Taught course

Social Research (with pathways)

University of Birmingham · Social Sciences

Entry requirements

Entry to our postgraduate programmes usually require a good Honours degree, or equivalent if you were educated outside the UK.

Months of entry


Course content

This programme aims to provide students with a sound background in social research design and the most up-to-date training in methods of data collection and analysis.

The College of Social Sciences welcomes all postgraduates to the recently redesigned MA in Social Research programme which continues to enjoy full Research Training recognition by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This programme aims to provide students with a sound background in social research design and the most up-to-date training in methods of data collection and analysis. The combination of core modules and advanced training courses on more advanced topics provides maximum flexibility for taught postgraduate and research students throughout their study.

The core elements of the programme are delivered by staff across the entire College, many of whom are engaged in cutting-edge research in their own fields. Students benefit by undertaking this training with students from numerous diverse departments including the Business School, Economics, Education, Government and Society, Institute of Applied Social Studies and Social Policy; and within the wider College. Students will also receive more discipline-specific research training, as well as dissertation supervision, provided by individual departments. On completion of this MA, many students continue their studies as a graduate research student, or pursue a career in research in the public, private, or voluntary sector

Programme content

Term 1:

  • Introduction to Social Science Research (20 credits)
  • Research Design (20 credits)
  • Thesis-related preparation
  • Information Skills for Social Sciences
  • University Programme of Skills Training (as necessary)
  • Dissertation-related preparation

Term 2:

  • Social Research Methods I (20 credits)
  • Social Research Methods II (20 credits)
  • Thesis-related preparation

Summer Term:

  • Four advanced training courses (10)
  • Dissertation (60)
  • All students registered on the MA in Social Research will take:

1) Four core modules:

  • Introduction to Social Science Research
  • Research Design
  • Social Research Methods I
  • Social Research Methods II

2) Four elective modules (10 credits each) from the advanced training programme below

3) A 14,000 word dissertation (60 credits)

Specialist pathways

  • Business
  • Education
  • Local Government and Public Policy
  • Social Policy
  • Social Work and Professional Practice
  • Advanced Training Programme

Unless stated, all advanced training courses run as 2-day intensive workshops from 10–4pm with breaks. This list is updated regularly as new courses are approved so do check this website from time to time to see what is on offer.

These advanced training courses are open to all research students in the College (and some departments in other Colleges, such as Geography, subject to the discretion of the Programme Team). However, places on each course are limited and priority will be given to MA Social Research students.

These advanced training courses are also open to all staff in the University who may wish to attend without completing the assessments. However, all doctoral researchers and staff who wish to do so will be placed on a waiting list. Confirmation will be sent a week before the course dates.

Advanced Training courses run in Semester 3, unless otherwise stated

  • Activity Theory and its Research Applications
  • Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis (using NVivo)
  • Analyzing Hierarchical and Panel Data
  • Approaches to Research on Discourse
  • Documentary Research in Education, History and the Social Science
  • Ethnography and Language in the Social Sciences
  • Factor Analysis
  • From Multiple Linear to Logistic Regression
  • Introduction to Time Series Regression
  • Introduction to Econometric Software (module runs in Semester One)
  • Narrative Research
  • Policy Evaluation
  • Q Methodology – A Systematic Approach for Interpretive Research Design
  • Randomised Controlled Trials
  • Researching Disability
  • Secondary Data Analysis in Social Research
  • The Role of Thinking (subject to approval)
  • Visual Research Methods

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days.

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year.

Information for international students

International students can find details of scholarships on our website

Fees and funding

Please visit our website

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate enquiry service
0121 414 5005