ACADEMICS

Fostering critical thinking and broad horizons

Graduate

Global Issues Division

To the English Site of ISGI

Institute for the Study of Global Issues

We live in a time of seemingly endless religious and ethnic conflicts, civilisation clashes, great disparities in economic development levels, environmental threats, extensive migrations and informational networks encompassing the planet. Approaching large-scale issues like these certainly requires globally-oriented mindsets and broadened perspectives. The Institute of Global Studies is a suitable choice for students who wish to research and tackle urgent matters of super-national importance, study the people caught up in them and look for ways to make a positive difference in their existence. The programme follows three basic principles:

1. An issue-focused methodology

The traditional segmentation of social studies into political science, economics, sociology and the resulting limitations to analytical perspectives can unfortunately make specific social problems more difficult to grasp in their full complexity. Our Global Issues division turns conventional postgraduate sociological education on its head by first identifying concrete issues of concern and then trying to unravel the often intricate contexts in which they occur. In order to do that, students construct analytical frameworks and look into existing bodies of sociological knowledge and research methodology such as they find necessary.

2. Solution-oriented investigation

The global problems of today do not exist just so that scholars can study them. One of the essential missions of social scientists is to look for ways to alleviate social suffering and improve people's quality of life. At our Institute, students are expected to not only theorise about the social problems they are investigating, but also to formulate practical solutions for them.

3. A de-Eurocentric approach

European paradigms and biases in sociological thought have for a long time been taken for granted, but their relevance can often be questioned in non-European contexts. Many of the biggest social problems of our age are occurring in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. This is why we believe that there is a need for students to free themselves from traditional Euro-centric ways of thinking to a necessary degree and be more receptive to the peculiarities of local contexts in their research.

Our Global Issues Division aims to equip students with both research and professional skills. Our curriculum therefore includes core theoretical and practical courses. The former are required to gain a theoretical understanding of modern global problems and processes, while the latter are designed to teach useful methods for conducting specific analyses and looking for possible solutions. Students can enrol in both kinds of courses according to their research interests and needs.

You can obtain further information about our study staff and entrance examinations on the Institute's web page.