Postgraduate study

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 the sociological study of digital society and digital culture.

You will be introduced 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.

The programme 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.

On this programme you 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
  • finance

We will be launching in academic year 2023/24 a dedicated cluster of courses in Social Data Science for the MSc in Digital Sociology.

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

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 scientific work in the social sciences.

How will I learn?

The degree combines 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 some background in the social sciences, the MSc is intended for anyone who wants to understand, learn, study, analyse, and critique digital technologies and the complex ways in which they shape society, social institutions, and culture.

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 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.

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.

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

  • a foreground of 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 learn how to gather and analyze digital data using programmatic tools in R and/or Python *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 sociological analysis of digital media.

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 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 area including:

  • internet research
  • journalism
  • education
  • law and government
  • sociological analysis of digital technology

Further study

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

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

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

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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 Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • 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 three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition 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 ensure that you have submitted all supporting documentation before the deadline for the round you wish to be considered in.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2023-2024:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 27 January 2023 15 February 2023
2 28 April 2023 31 May 2023
3 30 June 2023 20 July 2023

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