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Undergraduate Integrated Social Sciences

Integrated Social Sciences

BA undergraduate program

In this program students learn how contemporary societies have developed and how they function, with a focus on the key challenges these societies are confronted with (e.g. economic globalization, the growth of megacities, ethno-cultural diversity, and the rise of the critical citizen). None of these issues can be fully grasped, let alone addressed, through the prism of a single social science. A comprehensive understanding will only come from integrating insights from all the social sciences, together with relevant facts identified by the natural sciences. The aim of this program, which combines the four disciplines of political science, mass communication, sociology, and economics, is to train students in gaining such an all-round perspective on human behavior and social organization.

Program Structure and Content

Jacobs ISS program modules
Year 1
Take 3 CHOICE Modules, at least one free selection
Political, Social & Media Diversity
Political and Social Diversity is an introductory module which provides the essentials for understanding contemporary societies. You will study what the main differences between democracies and other political regime types are (the political science perspective); how the set-up of societies change over time and differ across world regions (the sociological perspective); and how mass communication systems work and which role they play in politics and society (the mass communication perspective). This module provides the basis from which you progress to higher-level modules in the Social Sciences.
General Economics
This module introduces the workings of economies, progressing from individual to national markets. The decisions that firms, workers and consumers make are examined in Microeconomics. Macroeconomics addresses the whole economy of a country in terms of the goal of stable and sustainable economic growth. A key question in both, Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, is when, how and why governments may want to intervene in markets in order to deliver satisfactory outcomes for society as a whole, while balancing the contradicting interests of various societal stakeholders. Two seminars with 2.5 credits each have an emphasis on specific examples of such economic policy controversies and conflicts.
Year 2
Take 3 CORE Modules, at least 2 from study program
Communication, Culture and Consumers
Communication, Culture and Prosumption is an advanced module which focuses on the pervasive role mass communication and consumerism play in contemporary societies globally. Starting from sociological conceptions of capitalism and consumer society, you will learn to assess the value and problems of modern consumerism, the choices and constraints of humans in societies that have been increasingly shaped by consumption behavior. Recently, due to digital globalization, social network sites and the spread of technological tools easy to use for lay people, consumers become ever more competent in not only passively consuming goods and services, but actively shaping these products and services through the cultural practice of prosumption, a fusion of formerly separated social roles of producer and consumer. You will further analyze mass communication systems from a production, consumption, and prosumption perspective. Finally, the module provides you with the methodological tools and research skills to analyze communication systems and prosumption, based on a variety of data sources. The module combines rich theoretical insights with many empirical examples and exercises.
The Good Society
The Good Society is an advanced module which is concerned with progress (or the lack thereof) towards better and fairer societies. You will learn about concepts and theories of equality and justice, and how unequal contemporary societies actually are (and what can be done about it). You will further engage with political cultures worldwide, i.e. the attitudes, values and socio-political behavior of mass citizens – often a powerful social force pushing for a better society. Finally, the module provides you with the methodological tools and statistical skills to study inequalities and political cultures worldwide, based on cross-national surveys and other data sources. The module is unique in combining rich theoretical insights with lots of empirical examples and exercises.
International Politics and Policy
This module offers an introduction to the politics and policy-making of international relations. It does so through discussing some of the most pressing questions of global politics and policy today. These include: what is democracy, should it be spread around the world, and can it be incorporated at the international level? Moreover, is it possible to reduce warfare, terrorism and other forms of transnational violence? Last, what roles can diplomacy and foreign policy play in bringing about a prosperous, equitable and peaceful international system? The module shows that alternative theories in political science provide different answers to these questions, and it helps students critically reflect on these frameworks.
Year 3
Take CAREER Modules, choose between World and Campus Track
World Track
5th Semester:
Program-specific Internship / study abroad
6th Semester:
Program-specific Project / Thesis Module
Program-specific Specialization Module
Exemplary course offering
Social Movements
Civic Networks and Social Capital
Diversity and Multiculturalism
Postindustrial Societies
Global Communication
Political Campaign Communication
Visual Methods in the Social Sciences
Media and Socio-Political Uprisings
Campus Track
5th and 6th Semester
Program-specific Project / Thesis Module
Program-specific Specialization Module (Please see World Track for exemplary course offering)
Additional CORE Module