Taught course

Social Research

Keele University · Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Entry requirements

Please see the course page on the Keele University website for up to date information.

Months of entry


Course content

Social research helps us understand human behaviour, providing insights into social issues, personal experiences, public opinion, patterns of collective behaviour and what causes them. The MSc Social Research offers a thorough grounding in a range of research skills and methodologies. You’ll gain practical experience of qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method analysis techniques and develop valuable transferable skills in critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving. Excellent preparation for further research or doctoral study, you’ll also be well placed for roles in business or government, marketing, policy-making, charitable organisations, education and training, or law.

Generating knowledge that can ultimately ease suffering and improve individual, community and even international relations, the impact of social science research cannot be underestimated. It helps policy makers recognise and understand social issues, informing decisions about the design and implementation of appropriate responses to anything from economic aid and education, to health and immigration.

Constantly evolving, social phenomena – the individual, social and external influences that affect our behaviour and opinions about life and our relationships with others – can have a profound effect on people’s lives and development.

Blending theory, methodology and practice, this course provides systematic introductory and interdisciplinary research and researcher training. It is mapped against the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF), which articulates the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful world-class researchers.

You will learn how to plan, conduct and manage social research projects, developing theoretical models and recommendations to inform responses to real-world social issues as diverse as multiculturalism, political discourse and right-wing populism or extremism, volunteering, transitions to adulthood and employment.

The School of Social, Political and Global Studies benefits from internationally respected expertise within the disciplines of criminology, education, international relations, philosophy, politics and sociology.

From the outset, you will be paired with an experienced supervisor, receiving the guidance expected of a taught master’s, while having the freedom to research and write a dissertation on a topic of your choice. Recent topics covered by our students have included re-democratising education, parent participation and new school governance regimes, the 'quarter-life crisis', and the relationship between social media usage and wellbeing.

The MSc will be of particular interest if you are considering doctoral (PhD) study in a social science discipline or are seeking to work in the public, private or third sector – for example, in social or market research, social and health care, for local and national government or charitable and community organisations. If you already work in these areas, it provides practical, career-focused training to better develop your social research skills.

Alternatively, if you are a recent graduate and have not yet decided on a firm career, this master’s will support your personal and professional development. Among the many skills you’ll develop are critical thinking and reasoning, communication, mental flexibility, teamwork ability and self-leadership, some of the most in-demand essential transferable ‘soft’ skills according to global consultants McKinsey.

In addition to having the dedicated Keele Postgraduate Association, the University is a member of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP). This MRes programme complies with the ESRC's research training requirements for PhD scholarships (commonly termed +3), and is also suitable as the master's year as part of an ESRC scholarship award that covers both the master's and PhD (commonly termed a 1+3 award).

Information for international students

Please see the course page on the Keele University website for up to date information.

Fees and funding

Please see the course page on the Keele University website for up to date information.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MRes
    Up to 60 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details