Fostering critical thinking and broad horizons
Institute for the Study of Social Sciences
The Institute for the Study of Social Sciences was established in 2000, replacing and uniting three older courses: Social Theory, Social Issues, and Policy and Regional Social Studies. It strives to offer a multidimensional approach to analysing society in the 21st century and to produce highly qualified researchers and professionals. The institute emphasises the following three points:
1. Deep and thorough understanding of one's research subject.
Each graduate student formally belongs to one of our six research units:
- Studies of Social Structure and Socio-Cultural Transformation
- Humanities and Philosophy
- Human Practice
- Reshaping Society, Advancing Human Development
- Policy Management Studies
- Studies in Social History
Students of all units participate in small-scale weekly seminars lead by their respective academic supervisors. The purpose of these is to create a close working environment for professors and students, in which the latter can benefit from immediate and personal guidance, receive professional advice on their ongoing research and eventually acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to complete and successfully defend their master's theses. Students can also choose to participate in other professors' seminars (referred to as "sub-seminars") in accordance to their research interests.
2. Multidimensional perspectives
Unlike many other universities where social sciences such as sociology, international social studies, social psychology, political science, educational sociology, sport sociology, social anthropology, geography, history, philosophy, regional studies, literature etc. tend to be incorporated in multiple departments, the Institute for the Study of Social Sciences offers plentiful opportunities for becoming acquainted with these diverse subjects within a single educational framework. This enables students to think about and examine sociological problems from multiple perspectives and choose among various methodologies.
3. Cultivation of leadership qualities
Societies in the 21st century are faced with important problems such as globalisation, social disparities and discrimination, the conflict between economic development and the environment, low birth rates, aging populations, generational and gender conflicts as well as problems arising in and out of multicultural contexts. Our prospective graduates are expected to acquire professional skills and human qualities such that will enable them to play a leading role in their future working environments in grasping and tackling these modern complexities.
* * *
In addition to the seminars and lectures taught within the above six research units, the Institute for the Study of Social Sciences has two more original components, namely "Advanced Research Projects" and "Research Workshops"
1. Advanced Research Projects
Professors and students come together in these interdisciplinary and task-oriented projects to study and discuss problems and methods within various specialised areas. Three different projects are offered at any given time and each project remains in our curriculum for three consecutive years. Students are welcome to participate in any of these and actively interact with their colleagues and professors. Enrolees have excellent opportunities to learn how to critically evaluate research problems, effectively conduct analytical work and ably present their research findings.
2. Research Workshops
Our Research Workshops are designed to guide and help second year students with their master's theses. At each workshop session, all academic staff and students belonging to the same research unit (one of the six mentioned above) listen to presentations of theses currently in progress and discuss various problems concerning the structure and subject matter thereof. Students can thus benefit from having their work inspected from numerous angles and receive academic advice coming from multiple areas of expertise.