The Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS) was established in 1986 in order to promote theoretically and methodologically advanced work in the field of sociology and social sciences in general. The name ‘Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology’ was chosen to express that the ICS focuses on problems that are central to social science in general, and that ICS work does not exclude theories or methods on the basis of their disciplinary origin.

Thirty years later, the ICS is a leading research center and graduate school in social sciences in the Netherlands. In the ICS the sociology departments of the universities of Groningen (RUG), Utrecht (UU), Nijmegen (RU), and University of Amsterdam (AISSR UvA) cooperate. In addition to these sociology departments, the Utrecht research program ERCOMER and the Nijmegen Institute for Social Cultural Research of the Faculty of Social Sciences (NISCO) of the Radboud University Nijmegen cooperate in the ICS.

An important goal of the ICS is to recruit the most talented junior researchers and train them to become excellent independent social scientists. PhD students are located either in Groningen, Utrecht, Nijmegen or Amsterdam. The PhD Training Program takes place in all four locations: courses are given in Groningen, Utrecht, Nijmegen and Amsterdam. Since 1986, over 200 PhD graduates have defended their theses at the ICS.

Training of PhD students takes place within a highly structured three- or four-year program in theory construction and research methods in the social sciences. Its aim is to meet the demand for highly qualified social researchers in universities, various levels of government, industry, trade and other service-providing organizations.

The ICS attaches great value to international contacts in the fields of sociology, political sciences, economics, psychology, history, and applied mathematics. Each year a number of well-known international scientists are invited to give seminars and a number of PhD students and postdocs visit research centers abroad.

Research by faculty, postdocs and PhD students takes place within a common research program that stresses the importance of deductive theory formation (based on the principles of structural individualism), integration of theory and empirical research, and an interdisciplinary orientation.

The ICS is headed by a board and a scientific director, who represent the participating universities.