Social Science (MSc)
12 months, with some weekend seminars (full-time) / 24-36 months, with some weekend seminars (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)
The MSc in Social Science offers students the unique opportunity to tailor their own programme of study made up from a range of modules offered on other postgraduate courses at Cardiff University School of Social Sciences.
Students will develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of social scientific theory and research methods, alongside more specialist material from a selection of fields such as childhood and youth studies; crime, safety and justice; education; social and public policy. The programme is suitable for anyone wishing to enhance their academic record and employability profile, providing a range of transferrable skills for the workplace, as well as a foundation for those wishing to go on to further training in a variety of professional fields. The MSc in Social Science will be of value and relevance to students from both the UK and overseas.
The programme is distinctive because it offers exciting opportunities for students to work in a truly inter-disciplinary social science environment and to benefit from a breadth of substantive, theoretical and methodological expertise with leading scholars. The MSc in Social Science is one of the few courses available in the UK that provide students with the freedom to piece together their own programme of study, drawing from a number of different fields such as childhood and youth studies; crime, safety and justice; education; social and public policy. All students on the course also have the opportunity to develop their expertise in social theory and research methods and design through the core modules offered on the programme.
It is not possible to provide a single course description for the MSc in Social Science due to the unique character of this programme. Each student will experience the course in a very different way, depending on the particular module choices that they make. Although all students on the programme will study a core module on social theory and a core module on research methods and design, even these modules will be experienced differently depending on which of the specialist subject focus seminars students decide to attend attached to these modules.
Whatever the particular route chosen through the programme, all students will benefit from the development of a number of general ‘employability skills’, including the following:
- The ability to collect, analyse and interpret various forms of complex data,
- The ability to employ a range of qualitative and quantitative research skills,
- The use and application of information technologies,
- The ability to communicate and present ideas and findings in a variety of ways, for example, in writing, and orally,
- The ability to problem solve, and work individually and in groups.
The MSc in Social Science is organised around two 30-credit modules in social science theory and research methods and design, one 60-credit supervised dissertation on a social scientific topic of your choice, and three 20-credit specialist modules taken from other postgraduate programmes offered by Cardiff University School of Social Sciences. The modules that make up the core of the MSc in Social Science are as follows:
Module 1: Principles and Practices of Research Design
This module provides students with an introduction to the principles and practice of social science research design and methods. It introduces students to the main data collection methods used in social sciences and provides a common grounding in how to critically evaluate the research of others and make appropriate choices in their own research projects, enabling them to specify, design and conduct a research project. Seminars in this module help students understand how to apply research principles and practices to the field of their choice, e.g. childhood and youth studies; crime, safety and justice; education; social and public policy.
Module 2: Critical Perspectives in Social Science
This module introduces students to, and advances their understanding of, some of the leading theoretical perspectives and concepts in the social sciences. The module draws on a range of sociological theoretical perspectives and conceptualisations (for example equality, power, values, gender, ethnicity, class and social reproduction) to explore the ways in which theoretical insight can add understanding to our knowledge of the social world and everyday practice. Seminars in this module help students understand how to apply theoretical perspectives and concepts to the field of their choice, e.g. childhood and youth studies; crime, safety and justice; education; social and public policy.
Module 3: Dissertation
All students in the MSc in Social Science are asked to produce a 60-credit, 20,000 word dissertation on a social scientific topic of their choice. This dissertation involves a small scale independent piece of research, and enables students to develop their interests in a substantive area related to the programme, and to put into practice the knowledge and skills developed through participation in the taught modules. Each student will be allocated a personal dissertation supervisor to assist in planning, conducting and writing up the research project.
In addition to these core modules, all students on the MSc in Social Science are also required to take three 20-credit specialist modules from other postgraduate courses offered at Cardiff University School of Social Sciences. Available modules will vary from year to year but may include the following:
- Changing Modes of Professionalism
- Childhood, Youth and Policy
- Contemporary Issues in Childhood and Youth Studies
- Debates in Educational Research
- Democracy, Politics and Institutions
- Global Educational Alternatives
- International and Comparative Skills Systems
- Research with Children and Young People
- Responses to Crime, Safety and Justice
- Social Contexts of Education
- Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century
- Visitor Studies
Students also have the opportunity to take a 20-credit ‘Negotiated Study’ module as one of their three module choices if they so wish. This module involves students negotiating and engaging in a field of study outside of the set modules offered by the School in order to develop a particular interest or area of expertise.
The modules that comprise the programme employ a diverse range of teaching including lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials, and independent guided study. Students have the opportunity to develop and practice advanced oral and written communication through formative tasks such as presentation of preparatory reading, group problem-based learning tasks, group presentations and substantive assessment including essay, project report and poster presentation. Most of the modules involve weekly meetings over the course of a three-month academic semester, but a few are taught as clusters of day-long workshops, often taking place at weekends. Each student’s timetable will differ depending on the particular optional 20-credit modules selected.
On successfully completing the MSc in Social Science, you will have significantly enhanced your ability to:
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of key issues and debates in the substantive modules and subject areas selected for study on the programme;
- Critically evaluate existing knowledge, scholarship and research, and appreciate competing claims and theoretical perspectives;
- Apply knowledge and skills and show originality in thinking by tackling both familiar and unfamiliar problems;
- As appropriate, evaluate, synthesise and interpret data, and be able to collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret data in the form of a project or dissertation;
- Demonstrate high-level academic and personal skills applicable to own research or scholarship, such as writing, oral presentations, problem solving and group work, and the use and application of information technologies in, for example, literature searches, research methods, and data analysis and presentation.
Applicants should normally hold, or be close to completing a first or second-class undergraduate degree in a social sciences or humanities subject. However, other applicants will be considered if they can demonstrate, through recent and relevant experience, that they have the ability to undertake the course.
Applicants whose first language is not English are required to obtain a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with at least 6.5 in writing and 5.5 in the other sub-sections.
Further Information & How to Apply
Applications should be made via the Online Application Service.
Please make sure that you explain clearly in your personal statement why you are interested in applying to the MSc in Social Science at Cardiff University. You should refer explicitly to the particular aspects of this course and the module choices that most interest you, and what topics or themes you are hoping to learn more about in taking it. If this information is not included, this may cause delays in processing your application, and the School may contact you with a request for further information.
The deadline for applications from international students for this course is 1st August 2015. The deadline for applications from home students for this course is 1st September 2015.
Next intake: September each year. Apply in September and by the 15th October each year.
Name: Dr Peter Hemming
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 70911
Fax: +44 (0)29 208 74175