Introduction

MSc Comparative European Societies considers how European society has been shaped and changed by migration, social policy, citizenship, work and family.

This programme is studied on campus.

Increased integration of Europe and its rise as a world power has meant that it has become increasingly important to understand European societies. With this degree programme you consider ways in which European societies have been shaped and changed by various factors, such as migration, social policy, ethical relations, citizenship, work and family.

You will critically assess key theories and concepts in looking at Europe, such as ideas of modernisation, social cohesion, identity and whether or not Europe can be studied as a series of types of societies or as one society. You are encouraged to think about relevant contemporary issues such as population decline and xenophobia. You will look at some of the main social divisions and social relationships in Europe using a range of contemporary sources.

You will provide an overview of European developments through the study of key concepts and issues. You will gain an up-to-date knowledge of these developments, the tools and concepts for analysing and the new frontiers of knowledge in these developments. The course is based upon research projects and consultancies for the European Commission and other funding bodies carried out by the teaching team and is linked to the research centre “The New Europe Centre” Aberdeen.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MSc
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning MSc programme which runs in September.

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Social Theory (SO5014) - Credits: 30

Karl Popper argued, wisely, at least this time, that ‘all languages are theory-impregnated’. In this course we learn to reflect explicitly about that which may otherwise simply remain implicit in empirical sociological examination. In this project, we are assisted by important thinkers who have developed distinctive and influential ways of considering the social. We begin with classical sociological theory (Marx, Weber, Nietzsche) before moving on to the work of more recent social thought (including, Actor Network Theory and Dorothy Smith), giving students an advanced working knowledge of the most important theoretical tools available to jobbing social scientists.

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Qualitative Sociology: Philosophy and Methods (SO5011) - Credits: 30

Qualitative Sociology: Philosophy and Methods: This course introduces students to a range of methods used in qualitative sociological research (such as participant observation, qualitative interviewing, focus groups, diaries, photography and film, and archived data sources). The emphasis will be on the research process, from project design to analysis and presentation, with methodological issues raised in the context of researchable questions. Issues of reliability, representativeness and validity, and the potential for combining methods will be addressed. Students use the course work to develop their research interests and reflect on their research practices.

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Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

The Comparative Study of European Societies (SO5515) - Credits: 30

The core course will look at Europe as a society as well as by comparing different nations and regions within it. It will look not just at the European Union, but also countries that are also in the broadest sense “European” stretching to the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia. It will address key contemporary issues such as citizenship and belonging, identities in a European context, work, family and the demographic challenge as well as work‐life balance.

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Optional Courses

A Specialist Option, Related to Dissertation Topic (30 credit points):

Religious Belief and Practice in the Modern World (SO5514) - Credits: 30

Aberdeen University has long been known for its focus on the sociology of religion and is currently the only University in Britain where one can study sociology of religion at the postgraduate level in a sociology department. This course is required for students on the MSc in Religion and Society, and essential for any other students who wish to develop a sophisticated sociological understanding of religion, including postgraduates with other primary research interests (religion having implications for many other topics), and would also benefit postgraduate students of religion coming from other disciplines.

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The Comparative Study of European Societies (SO5515) - Credits: 30

The core course will look at Europe as a society as well as by comparing different nations and regions within it. It will look not just at the European Union, but also countries that are also in the broadest sense “European” stretching to the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia. It will address key contemporary issues such as citizenship and belonging, identities in a European context, work, family and the demographic challenge as well as work‐life balance.

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Global Conflict and Peace Processes (SO5526) - Credits: 30

The course familiarises the student with the field of the sociology of peace processes, which is one of the growth areas within sociology and related areas internationally. It establishes the nature of sociology’s distinctive contribution to the study of peace processes and the conceptual and empirical focus of this approach. The course places particular emphasis on three areas, religion, gender and civil society. It addresses three international peace processes in particular, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Sri Lanka, and critically assesses the contribution in each of religion, civil society and gender.

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Dimensions of Globalization (SO5512) - Credits: 30

This interdisciplinary course focuses on substantive dimensions of globalization by considering recent changes occurring in the economic, political, social, and cultural realms of society. These themes are analyzed by considering recent empirical studies, which seek to clarify our theoretical understanding of globalization through advanced social scientific research. The substantive themes covered include global capitalism, the global division of labour, global governance, the changing role of the nation‐state, transnational social change, and cultural homogenization and heterogenization. Interconnections between these aspects of globalization are highlighted.

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Post - Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding (SO5525) - Credits: 30

This course is divided into three sections. The first half of the course introduces students to the central mechanisms and processes by which the international community attempts to provide justice and peace in post-conflict contexts, before presenting in a series of lectures the complications and current challenges to post-conflict and justice as both an academic field and an area of practice. The course is particularly designed to inspire students to consider the complicated nature of post-conflict issues through a number of different case studies and perspectives.

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Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

SO5915 Dissertation in European Societies(60 credit points)

Dissertation in European Societies (SO5915) - Credits: 60

Students who meet the necessary requirements proceed to the dissertation. Students identify an appropriate dissertation topic in consultation with the programme co-ordinator. The dissertation is especially designed to extend an interest which students develop throughout the programme, particularly whilst undertaking the specialist and elective courses in the second semester, and to have experience in formulating, designing and conducting their own social science research investigation. The dissertation can also be library-based around conceptual and theoretical issues.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Assessment methods include essays, reports, exercises and presentations. Courses are 100% continuous assessment, perhaps, with the exception of the specialist option. The degree of MSc shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CAS mark of 9 or above in the Dissertation, irrespective of their performance in other courses. For the award of the MSc there is a requirement to complete a 15,000 word dissertation under supervision from the research team.

Why Study Comparative European Societies?

  • MSc Comparative European Societies at Aberdeen provides you with a comprehensive knowledge of Europe.
  • Postgraduate training has become an important step in the development of careers in politics and the public sector (local government, civil service, EU) and private companies such as university research centres, polling surveys. An MSc European Politics and Society helps when joining areas of the civil service.
  • An MSc Comparative European Societies from University of Aberdeen allows you to study core subjects and areas unique to Aberdeen.
  • MSc Comparative European Societies is taught in the School of Social Sciences, part of the College of Arts and Social Sciences. The School provides and exciting and vibrant research lead learning environment of the highest quality.
  • All of our degrees offer thorough training in the basic principles of social science and specialised training in preparation for a wide variety of careers.
  • The Department of Politics & International Relations forms part of the School of Social Science, with core teaching staff, and in excess of fifty postgraduate students. The centre celebrated five decades as a centre of academic excellence for political research with an international reputation.
  • We provide you with a core curriculum along with unique options that represent the research interests among staff. These interests include international political economy and globalisation, democracy and democratization, public policy and public opinion, power and security, interest groups, political parties, social movements, institutions and many more.
  • We offer expertise in the Middle-East, Latin America, North and South Asia, the Nordic Countries, Central and Eastern Europe as well as Scotland, the UK and the EU.
  • We provide a number of research centres at University of Aberdeen which are relevant to European Politics:
    Centre for European Survey Research
    New Europe Centre
    Centre for Global Security and Governance

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

Applicants for admission will normally be expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with at least 2:1 standard from a recognised university or body. In exceptional circumstances applicants without this qualification may be admitted subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of work experience, appropriate to the field of study.

English Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Tuition fee rates can be found on our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,000
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year
International Students £14,300
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Career Opportunities

  • Civil Servant
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Foreign Office Diplomat
  • International Non-Governmental Officer
  • NGO Worker (Charity Worker)
  • Political Party Research Officer
  • Politican Advisor
  • Researcher

Our Experts

The programme is led by Claire Wallace, Professor of Sociology and Director of the New Europe Centre Aberdeen. She has worked for a range of international organisations and has specialised in comparative studies of Europe looking at issues such as work and care, flexibilisation, migration, xenophobia, quality of life and social capital. She is author of many books and articles and was formerly Editor of “European Societies” - official journal of the European Sociological Association.

Head of Department
Professor Claire Wallace

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Features

New Europe Centre

The New Europe Centre represents a group of researchers at the University of Aberdeen with projects from a number of different funding sources. We are committed to doing quality research in order to better understand the world around us.

Centre for Global Security and Governance

The Centre for Global Security and Governance brings together academic experts, policy makers, and students to define, analyse, and propose remedies to the most pressing security and governance challenges the world faces in the 21st century.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
School of Social Science
University of Aberdeen
Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street
Aberdeen
AB24 3QY