The Institute of Sociology at the University of Bern was founded in 1960 and is the oldest institute of sociology in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. It is part of the faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences. The institute includes three full professorships: one for general sociology (Prof. Dr. Christian Joppke), one for methods of empirical social research (Prof. Dr. Axel Franzen) and one for structural social analysis (Prof. Dr. Ben Jann).
According to Bologna regulations teaching at the institute has been divided into three levels. The first three years (undergraduate studies) are dedicated to general studies of social sciences. Undergraduate students are introduced to all disciplines of the faculty during the first year. The second and third year concentrate on political science and sociology. Undergraduate studies are completed with the degree “Bachelor of Arts in Social Science” (180 ECTS-points).
On the postgraduate level the institute offers a course over three terms leading to the master degree (90 ECTS-points) which is a so called mono-master. It is based exclusively on sociology without any subsidiary subjects. Master studies are completed with the acquirement of the Master of Arts in Sociology.
Especially talented and ambitious students are offered an opportunity to continue their studies for another three to four years and acquire the title of Doctor Rerum Socialium. Applicants for the doctorate need to be accepted by a professor at the institute who will act as their advisor. The main focus of these postgraduate studies is on the writing of a dissertation, which is normally either a monograph or a collection of scientific articles.
The main research topics at the Institute of Sociology in Bern are international comparative sociology, cultural sociology, political sociology, methods and statistics, game theory and environmental sociology as well as labour markets and inequality research.