Masters Degrees in Sociology examine the organisation and development of human societies and effects they have on the experiences and behaviour of groups and individuals within them.
These are advanced postgraduate degrees, building on undergraduate training in sociology or a related discipline. They develop skills in both quantitative and qualitative analysis, including the ability to apply theories to real-world scenarios and to collect and analyse potentially sensitive data.
Programmes may be taught or research-based (with the opportunity to carry out interesting independent fieldwork and other projects). MA, MSc MRes and MPhil degrees are available, depending on the content and focus of a given course.
Sociology has a broad range of applications for practical and vocational work, or for further academic research and training.
Skilled postgraduates can go on to roles in fields ranging from politics to economics, drawing on their ability to appreciate and analyse the interactions between organisational systems and the needs of individuals within them.
Research roles can follow similar paths, with opportunities to provide expertise to think-tanks or policy units. Needless to say, a Masters in sociology is also an excellent preparation for a PhD in a range of related fields.
Whatever your eventual career choice, the skills you’ve gained on a postgraduate sociology degree will prove surprisingly versatile. You’ll be able to deal effectively with different forms of data and information and to communicate your findings effectively using appropriate media. You’ll also have experience of independent research and project management – particularly if your Masters includes a dissertation.
Information in these tables is based on the 2014/15 publication of the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal Survey, produced by the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency. Data is given for graduates of UK Masters degrees and other level 7 postgraduate courses, after 3.5 years. Some figures have been rounded.
Sociology as a discipline encompasses the examination and analysis of all aspects of social life and social relations. This programme is designed to provide you with a grounding in social research to enable you to develop sociological investigations of the social world.
Please note: this course is not a currently recognised pathway within the Doctoral Training Centre.
You will take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Starting from the first term, you will undertake a module on research design which will enable you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation.
In previous years, typical modules offered were:
Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)
Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)
Research Design and Process (15 credits)
Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
Contemporary Sociological Theory and Social Transformation (30 credits)
Categorical Data Analysis with SPSS and R (15 credits)
Dissertation (60 credits)
Academic learning is assessed through a range of summative essays, statistical/computer-based projects, research proposals, and a dissertation.
These MA Research Methods programmes are full-time, starting in early October and continuing over 12 months following university terms.
The main teaching methods include lectures, seminars, and computer practical sessions. Lectures introduce the key concepts, theories, current debates and other issues critical for understanding the topics. Seminars are opportunities for you to discuss any questions arising from the readings, to share experience of conducting research, to present your own work for comments. Modules that teach the use of computer software packages have practical sessions in computer rooms so that you can carry out hands-on exercises under supervision and further assistance
Modules are usually assessed through essays. Statistics modules may require you to complete specific analyses with more structured instructions. Some module conveners may allow you to submit formative assignments in order for you to obtain a sense of how well you understand the subject. Some modules’ assessment may contain a proportion of presentations and group projects.
Further academic support is available. You will have the opportunity to learn from your dissertation supervisors at individual tutoring meetings, dissertation workshops, and forums. Every member of teaching staff has two hours of office hours each week where you can access additional support for your modules, assignments and so forth. In addition, both the University and the School host seminars for external speakers that are open to all students.
You will have access to a variety of learning resources, including learning spaces in libraries and teaching rooms, readings and textbooks, computers, databases, etc.
Designed for students interested in new ways of exploring and understanding the social world through the use of visual, sensory and other experimental approaches, this programme allows you to study sociological issues alongside innovative methods.
The MA will enable you to examine, represent and intervene in the social world. You will develop the ability to undertake empirical research and present it publicly in a variety of media and materials. You will engage with sociology as an inventive research practice, deploying creative research methods to address classic and changing sociological problems.
The MA in Visual Sociology provides an introduction to the range of debates in visual research, encouraging you to build on these by using visual, sensory and inventive methodological practices to carry out critical social research in your areas of interest, whether this is science and technology, contemporary capitalism, gender and sexual cultures, race, human rights, globalisation, or other aspects of social life.
