The Sociology degree programme has been offered since 1997. Over the last few years the total number of enrolled students is greater than 140. The chart below shows the number of students enrolled in the programme over time and illustrates the great interest that students have shown in the Sociology degree programme.
NUMBER OF GRADUATES, 1997-2018
It is expected that the number of Sociology students will remain the same, or will increase slightly over the next few years. This is because of the general skills and the broad field of knowledge in the social sciences that the programme provides, given also of its continual review and renewal (e.g. inclusion of an internship programme, introduction of new courses on contemporary social issues, reinforcement of the courses on methodology and reinforcement of participatory teaching methods that emphasise research projects through teamwork). It should be noted that the programme of the Department of Social and Political Science of the University of Cyprus is the only undergraduate Sociology programme offered by Cypriot universities and, as such, is a key credential in the social sciences for graduates who wish to pursue a career in a diverse array of fields (e.g. Gender Studies, Social Policy, Human Resource Management, Educational Policy, Intercultural Relations, Communications Studies, Advertising and Marketing, Social Theory, Applied Social Research, Cultural Studies, Studies in Urban Development/Sustainable Development) in Cyprus or overseas.
Graduates’ employability prospects
The Sociology programme graduates can work at institutions that engage with the field of social research as well as at a variety of positions in the public, and wider public sector, at non-governmental organisations and at corporations. A specialised skill set in social expertise is considered both important and necessary for a varied set of positions in the labour market. The Sociology graduates can, for instance, use their academic qualifications in positions that relate to: social research; production and analysis of social data; social policy planning and evaluation; the implementation of policies that relate to the welfare state and social rights (e.g. health, education, insurance, housing, gender equality); social development programme advising; social intervention and management of social problems in various areas (e.g. unemployment, violence); and the sectors of communication, information and public relations. Even though the development of the local job sectors that relates to these fields has been slow, there has been a marked expansion in the last two decades due to globalisation and the country’s accession to the E.U. and these are expected to develop substantially in the future as a result of the new needs faced by contemporary societies. The recent study carried out by the Cyprus Human Resources Development Authority records an increase in employment prospects in 2017-2027 in the category ISCO-08 26, Legal, Social and Cultural Professionals, and specifically category 263 that includes sectors such as services, health and social care, public administration, education and counselling services.
The Department of Social and Political Sciences has already acquired feedback from graduates, and data on their employment status. This was done in two stages: in 2012 and 2013 for the graduates of 2006 and 2007 respectively. A third, larger survey (which falls within the research interests of the faculty members of the department) on the Sociology, Political Science and Journalism graduates’ employment prospects is already underway. The results of these surveys have already led to changes in the programme of study and it is expected that in the future they will provide an important source of feedback for the programme’s quality assurance and its review and renewal by the Sociology Programme’s Monitoring and Renewal Committee and the Department Council.
According to the survey data amassed so far, the programme graduates report that they are very satisfied both with the level of teaching and the knowledge they have acquired. The majority of graduates pursue postgraduate studies at established universities overseas and then secure employment within six months of graduating. 5 years following their graduation, the majority are employed in the public and private sector, at semi-governmental organisations and NGOs., many in positions that more or less relate to their degree (Social Welfare Services, Social Care Centres, Government Ministries, Media Organisations, CYTA, and Local Administration Authorities, among others). There remain difficulties with the recognition (as in appreciation, see also following paragraph on efforts to overcome this) of social science credentials by the Cypriot labour market and with the graduates’ transition and integration into the labour market due to other individual and economic factors.
Finally, we must note that the Department of Social and Political Sciences has established collaborations with political and cultural institutions, organisations or companies in the Cypriot labour market. These collaborations have been institutionalised with the Internship Programme, run by the department since 2015, and with the introduction of new internship learning modules in the MA programme, and, recently, in the BA programme of study. The Department of Social and Political Sciences has already signed Memoranda of Cooperation with a number of organisations including: the Youth Board of Cyprus, the Cyprus Youth Council, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights (Ombudsman), the Office of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, the Press and Information Office, the NGO Support Centre and the Department for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The main goals of this initiative are: (a) to promote a better understanding of how theory and practice complement each other in the social and political sciences, (b) to improve the appreciation of credentials in the social and political sciences by the Cypriot labour market, (c) to make the programme more competitive in comparison to adjacent programmes at other universities.