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MSc Applied Social Research

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

Applied Social Research

Economic and Social Research Council Logo

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September or January
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 30 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based
  • Accreditations Economic and Social Research Council

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 and explore the issues with social network research. Finally, you’ll develop an understanding of the relationship between research and policymaking.

Our MSc 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, as well as preparing you for an ESRC-recognised interdisciplinary PhD in Families, Relationships and Demographic Change and Social Care.

  • 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 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 comparative social research
    • develop your understanding of the relationship between research and policy, and the meanings of evaluation, its terminology, practice and use
  • Professional accreditations

    Our MSc 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, as well as preparing you for an ESRC-recognised interdisciplinary PhD in Families, Relationships and Demographic Change and Social Care.

  • Work placements

    During your studies you’ll have the opportunity to carry out a research placement to gain practical experience and establish professional contacts.

  • Flexible learning

    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

    When you study Applied Social Research at the University of Stirling, you’ll be introduced to leading-edge 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 2014) – a UK-wide assessment of universities’ research output. In the Social Work and Social Policy unit of assessment, highlights included:

    • 78% of our overall research activity was assessed to be internationally excellent or world-leading
    • 100% of research environment factors assessed as internationally excellent or world leading
    • 100% of our research impact was assessed as world leading or internationally excellent
    • we were judged to have the 2nd highest research power in Scotland and 13th highest in the UK
  • 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.

    INTO University of Stirling offers a Graduate Diploma if you don’t meet the required criteria for this course. If you successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences and meet the required progression grades, you’ll be guaranteed entry onto this Masters degree.

  • 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: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C or above
    • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B or above
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
    • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

    More information on our English language 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.

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

The MSc/Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Research comprises six compulsory taught core modules and, for the MSc, a dissertation.

Modules

The module details given below are subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes. The modules outlined below represent those offered in 2017/18 on this course of study.

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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 take four or five modules per semester. If you're studying part-time, you'll take two modules per semester. 

  • 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, a computer lab-based assessment for quantitative data analysis and the research dissertation. There are no examinations.

  • Classroom hours

    Teaching on this course generally takes place all day on a Friday, but certain modules may be taught on other days.

  • Course director
  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (fees are different for each course)

      2018/19 2019/20

    Home/EU Students

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

    If you’re domiciled in Scotland, you may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover your tuition fees and associated living costs. Students domiciled in the EU can also apply for tuition fee support, although may not be eligible to receive funding to support living costs.

    If you're domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should be eligible to apply for a loan from your regional body.

    English students apply for a loan of up to £10,609 per year as part of the UK Postgraduate Loan Scheme, Welsh students can apply for a non-means tested loan of up to £13,000 from the Welsh Government and Northern Irish students are eligible to apply for support of up to £5,500.

    *Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.

    £4,700 TBC

    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course. Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.

    £13,650 £14,300

    Please note: You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

  • Scholarships

    Fully funded places are available on this course through the ESRC. Read more details on the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science website.

    Other sources of funding

    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. That’s why we offer a wide range of scholarships and funding opportunities available.

    To explore our scholarships and learn more about funding opportunities, use our scholarship finder.

  • Additional costs

    If you choose to attend your graduation ceremony, you will be liable for an additional charge. There is no charge if you wish to graduate in absentia. Learn more about additional fees.

  • 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.

    EU and overseas 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

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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