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Social Science Research Methods (Sociology) (MSc/PgDip)

1 year (Full-time) / 2 years (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)


The information below relates to the Sociology pathway of the MSc/PgDip Social Science Research Methods programme.


Special Features of the Sociology pathway

Cardiff is a centre of research excellence in Sociology having been ranked first in terms of ‘research power’ in the last Research Assessment Exercise (2008). This research power in Sociology is reflected in the volume and distribution of sociological expertise at Cardiff and through a number of well established research centres. Cardiff is an internationally recognised site for methodological innovation, application and training in both quantitative and qualitative methods. All this takes place in a structured and supportive research environment.

One of the distinctive features of Sociology at Cardiff is the opportunity for postgraduate students to work with a wide range of leading researchers, on a range of themes and drawing on varied approaches and theories. Sociology postgraduate students have opportunities to attend seminars and data analysis workshops organised by the interdisciplinary research groups, including:

Postgraduate students also have the opportunity to attend events organised by major research centres, including:

Colloquia for postgraduate students from across Wales also provide opportunities for students to present their work in a supportive environment and benefit from the input of academic colleagues from partner institutions.


Testimonial of a Sociology pathway graduate

"The SSRM MSc has been an immensely challenging but fascinating year. The teaching has been so excellent that not only do I feel well versed in a multitude of methodologies and research design and practice issues but I have learned much sociological and wider social science content too. The interdisciplinary nature of the course has been refreshing and listening to disciplines far removed from my own has often resulted in critical learning opportunities. For me, the SSRM has been the start of my journey to demonstrate a capability to convert from health to social sciences. Success in this year has now opened the door to continue on to PhD study. Whilst I undertook this course in order to pursue doctoral study, I feel the SSRM is also a fantastic course for health care professionals interested in social science wanting to undertake research projects or improve their practice."

SSRM graduate (Sociology pathway) more student views


Description of the Sociology pathway

The Sociology Pathway MSc in Social Science Research Methods provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers within both the public and private sector. The Sociology Pathway provides students with opportunities to address a wide range of sociological topics and themes. These include health and well-being studies; culture and identity; work, employment and labour markets; working environment; childhood studies; sexualities and gender; genetics and society; science and the nature of expertise; risk and the environment, methodological innovation and the sociology of Wales. There is opportunity to address theoretical, analytical and methodological questions, in the process of formulating research questions, developing research proposals, reporting on research progress and presenting analyses.

For the taught component, students will be required to complete six 20-credit modules (5 core research modules and 1 pathway module). In all modules students have the opportunity to engage with literature and research relevant to their Pathway (Sociology).

Sociology Module Advanced Concepts in Contemporary Sociology
Autumn & Spring: The module will introduce students to a selected range of advanced sociological concepts. The relevance of the selected concepts to the understanding, interpretation and work on contemporary social issues will be explored. This will be facilitated through the use of appropriate case studies.
Foundations in Social Research Autumn term: The module introduces philosophical/theoretical concepts alongside practical issues of research method choice and design.
Qualitative Research Methods Autumn & Spring: This main aim of the module is to provide knowledge, training and practice in the collection, analysis and representation of qualitative data.
Quantitative Research Methods Autumn & Spring: This module introduces students to the systematic collection and analysis of quantitative data, including a broad range of commonly used statistical techniques.
Research Applications Spring term: This module critically explores the various applications of research to different settings. Students tailor their learning by selecting from a menu of options.
Core Competencies for Postgraduate Social Scientists Autumn & Spring: This module introduces students to essential postgraduate social science survival skills. The module ends with an end-of-year Student Conference.

Timetables for the 2013/14 session are available to download:

The dissertation in the Sociology pathway

On successful completion of the taught component, students prepare a dissertation (of a maximum 20,000 words) to be submitted by mid-September. The 60-credit dissertation component requires independent study. Dissertation topics are chosen by the students in agreement with their supervisors.

Recent SSRM Sociology thesis titles include:


Entry Requirements for the Sociology pathway

A good first degree or a recognised equivalent qualification. Non-graduates will be considered if they can demonstrate, through some recent and relevant professional experience, that they have the ability to undertake the course.

This course is suitable for graduates in social science and cognate disciplines including sociology, politics, critical psychology, education, social policy and social work, criminology, management and business studies, history, area studies, geography, pedagogy, public administration, industrial and employee relations, and law.

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.


Tuition Fees:

  • UK & EU Full Time for 2014/15 unless otherwise specified below
    £5,730.00
  • UK & EU Part Time for 2014/15 unless otherwise specified below
    £2,865.00
  • International Full Time for 2014/15 unless otherwise specified below
    £13,500.00
  • International Part Time for 2014/15 unless otherwise specified below
    £6,750.00

Next intake: October each year

School Contact

Name: Dr William Housley (SSRM – Sociology Pathway)  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 75236 

Fax: +44 (0)29 208 74175 

Email: HousleyW@cardiff.ac.uk  

School Contact

Name: Dr Amanda Robinson (SSRM Programme Director); Ms Gemma Robinson (SSRM Programme Administrator)  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0284  

Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4175  

Email: SSRM@cardiff.ac.uk  

School Website: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/for/prospective/postgraduate/social-science-research-methods.html

More information

Postgraduate