How many of you think that sociologists are cold people obsessed with unreliable numbers, while anthropologists only see the meaning of their life in measuring bones and skulls? Do others view sociologists and anthropologists as deeply ideological personalities constantly subverting the rules of objective research? Professors at the School of Advanced Studies warmly invite you to challenge these misperceptions. In fact, sociology and anthropology are the broadest disciplines within social sciences. Together these disciplines study social, political, economic, cultural and psychological developments in the evolution of humanity. Far from being narrow-minded ivory-tower theoreticians or opinionated pundits, sociologists and anthropologists investigate social life at every level: from the rise and fall of civilizations to two-person interactions such as those between two romantic partners, neighbors or even two strangers on the street. Sociology and anthropology are well-armed with reliable research techniques and follow rigorous steps to forge trustworthy knowledge. The two disciplines complement each other. While sociology is more concerned with scientific, law-based explanation of social processes, anthropology focuses on individual experiences and the meaning of human action. Notably, SAS is one of few institutions in former Soviet Union countries and Eastern Europe/Russia which offers joint major in sociology and anthropology and firmly believes in cross-fertilization of the two disciplines.

The modern study of sociology and anthropology requires not only learning sociological and anthropological theories and practical research skills, but also a deep understanding of human life in light of the opportunities afforded us by modern technology. SAS major allows students to master key contemporary concepts of human, society, and culture. However, it also offers an intellectual immersion in affiliated disciplines that deal with the most pressing developments in the contemporary world such as market expansion, environmental degradation, digitalization, and intercultural communication. In first two years of the SAS program, before the selection of their major, students acquire broad knowledge in diverse disciplines including ancient philosophy and quantitative methods. The purpose of this approach to education is to boost student motivation, goal-orientation, and readiness for challenging methodological training – the qualities required for successful passage through the whole spectrum of complex disciplinary courses associated with the SAS major. SAS is a small and cohesive institution of leadership education with international faculty, whose PhD credentials come from leading world-class universities, a low students per professors ratio, and the seminar-based format of learning, which foster the development of individual potential for every single student. The SAS environment offers direct and close interaction with experts from different countries and develops a wide range of communication skills: intercultural dialogue, public presentation, teamwork, networking, and diversity management. Thus, the uniqueness of SAS allows students to acquire an internationally recognized university education and, thus, participate in a global discussion on contemporary issues. In the upper years SAS students will be able to apply knowledge derived from the program in their field work and internships in renown public institutions and corporations partnered with the School.

Following recent trends in global education, the SAS major provides a solid stepping stone for applied, professional and academic master programs. Our students will find themselves well prepared to apply and enter both international master’s (e.g. Erasmus, CEU, Visby) and master’s in top Russian universities (e.g. Higher School of Economics, European University, MGIMO, RANEPA). For those interested in directly going to labor market, the joint major in sociology and anthropology lays firm background for “real world” occupations. A deep knowledge of contemporary social and cultural processes and analytical skills equips the alumni to work in a broad variety of fields requiring profound, evidence-based understanding of social reality. These fields include public administration, human resources, journalism, advertising and marketing, politics, public policy and public diplomacy. SAS internship policy offers students ample opportunities to receive work experience and forge working contacts in major companies, industries and public institutions at both regional and federal level.

Many people have opinions about different social and political problems and are ready to talk about them for long. Sociology and anthropology are scientific disciplines. Therefore, SAS major in sociology and anthropology teaches students how to think, talk and write about society, politics and culture in a correct, systematic, logical and evidence-based way. Sociology and anthropology students will learn how to acquire trustworthy information and analyze it using the most developed methods of social sciences ranging from participant observation to IT modelling. The major courses are designed to teach students what are the most topical issues in contemporary Russia and beyond, how to better understand the world using the exemplars of social and anthropological thought as a guideline, how to rigorously analyze data sources in order to evaluate which interpretation of the current events and processes is correct. The sociology and anthropology students will learn how to carefully evaluate the role of global pressures, big processes in society, local developments and individual perspectives in shaping human life.

Mandatory Courses:

  • The course aims to familiarize you with the discipline of sociology and prepare to take additional classes in social sciences. It is a prerequisite for several courses and is a requirement for all sociology programs. The course has four specific objectives: (1) to introduce you to common sociological subjects and concepts; (2) to shed light on different perspectives within sociology; (3) to encourage you to think deeply, critically, and coherently about our social world; (4) to help you.. establish links between theory, problems, and policy.

    Notably, the Sociological Imagination is purposefully designed to spark interest in sociology. In class you will learn how to become professional marijuana user, what are the social mechanics beyond student hook up, when education can lead to bigotry and ethnic violence, what employers seek from you, and how come that gay men receive less pay for work which still remains pretty straight. In order to retain the greatest amount of knowledge, students are encouraged to raise both conventional and controversial questions in class and after.
    By the end of the Sociological Imagination course you will be familiar with the sociological perspective, its key theories, concepts, ideas and insights. In addition, you will likely be well-equipped to use social scientific tools to analyze and think critically on social and political issues.

