounter a lot of problems for the first time, such as making the employment market more flexible and improving alignment between work and leisure time. Modern information technology has led to huge overlaps between these different worlds.

    Policy Design looks into all areas of policy. We deal with issues relating to education, criminality and healthcare. The scope is very broad. I always try to use topical examples in my lectures.

    The degree programme in Sociology is structured along the four main establishments within society: the market, government, organizations and the community. I often borrow knowledge from other disciplines (such as economics) to illustrate my course units, and I incorporate a lot of economic insights into them. So what makes the domain of sociology unique? Sociologists understand perfectly that people have social needs. All the goods and services we produce and provide lead to prosperity, but our prosperity largely depends on the time and space we allocate to each other. An outstanding example of a social benefit for people is social appreciation, the appreciation you give to each other. This appreciation is just as important to people as the goods and services they have. I specifically try to incorporate social prosperity and the sources of social appreciation into my course units.

    Sociology is traditionally a fairly general degree programme, which opens up a whole range of professions and sectors for graduates. The majority find themselves working in public sector policy departments. These obviously include The Hague and government ministries, but a larger group work in lower-level government; municipal or provincial authorities for example. In addition, there’s the world of applied research, mainly made up of commercial research agencies. The healthcare sector is also becoming increasingly important. The fact that many health-related problems are rooted in social issues means that a lot of sociologists now find their way into this sector. Take, for example, stress-related illnesses, loneliness or lifestyle. Doctors are aware that joining forces with behavioural and social scientists will help them to see the bigger picture.

    Sociology is a small-scale degree programme. You’re a person, not a number. It’s a small-scale setting, with lots of student/lecturer contact. Focus areas during the programme are reading academic literature and learning to conduct research.

    Close
    – Arie Glebbeek
  • Testimonial of Jan Kornelis Dijkstra

    Universitair hoofddocent MSc Sociologie, route Criminaliteit en Veiligheid

    Mijn naam is Jan Kornelis Dijkstra en ik ben universitair hoofddocent bij de master Sociologie en daar ben ik betrokken bij de route Criminaliteit en Veiligheid, één van de specialisaties die we bij deze master aanbieden.

    De route Criminaliteit en Veiligheid bouwt deels voort op wat er in de bachelor gedaan wordt, maar is een zelfstandige opleiding. Het is een verdieping van theorieën, toegepast op verschillende specifieke vormen van criminaliteit zoals georganiseerde criminaliteit, zedenmisdrijven en organisatiecriminaliteit. Belangrijk is dat de beleidskern van de opleiding die de studenten van alle routes samen volgen. Dit zijn vakken als Beleidsontwerp en Beleidsevaluatie. Dit is een verdieping op het gebied van beleid en interventies.

    Bij andere universiteiten heb je de opleiding Criminologie. Daar draait dus alles om Criminologie. Bij ons is het een specialisatie binnen de Master Beleid. In die zin denk ik dat we onze studenten breed opleiden. Ze zijn daarom ook breed inzetbaar.

    We werken vaak met essays en opdrachten. Afgelopen jaar moesten studenten bijvoorbeeld kijken naar de inbraakcijfers in Groningen. Wat zijn nou precies de hot spots? Kunnen we dat verklaren met de data die we hebben? In dat project werken we samen met de politie. Dat is heel leuk en erg leerzaam.

    Zelf ben ik verantwoordelijk voor een theorievak en daarnaast begeleid ik scripties en stages. Vaak vallen stage en scriptie samen. Studenten lopen dan ergens stage en gaan vanuit daar verder met een onderzoek. De scripties variëren van beleidsscripties waarbij bijvoorbeeld gekeken wordt naar de politie-inzet tijdens Oud en Nieuw en hoe dat geoptimaliseerd kan worden tot meer criminaliteitsscripties die gaan over de inbraakcijfers tussen verschillende wijken in Leeuwarden. Mijn specialisatie is de jeugdcriminaliteit, maar ik houd me ook veel bezig met georganiseerde criminaliteit.

    De studenten van ons komen eigenlijk altijd wel goed terecht. Het thema criminaliteit en veiligheid is een thema dat blijft spelen. Terrorisme, jeugdcriminaliteit: het is vaak in het nieuws. Het is en blijft actueel.

    Close
    – Jan Kornelis Dijkstra
  • Testimonial of Erik Geerlink

    Researcher for a marketing research company called InSites Consulting in Rotterdam.

