Universität Fribourg Université de Fribourg Suisse | Universität Freiburg Schweiz Course offerings



Fribourg profile

The Department of Social Sciences and the Department of Social Work, Social Policy and Global Development supervise doctoral theses in various fields of sociology. Broad expertise in methods to support research is available. Doctoral theses encompass both basic research and applied research. Supervision takes place either individually and/or within a doctoral programme.

The following doctoral programmes are available in Sociology: the English-speaking programme PROWEL (Social Problems and Social Welfare), the French-speaking Programme Doctoral Romand en Sociologie (PDRS), financed by the Conférence Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale (CUSO), and the English, German and French-speaking programme Migration and Postcoloniality Meet Switzerland.

Doctoral students regularly present their work in the frame of the programme, and receive comments and feedback from international experts, professors and their colleagues. They also have the opportunity of building a national and international network. Doctoral students are encouraged and supported to present their results at national and international conferences.

Content, methods and language of the thesis work are agreed with the supervising professor, supervising assistant professor.

Professors who are eligible to supervise theses

  • Prof. Monica Budowski

Areas of specialisation:
– Social inequalities and cultural differences; poverty; precariousness; vulnerability
– Welfare regimes; social policy and social security in countries of the Global South
– Families, households and gender; life events and life courses
– Health and social support; quality of life; social quality
– Qualitative and quantitative methods; longitudinal analyses; comparative methods

Theses can be supervised in German, English, Spanish or French.

  • Prof. Esther González Martínez

Areas of specialisation:
– Language and society. Analysis of practices and social interactions
– Communication and work activities in an institutional context, particularly regarding health, justice and education; nursing work
– Ethnomethodology, analysis of conversation, multimodal analysis, video ethnography

Theses can be supervised in French, English or Spanish.

  • Prof. Michael Nollert

Areas of specialisation:
– Welfare production, social state, social security, social networks
– Economic sociology, labour market, voluntary work, interest intermediation
– Social conflicts, cultural differences, delinquency, self-injurious behaviour
– Quantitative methods; qualitative comparison analysis (QCA); network analysis

Theses can be supervised in German or English.

  • Prof. Francesca Poglia Mileti

Areas of specialisation:
– Migration and interethnic relations. Social categorisations and identities
– Youth and intergenerational relations
– Economic, work and political sociology
– Health and gender

Theses can be supervised in French, English or Italian.

  • PD Dr Sebastian Schief

Areas of specialisation:
– Sociology of social policy
– Economic sociology, labour market, working time, work organisation
– Industrial relations, trade union research
– Organisational sociology
– Quantitative methods; qualitative comparative analysis (QCA); qualitative methods

Theses can be supervised in German or English.

  • Prof. Muriel Surdez

Areas of specialisation:
– Sociology of professional groups, work and public policy. Changing professional careers and identities
– State reforms, new public management and work of public servants, particularly in food safety policies and agricultural policies
– Construction of public problems and political sociology (political socialisation, interest groups)

Theses can be supervised in French or English.

Studies organisation

Structure of studies

No ECTS credits can be earned.

Doctoral school



In order to be admitted to a doctorate the candidate must have been awarded an academic bachelor's and master's degree or an equivalent qualification by an university recognised by the University of Fribourg.

Before applying for a doctorate the candidate must contact a professor who would be willing to supervise the thesis work.

There is no general right to be admitted to a doctorate.

The respective conditions of admission for each doctoral study programme are reserved.