The programme combines lectures and seminars with practical sessions and workshop-based projects in which you develop a hands-on approach to sociological research, providing a skills base in methods which could be used in public sector contexts, art/media research, design or commercial application.
As well as presenting your ideas through writing, during the MA you will have the opportunity to produce different outputs, including film/video, photography, sound and multi-media pieces. You will also organise and curate some of this work in an exhibition. Critical feedback sessions function as a testing ground for individual projects, and themed projects allow you to further develop a portfolio of research outputs geared to a variety of audiences.
Throughout the programme is a concern with the research process, and you will have the opportunity to design and reflect on your own research projects. The dissertation allows you to undertake a substantive research project on your individual interests, supporting by one-to-one supervision with a member of staff. You will have access to the Visual Media Lab, which offers post-production and editing stations, as well as equipment for photography and video. Students can also borrow equipment from the Media Equipment Centre.
The MA is based in the Department of Sociology, home of the The Methods Lab and at the forefront of research using live methods. It is taught by staff with a wide range of experience in both sociology and interdisciplinary research, including visual and experimental approaches. The course is suitable for applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds, including art, design, anthropology, media and communications, cultural studies, geography, and sociology.
In the first part of the course you will take ‘Empirical Social Research’, a module that takes you through the empirical research cycle in the context of the transformation of sociology in the age of visual, digital and other empirical methods. The module Theories and Debates in Visual Research' enables you to address debates within visual sociology, and also encompasses more recent issues surrounding the notions of media, interdisciplinarity and translation which become significant if sociology works with visual and other sensory materials. Assessment of these modules is by essay.
Alongside these modules you will take a core practical component, ‘Visual and Inventive Practice A’, that offers the opportunity to gain skills in photography, sound and video and to develop materials that engage a sociological imagination. A central focus is on how to translate a research question into a variety of materials or media and to be able to critically discuss the selection and use of these.
In the second term you continue with a practical module in inventive sociology, ‘Social Research for Public Engagement’, in which you will work individually or in groups to respond to a theme to create a visual, sensory or experimental object or media to be exhibited to a particular public. Assessment of the practical work includes a diary of research process alongside documentation of work.
These core modules are taught in Sociology. In the second term you will also take an option that may be chosen from Sociology or may be taken from departments across Goldsmiths including the Departments of Anthropology, English and Comparative Literature, Politics and International Relations, Media and Communications, Educational Studies, Music, and the Centre for Cultural Studies.
In the summer term you will complete a dissertation involving a major practical project consisting of any media and addressing a specific sociological problem. You will meet for individual supervision with a member of the Sociology staff. The dissertation is a substantive piece of research in which you develop a visual, inventive or experimental approach to a topic of your choice.
If you follow the MA part-time over two years, you will take ‘Empirical Social Research’, ‘Visual and Inventive Practice’ and ‘Social Research for Public Engagement’ in year 1, and ‘Theories and Debates in Visual Research’, the dissertation and an option in year 2.
You will chose an option module to the value of 30 credits from Sociology or from departments across the College including the Departments of Anthropology, English and Comparative Literature, Politics, Media and Communications, Music, Educational Studies, and the Centre for Cultural Studies.
Modules in Sociology address themes such as:
Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.
This programme attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds, including art and design, business, and the third sector, as well as those with social science degrees. This means the careers that they are interested in pursuing are wide and varied.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Public sociology is a distinctive approach to the discipline, in which sociological knowledge theory, analysis and social practice is directly connected to the experiences of particular ‘publics’, normally understood as community groups, interest groups, campaigns or other civil society organisations. The essence of public sociology is that it is a discipline that speaks to, and for, audiences and communities beyond the parameters of the academic discipline and makes meaningful contributions to ongoing debates around public issues and concerns.
