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The Sociology Pathway provides students with opportunities to address a wide range of sociological topics and themes. These include health and well-being studies; work, employment and labour markets; working environment; childhood studies; sexualities and gender; genetics and society; and risk and organisation. There is opportunity to address theoretical, analytical and methodological questions, in the process of formulating research questions, developing research proposals, reporting on research progress and presenting analyses. All this takes place in a structured and supportive research environment.

One of the distinctive features of sociology at Cardiff is the opportunity for research students to work with a wide range of leading researchers, working on a range of themes and drawing on varied approaches and theories. There is extensive opportunity to work with staff from five major research centres: Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics, Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Ethics, Seafarers International Research Centre, Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance and Qualiti - Qualitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences: Innovation, Integration and Impact (part of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods). Other active centres research groups include the Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise and Science (KES), Learning at Work and the Labour Research Group. These and other areas of expertise in the School research programme make for an exciting inter-disciplinary environment.

The MSc in Social Science Research Methods provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers in the field of sociology. 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. This MSc provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers. Students may apply for ESRC funding to study the course 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

Quantitative Research I [10 credits]

Qualitative Research I [10 credits]

Research and Study Skills [10 credits]

Principles of Research Design [10 credits]

Advanced Specialist Option

Theories and Issues about Globalisation and Political Economy: Strategies of Comparative Sociology [10 credits]

Contemporary Social Theory I [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

Contemporary Social Theory II [10 credits]

Advanced Specialist Option [10 credits]

Advanced Research Methods Option

Advanced Research Methods Option [10 credits]

June - September

Advanced Specialist Option

Dissertation [60 credits]

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 Sociology modules: These modules are designed to meet the specialist requirements of the ESRC’s Sociology pathway. They provide a systematic introduction to the specific challenges and approaches found within the field of Sociology. Topics covered include key theoretical approaches in Sociology and practical issues arising from the investigation of complex interdisciplinary topics such as community studies, research into the forms and practice of governance, sexualities and gender studies, psycho-social studies, globalisation, work and employment, and globalisation and labour markets.
  • 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.

The degree scheme is designed to meet the generic and subject specific requirements set out in the ESRC’s Postgraduate Training Guidelines.