Undergraduate Program in Sociology - Study design

Structure

After a standard period of study of 3 academic years (6 semesters) the undergraduate program in Sociology concludes with a Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.), with a total of 180 ECTS credit points. The study program is structured with respect to the objectives mentioned in the academic profile.

The syllabus is structured into six parts within which a determined number of ECTS credit points must be accomplished:

Fundamental knowledge in the analysis of social structures, sociological theory as well as sociological techniques.

25 ECTS in total

Fundamental knowledge in methods of social empirical research and scientific theory, scientific internship, and fundamentals in statistics.

50 ECTS in total

Selection of one of the six major fields of study, extension of specific sociological knowledge, interdisciplinary perspective on a specific field of activity.

50 ECTS in total

Freely chosen modules from sociology as well as other modules beyond sociology. The aim for students is to intensify and to extend their knowledge in specific fields of attention and to create individual profiles.

30 ECTS in total

Two-month obligatory internship in public authorities, companies, unions, political parties, media or research institutes in order to apply the acquired knowledge and skills.

10 ECTS in total

Bachelor thesis and disputation or colloquium to demonstrate the ability to work on a topic independently by applying scientific methods.

15 ECTS in total

Study design and qualification objectives

In the part of the syllabus designated Sociological fundamentals, the essential knowledge stock of the discipline, on an empirical and theoretical level, will be conveyed.

Additionally, fundamental scientific methods – especially quantitative methods – will be attained in the syllabus part Methods of social empirical research and statistics.

The necessary armamentarium of sociology will not only be learned theoretically but also applied practically.

In Sociological fundamentals the principles of the sociological practice will be imparted. Fundamental methodological and statistical knowledge will be attained in the syllabus section designated Methods of social empirical research and statistics. The acquired theoretical, statistical, and methodological knowledge will be used in application oriented modules, where examples of use will be practiced on a PC. In the latter mentioned part of the syllabus, 28 of the required 50 ECTS credit points have direct practical relevance as they have to be obtained in the course of an obligatory scientific internship on data collection and quantitative data analysis as well as in the course of an exercise in applied statistics on the PC.

As a result, it is guaranteed that graduates have profound and comprehensive knowledge on sociological quantitative-statistical methods. The additional two-month obligatory internship completes the application relevance of the study program. The practical skills will be deepened in the modules within the major field of study which is chosen by students.

Students are empowered to create individual profiles with modules totaling 80 ETCS: the Major field of study to be chosen comprises 50 ECTS and the contextual studies comprise 30 ECTS.

The following major fields of study are available for Bachelor students:

Within these major fields of study at least an additional 20 ECTS credit points (i.e. outside of the initial 50 ECTS) have to be achieved with courses outside of the sociological core curriculum. At minimum, an additional 20 ECTS have to be attained in non-sociological elective modules of other disciplines. With their specialization in a certain field of activity, students not only acquire specific sociological knowledge, but also knowledge and skills from other related studies, guaranteeing an interdisciplinary perspective on the respective major field of study. A further 10 ETCS have to be realized either in sociological or non-sociological modules within the major field of study.

The contextual studies, as part of the syllabus totaling 30 ECTS, provide further flexibility for an individual study focus for students. 15 ECTS (out of the 30) are designated for sociological modules and another 15 ECTS are designated for non-sociological modules from the major fields of study. Hence, students are enabled to either further delve into the chosen major field of study or to participate in courses from other major fields of study.

With this syllabus structure an essential part of the “Bamberger Modell” is realized: individualized curricula are fulfilled and graduation degrees continue to be application-oriented. 

The syllabus design - almost 50% of courses can be flexibly tailored - allows students to not only specialize in a subject according to their interests and career aspirations, but also to acquire key qualifications. Great importance is attached to the following key competencies:

Methodological competence:

Besides specific competencies in scientific work and in methods of social empirical research, the study program according to the “Bamberger Modell” promotes the development of general methodological skills, especially those of quantitative methods. The ability to “Verstehen” (“Verstehen” in the sense of Max Weber/ interpretative sociology) is essential. Bachelor graduates of Sociology from the University of Bamberg are thus not only able to reconstruct and explain complex circumstances, but also to profoundly comprehend their cause (“Verstehen”). The extensive study of sociological fundamentals – especially of sociological theory – conduces the development of this competence. The comprehensive imparting of sociological thinking in the modules from sociological fundamentals trains the ability to examine complex processes analytically and to comprehend them. As seminar-style lectures are dominant in most parts of the syllabus, graduates are also able to develop complex topics and contents independently. In seminars, the participation of students is higher and the parting of knowledge is complemented by the individual development of knowledge. Learning is therefore more sustainable and individual methodological skills are strengthened.

