The master's program in Sociology offered by the School of Social Sciences provides students with the opportunity to study in an international environment at a renowned university. The program, with a duration of two years, is research oriented and builds on the School's strength in empirical-analytical approaches, particularly in quantitative methods and comparative research. The main research topics include Family, Education & Work, Migration & Integration, Economy & Welfare State, and Social Inequality. All classes are taught in English. According to the QS World Ranking 2019, the University of Mannheim is the best German university in the Social Sciences and Management category. Our program has successfully undergone a program accreditation process, which was carried out on the national level by the accreditation agency evalag. The accreditation is valid until 31 July 2023.
After graduating from Leibniz University Hannover with a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, I wanted to pursue a master’s degree that focuses on quantitative methods and statistics. With the master’s program in Sociology in Mannheim, I have found exactly what I was looking for! What I like most about this program is being part of a small, international group of students. Thanks to my studies and my job as a student assistant at the GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, I feel well prepared for a career in academia. That is why I’m currently planning to pursue a doctoral degree after my graduation.
Pursuing the master's program in Sociology at the University of Mannheim was the best choice I could have ever made with regard to both my personal and professional development. The fact that the entire program is taught in English helped me enormously when I was looking for a job and during my semester abroad. The proximity to the important social research institutes in Mannheim, GESIS and MZES, creates an ideal research atmosphere, while the focus on empirical methods and the Mannheim research network provide great opportunities both in research and economy.
The master‘s program in Sociology provided me with the best possible preparation for my professional career. With the program’s focus on in-depth analytical training, access to excellent professors, and the possibility to tailor the degree program to my specific research interests right from the start, I was immediately drawn into research. Given the program’s international orientation and flexibility, I was able to spend a semester as a free mover at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and completed a research internship at the Daimler Group. Studying at the University of Mannheim thus laid the foundations for the doctoral degree that I am now pursuing at the Harvard Business School.
The program builds on the School‘s strength in empirical-analytical approaches, quantitative methods, and comparative research
Close relationship with the GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences and the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), the largest research institution for social sciences at a German university
Mannheim is a vibrant city, located in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. It is home to over 8,000 businesses, including several successful international companies, such as SAP and BASF
The program is divided into seven modules: Sociological Research Fields, Foundations of Sociological Theory, Cross-Sectional Data Analysis, Advanced Research Methods, Research Design, Research Project, and the Master's Thesis.
Within the module Sociological Research Fields, you may choose five elective seminars (1st – 3rd semester) from different areas of concentration, such as Social Inequality & Stratification, Sociology of Migration, Comparative Welfare State Analysis, Labor Relations, Organizational Theory, Networks & Segregation, Economic Sociology, Fertility & Family Formation, Sociology of Education, Labor Markets & Occupations or Ethnic Inequality & Segregation and Social Psychology.
The module Foundations of Sociological Theory (1st semester) covers central aspects of sociological theory development and its foundations based on scientific theory. It offers an overview of the methodology of sociological explanations and the central, general components of sociological theories in research.
In Cross-Sectional Data Analysis (1st semester), procedures for cross-sectional regression analysis (linear and categorical) are covered at an advanced level.
The module Advanced Research Methods (2nd semester) consists of a lecture and an exercise course. While students are taught how to analyze event history data and panel data during the lecture, they learn practical research methods using secondary data and information from other sources during the exercise course.
The module Research Design (3rd semester) encourages students to develop a suitable research design for a specific research question (particularly with regard to the master's thesis), and to select and use available resources. A mandatory research internship is designed to offer hands-on experience in empirical research. Students may substitute the internship with attending a summer school program or working as a student assistant. Our Internship Office will assist students in finding internship positions and summer school programs that are in line with their interests.
During the Research Project (2nd + 3rd semester), students first attend the Seminar in Research Methods. In the seminar, they will deepen and extend their knowledge of advanced methods of empirical social research, preparing them for the subsequent Research Project Seminar. During the exercise course in Exemplary Empirical Studies, explanation approaches are evaluated using exemplary new publications, and formal and stylistic standards for academic texts are taught. In the concluding Research Project Seminar, students prepare an empirical-analytical study in a focus area of sociological research.
Students complete their master's thesis during their fourth semester. The thesis is expected to have the format of a research article suitable for submission to an academic journal in the social sciences. Research questions, research designs, and initial empirical findings are presented during the Master's Forum Day. While they write their master's thesis, students also attend a colloquium. Our school is deeply committed to mentoring students as they take this important step toward a successful academic career.
