Students will study the power structures in our societies and learn to critically examine them to avoid their reproduction. It further identifies aspects necessary to transform political and economic systems and lead us to a more just world equipped to overcome the global problems of our time.
The programme boasts diverse expertise in the social sciences ranging from sociolog, international law, international relations, sociology, and social entrepreneurship. The curriculum is headed by compulsory core courses spread over six semesters. Additionally, the students chose various electives to deepen their knowledge in subjects that interest them the most. The programme further integrates practical and soft skills necessary for future careers, such as analytical and critical thinking, writing skills, project management and teamwork. Writing and methodology courses prepare the students for conducting the research for the final thesis.
Take the first step in fulfilling your dreams by studying at Tallinn University's School of Governance, Law and Society!
Who are we looking for?
Liberal Arts in Social Sciences is looking for prospective students who are interested in society and how to analyse it. Students come from all over the world with different backgrounds. The programme suits students who are still wondering which social science would work for them but also for students who have a clear vision but would like to have a wider view to complement their studies. The programme suits students who are just out of secondary school, and eager to start but also older students who might already have a degree or just life experience. The program has always had a versatile student body, all are welcome!
Why study with us?
Liberal Arts in Social Sciences is the best program for those interested in social sciences in general. It offers a chance obtain a wider view of society and learn how to analyse it. It also provides a rare opportunity to get acquainted with the idea of interdisciplinary studies. The programme includes a chance to see the connections between courses and practice interdisciplinary research. Liberal arts has something for those with clear interests but also for those who are still seeking. After students have finished their studies, the doors are open to master’s programmes and to the employment market.
Liberal Arts in Social Sciences is a program designed to teach students about different social sciences, give them research and practical skills, and prepare them for future studies or the labour market. The program lasts six semesters, each building on the previous. Students start off acquiring basic skills for learning, research and writing along with introductions to core topics in social sciences like law and society. Over the next semesters, each field introduces its own topics including sociology, politics, international relations, economy, management, demographics, psychology and others. The student will acquire knowledge in a variety of interesting fields and can pursue their favorite topics via electives options.The university offers many more courses on each of the introduced fields so as the student progresses through their studies, they can decide for themselves what they would like to focus on and where to move forward.
The program includes multiple methodology courses that give the research skills suitable for a bachelor's student. The program offers both qualitative and quantitative methods courses taught by the people using them every day in their own research. The students acquire new skills that are already practiced during the studies as the content courses require a lot of reading, writing and analysis. This culminates with a final research paper supervised by the experts in the field, similar to the bachelor's thesis.
A good bachelor's education is more than just research and knowledge, it should also give practical skills. The Liberal Arts program has a practical training module that requires students to put their university-learned minds to use in the real world. Students can do practical training in the field of their interest. So those interested in sociology can not only take additional sociology courses, but they can also go and do practical training in that exact field.
All students also need good teamwork skills and skills on how to work in an international and interdisciplinary environment. The Liberal Arts program also includes an interdisciplinary project that can be chosen by each student themselves from the dozens of projects offered in the university each semester.
Liberal Arts in Social Sciences organises its classes during the daytime on weekdays. Classes are usually planned between 10 and 16, with a few exceptions. Students are expected to participate in classes and seminars but leave plenty of time in between for other activities.
Have a look at Dr Klasche’s recent contribution on Germany’s reaction to the War in Ukraine:
Zsolt Bugarszki is a lecturer of social policy. Zsolt Bugarszki is from Hungary and before Tallinn University taught at ELTE University in Budapest, as well as worked extensively in the field. One of his focuses is on the increasingly important topic of social entrepreneurship and conducts projects related to it. He also teaches other aspects of social policy as well as economics and European Union social affairs. Zsolt is interested in how social communities function and how social problems affect society in general.
Read Zsolt Bugarszki's article about his "Expectation to Turn the University Into a Creative Hub".
Matthew Crandall is an associate professor of international relations and the curator for the international relations’ MA programme. Matthew Crandall is from the United States and has studied in different universities both in the USA and Estonia. He teaches introductions to international affairs, organisations, and security but also more complex courses based on his main interests that include small states, their security and security theories, and issues in general.
Pille Petersoo is a lecturer of sociology. Pille studied sociology and political science at the University of Tartu, followed by a MSc in Nationalism Studies, a PhD in Sociology and an ESRC post-doc at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
She currently teaches introduction to sociology, national identity and nationalism, qualitative research methods, as well as sociology of food and eating.
