Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Digital Sociology MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

UK's top ranked sociology department

Our sociology department is the UK’s top-ranked department for sociological research.

What will I learn?

This programme will provide you with a rigorous introduction to sociological research in the digital age.

The programme combines training in “traditional approaches” to sociology with new theory and methods for understanding the digital world. We will study, for example, foundational questions in inequality, demography, and labour research with an emphasis on how the digital transformation has shifted our understandings.

On this programme, you may take up the following specialised topics, including (but not limited to):

  • work and labour
  • inequality
  • mobility
  • relationships
  • government and law
  • technology

We will be launching in the 2024/25 academic year a dedicated cluster of courses in Social Data Science for the MSc in Digital Sociology.

Students taking these courses will be able to undergo specialised training in core analytical skills within the field of social data science (including natural language processing, and network analysis).

In combination with other core courses in Digital Sociology, this will equip students with the core analytical and programming skills required for evaluating and conducting data science for the social sciences.

How will I learn?

The degree combines lectures and seminar teaching on specific topics with individual research supervision by leading researchers in the emerging field of digital sociology.

Who is this programme for?

While this programme will be primarily suitable for those with a background in the social sciences, the MSc is intended for anyone who wants to undertake specialised training in sociological approaches for understanding the digital world.

The MSc in Digital Sociology is offered as a one-year full-time or two-year part-time programme.

You will take compulsory courses that give you a sociological perspective and prepare you for independent dissertation research.

Your four further option courses will provide a deeper empirical and theoretical grounding in questions within the sociology of emotions, finance, and technology. You will also have methods training in areas such as computational text analysis, network analysis, and multi-level modelling.

The dissertation, a piece of self-designed research with supervisory support, allows you to put your personal stamp on your studies.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses.

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScDigital Sociology1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
MScDigital Sociology2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

As well as providing students with relevant skills, studying for this degree will give you:

  • a foundation in social and cultural theory, as relevant to the study of digital society
  • a foundation in digital research methods relevant for the sociological study of contemporary society
  • the opportunity to learn how to gather and analyse digital data using programmatic tools in R and/or Python
  • the opportunity to engage with ethical issues that are raised by digital sociological work

You will complete a supervised dissertation project on a topic that you choose based on your interests and career plans.

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
  • internet research
  • digital social policy
  • 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, or practitioner.

You will gain highly transferable skills in research, communication, and project management applicable to roles in many fields.

After graduating, you may go on to undertake roles in areas including:

  • social media analysis
  • internet research
  • digital social policy
  • technology consulting
  • journalism
  • education
  • law and government

Further study

The programme also offers a route to a PhD programme in social research.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline.

We welcome applications from students with a strong background in the social sciences as well as those coming from a background in statistics, data science, and computer science. Applicants who do not have this relevant background will receive consideration on the merits of their personal statement and other relevant experience.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, 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 (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScDigital Sociology1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScDigital Sociology2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

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
  • 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

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Please be aware that applications must be submitted and complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 01 December 2023 04 March 2024
2 19 February 2024 25 April 2024
3 22 April 2024 27 June 2024
4 03 June 2024 31 July 2024

(Revised 18 October 2023 to update the 'places awarded by' date for round 1)

References are not usually required for applications to this programme.

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