  • Anthropology is a global, historical and holistic study of human behavior. Thus, the evolution of human culture and social organization lie in the core of its disciplinary interests. This course offers a general survey of anthropological theoretical paradigms, methods and key research areas. Specific cases exemplifying cultural and social dynamics of human behavior are taken from both traditional and contemporary societies.

  • In line with the ideology of our joint program the course presents anthropological and sociological thought as closely interconnected. Both anthropology and sociology are modern disciplines and developed hand in hand in their inceptive years. Today anthropology borrows many themes and research foci from sociology and is not concerned anymore exclusively with “primitive” and “traditional” cultures. Current sociology experiences strong anthropological influences in methods, professional culture, self-criticism, and ethical principles. The course strongly builds on the Great Books class and provides a detailed survey of anthropological and sociological thought from its initial steps to the most recent developments. It is a reading-intensive seminar. In the second section students briefly revisit pre-modern understanding of culture and society known for the Great Books course. Then they will continue with the founding fathers of anthropological and sociological thoughts such as James Frazer, Bronislaw Malinowski, Franz Boas, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. The third section dealing with the contemporary theory traces the development of three most influential perspectives in anthropology and sociology: structural functionalist, conflict and interpretative. It focuses on the main authors and texts exemplifying each perspective. In contrast, the fourth section of this general course is problem- rather than author-based. The meetings are designed to discuss current issues in anthropology and sociology widely contested in today’s academia: the agency vs. structure problem, the dying hope for objective knowledge, the consequences of the “linguistic turn” in modern sciences, the issue of researcher’s responsibility, and digital and computational challenges to contemporary culture and society.

  • This course has two objectives: (a) to help students in understanding how empirical research in sociology and anthropology is organized and (b) to provide an elementary survey of research methods which will enable you to take more specialized methods courses (e.g. Statistics, Quantitative Modelling and Data Analysis, Qualitative Methods, Field Research). On the practical level, the course equips students with conceptual, theoretical and methodological tools to critically read social scientific materials. Thus, after this course you will be able to professionally read academic sources, to evaluate systematically the claims that appear in public debates and mass media, and to express an informed opinion on specific public policy alternatives.

  • The Statistics course covers the fundamentals of statistics such as descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, and the manual data analysis involving one dependent variable and one independent variable. Taking the course does not require knowledge of mathematics beyond the school program. The core Quantitative methods course offers a strong background for the Statistics.

  • In comparison to the core Quantitative Methods and the Statistics courses, the Quantitative Modelling and Data Analysis is a “hands-on,” writing intensive, computer-based course dealing with large datasets. The real-life is often complex and subject to influences of multiple factors which, in turn, constitute limited and categorical variables. Therefore, the course teaches students how to analyze and interpret multivariate data including the results from logit, probit, ordered logit, and multinomial logit regression models.

    Pre-requisites: Quantitative Methods (core course), Introduction to Research Design and Methods, Statistics.

  • The Qualitative Methods course covers the main methods of conducting qualitative research, such as interview, observation, experiment, discourse and content analysis, and some others. Is it possible to conduct scientific research just talking to or observing people? Is experiment in social science possible? Why do contemporary social scientists not always trust only statistics and polls? What is the difference between a qualitative sociologist and a journalist – or a quantitative sociologist? And the most important, how to organize qualitative social research? The course will answer all these questions. Each student will conduct his or her own research during the course and will present its results at the final meeting.

    Pre-requisites: Introduction to Research Design and Methods.

  • The course is designed as both a critical reading and a research workshop. Close reading exercises guided by SAS professor will to enable students to read filed work studies like professional fieldworkers: discovering, discussing and learning from the inner workings of various exemplary research projects and travelling to the heart of ethnographic text. In addition, the course aims to help the student to conduct her own bachelor thesis research. Weekly meetings will discuss the problems students may face when organizing their fieldwork: how to find data / respondents / interviewees, how to establish productive rapport with them, how to collect data systematically, how to work in closed or dangerous field, is it ethical to hide real goals of research, and so forth.

    Pre-requisites: Introduction to Research Design and Methods.

  • A good thesis includes sophisticated argument which should be in dialogue with contemporary debates in the area and framed and supported by evidence in a way that would convince even a skeptical reader. The research seminar’s goal is to help you in the designing and writing a bachelor thesis. A year-long sequence of research seminars with instructor will provide a chance to use theories and methods mastered in the major’s core and elective courses to form a hypothesis about an aspect of social life you are interested in, gather data to support it, and draw conclusions from your findings. Presenting your work to the instructor and peers, you will receive feedback which will allow you to frame you research questions correctly, fine-tune your argument, use your data convincingly, and polish your writing. The thesis itself is an important writing sample when applying to graduate school or for professional jobs.