Catlyn Kirna is from Estonia and taught both at Tallinn University and Tartu University. She teaches introductions to international relations and European Union but also courses related to her own interests such as foreign policy, regionalism and interdisciplinary issues. She is both finishing her PhD and working on her third master’s degree (in education technology). Catlyn’s previous degrees are international relations from the University of Tartu and a translation degree from Tallinn University.
Check out the one minute lecture "Why Are Small States Awesome?" by Catlyn Kirna.
- Completed Secondary Education or the equivalent.
- Proof of English Proficiency
- Please see the complete overview of admission and application requirements for Bachelor's level applicants.
- The entrance exam consists of a written assignment and an interview. The maximum number of points is 100 (50% written assignment, 50% interview).
- Applicants receiving at least 30 points for the written part are allowed to the interview.
- Minimum programme enrollment threshold: 65 points out of 100.
Letter of motivation together with article analysis (750-850 words) that gives insight into the reasons for applying and answers to the questions concerning the motivation and desire to study at the programme. The motivation letter must include answers to the following questions:
- The choice of the study programme: Why Tallinn University? Why this specific programme? What interests you about social sciences, liberal arts? What kinds of courses and fields are you most interested in and why?
- Previous experience and studies: What have you done before applying here? Where and what have you studied? What kind of previous work or volunteer experience do you have?
- Having read the text (see below), what do you agree and disagree with and why? What are the two main points the author made?
- In what ways is this text relevant to studying liberal arts in social sciences? If not, elaborate. How did you find reading this text? What were the positive aspects and challenges? Why did you choose this specific text?
Choose one of these three articles to read:
- Social sciences: Between theory and intuition
- As U.S. election nears, researchers are following the trail of fake news
- 3 Challenges for a reparatory social science
These articles do not represent the views of Tallinn University, they were simply chosen for discussion.
NB! Plagiarised motivation letters are not accepted in any form and will receive 0 points.
The applicant must show an identification document (passport or ID card) at the beginning of the interview. With international applicants, the interview will be carried out via Zoom and for the purposes of identity verification, the admission committee has the right to record the interview.
The interview is conducted based on the candidate’s application and letter of motivation. There are no additional materials that need to be studied to prepare for the interview. The interview questions vary depending on the candidate and the interviewer. The purpose of the interview is to find out the candidate's motivation and willingness to study, knowledge of the chosen programme and the field of study.
Assessment of the candidates
In the motivation letter, the assessment entails:
- the candidate`s capacity to explain the choice of the programme and university;
- motivation and interest in social sciences and respective courses;
- previous work and study experience, as well as voluntary activities;
- in addition, the assessment considers language proficiency and writing skills.
In the analysis of the article, the assessment entails:
- the capacity to understand the focal arguments of the text;
- the capacity to discuss the topic and provide their own viewpoints;
- the capacity to explain the choice of the article and understand its connections with the programme;
- in addition, the assessment considers language proficiency and writing skills.
At the interview, the assessment entails:
- the candidate`s interest in the programme and motivation to study in the field by applying common study methods in social sciences;
- capacity to understand the focal arguments of the article and provide their input and viewpoints into the discussion;
- capacity to contextualise previous work, study and voluntary activity experience in the framework of the chosen programme;
- in addition, the assessment also considers the general background and field-related knowledge, language proficiency and the ability to engage in analytical discussions.
Application procedure for the citizens of the member countries of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) can be found here.
Application procedure for international applicants from Non-EU/EEA countries can be found here.
Estonian citizens and holders of a long-term residence permit
Liberal Arts in Social Sciences gives a good basis for any Master's degree that requires a Bachelor's degree in social science. Our graduates have gone on to study in Master's programmes in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Russia, China and many other places. They have chosen the programmes based on their main interests, varying from politics and international relations to media and communications to education and social issues programmes. Those who have not continued in any Master's programme have started working in their chosen field, usually related to social sciences. Our graduates now work in NGOs, international organisations, universities and both in the private and public sectors.
Angel Casal (Argentina, graduated 2017)
"I confess TLÜ was my life-changing investment career-wise and the place where best memories and connections are formed,
a place where I could express my opinions without pre-judgment broadening my perspective on the world and getting ready to engage
with challenging future paths. I enjoyed the variety of fields of study at Tallinn University believing that to differentiate myself in the
laboratory market I need a competitive side, the one that TLÜ has equipped me with while championing my independent thinking as a student."
Petr Erlygin (Russia, graduated 2014)
"Liberal Arts degree offers a unique opportunity to study multiple disciplines within one program. I would recommend it to anyone who has diverse academic interests and could not yet find the narrow field for pursuing a degree in it. I also believe this program helped me to understand better in which academic direction I should move further."
