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

1 year (full-time) / 2 years (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

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

Special Features of the Social Policy pathway

Research training in Social Policy pathway builds on a strong interdisciplinary social science research base within the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, and benefits from a close association with the other schools across the University. Students have the opportunity to engage with nationally and internationally recognised social policy research – working with academic colleagues with extensive experience of undertaking research with policy-makers, practitioners and stakeholders in a wide variety of settings.

Testimonial of the Social Policy graduate

"The SSRM at Cardiff is a comprehensive course designed to support students into the next stage of their research career. As a student going on to do my PhD I found it offered a balanced approach to research in the social sciences with emphasis on the importance of both qualitative and quantitative methods. The academic staff here are approachable, supportive and responsive to student concerns and the resources available to post graduate students at Cardiff are excellent."

SSRM graduate (Social Policy pathway) more student views

Description of the Social Policy pathway

In addition to the taught elements of the MSc, Social Policy pathway students are encouraged to attend and participate in the activities of the School of Social Sciences' research groups. Postgraduate students become members of at least one of the School’s research groups, all of which contribute to the development of an interdisciplinary research culture. Research groups hold regular meetings, providing social policy-related research. There is also currently a student-led ‘Policy Café’ which organises talks and discussion on applied research themes.

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 (Social Policy).

Social Policy Module Social Policy: Participative Citizenship -Autumn term (weekend module). The aim of this module is to inculcate knowledge, conceptual understanding, and analytical skills regarding major dimensions of contemporary social policy, with particular concentration on analysis of welfare policy through the lens of participative citizenship.
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 Social Policy 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 Social Policy pathway thesis titles include:

Entry Requirements for the Social Policy 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.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: SSRM Administrator Contact  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0284 / +44 (0)29 2087 5178  



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