Postgraduate study
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Sociology and Global Change MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

This programme provides core teaching in the ideas and approaches of sociology as applied to understanding social order and social change globally and internationally. It explores the local impacts of global processes, and the global impacts of local processes.

During this intensive, one-year programme you will explore these processes by developing your own research agenda, both in coursework and in a supervised dissertation project of your own choice.

The programme presents sociology as the study of a dynamic and globalising world, around such areas as:

  • environment and sustainable development
  • migration, refugees and displacement
  • the sociology of globalisation
  • gender, emotions, intimate and family life
  • global financial markets, economic sociology and global capitalism
  • social network analysis
  • social movements and global inequalities
  • human rights and citizenship
  • digital and global popular cultures

Who this programme is for

This programme will appeal to those concerned about and wishing to understand some of the key social problems and dynamics of our day. It is most suited to those seeking a thorough grounding in approaches to social research on global issues.

The MSc in Sociology and Global Change 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 global topics, social theory and research training, depending on your background, experience in research and interests.

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.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScSociology and Global Change1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
MScSociology and Global Change2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

When you complete the degree you will:

  • have a comprehensive overview of key theories, research themes and approaches to understanding global social change from a sociological perspective
  • be able to design, conduct and present a substantial piece of empirical or theoretical research
  • be able to contribute to key debates in the specific areas you have chosen to study through the optional courses and in your dissertation

This programme is extremely relevant if you are seeking employment in:

  • consultancy
  • the public sector
  • UN agencies
  • non-governmental organisations
  • the private sector
  • think-tanks

It will also be valuable if you want to work as a/an:

  • academic
  • practitioner
  • policy maker

Past students have gone on to undertake roles in:

  • development and international aid
  • the public sector
  • academia/think-tanks
  • migration NGOs
  • environment and conservation
  • law
  • journalism

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.

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
MScSociology and Global Change1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScSociology and Global Change2 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 tuition fee 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.

Please note that we expect applications to evidence:

  1. A clear research interest within one or more of the areas covered by the MSc.

  2. Capacity for independent academic work.

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