Postgraduate study

Digital Society MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Digital Society

This programme will provide you with a rigorous introduction to the sociological study of digital society and digital culture. The programme will introduce you to the core theoretical and methodological issues that arise when sociologists investigate the increasing prevalence of digital technology, digital infrastructure, and data production, capture, and analysis in everyday life. It will also allow you to study the very social conditions (economic, political, and cultural) that give rise to such technologies and their circuits of power. Students in this programme may take up the following specialised topics, including (but not limited to) the sociological analysis of digital technology and new forms of data on the fields of contemporary culture, work and labour, leisure, health, education, government and law, and finance.

While this programme will be primarily suitable for those with some background in the social sciences, the MSc in Digital Society is intended for anyone who wants to understand, as well as learn to study, analyse, and critique digital technologies and the complex ways in which they shape society, social institutions, and culture. The degree combines seminar teaching on specific topics with individual research supervision by leading researchers in the emerging field of “Digital Sociology”, in the UK’s top-ranked department for sociological research.

You will take compulsory courses that give you a sociological perspective and prepare you for independent dissertation research. Your four further option courses can address digital media, social and cultural theory and research training, as you prefer. The dissertation, a piece of self-designed research with supervisory support, allows you to put your personal stamp on your studies.

As well as providing students with , studying for this degree will allow you:

  • A foreground the sociological analysis of digital technology, digital media, and the social relations they engender.
  • To foster critical analysis of the social, economic, and political conditions that give rise to digital technology/media and data infrastructures.
  • To engage with, as well as critically assess, digital research tools and platforms via the necessary methodological training.
  • A focused academic background in social and cultural theory, as relevant to the study of digital society.
  • To become conversant in the digital research methods relevant to their topic of study, with an emphasis on cultivating the ability to assess the social impact of such research.
  • To engage with ethical issues that are raised by digital sociological work.

This degree is well-positioned for a wide range of careers in the public, private, and third sectors. It is particularly relevant for those who have aspirations for a career in digital research or digital media design and development. The programme is also key for those who wish to engage with digital technology and data in their own personal lives or on a wider scale as an activist, artist, manager, practitioner, or policy maker. You may go on to undertake roles in social media analysis, Internet research, journalism, education, and law and government. The programme also offers a route to a PhD programme in social research. You will gain highly transferable skills in research, communication, and project management applicable to roles in many fields.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD