Comparative Social Policy and Welfare (COSOPO).

What is your understanding of justice? Why is there more inequality in the USA than in Scandinavia? As a student in the COSOPO Master's degree program, you will focus on learning more about the socio-political challenges of our time.

You will conduct research in social policy fields and welfare state systems from a comparative perspective. You immerse yourself in their theories and concepts. All of this makes you an expert in the production and distribution of social wealth.

The COSOPO Master's degree program enables you to independently conduct research, provide consulting services and system development in an international context. You learn to develop solutions to meet the socio-political challenges of the future.

The joint Master's degree program takes place together with our partners at Tampere University (Finland). "Intensive Programs" at the beginning of each semester will take place at your home university and at our partner university in Finland. Afterwards, you will complete courses via distance learning modules that are mainly based on e-learning platforms.

Master's in Comparative Social Policy & Welfare


Master of Social Sciences (MSSc)


4 Semesters


120 Credits


English (C1 Level)

Program Begins

WS 2022/2023 (every 2 years)

Application Deadline

January 1 - March 31, 2022
Grace period: April 1 - May 15, 2022


Linz & Tampere


*mandatory Intensive Programs (IPs), mandatory Internship, long distance learning.

Why This Degree is Particularly Attractive

  • The COSOPO Master's degree program is unique. In only four semesters, you will become an expert in European social policy, empirical social research methods, and conducting research on welfare states.
  • There are no time and location constraints! We have created educational modules supported by distance learning methods (based on e-learning platforms) and the intensive, concentrated programs are always at the start of the semester.
  • The collaborative graduate degree program organized by the Johannes Kepler University Linz and Tampere University in Finland allows you to acquire international experience, improve your language skills, and hone your intercultural communication skills.



Did you know...?

The COSOPO program is taught by experts in various socio-political fields from a variety of international backgrounds.

Areas of Specialization

As a student in the joint Master's degree program in Comparative Social Policy and Welfare, you become an expert in social policy and welfare state research. The program qualifies you to independently conduct research, provide consulting services and system development in an international context.

  • Social science research methods: Qualitative and quantitative research methods, comparative social research
  • Welfare state theories: The development and differentiation of the modern welfare state
  • Socio-political fields: Analyze selected social policy fields (such as labor market policy, family policy, social security, pension systems, gender equality policy) from a comparative international perspective
  • Concepts and theories: Theories about the interaction of state, market and community in welfare production, the historical development of the modern welfare state and the role of interests, ideas and institutions in its differentiation
  • International aspect: Work closely with international faculty members and students to acquire international expertise and skills
  • Real-world experience: Complete an internship in your field of specialization and learn about theory-based reflection


What You Will Learn in the Program

Your goal is to be able to independently conduct research as well as provide consultation services and help develop the broad field of social policy.

  • You learn to deal critically with socio-political issues.
  • You will advance your expertise in welfare state theories, models and fields as well as in social science methods and methodologies.
  • Your comparative analyses will be based on international, European and regional levels.
  • You will hone your intercultural skills, enabling you to collaborate effectively on an international level.

Career Prospects

The COSOPO Master's degree program allows you to develop many levels of socio-political advancement. Doors are open in the following areas of research and management:

  • Research fields in social and economic sciences
  • Applied research and social analysis
  • Domestic, European and international organizations and collaborations
  • Social policy projects and programs
  • NGO's and non-profit organizations
  • Public and civil service
  • Media and public relations
„Coming from a third world country and while working at a Ghanaian research institute, I questioned the motives behind my country's socio-economic policies. This program has given me a better understanding and an ability to analytically appreciate the diverse social policies in Europe and beyond.“
Mary Okai, BA
Student in the COSOPO Master's degree program

Program Structure

The Master's degree program requires completing courses totaling 120 ECTS credits.

  ECTS Credits
Conceptual Approaches to the Comparative Study of Welfare Production 20
National Systems of Welfare and Society 15
Empirical Research Methodology 15
Electives on Well-Being and Welfare Production in a Globalizing World 20
Practicum / Internship 5
Academic Writing 5
Master Thesis, incl. Seminar 40

You can focus your individual specialization on a socio-political topic of your choice. For this purpose, there is a pool of research fields available to you.