This new MSc Public Sociology has been developed to address the current lack of postgraduate Public Sociology programmes in the UK and to deliver expert training in the theories, research methods and practices of this developing field. It provides the opportunity to engage with diverse public groups and to reflect critically on how sociology can contribute to their work for social justice and change.
This challenging programme is aimed at sociology graduates who are looking to specialise in public sociology as well as people engaged in community work, social welfare, public engagement or campaigns, who wish to learn how sociological theory and research can meaningfully contribute to their work. You will study what is distinctive about public sociology and the methods of engagement and research of the discipline.
You will attend lectures and seminars, work in groups as well as carry out independent learning. You will be expected to participate in discussions, collaboratively develop ideas and engage with experiential learning. It is particularly expected that you will be engaged with a ‘public’, either through personal experience, employment or voluntary commitment, in order to reflect on the sociological contribution to that work. We offer a range of stimulating assessment methods, including blogs, reflections on practice, live debates, group work with presentations as well as essays and field reports. A project or dissertation in collaboration with a community group will be a significant component of the work for this MSc. A central part of the course experience is the regular engagement with publics and sharing the insights of others on the course, as well as the experiences of public sociologists with diverse community and campaigning experience. Public sociology is a contextual discipline responding to a globalisation, thus the programme draws on the experiences of public sociologists throughout the world and involves teaching by academics from a range of disciplines in which public sociology is relevant.
Each module will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. Most modules consist of two to three hours of class time each week of the semester and will involve input, critical reading, debate and reflection on experience. Where possible, all teaching takes place over two days per week. Your specific timetable will depend on whether you study full or part-time.
In addition you will be required to complete at least 20 credits as an elective from a range of options or by self-study.
Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact [email protected] for more information.
Graduates in public sociology will be suitably qualified for a range of careers involving public engagement in the public or third sector or non-governmental organisations.
*Subject to validation
The Sociology of Education MA will guide students through the latest theories, concepts and research in the sociology of education, exploring the wider political, social and cultural contexts of policy and practice in education. It will encourage them to use sociological research to reflect on their current and future roles in education and provide them with a grounding for evaluating education practice.
Students will develop critical theoretical, methodological and analytical skills in educational research in the sociology of education field and learn to apply them in their own professional context.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (60 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits) orreport (30 credits) plus one further optional module (30 credits).
Students can also choose from a wide range of Master's-level optional modules across the IOE offering.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 20,000 words or a report of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a mix of face-to-face Saturday and evening sessions and interactive online learning. Sometimes a conventional lecture-based approach is taken, with the aim of providing an overview of the field. Lectures are usually followed by open discussion or group work. At other times a seminar format is adopted involving, for example, group discussion of set reading, a video or an introductory presentation.
Assessment is through coursework essay assignments, plus submission of a report or dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Sociology of Education MA
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of this programme are currently working as lecturers and teachers, local authority officers, government department officers, members of education think tanks, or as research students (MPhil/PhD, EdD).
Recent career destinations for this degree
Students develop a capacity to critically engage with and conduct educational research on issues relating to sociology and education.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
The Department of Education, Practice and Society at UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is home to an interdisciplinary grouping bringing together high-quality teaching and research in the history, sociology and philosophy of education, international development, post-compulsory and vocational education and higher education.
The Sociology of Education MA is a cutting-edge programme taught by world-leading sociologists within the department who have expertise in research methods, policy analysis, equality and human rights: issues of gender, 'race', sexuality, youth, disability and social class.
Students gain invaluable networking opportunities with leading scholars and a cohort of internationally diverse students across the IOE's MA cluster in sociology, social justice and policy studies in education.
This programme invites you to think systematically about the social world, how it is changing, the challenges and how we as individuals and groups organise, rationalise and assimilate our response
The programme provides a comprehensive overview of the foundational concerns and current debates in sociology and offers a range of options for exploring applications in specific areas of research. You learn about current theoretical tools and develop skills in research and data analysis, which can be used in a range of professional fields. The programme is also an excellent basis for pursuing further research in sociology or more specialised or applied subjects.
