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MSc Sociology MSc Sociology (Research) MSc Sociology (Contemporary Social Thought)

About the MSc programmes

Our Sociology master's degrees offer students training in the most significant recent developments in sociology. All three streams enable students to specialise in particular areas, developing their critical and analytical abilities, their methodological skills and their expertise in substantive sociological topics.

All three Sociology master's streams offer scope for students to develop their own intellectual agendas and research projects in any aspect of the discipline that interests them, and to choose option courses from a wide selection both within and without the Sociology Department. Each stream emphasises a different aspect of research training, provided through its specification of core courses: MSc Sociology provides a balance of sociological theory, methodology and substantive topics. The Contemporary Social Thought stream is built around a core course in theory and analysis. The MSc Sociology (Research) has a higher weighting of qualitative and quantitative methods training, originally designed as an ESRC approved training course for doctoral studentships.

These programmes offer the following benefits:

  • The chance to study sociology at graduate level in the only specialist institution for the social sciences in the UK. The research MSc is part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recognised 1+3 programme in the Department and offer holders can enter the competition for ESRC 1+3 studentships.
  • The opportunity to study with faculty of established national and international reputations in the Department's areas of research expertise. The core MSc Sociology programme offers a foundation in sociological research methods together with flexibility in option choices. The streams are aimed at students who wish to specialise in key areas: social research methods; contemporary social thought; or economic sociology but they also retain considerable flexibility in the course choices. Option courses reflect the Department's academic strengths, including: classical and contemporary social theory; political sociology; the sociology of economic life; culture and society; families in contemporary societies, gender and society; cities and urbanism; science and technology studies.
  • The chance to progress to a research degree (MPhil/PhD) following completion of your MSc. The MSc dissertation will provide you with the chance of exploring the possibility of writing on a particular subject in some depth.
  • The opportunity to develop critical understandings of the ways in which societies work, techniques of social research and skills in communication through systematic argument.

Programme details

You take a total of three course units through a combination of full and/or half units and you complete a dissertation of up to 10,000 words on a subject of interest related to the courses and approved by the Department.

You will be advised on the dissertation topic by your academic adviser, in conjunction with the tutor of your chosen MSc programme. You choose the topic, which can be empirical or theoretical in its approach. The dissertation gives you the opportunity of thinking sociologically and at length on a sociological problem, issue or debate within sociology itself.

Compulsory courses for MSc Sociology

(* half unit) 

Compulsory courses for MSc Sociology (Research)

Compulsory courses for MSc Sociology (Contemporary Social Thought)

  • Contemporary Social Thought is organised around three key areas: transformations in time and space; new technologies, methods and society; cosmopolitanism and post-cosmopolitanism.
  • Dissertation.

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of one full course unit (MSc Sociology (Research)) or two course units (MSc Sociology and MSc Sociology (Contemporary Social Thought)).

Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

Graduate destinations

Students go into a wide variety of professions, such as teaching, research, politics, public administration, the social and health services, advertising, journalism, other areas of the media, law, publishing, industry, accounting, marketing, personnel and management.


Application codes: L3U2, L3UF (Research), L3UH (CST) (check availability)

Start date: 24 September 2015

Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time

Intake/applications in 2013: 29/169

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 in social science (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: UK/EU £12,024; overseas £18,600

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support). The MSc Sociology (Research) is accredited for ESRC funding as part of a four year award (see ESRC)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions. For consideration for ESRC funding 12 January 2015