Graduate School of Social Sciences

Master (track) Sociology: Comparative Organisation and Labour Studies

Degree programme
MSc Sociology
Regular study programme
60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction
Starts in
CROHO code

Comparative Organisation and Labour Studies offers you a sociological perspective on the organisation of work processes, the functioning of modern labour markets and the governance of firms and other public or private organisations that form the locus of employment.

The programme provides you with a broad foundation of sociological theory and research training with a specific focus on the organisation of work in contemporary societies. During this programme, you will study the modern world of work at various levels:

  • the micro-level (e.g. workplace practices and human resource management); 
  • the meso level (e.g. employment relations or the governance of firms); 
  • and the macro level (e.g. bargaining between trade unions and employers associations, and the structure of labour market institutions and welfare states).

The programme gives you a comparative perspective on institutional diversity (i.e. examining how rules and regulations differ between countries as well as within countries). It stimulates you as a student to apply a sociological perspective in your work, based on thorough scientific research, placing labour processes in a broader societal context.

Student profile

Do you have an interest in and general knowledge of labour and organisation issues? Do you want to go beyond the boundaries of the topic and infuse your research with a critical sociological approach? Are you keen to engage in rigorous research? Then apply for the Comparative Organisation and Labour Studies programme.


The programme equips you with a set of transferable skills to analyse complex societal and organisational problems that allow you to see beyond the generally accepted assumptions in the field of labour and organisations. The focus on both organisations and institutional contexts meets the increasing demand for graduates and professionals who are able to combine these complementary perspectives.

Focus on research

The staff of the sociology department guarantees that students will have the opportunity to develop expertise in innovative sociological research. The scholars involved in the teaching of Comparative Organisation and Labour Studies are affiliated to  the Amsterdam Institute for Labour Studies (AIAS), which is the leading research institution on the functioning of labour markets, industrial relations and social policies in the Netherlands. Our scholars may also be affiliated to the research programme groups Institutions, Inequalities and Life Courses and Cultural Sociology of the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR). 

The diversity in the research background of the staff guarantees a broad and disciplinary well embedded perspective on labour and organisation issues. This programme is also a partner in the European Master Labour Studies Network (MEST), which allows students to study with the support of an Erasmus scholarship during part of the second semester at one of the partner institutions, which include the London School of Economics, the Université Catholique in Louvain La Neuve and the Universities of Dublin, Milan, Bremen, Ljubljana and Trier. These partners offer courses taught in English. The universities of Barcelona, Toulouse, Firenze and Lisbon  are also partners  but only offer courses given in the local language. A number of these universities regularly send some of their labour studies students to attend the Comparative Organisation and Labour Studies programme for one semester. This further facilitates exploring international and comparative perspectives.

The programme culminates in students developing their own thesis research, closely mentored and guided by a supervisor with expertise in the particular area of investigation. Students will also benefit from the expert knowledge of the staff of AIAS, the AISSR and from the MEST network.

Ambition in research?

For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master’s programme in Social Sciences.

Degree certificate 

Comparative Organisation and Labour Studies is a track of the accredited degree programme Sociology. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in Sociology and the title Master of Science (MSc).

Published by  GSSS

Graduate School of Social Sciences