UvA homepage UvA homepage
Search results

Core Specialisation Course Institutions, Inequalities and Life Courses

Catalogue Number
Admin. code
6 ( 6 EC = 6 * 28 = 168 hrs.)
Entry requirements
Being selected into the research master Social Sciences.
Time Period(s)
Semester 1 block 2
Educational institute
Graduate school of Social Sciences
GSSS Information Desk
Kloveniersburgwal 48 kamer F1.11A
+31 20 5253777
Is part of ...


The course offers research master students seeking to specialize in `Institutions and Inequalities? an introduction to the faculty and its research on that topic. At the end of the course research master students should:

  • have an understanding of the key theories, concepts, and research in the field of `Institutions and Inequalities?;
  • be acquainted with the faculty, their central research themes and ongoing research affiliated to the research program of `Institutions and Inequalities?;
  • be able to formulate research questions that address specific aspects of social inequality and institutions and locate them in the context of the overall research agenda of the group.


Social inequality refers to the ways in which socially-defined categories of persons are differentially positioned with regard to access to a variety of social `goods?, such as the labour market and income, the education and healthcare systems, and forms of political representation and participation. In this context, institutions play a key role in how inequalities emerge, persist, and change in modern societies. The specialization `Institutions and Inequalities? studies social inequalities in (post-) industrialized societies and particularly focuses on the impact of stratifying variables (social origin, education, gender and ethnicity) on three outcomes: (1) socioeconomic attainment concerning outcomes in the domains of education, work, and income; (2) political behaviour and opinions; and (3) living arrangements. The central focus is on how institutions and structures mediate the impact of social origin, education, gender and ethnicity on outcomes in each of these three `pillars?.

Registration at

Students of the Research Master Social Sciences can register for this course in SIS-UvA as of Friday 11 October until Friday 18 October. For more information on how to register for courses in SIS see http://student.uva.nl/rmss/az/item/student-information-system-sis-kopie.html.


Weekly three-hour meetings with guest speakers from the research group. The course follows a combined seminar-lecture format which means that the key topics will be briefly introduced by the lecturer, but students are expected to actively engage in the class sessions. The class requires students to read a considerable amount of material, think about what they have read, and discuss and write about their understanding of the readings. Students have to write discussion memos about research questions related to the overall research agenda of the research groups. Along with these memos and a presentation, students will write a final paper describing the way in which they intend to explore causal relationships within their own research. Because active participation is an essential element of this course, attendance is mandatory.


For the most recent time schedule please visit our website: https://rooster.uva.nl/?startdate=2013-11-23&newLocale=en_GB.

Study materials

Selected journal articles and book chapters. These readings will either be made available via Blackboard or the UvA bibliotheek/UvA linker.


Grading is based on the assignments and participation in the course and an individual paper:

  • Presentation: 20%;
  • Participation and command of readings: 20%;
  • Final paper: 60%.


Affiliations at the UvA

The `Institutions, Inequalities and Life Courses' specialization is affiliated to the Onderzoeks Speerpunt with the same name, recently awarded by the FMG. This Speerpunt brings together inequality research in sociology, political science, demography, and educational sciences, and aims to study inequalities with regard to socio-economic outcomes, living arrangements and political outcomes. A particular focus is on how the institutional context impacts the way in which such inequalities take shape. The Speerpunt has recently started the Amsterdam Centre for Inequality Studies (AMCIS), where new collaborative research between these disciplines will be organized. The Speerpunt is coordinated from the AISSR Research Program `Institutions, Inequalities and Internationalisation? in sociology (and former ASSR Cluster) directed by Herman van de Werfhorst. RMSS students choosing this specialization are strongly connected to the research program of this group.