The Department of Sociology in Jena is part of one of the best departments in Germany. With nationally and internationally recognised scholars and the activities of the Collaborative Research Centre 580 "Social Developments after Structural Change", the department of sociology in Jena has a very high profile. With their research results, the scholars again and again stimulate debate in society and politics. There is hardly any other department of sociology in Germany as active and successful in communicating its research findings to the public. Discussions on the acceleration trends in current society, on making individuals and civic groups more active or on precarious employment or lifestyles have originated in Jena and spread from here to other researchers, and to politics and the media.
Apart from research, sociologists of Jena put much value upon the teaching and training of young scholars: next to the classic parts of the discipline - founded sociological theory and methods of the empirical social research - the department emphasises the importance of sociology of the family or societal analysis that aims to explain the current transformations in labour markets, enterprises, politics and the welfare state.
In the beginning of the 1990's, the department of Marxism-Leninism in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Jena was closed and replaced by the department of sociology. The teaching staff has been completely renewed since then and new positions filled by visiting lecturers. Three new professorships were established in the winter term 1992/1993. Today the department consists of 8 professors and 59 research associates who provide guidance for about 1,500 students. We are happy about the constantly growing number of local and foreign students who come to experience the research environment, and our special focus on the discipline.
From the winter term 2008/2009 onwards, we are offering an Master program in sociology. With emphases on both "Sustainability and societal Transformations" and "Labour, Economy, Welfare", it aims at connecting more directly ongoing research in the department with the teaching process. In addition, we offer an interdisciplinary Master program in the theory of society, that enables a combination of sociology, political theory, practical philosophy and applied ethics.
In the area of doctoral students' training, we are involved in the newly established Graduate School of Human Behaviour in Social and Economic Change, which, like the Laboratory for Research into Fundamentals of Modern Societies, is funded through the Excellence Initiative of Thuringia. Our plans include a graduate college belonging solely to the department, with a focus on the analysis of time and the critique of society, and the founding of an inter-disciplinary institute for the empirical social research. We are a young department with many plans and projects.