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Social Research Methods (Social Policy)MSc

Social Research Methods (Social Policy)MSc

Different course options

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MSc - Master of Science

Subject areas

Social Research Methods Social Policy / Administration

Course type


Course Summary

Course overview:

This course aims to prepare you for a research career and equip you with the necessary skills for further postgraduate study such as a PhD. The social policy pathway aims to bring together a core training in research methods within the specific disciplinary field of social policy.

You will take four social research methods modules which meet the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). These core modules will be taken by students across different disciplinary pathways. We encourage you to apply your pathway knowledge throughout these modules. You will also study two social policy modules. This will allow you to balance the necessary research methods training requirements with specific disciplinary knowledge. In order to successfully complete the master's programme you will conduct and complete your own research project of your own choice which should have a social policy focus.

This course is suitable for you if you are looking to improve or develop your ability to research and evaluate policy and practice ethically and professionally, and if you are wishing to conduct research in an academic setting or pursue a career as a social researcher. The programme draws heavily on learning strategies which encourage and promote independent learning and critical thinking. Taught sessions will be delivered as workshop-style classes which place emphasis on group and individual activities. The programme is designed to continually address the connections between theory and research practice. Therefore, experiential learning is a core element of programme provision and students will be expected to actively participate in class and preparation activities. This will include making use of practical methods for finding and retrieving information, examining methods of data collection and conducting analysis of data.

How you learn:

You learn by: attending lectures and seminars; discussing key readings; through group and individual activities and exercises; through debate and discussion with staff and other students; through informal and formal feedback on assignments; and through one-to-one teaching with members of academic staff.

How you are assessed:

You are assessed through a wide variety of methods including qualitative and quantitative research and analysis exercises, written reports, essays, CV development and an original piece of research which is written up as an article or report (dissertation).

Career opportunities:

Graduates are equipped to work within local government, education, health, the cultural sector, or anywhere where policies and practices are evaluated and inform future development. Graduates also work in employment arenas where it is important to submit well-crafted and conceptualised bids and proposals for projects. It is an appropriate course for those wanting to progress their current careers by increasing their research skills.

Opportunities also exist in the criminal justice system (including the police, prison, probation and youth offending services). This programme is also ideal if you're interested in working (or already work) in social services and related voluntary agencies. Some of our MSc students continue to doctoral studies and/or work at colleges and universities.


You have the opportunity to demonstrate your research skills through a piece of independent social research. You will identify a research topic, formulate a research question and conduct an appropriate piece of research and then write about it. You submit the written output of this research in the form of a dissertation which will include a distinctive chapter on methodology. You will work with an academic supervisor who will oversee the project and act as a mentor throughout the process. You are responsible for managing all aspects of your project and for meeting necessary requirements - such as receiving research ethics approval before conducting any research.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have a good second-class honours degree in a relevant field. However, those who have relevant professional qualifications and/or relevant experience will also be considered.