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Course Description

If you are interested in studying for a research degree in the social sciences, or want to learn about research methods, you may consider our innovative MSc in Social Research Methods, run by the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre. If you want to study for a PhD, and are seeking ESRC funding, you will be required to take this or one of our other ESRC-recognised research-training Masters degrees, unless you have already achieved a similar level of research training at a university elsewhere.

At the end of your first year, you graduate with a Masters degree before proceeding to the PhD (this is called 1+3 study).

In the fields of economics, psychology and science, technology and innovation, our specialist Masters degrees are recognised by the ESRC as providing research training suitable for 1+3 study. All other social sciences at Sussex offer research training through the MSc in Social Research Methods. This is for students in the fields of anthropology, contemporary European studies, development studies, education, gender studies, human geography, international
relations, politics, law, migration studies, social work and social care, and sociology.

The degree is designed to provide research training for those intending to move directly to doctoral study. It can also be taken as a standalone one-year degree if you wish to apply advanced research methodologies to an area of academic or policy interest without continuing to a doctorate.

Course Structure

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2016 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules tab.

During the MSc you study the philosophical underpinnings of research, research design, research ethics, and both quantitative and qualitative methods. You also take a series of options on advanced research methods, which provide the key skills necessary for carrying out doctoral-level research. You also take a research option in your chosen discipline or interdisciplinary area, which comprises independent reading, attendance at research seminars, and regular individual supervisions with a dedicated member of academic faculty.

Autumn term: you take modules in introductory quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as Philosophy of Science and Social Scientific Research Practice or a theoretical core module within your chosen discipline.

Spring term: you take Research Design and Ethics and either three intermediate methods modules or one intermediate methods module and a subject-specific module. Intermediate methods modules include Action Research • Comparative Method • Discourse Analysis • Ethnographic Methods • Evidence for Policy and Practice • Participatory Methods • Policy and Programme Evaluation Research • Researching Childhood and Youth.

Summer term: you take a series of advanced methods options and undertake supervised work on a dissertation focused on research methods. This dissertation can be the full research outline for doctoral study.


Taught modules are variously assessed by term papers of 3,000-5,000 words or equivalent coursework portfolios. The research option is assessed by a dissertation of 10,000 words.


The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study and offers one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university. For full details of our scholarships please visit: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/money/scholarships/pgt2016/

Visit the MSc in Social Research Methods (Gender Studies) page on the University of Sussex website for more details!




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