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The advantages of our teaching

Our unit is responsible for training students at bachelor’s and master’s level in quantitative methods and statistics. In addition, we are responsible for teaching in the field of social structure analysis. In the Bachelor of Sociology programme (as a major and minor subject), students in their first semester learn about the different logics of quantitative and qualitative methods of empirical social research in an introductory course. For those taking sociology as a major subject, students in their second and third semesters can then apply the quantitative research process and the basics of statistics in practical assignments. Following their basic training, students also have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in their own research projects in the fourth and fifth semesters.

For those taking sociology as a minor subject, we discuss quantitative publications from current sociological research practice, discuss their contents and reflect on the quantitative research process in light of this.

In the Master of Sociology programme, students can review and expand their quantitative methodological knowledge within the methodology module. In addition, all degree programmes offer students the opportunity to write a quantitative-empirical thesis based on data they collect themselves or secondary data.

Our teaching – which is practice-oriented, up-to-date and both lively and versatile – offers students a well-conceived education.


Social structure analysis examines questions on the emergence (production) and persistence (reproduction) of social inequality via empirical examples, which are used to discuss the quantitative research process and statistical concepts. Thus, together with the students, we investigate unequal educational opportunities according to parental origin and gender, gender (a)typical career aspirations among young people, or university graduates’ labour market returns. The training in statistics is also closely linked to training in quantitative methods. Hence, our teaching does not centre on mathematical formulae but on understanding and critically questioning statistical analyses via practical examples. Because the statistical education we provide is well coordinated with our teaching of quantitative methods, students not only discuss the concepts theoretically and by means of examples but also practice it directly in their research work.

Up-to-date and lively:

Statistics, the quantitative research process and sociology as a whole are subject to constant change. We are aware of these developments, participate in them ourselves and incorporate them into our courses. In addition to empirically investigating current sociological phenomena from the field of social structure analysis, we teach students important labour market skills by familiarising them with up-to-date software programs (Stata, R). Developing good methodological skills “on the computer” is important to us, as it forms the basis for independent work with quantitative-empirical data, and we support this by assigning appropriate exercises.


Students have different expectations and interests and come to sociology with very different backgrounds. Quantitative methods and statistics are often great unknowns at the beginning, and students may be worried about whether they can successfully master them. We try to do justice to this heterogeneity by orienting our teaching so that it takes these different needs into account. For example, students work in small groups so that they can learn from each other. Lecturers and tutors support this group work process, which enables us to discuss in-depth questions, offer quick help and respond to the students’ interests. Last but not least, our teaching has grown because we take on board, appreciate, discuss, and respond to student feedback.