Institute of Social Work and Social Pedagogy

The research activities of the institute are grouped around the overarching theme of "Social Pedagogy in Diverse Societies". The institute's teaching and research take account of current societal challenges, which are characterized by an increasing differentiation and heterogenization of life situations, identities and related social problems. Accordingly, the resulting disciplinary, professional and practical consequences for social pedagogy must be empirically mapped and theoretically penetrated.

Thematically, the institute is oriented towards four overlapping strands of social pedagogical research, which are grounded in national and international traditions of theory building and empirical research:

  • Welfare State and Social Services
  • Gender and violence
  • Childhood and youth research
  • Vocational education research in social work and social pedagogy

As one of a few locations in Germany, Leuphana is currently establishing a research focus on social pedagogy with a polyvalent orientation. Basic and application-oriented research is being conducted with a view to both occupational field-oriented and training-oriented topics.

Research Activities

Theories and Methods of Childhood Studies
Prof. Dr. Lars Alberth

Social Pedagogy, in particular Comparative Child Welfare Service Research
Prof. Dr. Claudia Equit

Social Pedagogy specialized in Research on Vocational Education and Didactics
Prof. Dr. Anke Karber

Inclusion and Diversity
Prof. Dr. Ellen Kollender

Social Pedagogy
Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandermann

Social and Organisational Psychology of Social Work
Prof. Dr. Birte Siem

Social Pedagogy, in Particular Diversity and Gender
Administrative Professorship Dr. Bettina Ülpenich


The research areas at the institute take an interdisciplinary social science approach to numerous internationally relevant topics in social pedagogy, such as child and youth welfare and child protection; domestic violence, inequalities, stereotyping and prejudice (especially gender, age, ethnicity, religion); (forced) migration; vocational training; trust and empathy in professional-client relationships.

Qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods approaches are used. At the same time, the anchoring in essential reference disciplines of social pedagogy (educational science, psychology and sociology) and interdisciplinary joint research projects play a decisive role for the institute.


Full-time degree programmes in social pedagogy at Leuphana College and Graduate School:

Part-time degree and certificate programmes in social pedagogy at Leuphana Professional School:

Doctoral Program

At Leuphana University, you have the option to receive a PhD in social pedagogy that is embraced by the doctoral degree: Doctorate in Philosophy (Dr. phil.). Leuphana’s doctoral programme serves you with a respective Doctoral Research Group on Social Pedagogy/Social Work.

For more information on Leu­pha­na’s doctoral programme, please visit: