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Utrecht University Master in Organising Social Impact
Utrecht University

Master in Organising Social Impact

Utrecht, Netherlands

1 Years


Full time

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EUR 2,209 / per year *


* Dutch and other EU/EEA students statutory fee, full-time 2022-2023. Non-EU/EEA students institutional fee 2022-2023: € 17,500


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Organising for a More Sustainable, Inclusive and Just Society

Grassroots organisations, associations, neighbourhood groups, cooperatives and social enterprises play an essential role in sustaining our societies. They mobilise individuals and communities to address pressing challenges such as poverty, climate change, violence, intolerance and pandemic conditions. At the local, national and international levels, they organise in ways that foster more sustainable, inclusive and just societies.

Do you aspire to make a positive social impact through your work? Are you interested in better understanding the major challenges of our time? Do you want to study how today’s institutions work, where they fail and how they can be transformed to improve society? Do you want to become a changemaker? Are you into ideas and action? Are you a self-reflective thinker and an engaged doer?

Our new Organising Social Impact Master’s programme prepares you for work in grassroots, non-profit, public and private organisations committed to advancing society, making it more sustainable, inclusive and just. We offer you a unique combination of interdisciplinary theoretical knowledge, research methodologies, professional skills and experience in the field. This programme will enable you to understand organising as action and process to foster institutional transformation, both in theory and in practice. It will allow you to explore how you can have an impact and become part of social change.

Research Expertise

This Master’s programme is taught by academic staff with extensive experience in research and education. This programme is taught by the Utrecht University School of Governance (USG), known for its world-class research in organisation studies, governance and public administration. In 2021, USG was ranked second in the world in the 2020 Shanghai Ranking for Public Administration, and its research was rated ‘excellent’ by an international audit.

Become an Expert and Skilled Changemaker

During the Master’s programme Organising Social Impact, you will:

  • Gain key interdisciplinary knowledge on grassroots organisations and their relations with institutions through a curriculum that combines organisation studies, governance, and public administration and focuses on social change;
  • Learn relevant research methodology skills;
  • Acquire the key professional skills for organising social change; and
  • Experience and contribute to processes of organising for social change in real grassroots organisations.

In the academic professional skills courses, for example, you will attain practical competence in organising for social change and stakeholder collaboration and advocacy. These courses help you become a reflective practitioner in (inter)national organisational settings of change.

You will be part of an organisation in which you learn through practice and carry out action-based research that is theoretically informed, methodologically sound and socially transformative. These skills are highly valued by employers. Read more about the study programme.

Why in Utrecht

The Master’s in Organising Social Impact is an English-taught programme consisting of small-scale, interactive and intensive courses.

As a student of this MSc programme in Utrecht, you will:

  • Gain interdisciplinary knowledge to analyse current social challenges. You will be equipped with state-of-the-art, hands-on diverse theoretical and methodological knowledge to analyse current grand challenges, their root causes, and how they are tackled through various organisational mobilisations. You will have a basis on how to engage with challenges as a change agent in non-profit, public and private organisations committed to social transformation.
  • Think and act to organise for social change. Following USG’s problem-oriented educational model, you learn by combining academic knowledge with practice on an individual and collective level. Building on the collaboration between students, partner grassroots organisations and lecturers, this programme provides a unique space for dialogue and the exchange of perspectives and practices to create social impact. Guest lectures, fieldwork and your Master’s theses research will bring you into contact with USG’s extensive local, national and international network of activist grassroots organisations and institutional actors.
  • Learn and practice key organising skills. To translate knowledge into transformative organisational practice, you learn key professional skills to effectively communicate, mobilise, motivate, fund, advocate, advise, negotiate and manage processes for social change. Experienced trainers help you develop these skills through simulations based on real-life settings.
  • Be part of a small, vibrant international academic community. Teaching in small groups encourages close interaction between you, your peers and the teachers. You will be part of a vibrant international academic community that brings together the knowledge and experiences of different societies, systems and cultures. Dutch and international (guest) lecturers will share their knowledge and experiences. These diverse backgrounds help you become more self-reflective about your position and perspective, which is a key condition for envisioning the processes of organising for social change.

Your Teaching Staff

​​You will receive high-quality contemporary teaching in a stimulating and international academic environment. Our academic research team of the Chair Organisation Studies is renowned in the Netherlands and abroad. The team includes Dr Ozan Alakavuklar (programme co-ordinator), Professor Patrizia Zanoni (chair), Dr Sander Kramer, Dr Kim Loyens, Professor Eugène Loos, Dr Yousra Rahmouni Elidrissi, Professor Sandra Schruijer, Dr Noortje van Amsterdam, Dr Jeroen Vermeulen, Dr Patricia Wijntuin, and experienced trainers Dr Pauline Hörmann and Dr Arnold Wilts. As well as an extensive action-oriented research track record, our teaching staff has teaching and training experience in alternative organisations, activist and art-based methodologies, mobilisation for social transformation and professional skills development.

Utrecht University in the Rankings

As a student at Utrecht University (UU), you will be studying at one of the world's top universities. The Shanghai Ranking places UU as the top university in the Netherlands and 50th worldwide. Utrecht University works closely with over 80 international universities and is a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), an association of 22 like-minded leading research institutes working together to influence European policy regarding research, education and innovation. Find more about Utrecht University. Utrecht University aims to be at the forefront of open science because open science promotes transparency and enhances the scientific and social impact of research. Our place in the rankings mentioned above is often based on other values than these.

Top-Quality Facilities

Utrecht School of Governance is situated in the beautiful historic city centre of Utrecht. Here, you will enjoy a wide range of high-quality facilities such as Wi-Fi, cross-campus library access and online access to academic books, journals and databases. USG is committed to facilitating studying and meeting on location. We have collaborative study spaces in available classrooms, a hybrid active learning classroom to work together with other students/groups online and a joint canteen so you can meet your teaching staff during lunch.

Active Study Association

Utrecht School of Governance is home to an active study association: Perikles. This association offers a broad range of activities and facilities. Every semester you can get a discount for buying your textbooks and the association has a buddy system matching international and Dutch students.

Perikles also organises a range of student activities such as social gatherings, field trips and guest lectures, and hosts an annual career event and scientific conference where you can make meet representatives of non-profit organisations, public organisations, and national and international companies.


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