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MSc/ Diploma in Social Science Research Methods (Sociology)

Sociology Pathway Information

Cardiff is a centre of research excellence in Sociology having being ranked first in terms of ‘research power’ in the last Research Assessment Exercise (2008). This research power in Sociology is reflected in the volume and distribution of sociological expertise at Cardiff and through a number of well established research centres. The Sociology Pathway provides students with opportunities to address a wide range of sociological topics and themes. These include health and well-being studies; culture and identity; work, employment and labour markets; working environment; childhood studies; sexualities and gender; genetics and society; science and the nature of expertise; risk and the environment, methodological innovation and the sociology of Wales. There is opportunity to address theoretical, analytical and methodological questions, in the process of formulating research questions, developing research proposals, reporting on research progress and presenting analyses. Cardiff is an internationally recognised site for methodological innovation, application and training in both quantitative and qualitative methods. All this takes place in a structured and supportive research environment.

One of the distinctive features of sociology at Cardiff is the opportunity for postgraduate students to work with a wide range of leading researchers, on a range of themes and drawing on varied approaches and theories. Sociology postgraduate students have opportunities to attend seminars and data analysis workshops organised by the interdisciplinary research groups (including children and childhood; gender and sexualities; health and society; culture, imagination and practice; global political economy; education, culture and society, ethnography, culture and interpretive analysis and the SOCSI social theory forum) and major research centres (including WISERD- the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods, SKOPE - Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance, SIRC -Seafarers International Research Centre, CESAgen - Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics, DECIPHER - Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement and CISHE  -  Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Ethics, KES - Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise and Science). Colloquia for postgraduate students from across Wales also provide opportunities for students to present their work in a supportive environment and benefit from the input of academic colleagues from partner institutions

The Sociology Pathway MSc in Social Science Research Methods provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers within both the public and private sector. Applicants are welcome to take the MSc as a stand alone programme, either as a preparation for other study or as a post-experience qualification. This MSc provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers. Students may apply for ESRC funding 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 Further information please contact Dr William Housley: HousleyW@cardiff.ac.uk.


Sociology: Global Political Economy Specialism Information

Questions related to globalisation in the current political economy are widely debated. We need to understand how and in what ways globalisation raises questions for our understanding of contemporary society. How is globalisation impacting on localities, regions and sectors? What are the key agents and agencies in this process of change? What are the implications of globalisation for the environment? How has the environmental and social justice become a political issue? How are global processes reconfiguring production, work, employment and consumption? What is the connection between work, education and employability in this changing world? The Global Political Economy programme within the MSc in Social Science Research methods offers you a distinctive opportunity to explore and study these questions. Themes that are covered include the architecture of the global world, the condition of labour, labour markets, social stratification, governance, and forms of collective organisation and mobilisation.

Cardiff is one of the premier academic institutions in Britain and Europe for the study of comparative political economy. Our staffs are at the forefront of comparative political economy research. The degree programme is supported by small group seminars and supervision by academic staff. This degree programme is aimed at students from a wide variety of backgrounds. Degree candidates typically come from a wide range of countries, with very different experiences, and from a range of academic disciplines. This mix makes for an exciting and rich exchange of views, experiences and understandings. Graduates of the Cardiff programme go on to a variety of successful careers in academia, business, government, international agencies, and non-governmental organisations.

The Global Political Economy specialism is offered within the MSc in Social Science Research Methods under the Sociology Pathway. This MSc provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers in the field of Global Political Economy Studies. Applicants are welcome to take the MSc as a stand alone programme, either as a preparation for other study or as a post-experience qualification. This MSc provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers. Students may apply for ESRC funding 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 further information please contact Dr Surhan Cam: CamS@cardiff.ac.uk.


Sociology: Health Medicine and Illness Specialism through the Sociology Pathway Information

Questions related to health, medicine and illness are widely researched and debated in the social sciences. There is a need to understand how different ideas about the causes of health and ill health do not just suggest different kinds of interventions, but raise important questions for our understanding of contemporary society, processes of inclusion and exclusion, and ideas of personhood. What is the relationship between community, sustainability and health?  And how can we develop new ways of understanding how social identity and disadvantage impact health in the context of a diverse and increasingly fluid world? How do shifts in the biosciences affect medical knowledge and practice, and what is the relationship between biomedicine, governing, and our ideas about ourselves and the family? And what are the major ethical and political dimensions of new forms of biomedical science and technology?  In societies preoccupied with autonomy, independence, mobility and self-regulation who cares about those with long term complex social and health needs? How is health care organised and what are the political and personal consequences of how medical and health care, as vital life chances, are distributed?

