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About the Graduate School

Graduate School of Social Sciences

The Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) is an educational institute of the University of Amsterdam, situated within the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and located at the Roeterseiland (building B/C). Built upon pre-existing institutional structures, it was founded in its current form in January 2009. The Graduate School has about 1,000 registered Master’s students of various nationalities.

Our ambition

Our ambition is to be a dynamic and pluralist institution marked by high academic standards, an open and inclusive intellectual atmosphere, and a vibrant ‘academic commons', where Dutch and international students and faculty engage in the seminar rooms and at many extracurricular events.

Diversity and excellence

At the Graduate School of Social Sciences we stand for excellence and diversity of social science graduate programmes in the areas of

  • human geography;
  • planning;
  • international development studies;
  • political science;
  • sociology;
  • and anthropology.

We offer research oriented

  • in-depth one-year disciplinary programmes, often with the option for thematic tracks within the discipline;
  • thematic one-year interdisciplinary programmes;
  • two-year Research Master’s programmes linked to our top-research programmes;
  • tailor-made PhD education in cooperation with the Amsterdam Institute for Social Sciences Research (AISSR);
  • and summer and winter schools with a strong academic orientation.

All our programmes are firmly rooted in the related research programmes at the AISSR.

Good education

Good education to us means

  • challenging and engaging teaching at the cutting edge of academic research;
  • a thought-through mix of taught and independent study;
  • active student participation;
  • pro-active student counselling;
  • hands-on thesis guidance;
  • transparent and fair rules & guidelines.

We aim at providing high quality support services to faculty and students alike. We seek to improve consistency of processes and standards across the graduate programmes and continuous review and improvement of education in order to maintain rigorous academic standards and a good learning and work environment.

Engaging with potentially controversial issues in diverse environments, such as we do in our university programmes, can sometimes lead to tensions, even conflict. This creates a dilemma: On the one hand, we seek to provide a study environment in which UvA students and teachers feel safe and respected; on the other hand, we subscribe to the fundamental value of academic freedom, which requires freedom of expression. Our response to this dilemma: We reject the approach of seeking to prevent or control conflict through censorship or directives. Instead, we promote the values of diversity, freedom of speech, and respect, and we foster open engagement to negotiate inevitable tensions in a process of mutual learning.

Find key information, documents and reports from the Graduate School of Social Sciences.

About the University of Amsterdam

A modern university with a rich history, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) traces its roots back to 1632, when the Golden Age school Athenaeum Illustre was established to train students in trade and philosophy. Today, with over 30,000 students, 6,000 staff and a budget of €850 million, it is one of the larger comprehensive universities in Europe. The UvA has a broad academic curriculum. The university’s academic research is at the top of the international league in many respects. UvA staff publishes around 8,000 academic articles each year. The UvA is a member of the League of European Research Universities.