The study program comprises courses from 10 compulsory modules and one interdisciplinary elective module. The current module handbook can be found in RWTH Online.
In the courses, knowledge of sociological theories is systematically deepened and interpreted. As a subject area, the topic of "societal change" (e.g. changes in societal values and norms; collapses and transformations of societies; changes in societal formations; institutional change) will be treated in particular.
The courses in this module deal fundamentally with the topic of socio-technical transformation. On the one hand, the focus is on theories, concepts and empirical studies that emphasize the indissoluble interdependence of technical and social change. On the other hand, different approaches of social science innovation research are dealt with
Empirical Research and Mixed Methods
This module serves to deepen and expand the methodological knowledge acquired in the Bachelor. Special emphasis is placed on the combination of different survey methods as well as the selection, adjustment and use of methods appropriate to the subject matter in the social science research process.
This module serves to develop research designs for sociological questions that are appropriate to the subject matter. Based on the knowledge acquired in Module 3, students learn how to methodically elaborate research questions of socio-technical change in such a way that they become researchable. At the same time, the embedding of research problems in a concrete everyday research situation is dealt with. Resource-effective creation of research designs represents an important skill to be learned.
Research problems of socio-technical transformation
Socio-technical transformation represents a complex phenomenon, for the concrete study of which a wealth of theoretical-conceptual decisions must be made. With this in mind, this module includes current issues in the field of socio-technical transformation and outlines strategies for translating these issues into research problems.
Analyzing socio-technical transformation: Conflicts
This module deals with conflict lines and fields of socio-technical transformation. Students acquire a basis for analyzing and critically reflecting on the conflicts surrounding and negotiation processes in the field of socio-technical transformation. This can take the form of a course research project, in which controversies, conflicts and negotiations in socio-technical transformation are examined conceptually, methodologically and in terms of research practice using concrete case studies. Alternatively, a more theoretical-reflexive approach to the topic will take place.
Analyzing socio-technical transformation: Knowledge Production
This module deals with knowledge production as a central element of socio-technical transformation. Students acquire a foundation for analyzing and critically reflecting on the processes of knowledge production and innovation in the context of socio-technical transformation. This can take the form of a teaching research project, in which the process of the emergence of new knowledge, its production, stabilization and consolidation, is examined methodically and research-practically using concrete case studies. Alternatively, a more theoretical-reflexive approach to the topic will take place.
Analyzing socio-technical transformation: Design
This module focuses on the question of how it is possible for the social sciences to help shape socio-technical transformation processes. This can either take the form of a teaching research project, in which the integration of sociological knowledge is realized conceptually, methodologically and in research practice using a concrete case study of technology development. Or a more theoretical-reflexive engagement with the topic of co-design takes place.
Current sociological debates
Students acquire detailed knowledge of the international state of debate and the state of research, particularly with regard to current sociological debates.
Students network their sociological knowledge in interdisciplinary contexts and learn to adopt interdisciplinary positions.
Current Topics in Applied Computational Social Sciences
Applied Computational Social Science (ACSS) is an emerging field that focuses on the quality, validity and reliability of new types of data, data collection methods and computational data analysis methods for the social sciences. Beside methodological challenges that arise when collecting and analyzing digital behavioral data to build models of human behavior, attitudes and characteristics, the impact of digitalization on society and science is investigated. In this seminar students will review ACSS papers about one selected topical area and critically reflect on quality, validity and reliability of new types of data, data collection methods and computational data analysis methods.
Introduction to Applied Computational Social Sciences
Applied Computational Social Science (ACSS) is an emerging field that focuses on the quality, validity and reliability of new types of data, data collection methods and computational data analysis methods for the social sciences. Beside methodological challenges that arise when collecting and analyzing digital behavioral data to build models of human behavior, attitudes and characteristics, the impact of digitalization on society and science is investigated. In this lecture students will learn about social phenomena (e.g. culture, inequality, segregation) and how these phenomena can be investigated with new types of data (e.g., social media data, sensor data, Google street view images) and computational methods. We will discuss the advantages and limitations of these new types of data and computational methods.
This module comprises the Master's thesis as well as an oral examination on the Master's thesis. The master's thesis is intended to show that the candidate is able to independently work on a problem within a given period of time according to scientific methods under guidance. The students are also able to defend the topic developed in the master's thesis discursively within the framework of a presentation.