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

The Comparative Organisation and Labour Studies programme provides you with a broad foundation of sociological theory and research training with a more 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 variety (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, situating 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 demands for graduates and professionals that are able to combine these complementary perspectives.

Focus on research

The staff from the sociology department guarantees students will receive expertise in innovative sociological research; AIAS (UvA programme for Group Institutions, Inequality and Internationalisation) is the leading research institution on the functioning of labour markets , labour relations and organisations, and social and labour policies in the Netherlands. The MEST network (part of the COLS programme) allows students to explore international 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 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