MSc in Sociology

The MSc in Sociology is a taught course that provides training for careers in social research and prepares students for doctoral work in Sociology. To achieve this, it aims to give students high-quality graduate-level research training, including:
 
  • Knowledge of the key theoretical approaches that are relevant to empirical investigations
  • An understanding of their application to substantive problems
  • Skills in the use of major research techniques
By the end of the course, students should be able to understand, and to evaluate critically, research monographs and papers at the forefront of academic development within Sociology, enabling them to apply these ideas and techniques to their own research work.
 
The emphasis is not only on the findings of sociological research but more importantly on the ways in which these findings were reached, the formulation of the research questions, the research methods used, and the interpretation of the research results.

Structure

The MSc in Sociology is offered on both a full-time (one-year) and part-time (two-year) basis. The degree and expectations for both modes of study are equally rigorous: part-time students take their classes with the full-time students, but spread their study over two years to accommodate work and personal circumstances.

In the first two terms, full-time students take two compulsory Core Papers and two Optional Papers. After the second term, students will work on research for their MSc Thesis, before sitting exams during the third term.

The Core Papers are:

  • Sociological Analysis, which develops intellectual skills in explaining social phenomena: identifying puzzles, developing theoretical explanations, and evaluating empirical evidence
  • Methods of Social Research, which introduces students to qualitative methods, statistical methods, and the research design process

By choosing two Optional Papers and a related thesis topic, students can create their own specialised pathway and focus on a particular topic of study during their degree, support by expert supervision and teaching.

Pathways

Example topics of focus and potential supervisors within the Department:

The Thesis

The MSc Thesis consists of a 10,000-word sociological analysis which students carry out under the guidance of their supervisor, and is submitted on or before 1 September.

Part-time students will write their dissertations in the third term of their second year and submit by 1 September of that second year, but will be encouraged to start planning their thesis from their first year.