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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


MSc by Research in Sociology

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The application deadline for this programme is 11th July 2019.

MSc by Research in Sociology Programme Handbook 2017/18

Our MSc(R) trains the sociologists of tomorrow, with the sociological imagination impacting on all areas of social life. The MSc(R) is a highly marketable degree which has achieved ESRC recognition over a succession of recognition exercises. This degree, together with the Edinburgh Sociology PhD programme, attracts some 100 applications each year for an intake of around 20 to 25.

Past students of Sociologys MSc(R) have gone on to doctoral research at Edinburgh, elsewhere in the UK and overseas, and have also secured a wide range of research positions, as well as professional employment in education, media, community projects, government posts and more.

A normal programme would involve successful completion of the following core training courses in the Graduate School of Social and Political Studies:

Together with the following core course in the Sociology subject group

  • Advanced Issues in Sociological Research and the Writing Workshop

Students can take one further optional course from the graduate school programme of research training or they can do a longer dissertation. Students may also audit courses that are of interest or relevance to them.

In addition students work through the year with their supervisors towards a systematic review of the secondary literature in their proposed area of research. Supervisors will also advise students of the most appropriate further training in their area of research interest.


The dissertation constitutes the main work in which students demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the crucial learning outcomes from the first year of research training. It can take the form of EITHER a small piece of independent research, OR a detailed proposal for a PhD and contains the following components:

  • a review of the literature, both theoretical and empirical;
  • an outline of the specific questions to be addressed, a statement of research design and methods to be employed;
  • an evaluation of the expected contribution of the study to knowledge in insert subject;
  • a discussion of the practical, political and ethical issues affecting the conduct of the research;
  • a presentation of the schedule for the research, and (where appropriate) its estimated budget.

Where the MSc is taken as a stand-alone degree, the dissertation normally includes a component of data collection and analysis, or selection of theoretical documents and analysis.

For enquiries, contact the Sociology postgraduate convenor, Dr Liliana Riga.

Edinburgh Students