Social Science Research Methods (Politics) (MSc)
- Duration: 1 year
- Mode: Full time
Why study this course
Advanced training in research methods preparing you for PhD study.
Choose a pathway that is suited to your key area of interest.
Engage with new research
Participate in the activities of the School's many research groups.
The MSc Social Science Research Methods will provide you with advanced training in research methods across the full range of the social sciences. All course pathways have ESRC recognition and meet the training requirements for ESRC PhD funding.
This programme offers extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary study, the application of social research expertise for occupational career development, and the pursuit of substantive area of interest at postgraduate level.
You’ll 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’ll 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 Department of Politics and International Relations enjoys strong links with Senedd Cymru – the Welsh Parliament. This pathway is closely involved in the activities of the Welsh Governance Centre, allowing you to participate in regular events and seminars. You’ll also have the opportunity to be taught by experts in British and European policy and politics.
Where you'll study
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.
Our degrees are delivered by internationally recognised experts with a track record of influencing policy and practice around the world.
Typically, you will need to have either:
- a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as 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 or an equivalent international degree
- a university-recognised equivalent academic qualification
- or relevant professional experience evidenced by a reference. You will need to provide a reference from your employer to evidence that you currently work in an area relevant to the programme. This should be signed, dated and less than six months old at the time you submit your application.
English Language requirements:
IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with at least 6.5 in writing and 5.5 in all other subskills, or an accepted equivalent.
The application deadline is 31 August. If you submit an application after this date, we will only consider it if places are still available.
We will review your application and if you meet the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.
Find out more about English language requirements.
Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.
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
- 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.
This is a one-year full-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 2022/23 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.
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?
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 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 for 2022 entry
Students from the UK
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Students from the rest of the world (international)
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.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
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.
Other course options
HESA data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2020. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18, published by HESA in June 2020.