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MSc Social Statistics and Social Research

Earn a Masters degree in social research and social statistics, and open up a wide range of career opportunities. Study full or part-time to suit your schedule.

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September 2024, January 2025
  • Application notes For students who need a visa: we are closed for January 2024 entry.
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months; MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study full time, part time
  • Delivery on campus

Overview

Social statistics and social research provide policymakers, academics and others with valuable insights into the behaviour of people. This Masters will give you an understanding of social research, with a particular focus on quantitative methods and social statistics.

You’ll learn about social research methods and the theories behind them, while undertaking detailed training on a wide range of statistical methods. You’ll also gain knowledge of statistical software and learn highly sought-after technical skills, including accessing, preparing, analysing and summarising complex quantitative datasets.

Modules cover core and advanced issues of social research design and techniques of statistical analysis. There are specialist modules that address important emerging areas in social statistics, covering data management,big data, and social network analysis. Students also choose one option module in another area of social research, for instance on qualitative data analysis or policy research.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

This course is designed to provide you with an in-depth understanding of social research, with a particular focus on social statistics and quantitative methods. It includes orientation material on social research methods as a whole, and detailed training on a wide range of statistical methods, with advanced modules on data management and emerging priority research areas, such as big data and social network analysis. Teaching covers the theories behind the methods and training in using datasets and analysing them with statistical software. You’ll gain a variety of highly marketable skills in the areas of social research and social statistics.

Professional accreditation

This Masters 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 (so long as the optional module on ‘qualitative data analysis’ is selected). Its provision is also appropriate for ESRC-recognised interdisciplinary PhD projects or pathways.

Flexible learning

Students can study full time or part time and all modules feature live classes such as scheduled lecture and seminar sessions. Flexible learning arrangements can usually be supported in most situations, subject to agreement.

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Faculty facilities

Students taking this course are affiliated with the Faculty of Social Sciences. Scheduled classes use University teaching spaces such as lecture, seminar and lab venues when relevant.

Research overview

When you study Social Statistics and Social Research at the University of Stirling, you’ll be introduced to pioneering empirical and theoretical research in a vibrant, multi-disciplinary environment.

Underpinning the expertise of our staff, the University of Stirling scored highly in the most recent Research Excellent Framework (REF 2021) – a UK-wide assessment of universities’ research output. In the Social Work and Social Policy unit of assessment, we ranked 3rd in Scotland and top 25 in the UK for Social Work and Social Policy – with 100% of our research environment and 88% of our research deemed world leading or internationally excellent.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

A willingness to learn advanced statistical methods is more important than a strong background in the area. Basic experience of a statistical software, such as SPSS, Stata, R or Excel is useful but not essential.

Other routes of entry

If you don't currently meet our academic requirements, INTO University of Stirling offers a variety of preparation programmes that can earn you the qualifications and skills you need to progress onto some of our courses. Explore INTO University of Stirling to see the pathway and pre-masters routes available.

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

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 Academic or UKVI 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 62 overall with 60 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

Become an expert in statistical analysis and the use of social science data resources with our diverse and in-depth modules. You’ll complete 120 credits in taught modules and - for the Masters - a 15,000 word dissertation. 

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2023). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details

Teaching

Students on the MSc Social Statistics and Social Research complete taught modules during the autumn and spring semesters, and work on their dissertation project across the autumn, spring and summer semesters. 

During autumn and spring semesters, most modules run one morning or one afternoon of scheduled teaching sessions each week. Scheduled teaching sessions are generally a combination of lectures and workshops. Most teaching is performed in smaller classes, often with group activities. If you're studying this course full-time, you will complete three 20-credit modules during the autumn semester. In spring, you will take two 20-credit modules and two 10-credit modules. During autumn and spring semester you will also begin work on your dissertation, which you will complete and submit in the summer. If you choose to take the course part-time over two years, you usually study one or two modules per semester. 

Fieldwork

The dissertation is an independent empirical research project which may involve some level of fieldwork activity depending upon methodology. Any fieldwork activity in this context is planned with and supported by an allocated personal supervisor.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by a variety of modes, including open-book examinations, software-based assignments, and essays.

Classroom hours

During autumn and spring semesters, most modules run one morning or one afternoon of scheduled teaching sessions each week. Timetabling is coordinated whenever possible, and in most circumstances classes will not be run on more than two different days per week through a semester (although other optional activities may sometimes be available on other weekdays). There are not normally any scheduled classes that run in the summer semester, though you will usually arrange to meet your dissertation supervisor on a few occasions within that period.   

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2023/242024/25
Students from the UK and Republic of Ireland£7,600£8,000
International (including EU) students£17,775£18,700

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our  Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course. 

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees. 

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry. 

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Eligible students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course. 

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees. 

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry. 

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

Funding 

Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

Social statistics is an important area within applied social research, offering you opportunities in the private, public and voluntary sectors. The course is also designed to provide you with the technical skillset you need to undertake a PhD.

  • Get training in powerful software systems used by industry
  • Gain transferrable skills used across a huge range of organisations
  • Acquire the skillset you need to undertake a PhD

What our students said

Jade Hooper
Scotland
MSc Applied Social Research (Social Statistics and Social Research)
The lecturers are wonderful; passionate about both their own work and your success. I would recommend this course to anyone thinking of a career using quantitative methods in Social Science.
Read Jade's story

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