What is ISSC?

The goal of ISSC programme is to offer students a versatile programme of studying ‘social change’ in the contemporary world, with the focus on the borderlands such as Poland, the northern Mediterranean and the Balkans.

Social change relates to transforming institutions and structures of our culture, politics and society. Global conflicts, risks, mobilities, climate change, economic inequalities make our lives fluid and unpredictable. ISSC will help you understand the most pressing current social changes.

One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our Lecturers are experienced scholars with expertise in the areas of their teaching in English and optionally in Italian or Spanish. We have created the research-based study programme of ISSC supplemented with the extensive language courses.

Students compose their own programme of studies from the diverse resources of the ISSC:

  • main seminars (conducted in tandems of lecturers);
  • language learning classes, as well as seminars conducted in Italian or Spanish;
  • methodological classes: methods of cultural studies and methods of social research;
  • workshops with emphasis on practical skills, revolving mostly around data handling;
  • thematic monographs; 
  • occasional intensive courses offered by leading foreign researchers (in close connection with thematic paths) and of practical nature (e.g. academic writing).

See details of the programme in a separate section.

Student skills

  • erudition & critical thinking resulting from extensive knowledge of books and research in the field of social science and cultural studies
  • conscious interdisciplinarity resulting from working in various paradigms of thinking and allowing to prepare for a future academic career or to function in a highly competitive and changing labour market
  • cultural awareness & language competences resulting from attending the obligatory language classes and cultural modules in English, Italian or Spanish
  • research experience resulting from students’ participation in the research projects conducted by scholars and teachers of ISSC
  • methodological discipline resulting from applying quantitative and qualitative approaches and various research methods typical of cultural, sociological and political sciences, and economics

More detailed graduate profile is described below.

ISSC Themes

  • state – sovereignty – institutions: models of sovereign authority, national state, population management, globalization, institutions
  • social change and identity: social movements, revolutions, wars, postmodern condition, post-colonialism, religion, liberalism and individualism
  • risks and crises: historical and contemporary crises, risks and conflicts
  • challenges of the present and the future: climate catastrophe, mass global and local migrations, the authority of science in the culture of post-truth, quality of democracy, new social movements, hybrid wars, global threats to public health, precarization, work automation, digitization, demographic aging, social inequalities
  • lessons from the past: ancient and modern patterns of politics, society and individuals, revolutions and social changes, the role of knowledge and philosophy, all presented particularly in the context of borderland societies: Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean countries

Graduate profile

  • broad humanistic knowledge: the basics of social science and high level of skills in an interdisciplinary approach to cultural and social issues
  • intercultural communication: teamwork in an international environment, creativity, the ability to learn efficiently, presenting ideas and views in speech and writing
  • extensive linguistic competences: reading, speaking and analyzing fluently in English, Italian or Spanish, both in the professional and academic contexts
  • collecting, interpreting and visualizing various types of data: Big Data, data on complex social phenomena like crises and identity issues, migration, inequalities and demographic changes
  • practical competences for research work or on the labour market:
    1. the ability to plan, prepare and implement a research process;
    2. the ability to process and visualize data in an innovative manner;
    3. the ability to combine knowledge on social processes with public policies (more specifically evidence-based policies).

The very essence of ISSC is to maintain close links between the didactic programme and research activities in various fields of cultural and social sciences. In this way, students will have a chance to participate in real life research activities while preparing master’s theses.  This contributes to strengthening the position of the University of Warsaw as a research university.

Future work opportunities

  • state cultural and social institutions
  • non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • companies and institutions dealing with cultural animation and introducing to the culture of other countries
  • companies and institutions that need specialists in intercultural contacts