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Social Science (MSc)

This MSc allows you to create a bespoke programme of study that draws on our expertise in fields such as childhood and youth studies; crime, safety and justice; education; social theory; social and public policy. As such, each student can tailor their learning to suit their own interests and aspirations.

This programme is suitable for anyone wishing to enhance their academic record and employability profile, providing a range of transferrable skills for the workplace, as well as a foundation for those wishing to go on to further training in a variety of professional fields. It will be of value and relevance to students from both the UK and overseas.

You will develop your knowledge, skills and understanding of social scientific theory and research methods, alongside more specialist material from a selection of fields such as childhood and youth studies; crime, safety and justice; education; social and public policy.

It is not possible to provide a single course description for the MSc in Social Science due to the unique character of this programme. Each student will experience the course in a very different way, depending on the particular module choices that they make.

Distinctive features

This course offers opportunities for you to work in an interdisciplinary social science environment and to benefit from a breadth of substantive, theoretical and methodological expertise with leading scholars.

It is one of the few courses available in the UK that provides you with the freedom to piece together your own programme of study, drawing from a number of different fields such as childhood and youth studies; crime, safety and justice; education; social and public policy.

You will have the opportunity to develop your expertise in social theory and research methods and design through the core modules offered on the programme.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration1 year
QualificationMSc
ModeFull-time
Other ways to study this course
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Admissions criteria

Applicants should normally hold, or be close to completing, a first or second-class undergraduate degree in a social sciences or humanities subject. However, other applicants will be considered if they can demonstrate, through recent and relevant experience, that they have the ability to undertake the course.

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to obtain a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with at least 6.5 in writing and 5.5 in the other sub-sections.

Applications should be made via the Online Application Service. Please make sure that you explain clearly in your personal statement why you are interested in applying to the MSc in Social Science. You should refer explicitly to the particular aspects of this course and the module choices that most interest you, and what topics or themes you are hoping to learn more about in taking it.

If this information is not included, this may cause delays in processing your application, and we may contact you with a request for further information.

The deadline for applications from international students for this course is 1 August. The deadline for applications from home students for this course is 1 September.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

This is a one-year full-time programme.

A 20-credit module comprises 200 hours of study, including about 30 hours of contact time, and the MSc as a whole 1800 hours of study.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

The MSc in Social Science is organised around two 30-credit core modules, one 60-credit supervised dissertation on a social scientific topic of your choice, and three 20-credit specialist modules taken from other postgraduate programmes offered by the School of Social Sciences.

Specialist modules

In addition to your core modules, you will be required to take three 20-credit specialist modules from other postgraduate courses offered at the School of Social Sciences. Available modules will vary from year to year.

Dissertation

You will be asked to produce a 60-credit, 20,000-word dissertation on a social scientific topic of your choice. This dissertation involves a small-scale independent piece of research, and enables you to develop your interests in a substantive area related to the programme, and to put into practice the knowledge and skills developed through participation in the taught modules. You will be allocated a personal dissertation supervisor to assist in planning, conducting and writing up the research project.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Modules employ a diverse range of teaching including lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials, and independent guided study. All modules within the programme make use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which you will find course materials, links to related materials and information on assessment.

The programme benefits from being located in an inter-disciplinary environment so that, in parts of the course, you will come into contact with staff and students from other subject areas and, in other parts of the course, with staff and students in the same substantive area.

You will be expected to attend lectures, seminars and tutorials as set out in the timetable for MSc students. These sometimes sit outside the regular pattern of university attendance and may include day, evening and weekend study and on occasion may fall outside the standard semester dates. You will also be expected to undertake independent study in preparation for lectures, seminars and assessments.

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor and a nominated supervisor when undertaking your dissertation. Regular contact will be maintained across the duration of the course.

Feedback

You will have the opportunity to develop and practice advanced oral and written communication through formative tasks such as presentation of preparatory reading, group problem-based learning tasks, and group presentations. Feedback is therefore provided on an ongoing basis, as well as more formally for summative assessments.

How will I be assessed?

Modules are assessed by a combination of essays, reports, reviews and presentations.

What skills will I practise and develop?

On successfully completing the MSc in Social Science, you will have significantly enhanced your ability to:

  • demonstrate a critical understanding of key issues and debates in the substantive modules and subject areas selected for study on the programme;
  • critically evaluate existing knowledge, scholarship and research, and appreciate competing claims and theoretical perspectives;
  • apply knowledge and skills and show originality in thinking by tackling both familiar and unfamiliar problems;
  • as appropriate, evaluate, synthesise and interpret data, and be able to collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret data in the form of a project or dissertation;
  • demonstrate high-level academic and personal skills applicable to own research or scholarship, such as writing, oral presentations, problem solving and group work, and the use and application of information technologies in, for example, literature searches, research methods, and data analysis and presentation.

Whatever your particular route chosen through the programme, you will benefit from the development of a number of general ‘employability skills’, including the following:

  • the ability to collect, analyse and interpret various forms of complex data;
  • the ability to employ a range of qualitative and quantitative research skills;
  • the use and application of information technologies;
  • the ability to communicate and present ideas and findings in a variety of ways, for example, in writing, and orally;
  • the ability to problem solve, and work individually and in groups.

The programme is suitable for anyone wishing to enhance their academic record and employability profile, providing a range of transferrable skills for the workplace, as well as a foundation for those wishing to go on to further training in a variety of professional fields.

Master's Excellence Scholarships

Scholarships available worth £3,000 each for UK/EU students starting a master’s degree in September 2019.

Find out more

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£7,350None

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

EU students entering in 2019/20 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£16,650£1,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

You may conduct fieldwork as part of your dissertation study as directed by, and in discussion with, your supervisor.