The Department of Sociology offers a stimulating and supportive environment for our Computational Policy Modelling students.
The MSc Computational Policy Modelling will equip you with the skills to become an expert in simulation of complex policy-relevant real-world social problems.
This degree trains computational-policy modellers who can tackle complex policy problems by integrating traditional and computational social science methods.
Interest in simulation has been growing rapidly in the social sciences as a result of increasingly powerful computational tools and an interest in applying ideas of complexity, evolution and adaptation to social systems. This interest has recently found its way into policy making through a growing recognition that many social problems - from health over welfare to environmental sustainability - are insufficiently served by traditional modelling approaches. The integration of traditional and computational social research methods will give you theoretical understanding, together with technical modelling skills of social phenomena. Expertise in both is indispensible when building models to really underpin policy decisions.
The ability to identify and frame social problems and conduct effective research to address them means that Surrey's Sociology postgraduate / graduate students are always in demand. The MSc in Computational Policy Modelling takes this expertise and integrates it into a cutting-edge computational approach to social science and policy modelling.
As a student in the School of Social Sciences, you will become part of an intellectually stimulating and supportive academic environment. As well as our specialism in social research methods, we are home to the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS) and its world-leading expertise in agent-based modelling (http://cress.soc.surrey.ac.uk/web/home
This programme illuminates the connections between social science theory, empirical research and computational modelling, and relates research to the development of public policy and the analysis of substantive social issues. It fully integrates social research methods modules with computational social science and policy modelling modules, providing you with broad insight into all aspects of policy modelling and deep understanding of the power and pitfalls of social and computational research methods.
Wider issues of the social research and process are also covered. These include the model design and documentation, planning and management of research projects, research ethics and the presentation and publication of research findings.
- Provides training in computational social science and policy modelling
- Provides training across a range of technical and practical social research skills
- Equips you with a solid understanding of the interrelationships between social science and computer modelling
- Encourages you to reflect critically on methodological, theoretical, philosophical and ethical aspects of computational modelling
- Computational Modelling
- Theory Model Data
- Modelling the Social World
- Policy Modelling
- Data Analysis
- Field Methods
- Theory and Methodology
- Statistical Modelling or Evaluation Research
For students undertaking full-time study, the programme runs for two semesters (12 months). Students on the part-time mode of study will undertake modules over four semesters (24 months, attending one day per week - Fridays in Year 1 and on Tuesdays in Year 2 ).
On the MSc Computational Policy Modelling, we offer the opportunity to take a research placement during the Easter vacation. This will provide you with first-hand experience of real-life policy research in action. Organisations in which placements might be possible are a number of consultancies (e.g. Sandtable), government departments (e.g. Defra) and academic research centres (e.g. Centre for Policy Modelling at Manchester).
A variety of teaching methods is used. In addition to formal lectures, you will have interactive seminars and practical programming sessions. You will have full access to University and departmental facilities and resources, including a well-equipped computer laboratory with relevant modelling software and a wide range of statistical packages and qualitative data analysis software.
Scholarships for 2015/16 entry
One scholarship may be available; to be awarded on a competitive basis to self-funding students offered a place on the MSc for the academic year 2015/16. Scholarships will be paid in the form of a partial fee remission. Scholarships and deadlines for 2015/16 will be advertised on the departmental website.
Surrey manages the ESRC-funded South East Doctoral Training Consortium which offers doctoral training in association with the Universities of Kent, Reading and Royal Holloway. The MSc Computational Policy Modelling, Criminology, Criminal Justice and Social Research Methods can comprise the training component of a 1+3 PhD studentship in Sociology within the Doctoral Training Consortium. Opportunities to apply for ESRC doctoral funding via the Doctoral Training Consortium will be advertised annually on the departmental website.
Centre for Research in Social Simulation
The Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS) is a world-leading research centre in computational social science (http://cress.soc.surrey.ac.uk/web/home
). Nigel Gilbert, the founder of CRESS, is one of the pioneers and key figures in the field of social simulation. This reputation attracts many international visitors to CRESS and MSc students will be able to attend seminars by eminent experts in the field of computational social science and policy modelling. CRESS consists of around 15 post-doctoral and PhD researchers working on simulation related topics and with a range of backgrounds and expertise. Within this research-intensive environment you will be at the cutting edge of computational social science and policy modelling.
Residential conference and day conference
The MSc Computational Policy Modelling 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.
Computational methods and especially computer-based simulations, are becoming increasingly important in academic social science and policy making. Graduates might find career opportunities in government departments, consultancies, government departments, consultancies, NGOs and academia.
Our Admissions Policy (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/policies/postgraduate-admissions-policy
) provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.
Further information for applicants - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate
Usually a First or Upper Second class honours degree or equivalent in a social science, natural science, mathematics, computer science or related subject, or relevant professional experience. We also require evidence of basic numeracy (a GCSE pass at grade C or above or equivalent in maths).