Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
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MA Sociology

UCAS code: L300

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Social and Political Science

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Sociology

Sociology examines how individual choices are affected by wider social forces, and how they can be understood by placing them in their social context.

You will study:

  • the relationship between individuals and groups
  • issues of belonging and identity
  • the social causes of cooperation and conflict
  • the way societies and social institutions are formed and how they change over time

You will also learn to compare different national contexts, and understand contemporary social issues from a global perspective.

Staff at the University of Edinburgh carry out research on a variety of topics and offer teaching related to their research. If you choose to study with us you will be exposed to a range of topics, ideas and approaches to sociology.

Year 1

We will introduce you to key sociological ideas by studying the relationship between individuals and groups through examples such as:

  • social change
  • drug use
  • race
  • ethnicity
  • gender

We will help you develop the key skills you need to study sociology and apply your knowledge to life outside the classroom.

You will also select from a wide range of optional courses, depending on the programme you choose.

Year 2

You will study how sociologists produce and use theory (Sociology 2a) and research evidence (Sociology 2b).

You will then choose four optional courses, depending on your programme.

Year 3

You will:

  • learn practical research skills
  • carry out a group research project
  • study social theory

Optional courses cover many areas including:

  • environment and risk
  • globalisation
  • nationalism
  • the internet
  • the sociology of art

Year 4

In Year 4 you will take more optional courses and complete an individual research project supported by a member of teaching staff.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2024/25)

Our facilities

The School of Social and Political Science is in the University's Central Area. You will have access to the University's library and computer facilities.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the School of Social and Political Science and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of the School of Social and Political Science

Study abroad

In Year 3 you may study abroad through the University's international exchange programme or the school's exchange programme with the University of Copenhagen.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

We use a combination of:

  • tutorials
  • lectures
  • online resources
  • class discussions
  • presentations

All of our teaching is research-led, and taught by those who are doing research in the areas under study.

In Years 1 and 2 lectures are delivered by staff and small group tutorials are run by doctoral scholars. In later years seminars are run by academic colleagues.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed primarily through coursework including:

  • essays
  • short assignments of various kinds
  • take-home papers

In Year 4 you will complete an individual research project.

Sociology graduates go on to a wide variety of careers, in areas such as:

  • the private sector
  • the voluntary sector
  • local or central government
  • media or journalism
  • social or market research

Many graduates go on to postgraduate study and an academic career or teaching.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB by end of S5 or AAAA by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: A*AA.
  • IB: 39 points with 666 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 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 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 65 with at least 54 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 54 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Sociology

Additional costs



For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding