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MSc Applied Social Research

Gain transferrable research skills and expand your future career possibilities with our MSc Applied Social Research.

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

This Masters course provides you with the skills and knowledge you need to carry out robust social research and evaluation.

You’ll learn how to collect, analyse and report qualitative and quantitative data, taking account of ethics, reliability and validity. You’ll also critically examine the theoretical foundations that underpin social scientific research. Finally, you’ll develop an understanding of the relationship between research and policymaking.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

The objective of our MSc Applied Social Research is to provide you with the skills and knowledge required to collect, analyse and report upon qualitative and quantitative data, taking account of ethics, reliability and validity. Your studies will enable you to:

  • critically examine the theoretical foundations that underpin social scientific research;
  • examine issues concerning social research design and the application of techniques of research analysis;
  • develop your understanding of the relationship between research and policy, and the meanings of evaluation, its terminology, practice and use.

Professional accreditation

Our MSc Applied Social Research 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. Its provision is also appropriate for ESRC-recognised interdisciplinary PhD projects or pathways. 

Flexible learning

Students can study full time or part time and 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 Applied 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 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

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.

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

Boost your research skills and expand your knowledge with in-depth postgraduate modules and a dissertation project. 

The MSc in Applied Social Research requires 120 credits in taught modules (usually by taking six 20-credit modules) and a dissertation (worth 60 credits). The Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Research requires 120 credits in taught modules.

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

Teaching methods are designed for each module to help you develop new skills and make continuous progress. You’ll participate in lectures, seminars, tutorials, computer-based workshops and group work.

If you're studying the course full-time, you'll usually take three 20-credit modules in both the Autumn and Spring semesters. You'll also complete your dissertation in the Autumn, Spring and Summer semesters.

If you're studying part-time, you'll usually take one or two 20-credit modules in each Autumn and Spring Semester. You'll complete your dissertation over the course of your second year.

Fieldwork

The dissertation in 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

Whether you’re a full-time or part-time MSc/PgDip student, you’ll experience a range of different forms of assessment across the taught modules. These include essays, critical review essays, book reviews, research proposals, presentations, time limited tests and exercises, and the research dissertation. 

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 throughout 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 UK/Republic of Ireland 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

The full-time option for 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 who study this course full-time 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.

This course is eligible for funding to cover feeds when studied as part of ESRC PhD scholarship - see the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science website for information on how to apply for an ESRC PhD scholarship.

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

You’ll graduate with the skills you need for a career in research, research management or research commissioning in the public, voluntary or private sectors.

Employability is an important focus of the course, and over the past five years many of our graduates have entered social research-related careers in the public, voluntary and private sectors, with others continuing their academic study and undertaking a PhD.

  • Gain research skills relevant to the public, private or voluntary sectors.
  • Build experience and professional connections during a research placement.
  • ESRC accreditation opens up future opportunities for academic study.

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