Postgraduate study

Social Research MSc, PgCert

Awards: MSc, PgCert

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Social Research

This programme is designed to provide a firm grounding in the theory, philosophy and methods of social research, as well as opportunities to develop other areas of interest within the field of social sciences.

This programme combines compulsory training in a combination of quantitative and qualitative social research skills with the essentials of research design; and you’ll graduate with an in-depth understanding of the key issues, approaches and techniques of research in the social sciences, and the ability to conduct quality social research of value to the public,policymakers, professionals, and the academic community.

Practical application of your skills is also a priority, and you will have the option to base your dissertation on work-based experience.

Recognised as research training by the Economic and Social Research Council, the programme is also eligible for the Open Societies Foundation grant scheme.

Social Research with Quantitative Methods pathway

For 2019 entry we are offering a new pathway - Social Research with Quantitative Methods. Closely linked to Edinburgh Q-Step Centre, you will undertake training in advanced social statistics and data science always including hands-on opportunities to tackle social research questions using data from a variety of sources. You will be embedded within the wider research environment of quantitative social science within Edinburgh Q-Step Centre, one of the largest collection of quantitative social scientists in the UK, and will be welcome to attend our thriving seminar series. The rise of Big Data and the increasing linkages that are being made between social, administrative and biomedical data-sets make this an exciting time to study quantitative social science.*

*(Revised 20 December 2018 to add information on new Quantitative Methods pathway).

The programme will be delivered through lectures, seminars, group work and guided independent study.

You will complete three compulsory courses for the PgCert and an additional three option courses for the MSc.

MSc students will also produce an independently researched dissertation, which may be based on a placement you undertake at a workplace of your choosing. For students on the Quantitative Methods pathway this will involve quantitative analysis of secondary data.*

*(Revised 20 December 2018 to add information on new Quantitative Methods pathway).

On successful completion of this course students will understand many of the key philosophical and theoretical debates in social-scientific research, as well as mastering a number of methodological skills and approaches to data collection and analysis.

This programme will equip you with research skills that can be used as the basis of doctoral research, potentially leading to an academic career. Past students have also found research positions in both the public and private sectors.

You will develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.

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:

Featured funding

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