Master's Degree in Comparative Social Policy and Welfare (COSOPO).

What is your understanding of justice? Why is there a higher level of 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, immersing yourself in these 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.


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Master's in Comparative Social Policy & Welfare


Master of Social Sciences (MSSc)


4 semesters


120 credits


English (C1 Level)

Program Begins

WS 2024/2025 (every 2 years)

Application Deadline

January 1 - March 31, 2024
Grace period: April 1 - May 15, 2024


Linz & Tampere


*mandatory Intensive Programs (IPs), mandatory internship, 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.

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, two weeks in Linz or Tampere
4th Semester: January/February, two weeks in Linz or Tampere

See the curriculum for detailed information about the program structure.

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 program is a unique opportunity to not only address various socio-political affairs, but drive advancement at different levels forward. 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

On average, graduates in this field find a job immediately after completing the program. After 3 years on the job, their average monthly gross salary is € 3.127.

„As my undergraduate degree was very Europe-focused, I deliberately sought out a Master's degree program that included international aspects. The COSOPO program was an opportunity to share ideas with students and professors from around the world and explore diverse perspectives relating to social policy.“
Nora Iser, BA
Student of the COSOPO Master's degree program
Portrait of Nora Iser

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.

Application Period: January 1 to March 31, 2024  

Still Have Questions?

Contact Us!


Admissions Office


Bank Building

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, if you are about to graduate from a Bachelor's degree program, you can still apply for the Master's degree program and be nominated by the Institute of Politics and Social Policy. You must, however, register to enroll in the program and submit all of the required documents by the deadline. If you have any questions about admissions, please contact the Admissions Office.

Yes, you can still apply and be nominated by the Institute of Politics and Social Policy. We ask, however, that when completing the application form, please indicate the current status of your course and and the date you expect to finish the course and get your certificate. In order to officially enroll in the program, you will have to submit proof of proficiency in English by the deadline.

If the Institute of Political Science and Social Policy has nominated you based on your application (see Step 1 Register to Enroll), only the Admissions Office can approve your application.

The Admissions Office can only issue a letter of acceptance once the Institute for Politics and Social Policy has nominated you based your application (See Step 1 of the registration procedure).

Yes, your level of proficiency in English must be at a C1 level. Please click here to view a list of certificates we accept.

No. The general tuition fee regulations apply to the Cosopo Master's program. However, you must personally finance any travel and accommodation costs to attend the intensive programs in Linz and Tampere.

No, there is not.

Attendance is not mandatory but we strongly recommend taking part.

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

Yes, but while the program is flexible in many ways, you will still have to actively take part in the intensive programs in Linz and Tampere.

Yes, we encourage you to consider this option.

Still Have Questions?

Do you have any questions about the program or need assistance to register to enroll? Our program management team is happy to talk with you! You can also make an appointment to speak to someone in person.

If you have any general questions about the program and the JKU, please contact the JKU's Office of Student Information & Academic Advising Services (SIBS).

Coordinator COSOPO

Contact Us!

Advanced Degree Programs

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

Similar Degree Programs

These academic degree programs may also be of interest:

  • All Master's Degree Programs at the JKU


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