Annina Närhi (Finland, graduated 2015)
"After high school, I wasn't sure what to study, so the liberal arts program seemed really fitting. It is a broad program that provides a good basis for many Master's Programs, so you can try different things for your BA before focusing on something more specific for your MA. Tallinn is a great place to study - the city is small but vibrant, there's always something to do. The international community is welcoming and you meet people from all around the world."
Arta Balode (Latvia, graduated 2016)
"Liberal Arts was the program that gave me an insight into different study fields at once. If you have a wide variety of interests, this choice will let you combine varied professional industries at one. Liberal Arts - the program where media meet politics, films meet psychology, anthropology meets literature, so on, and so on...
When I look back I feel super happy about my time in Tallinn. A city that definitely took my heart with its beautiful seaside where you can have a break between lectures, taking long walks at Kadriorg and exploring hidden streets at Vana Tallinn. Memories of those 4 years are filled with great moments both at university and constantly active dormitory life with other students at Karu. Place where I met some truly inspiring lecturers and international friends for a lifetime."
Jyri Jäntti (Finland, graduated 2017)
“The wider the knowledge base of a student or a researcher the easier it is to come up with new ideas based on combining different fields. Of course, there is always overlap between sciences, but the better the basics on multiple scientific fields, the more coherent ideas one can come up with. Also gathering the basic knowledge on multiple fields is extremely helpful in finding out in which field the specialization of the student in the future might lay."
Liberal Arts in Social Sciences is curated by the International Relations and Future studies field within the School of Governance, Law and Society (SOGOLAS). The School includes various fields of social sciences like law, international relations, social work, sociology, governance, politics, and demographics. The programme offers courses from outside the School as well but as most social sciences are inside the School, the programme keeps a tighter connection between the fields and offers a chance for more interdisciplinary research. SOGOLAS also includes the interdisciplinary lifetime research center and also hosts the contact point to the European migration network. The School offers various MA programmes, including international relations in English as well as multiple PhD programmes.
- Size means variety – Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society (SOGOLAS) is the largest academic unit in Tallinn University with ca. 1800 students, 26 different study programmes and ca. 100 staff members. This means the students can choose from a large set of subjects from all of the major fields of social sciences.
- Internationalised staff with high qualifications - the study areas of political science and governance and international relations and future studies include 7 professors and about 25 other permanent academic staff members, from Estonia and abroad. Everyone teaching in the programme has international teaching experience.
- Opportunities to continue studies with us – the institute also has 1 English MA programme (International Relations), and a PhD programme accessible to English-speaking students.
- Technologically advanced – all course materials can be accessed online, so you do not have to spend extra on coursebooks and copies.
- Small study groups – most of our English courses are relatively small, normally hosting around 15-30 students, which allows a more interactive teaching style.
- Vibrant student life – SOGOLAS has an active student union Civitas, and a vibrant student life around International Relations Society organised by the students themselves. Additionally, you can join the international club of the university.
- Students have an excellent opportunity to use the Erasmus programme possibilities and receive the Erasmus scholarship. The Erasmus programme includes different mobility options in Europe as well as outside of Europe such as long-term and short-term exchange studies and traineeship. For exchange studies, we have a large selection of partner universities and the credits can be easily transferred.
School of Governance, Law and Society Facebook group.
Both SOGOLAS and Tallinn University in general offer many ways students can have an interesting social life. SOGOLAS’ students have a student representation organisation Civitas that takes care of students’ educational and social needs. The university includes many topical student organisations. University offers even more possibilities: from choir singing and gym practice to various social clubs and student organisations. SOGOLAS organises conferences every year, open to both students and researchers, as well as many public lectures every other week.
Tallinn University has a modern urban campus located in the center of the city. The airport, train and bus stations are just a few minutes away by public transport. The beautiful view of the harbour is a constant reminder that students studying at Tallinn University are in the center of a major European hub. Our students have access to physical and online libraries, computer labs, cafeterias and cafes. Furthermore, the university has all the facilities necessary for a productive learning environment and ample opportunities for leisure, sports, and social activities, all leading to an exciting and well-balanced student life. Take a walk around our campus via the virtual tour!
Our Liberal Arts in Social Sciences programme is taught entirely in the English language. Our student body is international, with students from many countries in Europe, as well as students from Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Day-to-day student life is always international at Tallinn University, as our program is closely connected with other English language programs and among your classmates, you will frequently find Erasmus students who have come to visit.
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