    Before I started studying Sociology I did the Bachelor's programme 'Management, Economics and Law'. I wanted to do a Master's in another field and sociology seemed interesting, because it focused more on people and not just on numbers or economics. I had to do a pre-master, which was quite hard with a lot of statistics, but also very interesting.


    I wanted to work during my Master's and one day I decided to visit the Centre for Employment and Policy (CAB) in Groningen to ask for an internship. I worked for them as an intern during my Master's for two days a week. The CAB is a research and consultancy agency that mainly researches social welfare and security on behalf of local governments.

    From the start, I was directly involved in the research. I read policy papers and held interviews, for example. It was fun and very useful because I could directly apply the things I learned during my studies in practice.

    After my graduation I worked at the CAB for a while. After some time I changed jobs because I wanted to know what it was like to do research in a different field. Now I work as a researcher for a marketing research company called InSites Consulting in Rotterdam.

    This company does market research for big, international companies. We test how consumers see a company. We show the results to the company and give them advice on how to improve their image. It is very nice when, after a while, you see an advertising campaign or a product based on your advice.
    The topic I do research on has changed, but the research methods I use are the same; interviewing people, analysing results, writing reports. The pace in this company is quite fast, clients want their answers quickly, which makes my work challenging. I really like my job, there is usually quite some distance between companies and their consumers, and we bring them closer together.

    I still use the skills I learned during my Master's programme on a daily basis, especially the research skills. I can recommend every student to do an internship during their studies. You will learn a lot from it, and it makes it much easier to find a job.

    Close
    – Erik Geerlink
  • Testimonial of Hinke van der Werf

    Student Hinke van de Werf

    I first followed a nursing programme at a university of applied sciences and then the pre-Master's programme and the Master's degree programme in Sociology of Health, Care and Wellbeing. I wanted to specialize in this field because it most closely matched my background in nursing.

    Contrary to most people, what I enjoyed most were the course units in statistics: I find it really useful to be able to represent quantitative results correctly. I also found the Master’s course units really interesting, in particular the course units on policy and the electives on Health, Care and Wellbeing.

    At first I found it difficult to write well-structured texts. Luckily, this is something that the degree programme in Sociology pays ample attention to. This really helped me in writing my thesis, which I found to be the greatest challenge: it requires you to prove that you can conduct research and put in words how you went about it. What I enjoyed most about my study programme was the placement. I was asked by Delft University of Technology to conduct research on the socio-economic conditions for developing a water-related health intervention in Delhi (India). This involved conducting research for a period of three months in Delhi working-class districts.

    Alongside my studies I continued to work as a nurse. I also engaged in sports a few times a week and I had enough time for my social life.

    I would love to have a job that would combine practice and research, for example as a teacher or researcher doing a lot of fieldwork. I want to bridge the gap between practice and science. I believe that there could be a lot more cooperation between the two, in particular in the medical field.

    My tip for new students: immerse yourself in your future work field. What sounds like fun to you? Where would you like to do a placement? Start looking for an interesting placement early on and do not hesitate to look outside the boundaries of ‘sociology’.

    Close
    – Hinke van der Werf
  • Testimonial of Klazien Offringa

    'It was interesting to observe this operation at close quarters'

    Degree programme: Master's track in Health, Care and Wellbeing

    'During my Bachelor's degree programme I was really interested in medical sociology. Take for example a phenomenon such as medicalization. Why are we currently seeing such an epidemic of ADHD? When do we call something 'an illness'? And how do people behave once they are officially diagnosed as 'ill'?

    As part of my Master’s specialization in Health, Care and Wellbeing I followed a placement at Addiction Care Northern Netherlands (Verslavingszorg Noord-Nederland). For my final thesis, I used an experiment to investigate how to reduce ‘no show’ (clients not showing up for their appointments).

    After graduating from the Master’s specialization in Health, Care and Wellbeing I was looking for a job as a researcher when I heard about BMC. BMC is a consultancy agency that supports organizations in the public sector in developing, implementing and enforcing policy.

    As a trainee in social development I have a 40-hour contract. For 36 of these hours I am seconded to a client, in my case right now a municipality. In addition I spend four hours a week training skills such as written and professional communication, but also learning about substantive issues such as the process of decentralization that is currently taking place. I therefore combine work and training. The fact that I began in a group with other recent graduates made it easier for me to feel at home in the organization.

    I work on developments in the social domain. Following three sizeable decentralizations, as of 1 January 2015, the Dutch municipalities have acquired a lot of responsibility in the field of care and social support. As a project supporter I help giving shape to new policy. I attend meetings, help with reports and write policy papers and council committee plans. There are many decisions to make and things to organize. Does the municipality want to work with a social district team? And how can we show appreciation for informal carers?

