News - October 13, 2011

‘Two-year Social Sciences Master's must stay'

The two-year Social Sciences Master's should stay, says a report by a commission led by Professor Arthur Mol.

The two-year Master's offered by Social Sciences was in the news earlier this year when it emerged that the students could get into difficulties on account of the new ‘Halbe fine'. In the social sciences only one-year Master's programmes are funded and a second year is seen as an extension. The executive board decided to compensate the students for this, but also asked the Mol commission to study the prospects for the two-year Master's.
The commission concluded that shortening the Master's would not be a good idea. Their two-year Master's is exactly what makes Wageningen graduates unique. Mol: ‘It may be profitable to shorten the Master's to one year, but it makes for very limited programmes. It leaves no room for special competencies, such as international experience and the integration of natural and social science knowledge. Students with a broad background who can also delve deep: that is our strength. So the question is, do you want to change that?'
In order to be able to go on funding the two-year Master's, the current programme needs restructuring, says Mol. ‘It needs to be more focussed. The programmes now involve several chair groups. That is costly, so a reorganization in that area could make big savings.'