Applied Social Research (MRes)

Study Applied Social Research and graduate with a university degree

Postgraduate Diploma, MRes

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Applied Social Research (MRes)
  • Type Full-time, Part-time
  • Start date Full-time: SeptemberPart-time: September/January - see

Richard Simmons School of Applied Social Science
Colin Bell Building
University of Stirling
Scotland UK
+44 (0) 1786 466314

This MRes programme covers six subject areas: Applied Social Science, Education, Film, Media and Journalism, Management, Nursing, Midwifery and Health and Sports Studies. There is a core of four shared modules in generic research skills, plus specialist disciplinary modules and a range of options. They combine high quality with flexibility and choice for students. Employability is another important focus, with the opportunity for a research placement offered to all MRes students.

This programme prepares students for undertaking social research and evaluation, leading to careers in research, research management and commissioning or using research. The MRes offers a combination of high quality, flexibility and choice. It is also focused on the employability of its graduates. Research work of the 100+ staff and postgraduate students at Stirling is supported by a state-of-the-art Information & Communication Technologies room, one of the best in the UK.

Course objectives

The objectives are to:

  • Provide you with the skills and knowledge base required to collect, analyse and report qualitative and quantitative data, taking account of ethics, reliability and validity
  • Enable you to examine critically the theoretical foundations that underpin social scientific research
  • Enable you to examine issues concerning comparative social research
  • Develop your understanding of the relationship between research and policy, and the meanings of evaluation, its terminology, practice and use

Entrance 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.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Modes of study

Full-time: one year, five modules per semester
Part-time: two and a half years, two/three modules per semester

Daytime teaching

Course start date

Full-time: September
: September/January - see semester dates

Structure and content

The MRes/Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Research comprises six compulsory taught modules, two further taught module options and (for the MRes) a dissertation.

The compulsory modules are:

  • The Nature of Social Enquiry
  • Research Design and Process
  • Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Comparative Social Research
  • Policy Analysis and Evaluation Research

You must also take two further modules from a list including the following:

  • Thinking Sociologically
  • Research Placement
  • Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Criminological Perspectives
  • Criminalisation, Social Control and Human Rights
  • Research Methods in Criminology and Socio-legal Studies
  • Management and Change
  • Managing Information
  • Paying for Housing
  • Renewal and Regeneration
  • Housing Health and Wellbeing
  • Discourse Analysis

or other modules by arrangement with the Programme Director.

In addition to the above modules, MRes students will complete the following:

  • Research Dissertation: MRes students must undertake an original social science research study and complete a research dissertation with academic supervision

Examples of recent dissertation topics from our established MSc course include:

  • A Study of High Risk Behaviour
  • Young People and National Identity
  • Substance Use Prevalence and Looked-after Young People in Scotland
  • Women’s Decisions about Returning to Work After Childbirth

Delivery and assessment

Teaching methods are designed for each module to facilitate your acquisition of skills and progressive development. You are expected to participate in lectures, seminars, tutorials, computer-based workshops and group work.

Full-time and part-time MRes/Diploma students experience a range of different forms of assessment across the compulsory taught modules. These include essays, critical review essays, book reviews, research proposals, a computer lab-based assessment for quantitative data analysis, group project reports and the research dissertation. There are no examinations.

Course Director

Richard Simmons


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

More information

RAE rating

In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 95 percent of research in Applied Social Science at Stirling was 'Internationally Excellent' with the top 10 percent of that judged to be 'World-leading'.

Career opportunities

Over the past five years, over half of the graduates from our established MSc course have entered social research-related careers in the public, voluntary and private sectors, for example, a manager commissioning research for a local authority, a research fellow at a university and a senior research executive for a European-wide commercial research organisation.

In general, one in ten graduates have enhanced their practice in current posts by undertaking studies in Applied Social Research, with support from their employer. Over one third of our graduates continues with academic study and undertake a PhD.


2016/17 Overseas £12,450
2016/17 Home/EU £4,500
2015/16 Overseas £11,900
2015/16 Home/EU £4,500

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.


Information on possible sources of funding