Social Research Methods MSc

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 1 year
  • School: School of the Environment

Social research methods are a means of providing evidence to examine ideas about society - they are a way of 'knowing'. This course seeks to introduce you to a portfolio of research skills that will help you not only to become a competent researcher but also to expand your employment horizons.

Why study Social Research Methods at Dundee?

Social research methods are important not just to social scientists wishing to study a particular problem or to test a theory in a way that is be considered rigorous. They are also fundamental tools of value to government, service providers and to business. You will be gain skills in a diverse range of quantitative and qualitative research methods, taught by research active staff in Geography. What makes the University of Dundee distinctive is its emphasis on the application of research to understand and tackle ‘real world’ problems. Throughout the MSc Social Research Methods you will engage with ‘live’ research issues and external organisations. Our students go on to gain employment in government, research organisations and business; some take their studies further, undertaking a PhD.

The aims of the MSc/Diploma programme in Social Research Methods are:

  • to advance your knowledge and understanding of the nature of research in social science
  • to enhance your skills in areas that will equip you as a social scientist for employment in a government, business or a public policy environment as well as in an academic context

Specialism in population and welfare

The MSc in Social Research Methods offers a specialism in population and welfare issues under the title MSc Social Research Methods (Population and Welfare). This option is an accredited course for the ESRC Population Investigation Council funding. This specialism is particularly relevant for students interested in demographic and welfare issues.

What's so good about Social Research Methods at Dundee?

The staff teaching the MSc in Social Research Methods course have wide experience of both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and have deployed these skills not only to pursue frontline research in social science, but also as expert advisers to governments and as consultants to local, national and international organisations.

This course emphasises that it is important not only to understand how to use a particular research tool, but also to consider the wider meanings of how knowledge can be constructed in different ways and for diverse range of purposes. One particular feature of the course is the comprehensive and in-depth coverage of a variety of research methods including ethnographic and participatory tools; the analysis of large datasets plus GIS skills. The course seeks to encourage students to think critically not only about the methods they use, but also to reflect on the limitations of what is knowable from the evidence presented by others.

Social Research Methods - The Student View

Who should study this course?

This course is for students with a completed undergraduate degree looking to develop their knowledge and skills in the area of social research, and who are seeking employment in a range of sectors, or further study for a PhD in Geography or another social science.

Degree Combinations

  • Social Research Methods (Population and Welfare) MSc

Modules start at the beginning of the academic session in September and are taught by lectures and tutorials, plus independent and group study. Throughout there is an emphasis on student participation and class discussion. From September 2014 a new optional module ‘Research in Practice’ involves students undertaking a work placement with a local organisation which uses social research, for example a local authority or charity. 

There are core modules in:

  • Research Training
  • Social Theory
  • Quantitative Methods in Social Research
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Research

Plus students choose one from:

  • Research in Practice (work placement)
  • Applied GIS and Geospatial Data Analysis
  • Social Impacts on Populations

 

For students following the MSc Social Research Methods (Population and Welfare) route, ‘Social Impacts on Population’ is a core module, and ‘Qualitative Methods in Social Research’ is an option module.

Students enrolled on the MSc programme also complete a dissertation.

The course is assessed by coursework (essays, practical classes, projects), examination and dissertation (for Masters students).

The course seeks to offer students a wide range of skills suitable for entry into careers as information officers and analysts, research assistants and geographical system experts working in a business or government environment. The course is recognised by the ESRC as providing the necessary research skills to go on and study for a PhD. Many of our past students have completed PhDs and now work in universities or other research organisations. 

Research by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) shows that the demand for Social Science Masters students with quantitative research skills far outstrips supply. This degree programme course has strong emphasis in this area, but the optional modules allow you to tailor the course to your personal career ambitions.

Previous students have gone on to work for local authority planning departments, the General Registrars Office Scotland (census office), GIS analysts for Tayside Police, ONS social analysis unit, and also as research assistants within the University sector.

Year of Entry: 2015

Entry Requirements: You should have, or expect to have, a first degree in geography or a cognate social science such as economics, planning, sociology or social work. Students are expected to have already achieved a good second class honours degree, or an equivalent standard where students have studied abroad

EU and International students visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country.

English Language Requirement

IELTS of 6.5 (or equivalent), if your first language is not English.

Please check our English language requirements page for details of equivalent grades from other test providers, and information about the University of Dundee English language courses.

 

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes throughout the year and Foundation Programme(s) for both undergraduate and postgraduate students which start at the beginning of the academic year.  These programmes are all designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.  Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer.

The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

The 24 week Pre-Sessional programme (March – August) provides additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and the 10 week Pre-Sessional programme  (June – August) (October – December) provides specialist English Language tuition for students who are 0.5 IELTS below the requirement for their degree programme.

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application. Find out more about fee status.

Fee categoryFees for students starting September 2015 or January 2016
Scottish students £4,500 per year of study
Rest of UK students £4,500 per year of study
EU students £4,500 per year of study
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants

Please read the Postgraduate "How to Apply" section for information on how to upload relevant documents to UKPASS before proceeding with your application.

Apply online via UKPASS


Course Contact

Dr Edward Hall
School of the Environment
e.c.hall@dundee.ac.uk
+44 (0)1382 388073