MSc Social Science Research Methods (Social Policy Pathway)
The Social Policy Pathway provides students with opportunities to address a wide range of social policy topics and themes. The programme builds on the School of Social Sciences’ reputation as a leading centre in social policy research and teaching. The pathway is suitable for two groups of people:
- Those people who want to develop their understanding of and skills in social policy research
- Those planning to undertake a PhD on a social policy topic
In addition to core research methods modules that are taken by all students on the MSc in Social Science Research Methods, there are five 10-credit modules to be taken as specialist for the social work pathway. All social policy pathway students are required to take the modules ‘Contemporary Social Theory’, ‘Strategies of Applied Research’ and ‘Evidence-based Policy and Practice’. Students also then choose from specialist social policy modules and advanced methods modules, all designed to open up specific areas of expertise and understanding relevant for social policy research:
The pathway is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as providing research methods training needed for doctoral research. The following research groups within the School are particularly relevant for social policy students: childhood, crime and justice, culture, subject and economy; health and society; risk, interaction and organisation; sexualities and gender; and the study of knowledge and expertise. Several of these research groupings have well-established links with policy-makers and practitioners at the local, national and international levels. The result is an exciting and supportive environment for post graduate study.
Teaching and Training
Our teaching in postgraduate social policy has a long-established reputation. Both staff and students bring to the programme a wide variety of histories and academic backgrounds, which provides exciting exposure to a diversity of practical experiences as well as in-depth academic knowledge. The training provides a generic introduction to quantitative and qualitative methods of social research, and the wider issues of research design. The dissertation provides an opportunity for students to apply the skills and knowledge they have gained from the taught modules in the form of an applied piece of social policy research, supervised by an experienced academic researcher.
The MSc provides a distinctive combination of cutting edge social policy and research methods instruction providing an excellent foundation for future employment in social policy-linked jobs and research posts. In particular the MSc would be highly beneficial for positions in national and local government, the voluntary sector, and commercial research companies. The course is also a valuable qualification for professionals and volunteer workers in the public and voluntary sectors. Students may apply for PhD funding from the ESRC to study the course as part of the ‘1+3’ scheme or after successfully completing the course, can apply to the ESRC for ‘+3’ funding.
For detailed information about the Programme Elements, please visit the Degree Structure page.
Period of Study
The period of study is twelve months (October - September). The taught coursework takes place over two semesters (October - June). The dissertation is begun in the second semester but is completed during the summer months. The summer is a period of independent research with one to one supervision.
For further information about the Degree Structure, please visit the Degree Structure page.
Applications for study are invited in any area that falls within the School’s broad remit. Before applying, it is advisable for potential applications to use the School's website to familiarise themselves with the expertise of its staff. For further information about applications and admission requirements, please visit the How to Apply page.
- Prof Susan Baker: environmental governance in the European Union
- Dr Paul Chaney: gender and politics; contemporary governance; equality and diversity
- Prof Mark Drakeford: poverty, youth justice, devolution
Research Groups in the School
The above staff are members of one of more of the School’s numerous research groups. Students are encouraged to learn about and become members of these groups themselves and to attend research events in the School throughout their course, including the School Seminar Series.