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.
This programme examines political, economic, and socio-cultural transformations in the Global South and interrogates the dynamics, challenges and opportunities confronting its societies – with a focus on education in development.
You’ll learn about the experiences and viewpoints of people and nations of the Global South regarding development issues, as well as the inter-relationships between global, national and local actors in contested strategies for development.
You’ll also review strategies, programmes and policies in development, including organisations and donors promoting development, and assess the progress made by different development actors towards key international development goals.
In addition, you’ll explore controversies at the centre of contemporary development challenges and analyse both the theories and realities of development, to understand the different approaches, practices and discourses involved.
MA Global Development has a close working relationship with the Global Development and Justice research group that aims to examine central debates within the field of global development from an interdisciplinary perspective.
The Global Development and Justice research group is also actively involved, amongst others, in the Centre for Global Development, a university-wide network that promotes cross-disciplinary approaches to the field, as well as the Leeds Centre for African Studies.
Core modules examine key issues surrounding global development, such as markets, inequality, democratisation, gender, health, education, human rights, conflict, violence and crime. You’ll also learn about various aspects of development practice, like the theoretical and analytical principles of Project Cycle Management. Additionally, you’ll hone your research and writing skills and then showcase them in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on a topic of your choice.
These modules will equip you to analyse, understand and discuss the major changes, problems and opportunities facing societies and people in the Global South. You’ll study some of the broader social, political, and economic causes of the problems, and the achievements and setbacks that people have experienced in their efforts to tackle them at the global, national and local levels and improve their societies and lives. You’ll learn to analyse, understand, and discuss development in the Global South in the 2010s in all its dynamism, complexity and significance.
The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you, including natural resources struggles, global health, gender and globalisation, education, international political economy or issues related to Africa and China.
If you are a part-time student, you can choose how to spread your studies across two years. However, we recommend that you at least take your compulsory modules in your first year, and you have to take the compulsory dissertation module in your second year.
Modules are conducted through a mix of lectures, seminars and workshops. Tutors also provide you with individual advice on written work and you should begin to develop expertise in improving your work through face to face discussion with your tutors, formative assessment and through detailed feedback. You’ll be expected to carry out a good deal of independent, detailed and considered study.
All part-time students attend exactly the same classes as full-time students which usually take place between 9am and 5pm; there are no evening classes.
Each module is assessed separately, through assessments that range from long essays to projects and assignments, offering you the opportunity to work in your particular field of interest within each topic area. You will also carry out a dissertation into a research area of your choice.
This programme is aimed at students who would like to pursue either a professional career or further research in international development and related fields, and generally have a desire to put their education into practice in the Global South.
You’ll gain a wide range of professional skills on top of your subject knowledge. You’ll have an understanding of project design and management in a development context, as well as being able to analyse quantitative and qualitative data. You’ll be able to construct clear arguments, critically assess different options for action, analyse policy documents, write research reports and give presentations. You’ll also be trained to make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations.
Our programme equips you for various career paths. Compatible careers include working in international development agencies, international organisations, governments, politics, NGOs, research organisations, policy making, companies, media, and academia.
Graduates have gone on to work in, for instance, non-governmental organisations in the UK or overseas, research and consultancy firms, international organisations (such as the UN), the Civil Service, the media, or have continued with further study (e.g. PhD research).
We encourage you to seek practical work experience in the international development field, and advise you on how to go about it.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.