    It’s exciting and interesting to observe this operation at such close quarters. I am really thrown in at the deep end. In principle I have been seconded for a set period of time. Afterwards I will start on a new project. I really enjoy the variety. I also think it’s very informative: no two municipalities are the same.

    As part of my degree programme, I conducted research on quality of life and social cohesion in districts. Very current topics now that the municipalities wish to increase the inhabitants’ self-reliance by asking them to rely more on their own network. In addition the degree programme taught me that problems rarely appear in isolation. This is precisely what municipalities are required to anticipate right now. Instead of having lots of professionals trying to each address a separate problem, there is an ongoing shift towards the idea of ‘one family, one plan, one coach’.

    In my work I really benefit from the degree programme in Sociology’s focus on writing and presentation skills. In retrospect I do wish I had followed more policy-oriented course units, something that is now compulsory for Master’s students. Because now I see clearly that policy is almost everywhere.’

    If you want to ask Klazien a question about the Master’s track in Health, Care and Wellbeing or about her work as a trainee policy advisor, do not hesitate to contact her.

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    – Klazien Offringa
  • Testimonial of Loes van Rijsewijk

    'Suddenly I was treated as a colleague'

    Degree programme: Research Master's

    'I decided to study sociology in order to become a teacher. But while writing my Bachelor's thesis, I found out what doing research is really about. I was working with a personal supervisor and a topic of my own choosing: the influence of school performance on problematic behaviour. This allowed me to experience how interesting scientific research can be when you work on a topic that you are really interested in.

    This made me decide to follow the Research Master’s. This Master’s degree programme involves a select group of clever and motivated students from different disciplines. It has greatly widened my perspective. The programme offers a lot of room to learn new things. It was only during my Research Master’s that I began to understand what can be done with statistics.

    Even more important was the fact that I learned how to interpret and critically examine my own research and that of others. Within my research group I was suddenly treated by experienced researchers as a colleague with valuable input.

    The Research Master’s also taught me about the importance of finding one’s own scientific niche: a topic that has not yet been thoroughly researched. This is how I discovered that although we know a lot about young people’s problematic behaviour, we know very little about their positive behaviour. I used my final thesis about helpful behaviour among young people as the basis for writing a research proposal. This led to me being awarded a national research talent grant, thanks to which I can now do research for four years.

    Using network data from young people at a large secondary school I investigate who helps who. Who helps you do your homework? Who helps you fix you bicycle tyre? Who helps you when you are feeling low? My preliminary results show that like-minded people help each other. For example, young people with lots of emotional problems tend to help other young people with emotional problems. Maybe they understand each other better. But this also carries a potential risk if they talk each other into feeling gloomy.

    The work of a researcher is free and diverse. I study articles, develop questionnaires, and collect and analyse data. I write scientific articles about my findings, which I present at conferences to researchers from other countries. I hope in this way to contribute to our understanding of young people. Progress may be slow, but it is progress nevertheless. I currently also supervise first-year students in the context of a project, which gives me the opportunity to gain some teaching experience.’

    If you want to ask Loes a question about the Research Master’s or about her work as a scientific researcher, do not hesitate to contact her.

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    – Loes van Rijsewijk
  • Testimonial of Ralph Mennes

    'We are looking for the hidden population'

    An important area of expertise is our ability to reach what is known as the hidden population. This group is usually found on the margins of society – the homeless, the addicts, the prostitutes. To find out what is going on within this group you have to go to them. For example, we interview cannabis users in coffeeshops. So I don't spend all my time at the office, and this makes my work more varied.

    ‘During my Master’s degree programme I became interested in the relation between antisocial behaviour and popularity among young people. While conducting a social network analysis of secondary-school students for my final thesis I noticed how much I enjoy doing research. So I found a way of prolonging my research for a few months by taking on a student assistant position.

    After graduating I applied to a number of research agencies, but due to the economic crisis it was a difficult time to find work. Via a job experience traineeship I finally ended up at Intraval and that turned out to be the perfect place for me.

    Intraval conducts policy research for various clients: primarily ministries and municipalities, but also organizations in the health and security sectors. The research and advice we offer focuses on four themes: quality of life, wellbeing, youth and addiction. We form a bridge between science and policy by basing our conclusions on solid research. In this context we try to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods. A single study might use both in-depth interviews and statistical analyses.

    I often work on multiple projects at once. Sometimes two, sometimes five. The first study I was involved in was a study of feelings of insecurity in Tilburg. The local government had been creating policy for years, but they couldn’t reduce people’s feelings of insecurity. We used surveys and interviews to find out why people felt this way. It was so much fun to be able to work with such a large data collection.

    In our report we conclude that feelings of insecurity are fed by a deeply rooted distrust of institutions such as the police and the municipality. This spreads to distrust of other local residents. In our report we make a number of recommendations that should help the municipality regain people’s trust. These feelings of insecurity are a complex social phenomenon that cannot be resolved by a few strategically placed streetlights. As a researcher, I spend my days unravelling these kinds of sociological issues.’

    If you want to ask Ralph a question about the Master’s track in Crime and Safety or about his work as a researcher, do not hesitate to contact him.

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    – Ralph Mennes
  • Testimonial of Tom Drukker

    'I want to teach my pupils to develop a substantiated point of view'

    Degree programme: Educational Master's

    'I hesitated for a long time about which Master's degree programme to follow. In the end, education as a sector proved to be the decisive factor, mostly due to my idealistic conviction that good education matters.

    I see education as an essential link between personal and social development. At first I was not attracted to teaching as such. But I did believe that if you want to do something in education, you have to get down and dirty, and spend time in front of a class.

    As a social studies teacher I want to teach my students to use arguments to develop a specific perspective on a social problem or development. When the time comes for them to vote, I hope that they can make a well-informed choice. I don’t care whether they vote for a left-wing or a right-wing party, as long as their choice is not random.

    The Educational Master’s degree programme has two components: a substantive component (What will you teach?) and a didactic component (How will you teach it?). Social studies centres on themes such as politics, justice, the wellbeing state and the pluralistic society. Sociological concepts such as social cohesion and social inequality are incorporated within these themes, but as far as I am concerned, there could be more focus on sociological aspects.

     In the new examination programme for the in-depth social studies elective, I do see more focus on sociology. It addresses concepts such as bonding, relation, training and change. I can see how these concepts link to key concepts within sociology: social cohesion, social inequality, identity and rationalization. But this is a bit too abstract for a 15-year old pupil in senior general secondary education. I try to make concepts more concrete by applying them to themes such as education and mass media.

     

    Didactics – How do students learn and how can teachers contribute to the learning process? – is something that can be learned. I still use the lesson structure I developed in the context of my Educational Master’s degree programme. But as a teacher you also need to have a certain personality. After all, you have twenty-five pairs of eyes following you at all times. If you find this difficult, you will start out at a disadvantage. Teaching is not for everyone, I think. Doing a placement really helps you to find out whether this is the right profession for you.

    In the beginning, teaching cost me a lot of energy. But I’m getting better at it all the time. I’ve also changed my approach somewhat. At first I had high expectations of what I could teach my students; now I focus on enjoying the personal contact.

    In addition to my work as a teacher I am also a member of the policy and research group at the school where I teach. In the policy group we discuss topics such as the new school plan, which specifies for instance how we as a school wish to deal with social media. In the research group we follow the implementation of educational innovations, such as digital testing. What I find attractive about teaching is that you can work part-time. In addition to teaching, I recently set up a small agency for social science research.’

    If you want to ask Tom a question about the Educational Master’s or about his work as a social studies teacher, do not hesitate to contact him.

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    – Tom Drukker
  • Testimonial of Reinder van Zaane

    Het vak 'Sociale determinanten van gezondheid' sprak me heel erg aan.

    Vóór mijn master heb ik Fysiotherapie gedaan aan de Hanzehogeschool. Dat vond ik wel leuk, maar ik kwam er gaandeweg achter dat ik geen behandelaar wilde worden. Ik miste de wetenschap en de verdieping.

    Daarom volg ik nu de master Gezondheid, Welzijn & Zorg, de medische specialisatie van de master Sociologie. Dat past bij mijn interesse in de gezondheidszorg, maar is wel anders dan mijn vooropleiding. Bij Fysiotherapie keken we altijd puur medisch en fysiek naar klachten, terwijl we hier met de sociale en sociologische kant bezig zijn.

    Ik vind de master erg leuk! Tijdens het schakeljaar heb ik veel bijgespijkerd, vooral statistiek, er kwam een heleboel aan bod in korte tijd. Nu in de master merk ik juist dat er verdiepende vakken op de voorgrond staan, dat spreekt me erg aan.