Our goal is to accept qualified and motivated students. Applications therefore undergo a selection process that includes the following selection criteria:
Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences or a degree in a related field, which was completed with a grade of at least „good“ (German grade equivalent: 2.5). For international students, international guidelines for grading standards will be applied. If you have not yet completed your bachelor's program by the time of application, you must submit a current transcript of records proving you have obtained at least 130 ECTS credits (or equivalent). Your admission will be based on this document and is subject to receipt of your degree certificate by mid-October at the latest.
Good English language skills certified by a higher education entrance qualification from a school with English as the language of instruction (e.g. A Levels) or a bachelor's degree from a higher education institution with English as the language of instruction and examination. Alternatively, one of the following language tests is required:
Proof of good performance in the area of methods of empirical social research, data analysis and statistics as indicated through previous course grades of classes in this area (German grade equivalent of 2.5 or better). Good performance in previous courses in this area is a prerequisite and will be assessed in the following way: The admissions committee looks at each transcript of records individually and evaluates a student's performance on the basis of graded courses taken in this area. If the average grade of all courses in this area corresponds to a German grade of 2.5 or better, you fulfil this requirement. You may submit also for each course in this area a syllabus or an official course description such as a course catalog that documents that the content of this class actually fits the area of methods of empirical social research, data analysis and statistics.
Grades obtained by international students will be transferred to the German grading system by using the Bavarian Formula.
If you fulfill these admission requirements, your application will be taken into further consideration.
You may also take a look at the official selection statutes (in German).
The admissions committee examines the following selection criteria and awards points for each criterion. In accordance with the awarded points, the admissions committee compiles a ranking list of all applications. Admission relates directly to the position in the ranking. The relevant selection criteria are:
All applicants to the master's program in Sociology are required to submit a sample of their scholarly work. This sample should reflect original work that provides evidence of both writing ability and the capacity for social science research, analysis, and original thought at the graduate level.
This year, the application period starts on 15 March and ends on 31 May. The Admissions Office is the central office for all applicants (German as well as foreign applicants).
You will only need to apply online
Applicants are required to submit certified copies of official documents, such as the university entrance qualification or the bachelor's degree certificate, as specified in the online application. International guidelines for grading standards will be applied.
Attached to the application form for admission, you will find a checklist that will help you compile all documents. Please read this list carefully since incomplete applications have to be excluded from the admissions process.
If you have not yet been awarded your bachelor's degree by the time of application, you should submit a current transcript of records.
English language certificates may also be handed in later, until 15 August at the latest.
The International Office also provides a variety of information for international degree-seeking students on its website.
The Admissions Office can be contacted via e-mail or phone (+49 621/
Usually, applicants to a master’s program receive the decision shortly after the close of the deadline.
International students: If you wish to accept your offer, please confirm the Declaration of Acceptance. Afterwards, you will receive an e-mail containing your log-in details for myUniMA – an online portal that provides you with comprehensive information on enrollment. Furthermore, it contains information on visas as well as on accommodation.
The Center for Doctoral Studies in Social and Behavioral Sciences (CDSS) offers doctoral programs in Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology in close collaboration with the School of Social Sciences at the University of Mannheim. Admission is based on merit and open to excellent candidates holding either a research-oriented bachelor‘s or a master‘s degree. Students admitted to one of the programs receive a scholarship and there is no tuition fee.
Fast track your doctoral degree
Students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree at the CDSS have the opportunity to apply for 'Associate Membership' in the second year of their master's program. Successful applicants receive a 'Qualification Scholarship' and application is open to all second-year master's students. Calls for application are announced in spring.
Individual doctoral studies
In addition to the structured doctoral program offered by the GESS – CDSS, the School of Social Sciences also provides students with the opportunity to acquire a doctoral degree under the supervision of a member of the School. Prospective doctoral students interested in this alternative should consult the job announcements of the School of Social Sciences and its affiliated research institutes or consult a member of the School that might serve as a potential supervisor for the doctoral dissertation project.
The University of Mannheim wants to support you in preparing and planning your career. As part of the pilot project STEP by STEP, we are offering workshops and information events to prepare you for your entry into the German labor market.
The program managers are happy to answer any questions regarding the master's program (degree plan, selection of courses, structure and progress of your studies). For any questions relating to admission or application, please contact the Admissions Office.
The Center for Doctoral Studies in Social and Behavioral Sciences (CDSS) administers doctoral programs in Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology in close collaboration with the School of Social Sciences at the University of Mannheim.