This course prepares students for undertaking social research and evaluation, leading to careers in research, research management and commissioning or using research. Our MSc is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting the research training guidelines for undertaking a PhD in Sociology, Social Policy, Social Work or Socio-legal Studies, as well as preparing you for an ESRC-recognised interdisciplinary PhD in Families, Relationships and Demographic Change and Social Care. A course on Applied Social Research (Criminology) is also available.
The course is recognised as research training by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for those who are studying or going on to study for a PhD (+3), and is also recognised by the ESRC for Master’s Course plus Research Studentship (1+3) purposes.
- Degree type: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma
- Study methods: Part-time, Full-time
- Start date: Full-time: September Part-time: September/January See
- Course Director: Richard Simmons
- Provide you with the skills and knowledge base required to collect, analyse and report qualitative and quantitative data, taking account of ethics, reliability and validity
- Enable you to examine critically the theoretical foundations that underpin social scientific research
- Enable you to examine issues concerning comparative social research
- Develop your understanding of the relationship between research and policy, and the meanings of evaluation, its terminology, practice and use
English language requirements
If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:
- IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
- Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
- IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20
For more information go to English language requirements https://www.stir.ac.uk/study-in-the-uk/entry-requirements/english/
If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View the range of pre-sessional courses http://www.intohigher.com/uk/en-gb/our-centres/into-university-of-stirling/studying/our-courses/course-list/pre-sessional-english.aspx
Structure and content
The MSc/Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Research comprises six compulsory taught core modules, and (for the MSc) a dissertation.
The modules are: The Nature of Social Enquiry; Research Design and Process; Introduction to Information Technology and Library Services (not formally assessed); Quantitative Data Analysis; Qualitative Data Analysis; Comparative Social Research; Policy Analysis and Evaluation Research.
These modules comprise a series of reading groups in which a number of central ideas are debated.
In addition to the modules, you will complete the following:
- Research Dissertation: MSc students must undertake an original social science research study and complete a research dissertation with academic supervision.
Examples of recent dissertation topics include:
- A Study of High Risk Behaviour
- Young People and National Identity
- Substance Use Prevalence and Looked-after Young People in Scotland
- Women’s Decisions about Returning to Work After Childbirth
Delivery and assessment
Teaching methods are designed for each module to facilitate your acquisition of skills and progressive development. You are expected to participate in lectures, seminars, tutorials, computer-based workshops and group work.
Full-time and part-time MSc/Diploma students experience a range of different forms of assessment across the compulsory taught modules. These include essays, critical review essays, book reviews, research proposals, a computer lab-based assessment for quantitative data analysis and the research dissertation. There are no examinations.
In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 95 percent of the research in Applied Social Science at Stirling was ‘Internationally Excellent’ with the top 10 percent of that judged to be ‘World-leading’.
Over the past five years, over half of our graduates have entered social research-related careers in the public, voluntary and private sectors, for example, a manager commissioning research for a local authority, a research fellow at a university and a senior research executive for a European-wide commercial research organisation.
In general, one in ten graduates have enhanced their practice in current posts by undertaking studies in Applied Social Research, with support from their employer. Over one third of our graduates continue with academic study and undertake a PhD.