Social competence:

The practical parts as well as the seminar-style of numerous lectures shape the social competencies of students. Graduates of Sociology from the University Bamberg who study according to the “Bamberger Modell” are able to grasp complex correlations as well as to analytically systemize, present, and discuss them. As work procedures in practice are more and more operated on a project basis the latter form of communication is of increasing importance. Key components of the study are thus to present own advancements or the current state of research on specific topics in the courses and also to discuss them in the group. Throughout the study this procedure also improves the ability of students to work in a team. In the context of the joint preparing of presentations, students learn to cooperate, communicate, and to document their work, which are essential skills for project-based work procedures.

Individual competence:

An aim of the study program is to enable students to create individual profiles, not only with respect to the knowledge in the discipline but also with respect to individual competencies. In connection with the development of methodological competencies, individual abilities to develop and comprehend complex topics are promoted. The flexible design of the curriculum fosters the self-organizing and self-reflecting capabilities. As students may adapt their studies to their own professional goals and aspired qualifications, they have to reflect their own present state and formulate own goals. On that basis, they plan their studies as independently as possible within the frame of the examination regulations.

Methodological competence:

Besides specific competencies in scientific work and in methods of social empirical research, the study program according to the “Bamberger Modell” promotes the development of general methodological skills, especially those of quantitative methods. The ability to “Verstehen” (“Verstehen” in the sense of Max Weber/ interpretative sociology) is essential. Bachelor graduates of Sociology from the University of Bamberg are thus not only able to reconstruct and explain complex circumstances, but also to profoundly comprehend their cause. The extensive study of sociological fundamentals – especially of sociological theory – conduces the development of this competence. The comprehensive imparting of sociological thinking in the modules from sociological fundamentals trains the ability to examine complex processes analytically and to comprehend them. As seminar-style lectures are dominant in most parts of the syllabus, graduates are also able to develop complex topics and contents independently. In seminars, the participation of students is higher and the parting of knowledge is complemented by the individual development of knowledge. Learning is therefore more sustainable and individual methodological skills are strengthened.

All Bachelor graduates of Sociology at Bamberg are equipped with the essential sociological fundamentals and the necessary armamentarium; they have individual profiles as well as comprehensive key qualifications. Within their studies, students apply their theoretical and methodological knowledge practically. Their individualized profiles, created through specialization in specific sociological fields of activity, can furthermore be sharpened with additional internships, stays abroad, and the occupation as a student assistant in one of the numerous research projects in Bamberg.

The acquired knowledge and skills allow for a successful positioning on the job market. Depending on the individual profile, various job opportunities are opened up: as consultant, researcher or abstractor in opinion and market research, or as abstractor, reader or editor in the media sector, in public relations or in publishing. Further main areas of employment are in human resources departments, in personnel procurement, in human resources development, and in organizational development. Another main area of employment is the occupation as subject specialist for social policy, education etc.

The employability of sociology graduates from the University of Bamberg on the job market is ensured due to an optimal balance between sociological fundamentals, the armamentarium and key qualifications in combination with the specialization in future-oriented sociological fields. Occupational prospects are in public administrations, in local administrations, federal and state ministries, in statistical offices as well as in other national institutions and state institutions, in non-profit organizations like political parties, labor unions and employers’ associations, in national insurances and in the private industry sector. Many social scientists enter consulting activities - not only classical management consultancies but also career counseling, political consulting, organizational consulting, communications consulting and comparable areas. Professional experience in the latter occupational areas furthermore facilitates the path to self-employment.

Moreover, the B.A. program in Sociology at Bamberg is laying a sound foundation for a further academic qualification in a consecutive Master program. Many graduates of Sociology at Bamberg pursue an academic career in science, either directly with a university career or in a research institute. The M.A. Sociology program constitutes a basis for this academic path.