Welcome to the EMPAS Website

The Institute for Empirical and Applied Sociology (EMPAS) is an independent research institute at the University of Bremen. It was established in 1988 on the basis of research concerning "Social Problems". Today, seven full professors and approximately 40 researchers work for the institute.

The core areas of the EMPAS's research programme are the study of processes of social change, the analysis of life course trajectories and comparative sociology. It focuses on education, careers and employment, family, social structures and migration. In its empirical research, the EMPAS combines an applied orientation with high theoretical and methodological standards.

Between 1990 and 2002, the EMPAS was the body primarily responsible for the "Status Passages and Risks in the Life Course" Special Collaborative Center 186.  Today, the institute is partly responsible for the "Transformations of the State" Special Collaborative Research Center 597. It also coordinates two DFG priority programs: "Survey Methodology" (SPP 1292) and "Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics" (PAIRFAM, SPP 1161). Furthermore, the EMPAS was an origin of the initiative to found the Graduate School of Social Science and the new Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BiGSSS) of the German Excellence Initiative.

The EMPAS currently has seven work groups (in alphabetical order by title of work group):

Migration and Urban Research headed by Prof Michael Windzio
Political Sociology and Comparative Analysis of Contemporary Societies headed by Prof Steffen Mau
Qualitative Methods of Empirical Social Research and Microsociology headed by Prof Betina Hollstein
Sociological Theory/Societal Differentiation and Governance-Regimes headed by Prof Uwe Schimank
Statistics and Empirical Social Research headed by Prof Uwe Engel
Theoretical and Empirical Dimensions of Social Structure Analysis headed by Prof Johannes Huinink
Work, Education and Social Inequality headed by Prof Olaf Groh-Samberg

The completed research fields of the retired professors are listed under work groups.

In addition to university funding, EMPAS’ research has been financed by the German Research Council (DFG), the Volkswagen Foundation, the Council of Europe, the Stiftung Warentest, and various German Federal Ministries. The EMPAS faculty shares its research experience with new generations of sociologists through teaching and internships.

The EMPAS is a member of the Working Group of Social-Scientific Institutes (ASI). Together with the  Center for Social Policy Research (CeS) and the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS), the EMPAS is one of the three supporting institutes of the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BiGSSS) which emerged from the former Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS). It also cooperates with the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study (Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg) and it's fellowship programs.  


Director: Prof Michael Windzio

Managing Director: Sarah Oldenburg