Course information

Department

Sociology

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

The MSc in Social Research is an advanced degree in social scientific methodology. It is suited to those who wish to prepare for PhD research or for those who want to increase key employability skills in the areas of qualitative fieldwork, quantitative data management, and data analytics.

As a student on this programme, you’ll draw upon a wide variety of expertise from within the Centre for Urban and Community Research, the Methods Lab, and the Department of Sociology more widely.

Based in London in an incredibly culturally diverse area, you will have direct access to one of the most stimulating fieldwork areas through which experience will be acquired conducting ‘live sociology’. This experience combined with undertaking a rigorous curriculum means that upon successful completion of the MSc all students will be proficient in preparing, designing, undertaking, and presenting advanced level social research suitable for all types of audiences.

Throughout the degree you will undertake rigorous training in both qualitative and quantitative research designs and techniques. 

Key research techniques covered include:

  • conducting interviews
  • ethnographic research
  • discourse analysis
  • visual sociology
  • computer-assisted qualitative data analysis
  • working with quantitative comparative data
  • multiple regression analysis
  • multi-level modelling
  • longitudinal modelling
  • Structural Equation Modelling
  • Latent Class Analysis

Thinking Ahead

We encourage students to use their MSc degree as a platform for PhD level research. Goldsmiths is part of the of the South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) through which students can apply for fully-funded ESRC PhD studentships.

For those looking to refine particular research skills to better understand groups and audiences, staff on the programme have many years’ experience working with charities, government agencies, and private sector companies, and can advise on research techniques and further training courses to fit bespoke needs.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Paul Stoneman

Structure

Core Modules Module title Credits
  Modelling Social Data I 30 credits
  Modelling Social Data II* 30 credits
  Theory, Concepts and Methods of Social Research I* 30 credits
  Theory, Concepts and Methods of Social Research II* 30 credits
  Dissertation 60 credits

Assessment

Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.

Download the programme specification for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Selection process

As part of the admissions process, you may be offered an informal advisory meeting with the Programme Convenor.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments.
  • An electronic copy of your reference on letter headed paper, or alternatively the email address of your referee who we can request a reference from. It is preferrs that you use an academic reference, however in cases where applicants are unable to provide one, a professional reference is acceptable.
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online.

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory).

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Find out more about applying.

Careers

You will gain advanced methodological knowledge within the social sciences coupled with hands-on experience working with a range of research techniques and software for data analysis. This grounding offers an advantageous position from which to apply for PhD funding or to move into careers which require advanced research skills and knowledge. 

A number of students that have completed the MSc in Social Research have successfully acquired ESRC funding for doctoral level studies, while others have entered the public and third/NGO sector as well as the Civil Service ‘fast track’ scheme for government social research.

Staff

What our students say

Maisie

"I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to investigate the social world for themselves."

Doing a Masters wasn’t an easy decision financially, so I wanted to choose a course that would allow me to pursue my sociological interests, but give me concrete, practical skills that I could use in both academic and non-academic settings. It definitely delivered.

I appreciated that the course seemed carefully structured to get the most out of the time. There was plenty of support to get through the quantitative element, which was definitely challenging for me; but it was satisfying to work with the data and gave me a whole new confidence in finding and understanding social patterns. The Theory, Concepts and Methods module mixed interesting and lively debates on writing, ethics and qualitative methods with hands-on group-work. We practised interviews, found ways of capturing the sounds of the city, and worked on small projects in the local area, which built confidence and a team spirit.

Goldsmiths’ creative and original vibe meant that conducting a dissertation in the less traditional area of human-animal studies was encouraged and was a brilliant experience. I’ve now begun a paid internship as a Hospice Community Researcher, investigating decisions that families with children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions make about their care. The MA in Social Research helped me secure the post and prepared me for that level of responsibility. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to investigate the social world for themselves.

Emma

"The combination of knowledge of different methodological approaches and research methods is proving invaluable."

"The MA in Social Research at Goldsmiths provided advanced in qualitative and quantitative methods as well as giving me the scope to explore my own research interests. Doing the MA enabled me to go on and do a PhD in Sociology

I then went on to work as a research assistant as part of a large research team at King's College London, on a project studying the Middle Classes, and then held a post-doctoral fellowship in Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow. I am now a lecturer in the Sociology department at Goldsmiths where I convene the Urban Field Encounters module.

In my work as a researcher and lecturer, the combination of knowledge of different methodological approaches and research methods that I received at Goldsmiths has proved invaluable and I am delighted to be able to make a contribution to MA teaching in the department where I started out."

Alice

"Studying Social Research at Goldsmiths was one of the best decisions for my career."

"Studying Social Research at Goldsmiths was one of the best decisions for my career. I chose it because I believed it would give me the skills required to work in a range of environments; I knew I wanted to do research within the third sector, but hadn’t yet decided beyond that.  

The course gave me such a strong foundation that even before I had submitted my dissertation, I had already been offered a job as the Evaluation Manager for Pilotlight; a small charity that supports other charities to be more effective in their work.

At Pilotlight I oversaw our monitoring and evaluation, designed further ways to measure our work, helped other organisations (and ourselves) to develop a theory of change, and supported other organisations to better measure their impact. After working there for nearly two years, I was headhunted by Teach First.

I now work at Teach First as a Senior Officer for Impact. My main tasks are to help develop our own theory of change (and a theory of change for the education/charity sector) and to measure our work against the Fair Education Alliance’s Impact Goals – analysing the changes on the pupils that our participants (trainee teachers) teach. My role is varied, stimulating and intense, and I really enjoy working for the charity.

My understanding and knowledge of research methods has been crucial for my career. I would not have worked for Pilotlight without it; and I would not therefore be where I am today without it. I would strongly recommend it!"

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