Cardiff is one of the premier academic institutions in Britain and Europe for the social study of medicine and bioscience, and health and well-being. Research training in Health and Medicine builds on the internationally recognised research carried out by academic staff within the Cardiff School of Social Sciences (SOCSI), including the two world renowned research centres, Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Ethics (CISHE) and the ESRC Centre for the Social and Economic Aspects of Genomics (CeSagen). Students benefit from the specialist expertise in Health and Medicine research as was well as from the interdisciplinary profile of the School and the wider Cardiff University Research and Graduate School (RGS) in the Social Sciences, which acts as a focal point for students from social science departments throughout the University.

This research training programme is now well-established and has been recognised by the ESRC for a number of years. Students undertaking the MSc in Social Science Research Methods take both generic research methods training and the subject specific content required for becoming competent researchers in the field of bio-medicine, health and society.

The MSc course is based on a modular structure of 12 modules and a research-based dissertation. Seven of the modules are designed to equip students with generic research skills. Five of the modules are designed to address the research skills and knowledge specifically required for researchers in Health and Medicine. These include modules covering the Foundations of Health and Medicine Research; Contemporary Debates in Health and Medicine; Strategies of Applied Research; and Research and Evidence-based Policy and Practice.  All the modules are taught by leading researchers in the field.

+3 Training Programme

The +3 Training Programme is built upon the foundations laid in the MSc. programme. It is designed to provide a standard of training in social science and sociology research methods that gives students the opportunity to acquire familiarity with, and understanding of, a broad range of methodological approaches as well as the ability to apply advanced methodological techniques to empirical data.

For those proceeding to PhD, the skills developed in the MSc are supplemented and extended over the subsequent three years within a structured programme organised around the following four elements: advanced research skills; research governance; personal and employment-related skills; and teaching skills.

Participating in the Bio-Medicine, Health and Society Research Community

In addition to the taught elements of the MSc and the +3 Training Programme, students are also required to attend and participate in the activities of the School’s many research groups. Sociology students are formally located into at least one of the following research groups: Health and Society; Medicine and Society; Knowledge, Expertise and Science; Ethnography, Culture and Interpretive Analysis; Sexualities and Gender; Work, Employability and Labour Markets; and Culture, Subject and Economy. These groups hold regular programmes of meetings to provide opportunities for researchers to share ideas and discuss issues in the policy and practice of research related to bio-medicine, health and society.

For further information please contact Dr Joanna Latimer: LatimerJE@cardiff.ac.uk.


Sociology: Psycho-Social Pathway Information

Research training in psychosocial studies builds on the internationally recognised research carried out by academic staff within the Cardiff School of Social Sciences (SOCSI). It aims to give students from a wide disciplinary background a thorough introduction to psychosocial research and methods in an interdisciplinary way. As such, it utilises debates and approaches from anthropology, psychology, sociology, cultural studies and psychoanalysis. Students benefit from the specialist expertise in psychosocial research was well as from the interdisciplinary profile of the School and the wider Cardiff University Research and Graduate School (RGS) in the Social Sciences, which acts as a focal point for students from social science departments throughout the University.

This research training programme is now well-established and has been recognised by the ESRC for a number of years. Students undertaking the MSc in Social Science Research Methods take both generic research methods training and the subject specific content required for becoming competent educational researchers.

MSc in Social Science Research Methods

The MSc in Social Science Research Methods provides students with the opportunity to acquire generic research skills required by all social science researchers; as well as subject-specific requirements in Psychosocial Studies

The course is based on a modular structure of 12 modules and a research-based dissertation. Seven of the modules are designed to equip students with generic research skills. Three core modules are designed to address the research skills and knowledge specifically required for researchers in psychosocial studies. These include modules covering current interdisciplinary research on Subjectivity, Psychosocial and critical psychological research methods and the foundations of psychosocial and critical psychological thinking. All the modules are taught by leading researchers in the field. There is also a choice in semester 1 between two theory options and in semester 2 one other 10-credit option is chosen from those on offer in the MSc scheme as a whole.

Participating in the Psychosocial Research Community

In addition to the taught elements of the MSc, students are also required to attend and participate in the activities of the School’s many research groups. Psychosocial students are formally located into at least one of the following research groups: Childhood; Ethnography, Culture and Interpretive Analysis; Sexualities and Gender; Work, Employability and Labour Markets; and Culture, Imagination and Practice and are expected to be participants in the school’s Culture, Subjectivity and Identities research theme. These groups hold regular programme of meetings which provide opportunities for researchers to share ideas and discuss issues in interdisciplinary approaches to psychosocial research.

For further information please contact Professor Valerie Walkderine: WalkderdineV@cardiff.ac.uk.