Doctor of Applied Social Research

Enquire now

Become a leader in your field with a Doctor of Applied Social Research. Continue working while you study and graduate with invaluable expertise.

Doctor of Applied Social Research
Enquire now

Key facts

  • Award DASR
  • Start date September 2024, January 2025
  • Duration Full-time: 36 to 48 months, Part-time: 48 to 96 months
  • Mode of study full time, part time
  • Delivery blended


ESRC Scottish Doctoral Training Centre

Economic and Social Research Council Logo


Our Doctor of Applied Social Research is designed to transform the way you think as a professional and ensure you can make a powerful impact in your field.

If you’re an experienced professional who wants to advance your expertise and broaden your career opportunities, this course is an ideal match. From the outset, you’ll gain high-quality research skills that can be immediately applied in the workplace and refined through access to seminars and advanced training opportunities. You’ll also benefit from the guidance of our expert staff and your interaction with fellow professionals and executives from a range of social science backgrounds.

The course is highly flexible, and attendance is kept to a minimum to ensure you can fit your studies around your career. You can also fine-tune your Doctorate in Applied Social Research based on your profession by choosing one of the following pathways:

You’ll acquire skills that bring you up to date with the latest ideas, findings and research methods in your field, all of which you can feed back into optimising the workplace and taking decisive actions that improve services and advance your career. 

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

This course is designed to enhance the way you think as a professional and give you the research skills you need to make a genuine impact on your working environment. We’ll bring you up to date with the latest ideas, findings and methods in your field, challenging assumptions and changing how you think about the relationship between research, scholarship and expertise. You’ll be encouraged to look at new ideas about systems, how decisions are made and how to design the professional environment so that you can see, understand, evaluate, plan and act with maximum speed and efficiency.

As well as equipping you with foundational insights into research processes through our core research training modules, you’ll also home in on a speciality area via a range of pathway options. These pathways ensure your qualification matches the specific demands of your professional role or your career ambitions.

Professional accreditation

We’re part of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences and our research training is accredited as part of the ESRC Scottish Doctoral Training Centre. 

Study abroad

You can choose to take part in the Turing Scheme – which offers placements abroad. Course staff will support your application process.

Faculty staff have many international collaborations and contacts. We welcome students who are interested in developing or using their own international networks.

Flexible learning

The Doctor of Applied Social Research has access to training provided by the University’s Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), as well as the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences (SGSSS).

IAS offer a broad programme of training which will enable you to develop across a range of areas including knowledge and intellectual abilities, personal effectiveness, research governance and engagement, influence and impact.

SGSSS is a national organisation providing a high level of social science input with a sophisticated, diverse and useful suite of training. Stirling has an outstanding campus, an extensive library and an international reputation for high-quality research and teaching.

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.

Research overview

When you study Applied Professional Studies 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 Excellence Framework 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 – with 100% of our research environment and 88% of our research deemed world leading or internationally excellent.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

The Doctor of Applied Social Research is intended for experienced professionals, and you’ll normally need the equivalent of a minimum of two years' appropriate professional experience and an honours or masters degree in a relevant social science from a UK university or equivalent. Credit may be awarded for previous study, according to Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework guidelines.

If you’re an international student and applying with a Student visa, we can’t accept your application for this course as it falls into the category of being part-time, delivered online or a distance learning course.

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) 61 overall with 56 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

The core modules give you the opportunity to build high quality research skills and learn from each other’s experiences as professionals. Each professional pathway then offers a choice of modules from which two may be selected to tailor your own course. Choose the professional pathway that’s right for you with a host of optional modules in seven diverse fields:


This pathway includes a choice of specialist modules in Providing Housing Services; Sustainable Communities; Organisational Behaviour; Delivering Affordable Housing; Housing Governance; Healthy Housing.

Social Work

Our Social Work pathway includes a choice of specialist modules in Understanding Children and Young People's needs; Understanding Children and Young People's Needs; Improving Outcomes for Children and Young People; and several others.

Dementia Studies

This pathway includes a choice of specialist modules in Evaluation and Assessment in Dementia Care and Researching Dementia.

Criminal Justice

Our Criminal Justice pathway includes a choice of specialist modules in Criminological Perspectives; Criminalisation, Social Control and Human Rights; Rehabilitation and Criminal Justice Work; Research Methods in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies.

Substance Use

Our Substance Use pathway includes a choice of specialist modules in Understanding Addiction: Society, Policy and Practice and Understanding Addiction: Treatment and Recovery.

Family Therapy

As the only doctorate of its kind in Scotland, the Doctorate of Applied Social Research (Family Therapy) is for family therapists and systemic practitioners who want to develop as a researcher, complementing existing clinical skills and knowledge.

Applied Social Research

The Applied Social Research pathway includes a choice of specialist modules in Nature of Social Enquiry; Social Network Analysis; Policy Analysis and Evaluation Research; Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis; Theory and Method of Digital Social Research.


The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the academic year that starts in September 2024. Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details


Teaching methods are adapted to suit the aims of each module, and include lectures, seminars, computer-based workshops and group work. There are many opportunities for discussion and feedback from peers and teaching staff. At the thesis stage, you’ll have two supervisors, with the Principal Supervisor having expertise in your chosen area of interest. In addition, you’ll also have access to courses, seminars and development opportunities offered by Stirling Graduate Research School (SGRS) and the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences, including advanced training and summer school programmes.


You’ll be assessed through a variety of different methods, including coursework essays, critical review essays, book reviews, research proposals, research papers, conference posters, group project reports and oral presentations.

Classroom hours

For the convenience of part-time students, timetables for each of the core Applied Social Research modules are aligned to minimise attendance requirements, or may be taken online. The professional modules are also designed for part-time students, with several being offered online (Housing and Dementia Studies). On-campus attendance is kept to a minimum.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2023-24 fees
  UK students International (including EU) students
Full course fee £16,700 £47,000
Full-time annual fee (charged years 1-3) £5,567 £15,667
Part-time annual fee (charged years 1-5) £3,340 £9,400


2024-25 fees
  UK students International (including EU) students
Full course fee £17,000 £47,900
Full-time annual fee (charged years 1-3) £5,667 £15,967
Part-time annual fee (charged years 1-5) £3,400 £9,580

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

This fee is charged as an annual course fee. For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fees policy.

Doctoral loans

If you're domiciled in England or Wales, you may be eligible to apply for a doctoral loan from your regional body.

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


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.

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

As both a professional and a research student, you’ll find a supportive environment within the University for putting research into practice and having a direct impact on people’s lives. As a Doctor of Applied Social Research student you’ll also frequently find yourself at the forefront of cutting-edge developments and initiatives in your organisation. This can help you to develop your career to a new level or open up interesting consultancy opportunities. You may also choose to carry out further research and build an academic career.

  • Develop and advance in your profession as you study for your Doctor of Applied Social Research.
  • Open up opportunities in consultancy, academia or your current job role.
  • Grow your network of professional contacts.

Which course would you like to apply for?

Doctor of Applied Social Research (Applied Social Science)

Doctor of Applied Social Research (Housing)

Doctor of Applied Social Research (Social Work)

Doctor of Applied Social Research (Dementia)

Doctor of Applied Social Research (Criminal Justice)

Doctor of Applied Social Research (Substance Use)

Doctorate of Applied Social Research (Family Therapy)

Search for another course