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Social Science Research Methods (International Relations) (MSc)

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Part time

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Why study this course

This programme provides advanced training in research methods across the full range of the social sciences and meets the training requirements for ESRC PhD funding.

Our MSc in Social Science Research Methods aims to provide advanced training in research methods across the full range of the social sciences. 

You will be provided with a thorough theoretical and practical knowledge of how to construct effective research studies, of the variety of data collection methods available to the social scientist and of the principal methods of analysing social scientific data. You will also be introduced to the political and ethical frameworks within which social science research is conducted, and to some of the ways in which the results of social science research are disseminated.

The course pathways have ESRC recognition and they each provide the appropriate training basis for proceeding to a PhD. These programmes provide extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary study, the application of social research expertise for occupational career development, and the pursuit of substantive areas of interest at postgraduate level. 

International Relations pathway

The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Science Research Methods (International Relations) aims to provide advanced training in research methods. This programme will offer you an opportunity to develop analytical skills, an interdisciplinary knowledge base, and a practical understanding of research in International Relations.

This programme will provide you with:

  • A thorough theoretical and practical knowledge of how to construct effective research studies.
  • Information on the variety of data collection methods available to the social scientist.
  • The principal methods of analysing social scientific data.

You will also be introduced to the political and ethical frameworks within which social science research is conducted, and to some of the ways in which the results of social science research are disseminated.

In order to have meaningful contact with research being conducted by staff in the School, you will be linked to a research group. The Politics and International Relations pathways are closely associated with the operation of the School’s research units and centres. The International Relations pathway is closely associated with the research activities of the International Studies Research Unit (ISRU) which encompasses a wide range of areas. 

Distinctive features

You will be supervised by academic staff with considerable expertise in their chosen fields. These staff members are actively involved in disseminating research via publications in academic and practitioner journals, books and presentations to conferences. Many staff members are involved in editing or reviewing for scholarly management journals.

Where you'll study

School of Law and Politics

Our vibrant student body combined with highly qualified academic staff provides the perfect environment to explore the dynamic and fast-paced fields of law, politics and international relations.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 6102
  • MarkerMuseum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX

School of Social Sciences

Our degrees are delivered by internationally recognised experts with a track record of influencing policy and practice around the world.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 5179
  • MarkerKing Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA

Admissions criteria

2:1 or above in Any Humanities, Social Science and Arts discipline. or a recognised equivalent qualification. Non-graduates will be considered if they can demonstrate, through some recent and relevant professional experience, that they have the ability to undertake the course.

This course is suitable for graduates in Social Science and cognate disciplines including Sociology, Politics, Critical Psychology, Education, Social Policy and Social Work, Criminology, Management and Business Studies, History, Area Studies, Geography, Pedagogy, Public Administration, Industrial and Employee Relations, and Law.

Typical IELTS offer: An overall IELTS score of 6.5,(with at least 6.5 in writing and 5.5 in all other sub-scores), is required for non-native English speakers or those who have not had a substantial part of their education taught in the English language.

Application deadline: 31 August

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

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This is a two-year part-time programme.

You will be required to complete six 20-credit modules - five core research modules and one specialist pathway module.

In all modules you will have the opportunity to engage with literature and research relevant to your pathway.

On successful completion of the taught component, you will prepare a dissertation of a maximum 20,000 words. The 60-credit dissertation component requires independent study. You will choose your dissertation topic in agreement with your supervisor.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

Year two

Year three

Module titleModule codeCredits
DissertationPLT02560 credits

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Your programme will be made up of scheduled learning activities (including lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical sessions) and guided independent study.

You will be expected to actively engage in all the educational activities on your programme of study, to prepare for and attend all scheduled teaching activities, and continue your development as an independent and self-directed learner.

How will I be assessed?

You will have to successfully complete the taught component which comprises of 120 credits.

On successful completion of the taught component, you will prepare a dissertation of a maximum 20,000 words.

How will I be supported?

All modules are supported by Learning Central, a virtual learning environment that is available on and off campus through which you will access a wide range of materials for your modules

You will be allocated a personal tutor.

All modules within the programme make use of our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which you will find course materials, links to related materials and information on assessment. 

Feedback 

Feedback will be available to you throughout the programme and you will be able to discuss your performance with your personal tutor. 

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills which are discipline specific and more general ‘employability’ skills.

Skills will include:

  • the ability to collect, analyse and interpret a range of complex data
  • a range of appropriate 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.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit
£3,850None

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

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

EU students entering in 2020/21 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 (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit
£8,725£1,000

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

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Career prospects

This programme provides knowledge and expertise suitable for careers in research and development, business, market studies, public agencies at international, national and local levels, education, teaching and other public services work, and voluntary organisations.

It also provides appropriate training for proceeding to a PhD.

Funding

Master's Excellence Scholarship

This award worth £3000 is open to UK and EU students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate Master’s Finance

If you’re starting your master’s degree in September 2020 or later, you may be able to apply for postgraduate student finance to support your study at Cardiff University.

Next steps

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