Please note:

  • The program begins only every two years.
  • You must complete a mandatory internship totaling 120 hours.

Program Start & Schedule

  • Welcome Day: Official start of the program for students at the respective home university (JKU) before the first Intensive Program (IP)
  • Intensive Program (IPs): Mandatory block sessions at the respective partner university at the start of each semester. The IP also includes kick-off events for each subject area and social events to become better acquainted with your classmates.

Student Travel Schedule for the Mandatory IPs

1st Semester: September/October, two weeks in Linz
2nd Semester: January/February, two weeks in Tampere
3rd Semester: September/October, one week in Linz
4th Semester: January/February, one week in Tampere

See the curriculum for detailed information about the program structure.

Apply for Admission to the Program

Admission Requirements

The COSOPO Master's degree requires students to have an academic background in the field as well as complete a two-stage application procedure to officially be admitted to the program (including submitting an application to the institute). You must have:

  • A Diploma or Bachelor's degree in a field of social sciences, economics or business, or a comparable academic degree program
  • Sound background and knowledge of methodology in social sciences
  • C1 level of proficiency in English (such as TOEFL/IELTS)

For the enrollment procedures you need the "Letter of Nomination" you will receive from the Academic Board during the application process.


You must apply in advance for admission to enroll in the COSOPO Master's degree program.

Still Have Questions?

Contact Us!


Admissions Office


Bank Building


1st Floor, Rm. 113A/B


+43 732 2468 2010

Advanced Degree Programs

After completing the Master's degree program, you can continue your studies and earn an advanced degree:


Social Sciences, Economics & Business Doctorate Degree

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any additional tuition fees for the COSOPO Master's degree program?

No. However, you must personally finance any travel and accommodation costs to attend the intensive programs in Linz and Tampere.

Is there any financial support or financial aid for the COSOPO Master's program?

No, there is not.

I have completed the online registration / application for admission.
Why have I not yet received a letter of admission?

You will receive a letter of admission from the JKU Admissions Office only after the Institute for Social Policy has approved your application.

In my country, English is an official language.
Do I still have to provide a 'proof of language proficiency' certificate?

Yes, your level of proficiency in English must be C1. See our registration page for a list of certificates we accept.

I work full-time. Do I still have to attend the Intensive Programs (IPs)?

Yes, mandatory attendance is required for the IPs. There are no exceptions.

Do I have to attend Welcome Day?

Attendance is not mandatory but we strongly recommend taking part.

I missed the application deadline. Can I still apply?

You can still apply but you will not be considered during the first round of selection. You may still get on the waiting list and it is possible that spots may open up.

I have not yet finished my undergraduate degree.
Can I still apply for the COSOPO Master's program?

Yes, but you must then submit a copy of your Bachelor's degree diploma. Click here to learn more.

I have not yet completed my English course.
Can I still apply?

Yes, but you will need to submit your English (Level C1) certificate when you are done with the English course. When you apply for the program, please provide us with information about the current status of your course as well as the date for the certificate examination.

Can I study abroad for a semester?

Can I complete my internship abroad?

Yes, we encourage you to do that.

What are my options if I fail any of the courses?

If you fail any courses, you can repeat them with the next year's class. While you have the right to do so, please be aware that the next class starts only every 2 years.
You can usually improve your grade upon request or in agreement with the course instructor. However, please note that there is no right or entitlement to do so.

I live abroad. Can I still completed the COSOPO program?

Yes, the COSOPO program is flexible (blocked sessions, concentrated programs, and remote learning without time and location constraints).

Still Have Questions?

Do you have any questions about the program or need help registering for admission? Our program coordination team will be happy to speak with you! You can also make an appointment any time to speak to someone in person!

You can also contact the JKU's Office of Studies Information & Academic Advising (SIBS) to answer any general questions about the program and the JKU.

Coordinator COSOPO

Contact Us!


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