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Postgraduate Study

KES welcomes applications from postgraduate students with an interest in the sociology of science and technology. The areas in which we are actively researching are described in more detail on the research page, but we are happy to consider students who would like to study other sciences or research sites.

Postgraduate students within KES can register for a PhD or MPhil in Science and Technology Studies, the MSc in Social Science Research Methods specialising in Science and Technology Studies, or the MSc in Science Media and Communication.

Full details of the facilities available for graduate students in the University are available at the Graduate Centre.

International students may also find useful information on web pages of the International Office.

Research Degrees (PhD or MPhil)

KES is able to supervise research degrees that address any aspect of the sociology of science and technology and we welcome inquiries from candidates with background in any academic discipline who have an idea that they think can form the basis of a research degree. We are particularly interested in research projects that address the use of expertise in scientific and/or public settings.

Students wishing to be considered as a candidate for a PhD should begin by developing a brief description of their proposed research project that explains:

  • the rationale for their proposed project (i.e. why it is interesting);
  • the research question or questions they want to answer;
  • an outline of the way you might answer these questions.

Once this outline is ready, please contact:

Prof Harry Collins

Telephone:+44 (0)29 208 74047Extension:74047

They will be happy to provide further advice and guidance. It is not expected that your proposal will correspond exactly to any PhD research that you might do. The aim is simply to provide a starting point from which discussions about research questions, design and methodology can begin.

As applications for funding are almost always very competitive, students interested in studying for a PhD are encouraged to contact us as early in the academic year as possible so that a strong application can be made.

Research Environment

PhD students in KES are encouraged to develop their professional identity as a social researcher from the very beginning of their registration. All students will receive comprehensive research methods training during the early stages of their study and will be expected to participate in weekly seminars and discussion groups attended by academic staff and other research students.

Throughout this formal training students will also be having regular supervision meetings and developing their research design and plans. Following this formal training, students are encouraged to begin fieldwork at the earliest possible stage and are supported in this by regular supervision meetings.

In addition, students are encouraged to participate in the academic life of the School of Social Sciences and to attend research centre activities and lectures wherever they relate to their research topic.

Research Training

Although applicants will be expected to have a good first degree it is not a requirement that this be in the social sciences. Research training in the full range of social science research methods will be provided by the Cardiff University University Graduate College in the Social Sciences. This will take place in the first year of registration.

For all students research training will include a postgraduate diploma in social science research methods taught by an interdisciplinary team of academic staff drawn from the University's Schools of Social Science, City and Regional Planning, Psychology, and Business.

Students funded by the ESRC (see below) will undertake the same diploma course, but will also be expected to complete a dissertation. They will be awarded a Master's degree in Social Science Research Methods, rather than the postgraduate diploma.

In addition to their supervision meetings, all students will receive further research and employment related training throughout the remaining years of their research.

ESRC Funding

We have ESRC recognition for Mode A research training, which means that students applying to KES can also apply to the ESRC for a research studentship. Students funded in this way will conduct their PhD research under the '1+3' framework, which provides funding for four years full-time study. Under this scheme, students are required to complete the Master's degree in Social Science Research Methods before they can proceed with their PhD research in the remaining 3 years.

MSc Social Science Research Methods

The Master's degree in Social Science Research Methods provides as thorough grounding in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. By following the STS pathway, students can complement these methodological skills with an in-depth study of key ideas and theories in Science and Technology Studies. The MSc is recognised by the ESRC as providing an ideal preparation for students considering a PhD but also provides an solid foundation for students interested in science-society interactions who want high quality research methods training. 

A typical student on the Master's course would take the following modules:

Core Modules

Collection and Analysis of Quantitative Data

Collection and Analysis of Qualitative Data

Philosophy of Social Science

Principles of Research Design

Specialist Modules

Contemporary Social Theory

Theorising Knowledge Expertise and Science

Science in the Risk Society

Optional modules in research methods

More information


MSc Science, Media and Communication

The MSc in Science, Media and Communication is a collaborative degree offered by the School of Social Sciences, the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Techniquest, as science discovery centre in Cardiff. The course offers a unique blend of the practical and theoretical skills needed to understand the relationships between science, society and the media. It is particularly suitable for students interested in careers that mediate between science and society.

The degree is a modular programme in which students follow a common core, shared with other Master's degrees within the School of Social Sciences, but then specialise by taking modules in different aspects of science communication. In addition, all students must complete a dissertation in which they undertake an independent research project in a relevant area.

A typical student on the Master's course would thus take the following modules:

Core Modules

Principles Research Design

Specialist Modules

Science in the Risk Society (School of Social Science)

Reporting Science (School of Journalise, Media and Cultural Studies)

Media, Risk and Health (School of Journalise, Media and Cultural Studies)

Visitor Studies (Techniquest)

Optional Modules

Presenting Science (Techniquest) or one other module chosen from either the School of Social Sciences or the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.

More information


Postgraduate Admissions Office


Postgraduate Admissions Office (Cardiff School of Social Sciences),
Glamorgan Building,
King Edward VII Avenue,
CF10 3WT.
See Also
  • Study of Knowledge in Practice (SKIP)

    The Centre for the Study of Knowledge in Practice (SKiP) has a distinctive research agenda grounded in the environment, science, knowledge, risk and the temporality of social life.