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Social Science Research Methods - PGDip

Course Description

This Postgraduate Diploma intensive fast-track programme for those requiring training in social science research methods provides entry to either the MPhil/PhD or, for suitable candidates, to year two of the EdD programme. It is aimed at professionals who have an interest in developing research skills in any of the social science disciplinary areas covered by the UCL Doctoral Training Partnership.

Degree information

Students on this programme learn how to develop and critically evaluate research questions; gain an understanding of social science research methodologies and links between these methodologies and research questions; select appropriate social science research methods to explore identified research questions; enhance their knowledge of different forms of research proposal and the complexities of funding applications; assess their own suitability for further research degree studies.

Students undertake modules to the value of 120 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (each 30 credits).

Core modules
-Developing Research Questions
-Methods of Investigation
-Designing a Research Study
-Developing a Research Proposal

Optional modules - optional modules are non credit-bearing. Students wishing to learn more about quantitative or qualitative data analysis should enrol on the optional modules below. Students are encouraged to take two non credit-bearing modules from the Centre for Doctoral Education research training programme. Recommended options are:
-Quantitative Data Analysis I
-A qualitative data analysis programme at an appropriate level, where applicable.

Students are not expected to submit a dissertation for this programme.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of face-to-face seminars and online asynchronous and synchronous discussion forums. Students also learn about the practicalities of social science research through participation in a research project. Peer review and andragogy are particular forms of learning on this programme.

Assessment is through the equivalent of a 5,000-word assignment for each module.

For module three, students undertake a small-scale research project which may involve fieldwork (some students elect to analyse policy documents or undertake systematic reviews).
It is unlikely that there will be costs for this aspect of the programme as it is envisaged that students will undertake fieldwork in their place of work, or within the locale of UCL or their home.

Students complete a research placement for module two of the programme. This placement is with a live research project under the supervision of a placement supervisor. The placement is as closely aligned to students own areas of research interest as possible. However, this alignment will depend on what live projects are currently underway at the specified time. The placement may involve fieldwork but equally could involve the reviewing of literature, a research proposal or data analysis.
It may be necessary to travel into London to meet with your placement provider or to another venue if your placement involves fieldwork.


The aims of the programme are to familiarise students with social science research, to enhance their prospects of becoming a social science researcher in a professional capacity, or to gain direct access to PhD or EdD study. It supports students in writing ESRC studentship proposals, and alumni from the programme have secured such funding.

Students will gain the skills to become social science researchers and research assistants, or to progress onto postgraduate research.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme offers a unique opportunity to gain social science research methods training applicable across any of the UCL Doctoral Training Partnership social science disciplines.

It allows access to the MPhil/PhD at the IOE and gives exemptions from both taught year one methods courses on the EdD. Successful students will be allowed to commence year two of the EdD on completion of just one taught year one course, Foundations of Professionalism (this will be simultaneous to starting year two).

Placements offer opportunities to become engaged with live research projects and access experienced research teams. Placement providers often become students' PhD or EdD supervisors. Previous students have been successful in securing ESRC funding for postgraduate research and have enhanced their professional roles as researchers.

Visit the Social Science Research Methods - PGDip page on the University College London website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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