Interactions of Economy and Society
a) Content of the specialization and target audience
What are the main topics of the specialization?
The economy can only be fully understood if economic actors and their decisions are embedded into society. This specialization draws on the multidisciplinary research agenda of socioeconomics, which includes aspects of law and politics, history and culture relevant for economics and business studies. It offers an introduction into the broad range of theories and methods in the social sciences, which usefully complement standard models and approaches from economics. Three compulsory courses in social science theories and empirical research methods are combined with two electives focusing on applications in specific fields, such as in economic sociology, economic history, and social policy, or addressing concrete topics, such as questions of inequality, money and the environment or law and sustainability.
Which interests, strengths, and capabilities should applicants of the specialization have?
This specialization provides a substantive qualification in social science theories and methods and their application to socioeconomic problems. It will be of particular interest to students who want to gain a better understanding of the variability of economic behaviour and development and be able to choose between different tools and approaches. Linking business and economics with other social sciences, the specialization builds on ‘Contemporary Challenges in Business and Economics’ in the introductory phase and ‘Foundations on Socioeconomics’ and ‘History of Economics and the Economy’ in the main program phase.
b) Entrance requirements
How can students enrol in this specialization?
The specialization can be completed by BBE students who are generally eligible to register for specializations and successfully enrol in “Access to ‘Interactions of Economy and Society’”. Since the number of students who can complete this specialization each academic year is limited (maximum ten students, five per semester), there is a selection procedure, which at this point follows the rule of ‘first come, first served’, that is, students will be accepted in the order of their successful registration to the above access course.
Please note that once you have been accepted to this specialization, you actually have to take part and be assessed in at least one of the substantive courses to stay enrolled. This means that you should register to the 'access to specialization' only when you intend to complete at least one of the substantive courses in the respective semester. If you do not take part in the substantive course programm, your registration will be cancelled.
c) Courses offered and completion of the specialization
What courses does this specialization consist in?
This specialization consists in five courses of 4 ECTS each, which are specified as follows:
Course I: Social Science Theories
This course is offered every summer term in English to students of the bachelor-level course programmes. The course description is available under the title ‘Social Science Theories: Modern Developments’.
Course II: Empirical Social Research I
This course is offered under the title ‘Introduction to Empirical Social Research’ each term in English to students of the bachelor-level course programmes at WU. You may check the course programme for more details on this course.
Course III: Empirical Social Research II
The focus of this course is on quantitative research methods. The course is offered every winter term in English to students of the bachelor-level course programmes. The course description is available under the title ‘Empirical Quantitative Research’.
Course IV: Economy and Society I
The course offer at least includes the course ‘Economic Sociology’, and will include other courses, such as ‘Social Policy’ and ‘Money, Society and Environment’, subject to capacity.
The course ‘Economic Sociology’ is offered (at least) every winter term in English to students of the bachelor-level course programmes at WU. You may check the course programme for more details on this course.
Course V: Economy and Society II
The course offer at least includes the course ‘Economic History’, and will include other courses, such as ‘Debating Inequality’ and ‘Law and Sustainability’, subject to capacity.
The course ‘Economic History’ is offered each term in English to students of the bachelor-level course programmes at WU. You may check the course programme for more details on this course.
Courses I to V do not build on each other in the way that completing one is prerequisite of attending the other. Hence, all courses can be attended and completed independently from each other, notwithstanding the consecutive numbering. This also applies to the courses grouped as Empirical Social Research I and II (Courses II and III) and Economy and Society I and II (Courses IV and V). Again, completing one course is not prerequisite of attending the other, but the courses can also be attended and completed in reverse order or at the same time.
How can the specialization be completed in two semesters?
The specialization can be completed in two semesters. Some courses will be offered every semester (Course II and V), others will at least be offered once a year, depending on the course either in the winter term or summer term (Courses I, III, IV).
There are no requirements as to the sequencing of the courses, since all courses are accessible to beginners of the specialization. However, given that some courses are only offered once a year, we recommend one of the following options to complete the specialization in two semesters:
For students who wish to complete the specialization in their fourth and fifth semesters, that is, start in the summer term, we recommend the following combination and sequencing of courses:
Summer term: Courses I, II and V
Winter term: Courses III and IV
For students who wish to complete the specialization in their fifth and sixth semester, that is, start in the winter term, we recommend the following combination and sequencing of courses:
Winter term: Courses II, III and IV
Summer term: Courses I and V
Can courses completed during an exchange term substitute for courses in the specialization?
If you want to complete courses for this specialization during your exchange term, please contact the coordinators beforehand to agree on which courses at the other university may be considered equivalent to courses in the specialization. If you have already completed courses at other universities which are similar to courses in this specialization, you may equally check with the coordinators what courses they would advise you to include in an application for credit transfer.
d) Career prospects
Which career prospects do graduates of the specialization have?
By completing this specialization, students gain essential research skills in the social sciences, which are needed in many academic professions and often also form an entrance requirement in Master’s degree programs combining economics with an interdisciplinary research orientation. As broadly qualified economists, graduates of this specialization will be able to work both in the public and private sector and advise practitioners and politicians. They are ideal members of multidisciplinary teams that draw on a broad array of perspectives, methods and approaches to address real-world problems and provide adequate solutions.