Social Science Research (Sociology) MA

 
  

Fact file

Qualification
MA Social Science Research (Sociology)
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
Entrants will normally be expected to hold at least an upper second class honours Bachelor’s degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject in the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences.
Other requirements
IELTS
7.0 with no less than 6.0 in any element

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
September
Campus
University Park
School/department
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.
 

Overview

Providing broad-based training in social science research, this course will equip you with the skills to manage a successful research career and contribute to wider society in a number of ways.
Read full overview

It is part of the Midlands Graduate School ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership, which recognises the importance of bringing cutting-edge expert knowledge to the heart of doctoral training.

Core modules provide a comprehensive basis to progress to advanced training in research methods. You will be able to undertake advanced subject-specific training in our areas of expertise, providing a wide range of opportunities to deepen and broaden your skills.

Primarily aimed at students following an ESRC-funded pathway onto a PhD, this course may also be suitable if you are intending to apply for +3 ESRC funding (to cover a PhD) or are interested in developing a wide range of social science research skills. It will also you for research posts in academic, voluntary, private and third-sector settings.

Key facts

  • 78% of our research considered world-leading or internationally excellent in the latest Research Excellence Framework
  • 100% of sociology and social policy postgraduates secured work or further study within six months of graduation
 

Course details

You will complete 100 credits of core research methods modules, plus 20 credits of advanced research methods or subject-specific training, and a 60-credit 15,000-word dissertation. You will be assigned an appropriate dissertation supervisor who will oversee your progress.

Assessment

Each module is individually assessed, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate a range of research skills including critical analysis, report writing, group work, verbal presentations and project development and completion.

 
 

Modules

Core

Foundations in Qualitative Methods

This module provides a conceptual overview of the various approaches and debates associated with theory and practice of qualitative research. It examines a range of contrasting perspectives on the design of research including problem identification, selection and sampling, and analysis.

Research ethics, and the role of the researcher in generating qualitative data, are key themes which run through the module. Specific consideration is given to the ways in which qualitative and quantitative approaches may be seen as complementary, and the use of mixed methods.

The module will also cover the ways in which qualitative research can be evaluated. The module will also facilitate dialogue between members of different social science disciplines, to give an understanding of how some issues or practices may be viewed differently from different disciplinary perspectives.

 
Fundamentals of Quantitative Analysis

The objective of this module is to further your familiarity with the practice of quantitative data analysis in the social sciences at an intermediate level. The lecture component of the module will explore a variety of the most commonly used statistical methods; in the laboratory component, you will learn to apply these techniques to the analysis of social science data.

Through assignments, you will have the opportunity to develop and test your own hypotheses and explanations on major research data sets. The module should provide a sound grasp of the possibilities, methods, and dangers inherent in quantitative social science research.

 
Philosophy of Social Science Research

The course has three parts:

  1. Science and the philosophical critique of science
  2. Epistemological debates in the social sciences - including, but not limited to, positivism and its critics, interpretative approaches including phenomenology, critical realism, social construction and the politics of knowledge and the sociology of science
  3. The funding environment - interdisciplinarity and the impact agenda
 
Research Design, Practice and Ethics

This module focuses on the analytical, practical and ethical organisation of social science research. 

The analytical organisation is often referred to as 'research design' and will constitute the bulk of the content of this module. Research design consists of choices necessary to transform a research question into actual research. These choices pertain to strategies and modes of case selection, observation methods, data collection and modes of analysis. 

Every research question can be elaborated in different ways (ie with different designs), none of which will be ideal in all respects as the various choices pertain to trade-offs. Each design has its own implications in terms of costs and in terms of potential threats to the validity of its eventual results. These implications will be elaborated in the module, as well as ways how to handle the resulting choice problems in actual practice.

The practical organisation of research is closely related to design choices, but focuses particularly on logistical and timing issues. Ethical organisation of the research involves awareness of ethical issues, of ethical consent procedures and of their implications for research design and practical organisation.

 
Research the Social: Contemporary Debates in Sociology

The module will require you to develop a critical and reflexive understanding of key substantive and theoretical debates in the field of contemporary sociology.

Throughout the module, you will be encouraged to explore the relationship between theoretical development and substantive explanation. You will also be required to develop a reflexive and critical understanding of how theoretical assumptions impinge both on social theory and sociological explanation. 

The substantive debates to be covered may vary from year to year in order to accommodate new developments in the field, while ensuring that a wide range of sociological theories are represented. However the following list provides a sample of possible candidates for inclusion:

  • Social inequality
  • Social change
  • Modernity and postmodernity
  • Power
  • Globalisation
  • Identity and belonging
  • Capital
 
Dissertation

You will complete a 60-credit 15,000-word dissertation. You will be assigned an appropriate dissertation supervisor who will oversee your progress.

 

Optional

You will choose 20 credits of optional modules from the school or advanced research methods.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Funding

This course forms the '1' component of a 1+3 ESRC-funded scholarship with the Midlands Graduate School. It will equip you with the research methods training needed to apply for +3 study on the sociology pathway.

Funding information is available on the school website and can also be found on the Graduate School website.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.

 
 

Careers

With a clear grasp of the ethical and political issues which arise in social science research, you will be equipped to pursue a range of careers. This could include research and managerial roles in private, public, and third sector organisations, non-governmental organisations, academia, civil service and journalism.

This course provides an excellent route into further academic study and many of our students go on to complete doctoral research before pursuing an academic career.

Our postgraduates move into a wide range of careers following their time in the school. The level of study develops vital skills and can give you a head start in the job market, enabling you to develop self-discipline and motivation that is essential for a variety of fields.

Employability and average starting salary

100% of postgraduates from the School of Sociology and Social Policy who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £28,007 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £52,219.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.

 
 
 
Explore it - Virtual Nottingham

Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

Get in touch
+44 (0)115 951 5559
Make an enquiry

Contact

School of Sociology and Social Policy
Law and Social Sciences Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham
NG7 2RD
 
Social Science videos

Social Science videos

 
 
 

Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
f: +44 (0) 115 951 5812
w: Frequently asked questions
Make an enquiry