Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved in My Study Choice.
Something went wrong with processing the request.
Something went wrong with processing the request.

Big Data for Society

Become the researcher of the future

This Research Master prepares you to become the researcher of the future: someone who uses the latest in big data methods to analyse and help solve tomorrow’s societal problems. 

In this Master's programme, you will use computational social science to analyse the social issues of today and tomorrow. It covers different themes: diversity and inclusion, polarization, fake news, governance of algorithms and challenges in care and welfare. 

In this small-scale programme, you will have a high degree of autonomy; you can come up with your own ideas, which contribute to your independence and personal development. Moreover, when following this programme, you will receive a lot of personal attention from the teaching staff and have real input on n the programme. This Master's the ideal preparation for a research career in data-intensive organisations, also outside academia. You will gain practical experience through a full-time internship in an organisation or academic department. Students have interned at organisations like the Red Cross, United Nations, Kantar, and Accenture and academic departments at for example Penn State University. In addition, the research staff of VU Amsterdam has strong ties to societal stakeholders, which can boost your career. 

You’ll delve into different topics using a variety of data analysis methods, such as advanced data mining algorithms, scraping tools to collect data, qualitative and computational text analysis, and online network analysis. At the same time, you’ll develop communication, self-reflection and project management skills to be able to collaborate in multi-disciplinary teams, all of which will be highly valuable in the job market. Each thematic course is co-taught by senior social scientists from different backgrounds. 

This Research Master offers you a unique proposition: while other computational social science programmes focus more on data methods, this Master's applies these methods to real-world problems. 

The start date of this Research Master is 1 September. 

Year 1 of Societal Resilience

In the first year of this Research Master, you will take courses in theory and methodology, that will prepare you for the internship and Master's thesis in the second year. You’ll start by looking at the wider scope of societal problems, and the foundations society has built to be resilient to them. 
You will then focus on these themes: 1. Dynamics of Polarization and Inclusion and 2. Governance and Algorithms of Care & Welfare. Towards the end of your first year, you’ll write a research proposal – good practice if you intend to apply for funding for a PhD programme in the future. 

You can find the programme for this academic year here.


  • Peer Group Learning year 1 
  • Big Problems 
  • Big Data, Small Data 
  • Foundations of Societal Resilience 
  • Dynamics of Polarization and Inclusion 
  • Governance and Algorithms in Care and Welfare 
  • Advanced Methods 2: Tutorials 
  • Writing a Research Proposal 
  • Communicating Science 
  • Research Integrity and Responsible Scholarship 
  • Qualitative Data Methods 
  • Quantitative Data Analysis 
  • Advanced Methods I: Qualitative Methods 
  • Advanced Methods I: Data Mining & Text Analysis 

Please consult the Study Guide from Societal Resilience for more information.

Year 2 of Societal Resilience

In your second year of this Research Master, the focus is on your internship and Master's thesis. 

During the first half of the year, you’ll take an internship – either at a company whose work interests you or at an academic institution. In the second half of the year, you’ll write your Master's thesis, which has the potential to be published. 

You can find the programme for this academic year here


  • Master’s Thesis in Societal Resilience 
  • Peer group Learning year 2 
  • Societal or Academic Internship 
  • Writing a Scientific Paper 

Please consult the Study Guide from Societal Resilience for more information.

Collaboration with societal partners

VU Amsterdam cooperates with societal partners to offer exciting internships and Master’s thesis opportunities. These partners include the Red Cross, Accenture, the Refugee Talent Hub and TNO. Our partners offer you the chance to join their research projects so that you can apply your knowledge, methods and skills to real-world challenges and societal problems. For example, how can insights from big and small data help the government to better match employers with refugee talent? Can you help to develop interventions that improve the career prospects of refugee talent?

Social Science for Society

VU Amsterdam’s Faculty of Social Sciences is committed to “Social Sciences for Society”. In our activities in teaching, research and valorisation, we engage, work on, and are committed to finding solutions to the challenging societal problems our world faces today. We invest in diversity and internationalisation of our staff and students. Our faculty is also among the best social sciences faculties in the world.

Change your future with the Societal Resilience Research Master’s programme

Change your future with the Societal Resilience Research Master’s programme

After completing this research master in social sciences, you can opt for a PhD or start working as an analyst, researcher or advisor for a knowledge institute, private sector company, (international) organisation or NGO.

Explore your future prospects
 people who analyse data