Social researchers employ a constantly evolving range of qualitative and quantitative methods to explore attitudes and experiences, and to understand patterns of social behaviour.
This programme won't just train you in the application of specific research techniques: it will illuminate the connections between sociological theory and empirical research, and relate research to the development of public policy and the analysis of substantive social issues.
Wider issues of the social research process are also covered and include: the planning and management of research projects; the methodological, theoretical, philosophical and ethical aspects of research; and the presentation and publication of research findings.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time over two academic years. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
On the MSc Social Research Methods, we offer the opportunity to take four weeks of work experience during the Easter vacation. This will provide you with first-hand experience of large-scale and real-life research in action.
Where the full period is not practical, as may be the case for part-time students, it is also possible to take up the opportunity of a shorter period of two to four weeks, usually during the summer. Work experience is arranged with the help of the Department’s placement tutor.
Please note that while we try to meet all requests for work experience, in some cases it may not be possible.
Thomas Asdell Bursary
Thanks to the generosity of the family of former student Thomas Asdell the department can offer a bursary of £1000 to one new MSc student for 2017/18- please email the course director for details.
Two scholarships of up to £3,000 will be available across all Sociology MSc programmes, to be awarded on a competitive basis to self-funding students accepting an offer of a place on the MSc for the academic year 2017/18.
Both types of scholarship will be paid in the form of a fee remission of the appropriate amount, and will be open to both home and overseas students. Part-time students will be eligible to apply and, if successful, will receive a scholarship which is reduced pro rata but may be continued for a second year of study subject to successful completion of the first year.
The MSc Social Research Methods includes a residential conference, usually in November.
The conference provides an opportunity for discussion in an informal atmosphere, around current research issues and debates, technologies and methods at the forefront of social research; it includes lectures from eminent guest speakers and members of staff, seminars and small group discussions.
The Department also organises a day conference for MSc students at the University, with student presentations and guest speakers.
The Department of Sociology is internationally recognised as a centre of research excellence. A particular area of strength is research methodology and research training.
Members of staff undertake a wide variety of internationally renowned individual scholarship including work on gender, employment, organisations, cross-national survey, culture, ethnicity, sociological theory, environment, youth and identities, sociology of sleep and the sociology of social policy.
The Department’s commitment to developing technical competence in research methods, and encouraging the use of appropriate information and communication technologies in social research, is reflected in the fact that it houses the UK national centre for software for qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS).
The Department runs a successful international fellowship scheme which enables international researchers to visit Surrey each year. These strengths in research, and in innovative research methods in particular, feed into our master’s-level teaching and inform the continued updating of content within modules.
The main aims of the programme are to:
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
The MRes Pathway in the School of Humanities offers interdisciplinary training in critical, curatorial, historical and theoretical approaches to research in art and design. The pathway will foster experimentation, risk-taking and critical and creative thinking through humanities research, with a distinctive ‘art school’ ethos. Unique to the pathway is an emphasis on practice-led Humanities research: writing, curating, and designing research projects that are public-facing, contribute new knowledge and action around contemporary concerns, develop robust platforms for PhD and other subsequent research and can be applied across a rich range of professional careers.
MRes Humanities encourages interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to arts and humanities research. The broad base of expertise offered by the School of Humanities means that we can support research interests in art, design, photography, architecture and urban studies, fashion, the crafts, film, graphics, sound, performance, technology and emerging media. Given our location in a world-leading research intensive art and design university, our work is directly informed by our close relationship to contemporary practice and future-thinking in art and design. The School has an international network of partners, including museums, galleries and archives and arts, publishing and media organisations. Across professions, our graduates’ work is informed by critical practice, research and curatorial methods.
The Mres combines independent research and with training in research methods and skills. Students formulate and develop an independent study programme, supported by one-to-one tutorials with a personal research supervisor. Final outcomes for the independent study programme may include either a thesis or project. In addition, students will complete a portfolio of research outcomes. These might include devising arts proposals for exhibitions and public programmes, curating and programming live events, preparing texts for publication, and creating digital content such as blogs and podcasts. The portfolio will include a group project, designed and delivered collaboratively by the cohort of MRes. students.
MRes RCA Humanities students also undertake broad training in the research methods and skills used across research-led careers in the arts and humanities. Lectures, seminars, intensive workshops and projects led by the College and School’s internationally active faculty introduce students to a broad range of research practices and techniques which can be used in the independent study programme.
MRes Humanities will equip students to progress to doctoral research, or to pursue careers in the arts and the creative industries, whether through independent practice, consultancy or employment in arts organisations. The programme stresses entrepreneurial skills alongside intellectual growth. School of Humanities graduates have a strong track record in obtaining leadership roles in the arts, whether in academia, museums and galleries, cultural programming and management, journalism, publishing and criticism, or as independent practitioners. Our graduates shape as well as facilitate the future of practice, policy and strategy in cultural sectors worldwide.
The launch of the new MRes comes as we recognise the increasing role that research-informed thinking and practice plays in these fields internationally, and the RCA’s unparalleled ability to offer a training ground and networks to enhance developing careers.
Key features of the programme: