Amsterdam, Netherlands

Social Science Switch

online course
when 25 October 2021 - 17 December 2021
language English
duration 8 weeks
credits 6 EC
fee EUR 1000

This online course enables students trained in the natural or medical sciences to switch to a social science mode of thinking, theorizing, reading and writing. Due to a number of important differences between in the point of departure and perspective of the social sciences, people from other disciplinary backgrounds often find it challenging to make 'the switch'. This eight-week online programme will bring together people from a variety of scientific disciplines, giving them the tools and perspectives necessary to approach their study, research and work in a more holistic way by including social science theories and concepts.

Course leader

Dr. Bregje de Kok and Dr. Tanja Ahlin

Target group

Students planning to enroll in the Masters in Medical Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Amsterdam, or similar medical anthropology/sociology Master programs at other universities, and have had limited or no training in social sciences. Also participants who want to embark on a PhD in medical anthropology, medical sociology or global health, but have limited or no training in the social sciences. Finally, professional participants working and/or researching in the areas of public health, epidemiology, biomedical sciences, and global health looking to gain an enhanced social sciences perspective.

Course aim

In order to work through and address societal issues in an updated and comprehensive way, emphasis has recently been placed on developing holistic approaches that combine the social and behavioral sciences with the methods and perspectives of the natural and medical sciences.

This programme is designed to offer participants with a natural/medical sciences background the opportunity to expand their perspective and knowledge, enabling them to tackle complex issues and understand them from multiple perspectives, embracing interdisciplinary and social science mentalities and approaches.

The primary difference between the social and natural/medical sciences concerns the use of theory. Hence, this programme focuses on building your skills by learning about and using social science theories. We jointly address and work through 'what theory is’ as well as what it 'does', reviewing widely-used anthropological and sociological concepts and theories, such as intersectionality, social navigation, and more.

Credits info

6 EC
6 European Credits for external candidates. Internal candidates (current UvA students) take this course on a pass/fail basis.

Fee info

EUR 1000: Tuition fee includes all course readings and materials, access to the digital library at the UvA, welcome and wrap-up sessions, both live and pre-recorded lectures, access to the digital learning environment, individual feedback from our instructors on all course assignments, and an official transcript or certificate of participation.


There are some scholarship opportunities, please check our website for more information.

Register for this course
on course website