Taught course

Sociology and Research Methods

University of Glasgow · School of Social and Political Sciences

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject.

Months of entry


Course content

This programme provides extensive training in social research methods and is recognised as postgraduate research training by the Economic & Social Research Council.

Why Glasgow

There are two reasons for studying sociology in Glasgow. First, Glasgow as a city was at the hub of the social relations that made up modernity –the masses of migrants from the country who descended on the city’s tenements after the Highland Clearances and the 1840s Irish Famine were the labour-power of the new industries based on shipbuilding, iron works and textiles: it was these great industries that made Glasgow the Second City of the Empire. Glasgow in recent years has become increasingly divorced from its industrial manufacturing origins and is now a city of peculiarly sharp inequalities. On the one hand, it is a city of call-centres and the workless poor; on the other, it is flourishing as a “City of Culture”, with an art-world second only to London.

The second reason for coming here to study sociology is that Glasgow, along with Edinburgh, was the site of the Scottish Enlightenment. You will study in the Adam Smith Building – named after the well-known 18th Century theorist of the division of labour and - less well-known - of “moral sentiments”. The Scottish Enlightenment (David Hume, Adam Ferguson, John Millar, Mary Somerville and their circle) was in fact an enquiry not just into economics and philosophy but also into sociology, well before the name was invented by Comte in the 19th Century. Moreover by the Scottish Enlightenment, the old Scottish universities had become more advanced than English universities. Not only did they offer an intellectual base for new forms of social enquiry, they also pioneered by offering a cheap university education. The university was held to be open to all (the idea of “the lad of pairts”): whilst in the 19th and 20th Centuries Scottish universities increasingly offered extramural extension classes for manual workers and, belatedly, opportunities for women. The Scottish Enlightenment introduced one other innovation: until recently, all university courses were based on a common first year of philosophy, a subject which was close to the social theory we teach in our MRes in Sociology.

The MRes in Sociology and Research Methods offers either a stand-alone one-year course developing further students' undergraduate sociological study or it offers a preparation for sociological research by doctoral thesis. It aims to provide a critical understanding of the discipline of sociology, including a profound knowledge of current methods, an understanding of the philosophy of social science and a greater sophistication in the use of theoretical skills. It also enables students to focus in depth upon a particular area of sociology for their dissertation at Masters’ level. Within the context of their chosen dissertation subject, they are given the resources to produce a sustained account of their research, thereby developing their ability to present research results clearly and coherently.

The outcome of the Masters should be an enhancement of students' reading and writing skills and an increased capacity to utilise library and archival materials - critically, where appropriate. They will therefore be able to make an informed contribution to debate about social issues within the public domain.

  • You will develop your knowledge of sociology, including a critical understanding of social theory and a knowledge of empirical research studies.
  • The programme provides an advanced education in sociology, but can also serve as preparation for further sociological research in a PhD, to which many of our students successfully progress.

Programme Structure

You will take 4 core and 2 optional courses and complete a dissertation.

Core courses

  • Social science statistics 1
  • Qualitative methods
  • Current issues in social theory
  • Advanced qualitative methods.

Optional courses

  • Religion and society
  • Sexualities and society
  • The disabling society
  • Gender and society
  • Racism and modernity
  • Introduction to social theory
  • Class and stratification
  • Social science statistics 2.


Our aim is to combine high quality research with high quality teaching. The Sociology subject- area was highly rated in the last grading of research output: 75% of its assessed research was rated as being of internationally recognized quality. Teaching was also awarded an ‘Excellent’ rating the last time it was externally assessed. These standards will be maintained so that your degree will be well regarded in the world outside University. The subject-area members of staff look forward to meeting you and we all hope that you will find your courses both interesting and enjoyable.

Information for international students

IELTS: overall score 6.5; no sub-test less than 6.0; ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20. CAE: 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169 CPE: 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169. PTE Academic: 60; no sub-test less than 59

Fees and funding

UK students
International students


Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Mrs Clair Clark