The programme aims to provide you with:
The programme is also designed to enhance your professional development. We place considerable emphasis on the socialisation of graduate students into a research community. This is reflected in our pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning. There is less didactic teaching and more emphasis on structured seminars with greater participation from students. Class sizes are generally much smaller than at undergraduate level and you will be taught by established members of the academic staff.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation:
Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability, we place considerable emphasis on you gaining specialist knowledge in your chosen subject alongside core transferable skills. We ensure that you develop the skills and competences that employers are looking for including: research and analysis; policy development and interpretation; independent thought; writing and presentation, as well as time management and leadership skills. You also become fully involved in the professional research culture of the School. A postgraduate degree in the area of social and public policy is a particularly flexible and valuable qualification that can lead to many exciting opportunities and professions.
Our graduates obtain a range of transferable skills and report high levels of being in employment or further study within six months of graduation across all of our degree programmes.
Over 98% of Kent's postgraduate students who graduated in 2016 were in work or further study within six months. Recent graduates from our School have pursued careers in academia, journalism, local and central government, charities and NGOs.
How to apply: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/
We offer inspirational teaching and supervision alongside first-class library and IT facilities. You also benefit from our high-impact research in all subjects. Whatever you are looking to study, Kent provides a dynamic and challenging environment for your postgraduate studies.
* of 122 universities, not including specialist institutions
We have a scholarship fund of over £9 million to support our taught and research students with their tuition fees and living costs. Find out more: https://www.kent.ac.uk/scholarships/postgraduate/
The MSc Sociology and Social Policy is designed to equip postgraduate students with advanced knowledge in the disciplines of sociology and social policy. It allows for greater flexibility than either the MSc Sociology and Social Research or the MSc Social Policy and Social Research by enabling you to specialise in quantitative or qualitative methods.
This programme explores contemporary issues in sociology and social policy, such as social inequality and diversity, migration and terrorism, and can be used as a stepping stone for those who wish to pursue careers in the public, private or voluntary sector.
Do you want to explore the structure of human society? Do you want to investigate why societies pool their resources to pay for social protection how social policy forms society? Enrol on the MSc Sociology and Social Policy degree and conduct social science research to understand the forces behind the construction of policies.
This masters course will open a path a range of fulfilling careers in social research and social policy. It also provides a stepping stone for those who wish to pursue a PhD in sociology and/or social policy.
The aims of this programme are to provide you with:
Gain an in-depth understanding of the latest issues and debates in sociology. Hone your research skills, and develop expertise that will prepare you for a career in social policy, social work, local government, public service and more.
Course duration: 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time (September starts); 15 months full-time (January starts).
Semester 1: Monday 3-6pm (part-time).
Semester 2: Monday 3-6pm (part-time).
Our Master's course will help deepen your knowledge of the theoretical and substantive aspects of contemporary sociology. You’ll develop expertise in the principles and application of social research methodology, and examine key debates and issues like progress and reason, genetic structuralism and the role of modernity.
Our optional modules will also let you explore more specialist areas such as modern crime control, nationalism or nature and society.
All your studies will be supported by our research-active staff, whose interests reflect the latest developments in sociology. Our staff and their areas of expertise are:
To support your learning, we run a research seminar series and frequent symposia and conferences. All our students are welcome to attend and contribute.
See the website http://www.anglia.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/sociology
This course will prepare you for work in many fields, including human resources, social policy, social work, educational development, community development, counselling, local government, the civil service, public services and charities.
Or you might decide to continue on to a research degree, like our PhD Sociology.
Contemporary Social Theory
Postgraduate Research Methods
Nationalism, Diasporas and Identities
Nature, Technology and Society
Independent Learning Module
Depending on the module, you’ll show your progress through a combination of essays, presentations, case studies and portfolio work, as well as a Major Project at the end of the course.