    'Sociale determinanten van gezondheid' is bijvoorbeeld zo'n vak. Dat gaat erover hoe sociale en maatschappelijke factoren invloed hebben op je gezondheid. Het effect daarvan kan net zo sterk zijn als dat van roken. Op zo'n manier had ik nog nooit naar gezondheid gekeken! Naast de colleges die we volgden, gingen we voor dit vak langs bij de gemeente en bij een sociaal wijkteam. We zagen dus echt mensen in de praktijk bezig. Dat maakte indruk.

    Ook met de 'gewone' colleges heb ik hele goeie ervaringen. Een vak dat me bijzonder is bijgebleven is 'Beleidsontwerp'. De docent gebruikte geen sheets in zijn colleges, hij vertelde alleen maar. Aan het begin dacht ik: oei, hoe ga ik dit allemaal onthouden? Maar hij wist ieder college weer in twee uur tijd een prachtig verhaal neer te zetten, waarbij je precies snapte hoe dingen werkten. En je onthoudt het, ook nadat je je tentamen al gehaald hebt.

    Na mijn studie zou ik heel graag beleidswerk willen doen, bij de gemeente of de GGD bijvoorbeeld. Of iets doen bij sociale wijkteams. Het lijkt me in elk geval heel erg leuk om me bezig te houden met manieren om de gezondheidszorg nog beter in te richten.

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    – Reinder van Zaane
  • Testimonial of Marieke Lamers

    In mijn werk bij Zunderdorp Beleidsadvies & Management heb ik veel aan de kennis over beleid en onderzoek en medicalisering en sociale cohesie die ik in mijn master heb opgedaan

    Ik heb de master Sociologie gevolgd, met als specialisatieroute Gezondheid, Welzijn en Zorg. Ik was altijd al erg geïnteresseerd in de gezondheidszorg. Na de bachelor sociologie – waarin ik in een keuzevak kennis maakte met medische sociologie– leek deze masterroute me een goed vervolg.

    Tijdens mijn master heb ik stage gelopen bij ZorgfocuZ, een onderzoeksbureau in de zorg- en welzijnssector. Na mijn stage heb ik daar nog zo’n anderhalf jaar gewerkt.

    Nu werk ik bij Zunderdorp Beleidsadvies & Management. Via een docent van Sociologie kwam ik in contact gekomen met dit bedrijf. Hij wist dat er een vacature was en vond het wel iets voor mij. Dat was geluk, want de baan bleek inderdaad goed bij me te passen!

    Zunderdorp verzorgt strategisch advies en procesbegeleiding voor gemeenten, VNG, gemeentelijke netwerken als de G4 en de G32 en non-profit instellingen. Ik werk regelmatig aan zorg gerelateerde projecten, bijvoorbeeld op het gebied van Jeugdzorg of de Wet maatschappelijke ondersteuning. Maar niet alles wat ik doe heeft direct met gezondheidszorg te maken. Ik houd me ook bezig met thema’s als onderwijs en werk en inkomen. Het werk is dus heel afwisselend, en gelukkig is het absoluut niet zo dat ik door de masterroute die ik heb gekozen beperkt ben in de gebieden waar ik me mee bezig kan houden.

    De master Sociologie heeft me goed voorbereid op het werk dat ik nu doe. Naast de basale vaardigheden die je sowieso moet leren op de universiteit – zelfstandig werken, kritisch nadenken, schrijven – heb ik dankzij mijn opleiding achtergrondkennis opgedaan waar ik nu nog steeds veel aan heb. Ik heb veel profijt van de kennis die ik in mijn master heb opgedaan over beleid en onderzoek, maar ook over bijvoorbeeld medicalisering en sociale cohesie. De kennis die ik heb opgedaan in mijn master vormt dan ook een goede basis voor mijn huidige werkzaamheden.

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    – Marieke Lamers
  • Testimonial of Arie Glebbeek

    Arie Glebbeek – lecturer in Policy Design & Sociology of Work

    I teach the course unit in Sociology of Work for the Bachelor's degree programme, and in Policy Design for the Master's programme. My areas of expertise are the sociology of work, the sociology of policy and social prosperity. The themes relate to all the major societal problems of the present era. Many of the problems concerning and troubling us are actually socioeconomic issues.

    Sociology of Work is at the heart of these issues. The course unit explores the employment market, labour relations, income development, the relationship between work and leisure and people’s careers. It’s a dynamic field, particularly because new developments are constantly occurring. Or should I say, old problems just keep recurring. The economic crisis of the previous decade is a good example. It was really a fairly ‘classic’ crisis. The cause was much the same as for the great crash in the 1930s. Of course, we also encounter a lot of problems for the first time, such as making the employment market more flexible and improving alignment between work and leisure time. Modern information technology has led to huge overlaps between these different worlds.

