Social Science Research Methods (Psychology) (MSc)
- Duration: 1 year
- Mode: Full time
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. It provides students with a thorough knowledge of research design, data collection, and the principal methods of analysing quantitative and qualitative social science data.
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.
Well-resourced and with an excellent international reputation, the School of Psychology is one of the UK’s largest centres of psychology. In the latest Research Excellence Framework, it ranked 2nd in the UK for research quality in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience.
The Psychology pathway will provide you with an advanced knowledge of the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of empirical studies within the discipline of psychology. Students on this pathway engage in School-based research activity in two areas within the School, from neuroscience, cognitive science, development and health, and social and environmental psychology.
The formal research training programme in Psychology draws on the internationally recognised research conducted at Cardiff University.
We are one of the largest psychology departments in Britain, allowing us to offer well-resourced teaching and research opportunities in all areas of psychology, from neuroscience and brain imaging to environmental risk, social and developmental psychology, encompassing both basic science and applied aspects. Our teaching was judged to be 'Excellent' in the Teaching Quality Assessment.
We take pride that Cardiff educates UK and International students from all backgrounds. We offer a rounded academic student experience both socially and academically, with the opportunity to pursue a wide range of activities. The overarching objective of postgraduate research training employed within the School is to equip students with a level of competence, comprehension and understanding of the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of their research so as to allow them to compete as international calibre researchers in the future.
2:1 in any undergraduate degree or equivalent, related to Psychology or Social Sciences. Alternatively, you may be considered for admission if you are able to demonstrate that you have held, for a minimum period of two years, a position of responsibility relevant to the programme, or, in exceptional circumstances, be able to demonstrate equivalent skills that are sufficient to meet the demands of the programme.
Where English is not your first language, we require a minimum IELTS score of 6:5 overall,(to include 6.5 in writing and 5.5 in all other sub-scores) or an equivalent English qualification.
In addition to the standard application, you will be asked to produce an initial outline description of your intended research topic which will form the basis for assessing the application, together with the completed application form and references. The research proposal will also be the means by which you are paired with potential supervisors. It is strongly advised that you contact potential supervisors in advance.
Research proposal forms and further advice are available through the pathway convenor or the general SSRM office. Completed forms can be attached to an application or returned via email directly to the pathway convenor or SSRM office (see contact details).
Applications are considered on a rolling basis throughout the academic year but due to the popularity of the course, places fill up quickly. Prospective students are advised to submit their application in the spring.
The deadline for applications from international students for this course is 1st August.
The deadline for applications from home students for this course is 1st September.
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.
You will undertake 6 20-credit modules. Five of the six modules are known as core modules, because they are designed to equip you with research skills and are followed by all students. The sixth module is specific to the particular pathway. For the psychology pathway this consists of research placements within the School of Psychology designed to provide more in-depth understanding of empirical research within the discipline of psychology.
In all modules you have the opportunity to engage with literature and research relevant to your Pathway (Psychology).
On successful completion of the taught component, you will prepare a dissertation (of a maximum 20,000 words) to be submitted by mid-September. The 60-credit dissertation component requires independent study. Dissertation topics are chosen by you in agreement with your supervisors.
Recent Psychology thesis titles on the course include:
- Child salience and values: studying the effects of child primes on pro-social values.
- The optimal dietary composition for weight loss amongst women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
- Predictors of starting a family: A systematic review and narrative synthesis of longitudinal studies.
- Using a personalised IAT (Implicit Association Test) to detect sexual identity and attitudes towards one's sexual orientation.
- A victim of gender? An evolutionary exploration of homicide and the victim-offender relationship.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Developing Core Research Skills||BST703||20 credits|
|Foundations of Social Science Research||CPT898||20 credits|
|Research Skills in Practice||PST016||20 credits|
|Qualitative Research Methods||SIT700||20 credits|
|Quantitative Research Methods||SIT701||20 credits|
|Research Applications||SIT703||20 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 course is made up of scheduled learning activities (including lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical sessions) and guided independent study. You are 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.
For those continuing beyond the diploma to the MSc, the final part of the course comprises a dissertation (60 credits) for which students are allocated a tutor with whom they meet on a regular basis. A research design and methods module is a compulsory module which contributes to preparation for the dissertation. Dissertation topics are chosen by you in agreement with your supervisor.
How will I be assessed?
All modules are assessed through the submission of coursework during the academic year. This takes the form of research reports, essays, portfolios or other activities covered in the modules.
The research dissertation is independently marked after submission.
How will I be supported?
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. You will be allocated a personal tutor and a dissertation supervisor when undertaking your dissertation, who will schedule regular meetings to discuss progress, provide advice and guidance, and give feedback on drafts.
You will receive feedback throughout the year and for each module in a number of ways. Written feedback is provided on all submitted coursework and designed to help you improve the next piece of coursework, where applicable.
What skills will I practise and develop?
By fully engaging with this course, you should be able to:
- Critically evaluate existing knowledge, scholarship and research, and appreciate competing claims and theoretical perspectives.
- Apply your knowledge and skills and show originality in your 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 your 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.
Tuition fees for 2021 entry
Students from the UK
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 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.
Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?
No specific equipment required.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
The course aims to provide 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.