Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


MSc by Research in Socio-Cultural Studies

Apply Now

The application deadline for this programme is 13th July 2018

Msc by Research in Socio-Cultural Studies Programme Handbook 2016/17

The MSc(R) in Socio-Cultural Studies is a relatively new research training degree for postgraduate students who wish to work in an interdisciplinary way, combining theory and methodology from social sciences, arts and humanities in exploring socio-cultural topics. It will appeal to people from social sciences, arts or humanities backgrounds who want to think and research across the traditional disciplinary divisions.

Aims and Outcomes

As well as a stand-alone degree, the MSc(R) is suitable for people whose future research plans will lead them to make applications to the Arts & Humanities Research Council and its students have already been successful in applications for doctoral research funding to the AHRC. 

As well as core research skills, the MSc(R) offers its students excellent opportunities to develop their own interests within the framework of workshops and courses and also and importantly, the dissertation that forms a key part of the degree.


Taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years, the MSc(R) in Socio-Cultural Studies is a research training degree in which students are assessed through assembling portfolios of work - directly relevant to their own interests - within the framework of its courses and workshops.

It is not a taught degree in the usual sense, but a training degree that is highly flexible and encourages students to work on their own specific fields of interest. Students complete a required seminar and workshop, four separate courses (including at least two core methodology courses chosen from a cross-disciplinary list) and a dissertation.

Required Seminar and Workshop

  • Advanced Issues in Socio-Cultural Research
  • Socio-Cultural Writing Workshop

Indicative courses include:

  • Approaches to Analysing Narrative, Text & Discourse
  • Research Design
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Archives: History, Geography, Politics
  • Historical Methods in the Social Sciences
  • Research Design in Geography
  • Explanation & Understanding in Social & Political Research
  • Contemporary Social Theory


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 normally takes the form of an extended research proposal with 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 degree 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 inquiries, contact the Sociology Postgraduate convenor: 

Edinburgh Graduations