Why this programme?
We are living in an increasingly digital world. Every aspect of our lives is now affected by digital technologies, from how we communicate and socialise to how we work, learn, create, stay healthy and participate in politics and the economy. The three-year Digital Society bachelor's programme will provide you with the knowledge and skills to understand the relationships between digitalisation and social change.
In this interdisciplinary programme, you will learn to look at the digital society from a wide variety of perspectives by combining theories and methodologies from disciplines such as:
- media & culture studies
- arts & literature
- philosophy & ethics
- political science
- science & technology studies
- computer, data & information science
In an increasingly digital world, in which every aspect of our lives is affected by digital technologies, we need experts that understand the relationships between digitalisation and social change.
Advantages & disadvantages of digitalisation
Digitalisation promises tremendous benefits, but it also presents challenges. For example, robots can take on tasks that are dangerous for people but at the same time can put people out of a job. Digital data collection may improve healthcare by providing more personalised treatment, but it may also challenge patient privacy and autonomy. Digitalisation has brought about new forms of social and political engagement, but not everyone has the skills needed to participate so some people are at risk of being excluded.
In this programme, you will explore both the advantages and disadvantages of digitalisation as well as learn to answer pressing social questions such as:
- How can we best utilise new opportunities for data collection?
- How can we bridge the divides that are emerging when it comes to data access?
- What does it mean to be human when we share the world with sophisticated forms of artificial intelligence?
- How can we identify knowledge and truth amongst the abundance of information?
Through examining these issues, you will learn to critically assess, anticipate and shape the social, cultural and political effects of digital transformations. You will also be capable of understanding the range of possible future implications of emerging digital transformations.
In addition to courses that teach you theoretical knowledge, you will also have skills trainings that help you develop specific sets of skills, including:
- academic skills: academic writing, qualitative and quantitative methods, interdisciplinary research design
- professional skills: business and persuasive writing, presentation skills, collaborative working, creative problem-solving
- digital society skills: managing an online presence, critical analysis of online sources, coding and algorithmic thinking
At Maastricht University, you will be taught using Problem-Based Learning (PBL). In small tutorial groups with a maximum of 15 students, you will analyse challenging questions and cases. Together with your group, you will seek further knowledge and formulate your answers. Instructors only give help as it is needed, allowing you to develop independence and the problem-solving skills you will need in your career.
This programme will also experiment with digital forms of education within the PBL environment and with the support of Maastricht University’s Institute for Education Innovation (EDLAB). This will give you hands-on experience with the advantages and disadvantages of digitally-mediated teaching and learning methods.
Study abroad, internship or minor
At the beginning of your third year, you will be able to specialise in your field of interest by choosing to study abroad at one of our more than 100 partner universities, conduct an internship (e.g. at a cultural institution, civil society organisation, media organisation) or follow a minor at FASoS or another faculty.
At the end of your third year, you will conduct an in-depth study on a topic of your choice related to the digital society. You will receive both individual supervision and peer support. Drawing on the knowledge and skills you have developed throughout the programme, you could explore research questions such as:
- How does a specific community (e.g. of patients or political interest groups) use digital practices to realise their goals?
- How far do digital artworks reflect critically on technology?
- How can digitalised sources enhance public engagement with history?
- How can digital means be used to generate dynamic consent amongst participants in scientific or medical research?
- Does the use of social media by politicians differ between presidential and parliamentary democracies (comparing two countries, or two specific elections)?
Ties with cutting-edge research
The bachelor's programme may be new but Maastricht University has a strong history of research in the digital society, which is integrated into the programme. This research includes:
- Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH) supports and investigates museums and other cultural heritage institutions engaged with the digitalisation of heritage
- Maastricht Centre for Citizenship, Migration and Development (MACIMIDE) studies the use of mobile phones and social media by migrants and technologically-mediated identity construction
- Centre for Gender and Diversity (CGD) explores how digitalisation affects gender, diversity, and religious experience
- Centre for European Research in Maastricht (CERiM) houses research in EU governance of digitalisation (privacy, digital nudging by public and private organisations)
- Institute of Data Science (IDS) works across the university to promote the (re)use of data to tackle urgent scientific and societal questions
You will have excellent study visit and internship opportunities through these research institutes as well as through the Brightlands campuses in Maastricht (health) and Heerlen (data science and smart services).
MaRBLe excellence programme
Through the Maastricht Research Based Learning programme, MaRBLe for short, we offer talented third-year bachelor’s students the opportunity to conduct their own research project. You will be guided by experienced academic staff who will help you further develop your critical thinking and research skills. This will help prepare you for a career in scientific research or research positions in business.
University wide Honours+ component
The Honours+ Programme consists of three types of activities. Students attend workshops to develop professional skills; help organize a series of DIY lectures; and co-author contributions to the digital magazine Excellium.
If you complete the Honours Programme successfully you will receive a special Honours Programme Certificate, in addition to your diploma, when you graduate. ECTS credits are not awarded.
FASoS Honours component
The faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers its most ambitious bachelor’s students the opportunity to take part in the Honours Programme.
You do not need to contact the Faculty if you belong to the top 4 to 5 per cent of students of the first year (based on average grade) who passed all their first-year courses and skills trainings at the first attempt: you will be invited to apply.
Honours programme students are given the freedom to study academic topics in depth. The programme consists of various components, from which you choose two. For example, you could undertake a small-scale, comprehensive six-week project under the guidance of a faculty professor. This could be a small research project or consist of reading and discussing several books. You could also participate in faculty research, choose an individual assignment such as writing a paper, or take a second minor at the Faculty.