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The Education Pathway builds on the internationally recognised research carried out by academic staff within the Cardiff School of Social Sciences (SOCSI). Students benefit from the specialist expertise in education research as well as from the interdisciplinary profile of the School and the wider Cardiff University University Graduate College, which acts as a focal point for students from social science departments throughout the University.

The Education Pathway addresses a wide range of research and related areas in the field of education. In addition to generic research methods training, the course includes dedicated modules on critical debates in education, the foundations of educational research, and strategies for undertaking research in the field of education. The course explores issues at all phases of formal education, as well as debates concerning life-long learning and the knowledge-based society.

The Education Pathway is informed by leading research in education. Current research projects in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences include the Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE), Qualiti — Qualitative Research methods in the Social Sciences: Innovation, Integration and Impact (part of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods), the Learning at Work Research Programme, as well as a range of focused projects on education. In addition, students have the opportunity to work with research staff in the very successful Research Group — Education, Culture and Society. This Group provides the opportunity for vibrant and engaged discussion about education research, formulation and development of proposals, reports on work in progress and related research activities Other relevant research groups include: Culture and Society; Childhood; Ethnography, Culture and Interpretive Analysis; Sexualities and Gender; Work, Employability and Labour Markets; and Culture, Subject and Economy. These groups hold regular programme of meetings which provide opportunities for researchers to share ideas and discuss issues in the policy and practice of education-related research.

The MSc in Social Science Research Methods provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers in the field of education. Applicants are welcome to take the MSc as a stand alone programme, either as a preparation for other study or as a post-experience qualification. Students may also apply for ESRC funding to study the programme as part of the ‘1+3’ scheme or after successfully completing the course can apply to the ESRC for ‘ 3’ funding.

The MSc programme is as follows:

Semester 1: October - January

Compulsory/Subject Specific Modules

Principles of Research Design [10 credits]

Quantitative Research I [10 credits]

Qualitative Research I [10 credits]

Research and Study Skills [10 credits]

Advanced Specialist Option

Foundations of Educational Research [10 credits]

Critical Debates in Education [10 credits]

Semester 2: January - June

Compulsory/Subject Specific Modules

Research and Design in Practice [10 credits]

Quantitative Research II [10 credits]

Qualitative Research II [10 credits]

Advanced Specialist Option

Strategies of Applied Research [10 credits]

Evidence and Evidence-based Policy and Practice [10 credits]

Advanced Research Methods Option

Advanced Research Methods Option [10 credits]

June - September

Advanced Specialist Option

Dissertation [60 credits]

The degree scheme is designed to meet the generic and subject specific requirements set out in the ESRC’s Postgraduate Training Guidelines. To obtain the masters degree students must successfully complete taught courses to the value of 120 credits and a 20,000 word dissertation. The programme is divided into the following elements:

  • Generic methods modules: These modules are designed to meet the generic research methods training requirements of the ESRC. They provide a thorough grounding in core social science skills including philosophy of social science, research design and the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Specialist Education modules: These modules are designed to meet the specialist requirements of the ESRC’s Education pathway. They provide a systematic introduction to the specific challenges and approaches found within the field of Education. Topics covered include key theoretical approaches in Education and practical issues arising from the investigation of complex, interdisciplinary topics such as foundation of educational research, evidenced and evidenced based practice, critical debates in education and strategies of applied research.
  • Methods and specialist options: These optional modules provide students with the chance to tailor the degree studies to their own research interests by developing additional skills in a particular methodological and/or substantive domain.
  • Dissertation: Given the emphasis on research methods training throughout the scheme, the dissertation is a crucial element, giving students the opportunity to apply the methodological and analytic skills developed in the taught element of the scheme to a specific topic.