    Policy Design looks into all areas of policy. We deal with issues relating to education, criminality and healthcare. The scope is very broad. I always try to use topical examples in my lectures.

    The degree programme in Sociology is structured along the four main establishments within society: the market, government, organizations and the community. I often borrow knowledge from other disciplines (such as economics) to illustrate my course units, and I incorporate a lot of economic insights into them. So what makes the domain of sociology unique? Sociologists understand perfectly that people have social needs. All the goods and services we produce and provide lead to prosperity, but our prosperity largely depends on the time and space we allocate to each other. An outstanding example of a social benefit for people is social appreciation, the appreciation you give to each other. This appreciation is just as important to people as the goods and services they have. I specifically try to incorporate social prosperity and the sources of social appreciation into my course units.

    Sociology is traditionally a fairly general degree programme, which opens up a whole range of professions and sectors for graduates. The majority find themselves working in public sector policy departments. These obviously include The Hague and government ministries, but a larger group work in lower-level government; municipal or provincial authorities for example. In addition, there’s the world of applied research, mainly made up of commercial research agencies. The healthcare sector is also becoming increasingly important. The fact that many health-related problems are rooted in social issues means that a lot of sociologists now find their way into this sector. Take, for example, stress-related illnesses, loneliness or lifestyle. Doctors are aware that joining forces with behavioural and social scientists will help them to see the bigger picture.

    Sociology is a small-scale degree programme. You’re a person, not a number. It’s a small-scale setting, with lots of student/lecturer contact. Focus areas during the programme are reading academic literature and learning to conduct research.

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    – Arie Glebbeek
  • Testimonial of Jan Kornelis Dijkstra

    Universitair hoofddocent MSc Sociologie, route Criminaliteit en Veiligheid

    Mijn naam is Jan Kornelis Dijkstra en ik ben universitair hoofddocent bij de master Sociologie en daar ben ik betrokken bij de route Criminaliteit en Veiligheid, één van de specialisaties die we bij deze master aanbieden.

    De route Criminaliteit en Veiligheid bouwt deels voort op wat er in de bachelor gedaan wordt, maar is een zelfstandige opleiding. Het is een verdieping van theorieën, toegepast op verschillende specifieke vormen van criminaliteit zoals georganiseerde criminaliteit, zedenmisdrijven en organisatiecriminaliteit. Belangrijk is dat de beleidskern van de opleiding die de studenten van alle routes samen volgen. Dit zijn vakken als Beleidsontwerp en Beleidsevaluatie. Dit is een verdieping op het gebied van beleid en interventies.

    Bij andere universiteiten heb je de opleiding Criminologie. Daar draait dus alles om Criminologie. Bij ons is het een specialisatie binnen de Master Beleid. In die zin denk ik dat we onze studenten breed opleiden. Ze zijn daarom ook breed inzetbaar.

    We werken vaak met essays en opdrachten. Afgelopen jaar moesten studenten bijvoorbeeld kijken naar de inbraakcijfers in Groningen. Wat zijn nou precies de hot spots? Kunnen we dat verklaren met de data die we hebben? In dat project werken we samen met de politie. Dat is heel leuk en erg leerzaam.

    Zelf ben ik verantwoordelijk voor een theorievak en daarnaast begeleid ik scripties en stages. Vaak vallen stage en scriptie samen. Studenten lopen dan ergens stage en gaan vanuit daar verder met een onderzoek. De scripties variëren van beleidsscripties waarbij bijvoorbeeld gekeken wordt naar de politie-inzet tijdens Oud en Nieuw en hoe dat geoptimaliseerd kan worden tot meer criminaliteitsscripties die gaan over de inbraakcijfers tussen verschillende wijken in Leeuwarden. Mijn specialisatie is de jeugdcriminaliteit, maar ik houd me ook veel bezig met georganiseerde criminaliteit.

    De studenten van ons komen eigenlijk altijd wel goed terecht. Het thema criminaliteit en veiligheid is een thema dat blijft spelen. Terrorisme, jeugdcriminaliteit: het is vaak in het nieuws. Het is en blijft actueel.

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    – Jan Kornelis Dijkstra
Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Sociology
Croho code
66601
Course type
Master
Language of instruction
Dutch (90%), English (10%)
Duration
12 months (60 ECTS)
Start
February, September
Programme form
full-time
Faculty
Behavioural and Social Sciences