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MSc in Digital Society

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How to Apply

Applications must be made online via the MSc Digital Society 'Applying' links 
The deadline for applications is 14th July 2017

A Message from the Programme Director

Welcome to the MSc in Digital Society at the University of Edinburgh! We are proud to offer an innovative, new programme in one of the top Sociology programmes in the UK.  This degree directly responds to a growing need for our graduates to be able to critically and creatively study and analyze a world undergoing rapid digital transformation. Digital sociology provides a vital foundation for understanding how digital technologies and data are shaping our social institutions, social relations, and everyday life.

Our MSc will offer you the opportunity to study with top scholars and to develop specialist expertise in digital culture, the digital economy and the sociology of finance, and emerging digital research methods. The programme will provide you with the theoretical and methodological skills required to address issues such as big data, algorithmic society, the future of privacy, cybercrime, and the future of work and labor.

The MSc in Digital Society is intended for any student who wants to understand, as well as learn to study, analyze, and critique digital technologies and the complex ways in which they shape society, social institutions, and culture.

This intensive one-year programme gives you the opportunity to study with leading specialists in the emerging field of Digital Sociology. Based at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, the MSc in Digital Society offers you an opportunity to read deeply through current digital sociological literature and conduct independent research. The Masters Degree includes a supervised dissertation project, on a topic that you chose based on your interests and career plans.

Our programme in Digital Society will introduce you to key issues that arise when sociologists investigate the increasing prevalence of digital and mobile technology, digital infrastructure, and data production, capture, and analysis in everyday life. You will study the very social conditions (economic, political, and cultural) that give rise to digital and mobile technologies and their circuits of power.

Topics of study may include (but are not limited to) the sociological analysis of digital technology and new forms of data on the fields of contemporary culture, work and labour, leisure, finance, government and law, health, and education.

Students will leave the programme with a digital project or digital portfolio of work and will learn, in the course of the programme, how to share digital sociological research with broader communities and publics. 

Please do us with any questions you might have about the programme. 

Dr Karen Gregory, Programme Director, MSc Digital Society

Why study with us?

The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50. The Sociology department at Edinburgh is one of the UK’s leading Sociology Departments, highly regarded for its record of influential original research and teaching. Edinburgh Sociology has been rated as first in the UK for the quality and breadth of its research in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014).

The department of sociology is home to top ranking scholars in the field of digital sociology, digital culture, and the sociology of finance.  The department is recognized globally for the social studies of finance and is world-leading for its innovations in economic sociology. The sociology department at The Univeristy of Edinburgh is currently home to the journal Finance and Society, as well as Cultural Sociology. Additionally, our faculty have written two field defining books in the field of Digital Sociology, including Digital Sociology: Critical Perspectives (Palgrave, 2013) and Digital Sociologies (Policy Press, 2016).  

As such, you will join an active community of researchers and theorists and will benefit from our interdisciplinary research collaborations. Additionally, the department of sociology is an intimate department, where you work closely with teaching staff and supervisors. 

How will you be taught?

The programme will take a creative approach to methods and methodologies, putting 'traditional' sociological methods such as ethnography, survey work, and interviewing in conversation with digital methods such social network analysis, virtual ethnography, data mining, and visualization.  Hands-on, research-based methods seminars will take place in the new Maker Space on campus and the programme will draw on interdisciplinary expertise in Science and Technology Studies, Informatics, Design Informatics, Digital Education, and the Edinburgh School of Art. You will have direct and regular access to our teaching staff and work closely with our programme team to develop your skills.

Faculty Profiles

The degree will combine seminar teaching on specific topics with individual research supervision by leading researchers in the emerging field of “Digital Sociology”, in the UK’s top-ranked department for sociological research.  For more information on faculty teaching in the programme, please see: 

Digital Labour and Inequality:  Karen Gregory 

Digital Culture and Digital Reseach Methods: Kate Orton-Johnson  

Digital Culture and Popular Culture: Nick Prior

Digital Life, Personal Life, and Intimacy: Lynn Jamieson

Cybercrime and the DarkNet: Angus Bancroft 

Finance, Algorithms, and Market Society: Nathan Coombs 

The Sociology of Finance: Donald MacKenzie 

Sociology of Emotions & Digital Narratives: Julie Brownlie

Feminism, Gender, and Digital Life: Mary Holmes

Career Opportunities

This degree is well-positioned for a wide range of careers in the public, private, and third sectors. It is particularly relevant for students who have aspirations for a career in digital research or digital media design and development. The programme is also key for those who wish to engage with digital technology and data in their own personal lives or on a wider scale as an activist, artist, manager, practitioner, or policy maker. Students will go on to undertake roles in social media analysis, Internet research, journalism, education, and law and government. The programme also offers a route to a PhD programme in social research. Students will gain highly transferable skills in research, communication, and project management applicable to roles in many fields.

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

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