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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


MSc in Social Research

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The application deadline for this programme is 13th July 2018.

MSc in Social Research Programme Handbook 2017/18

Welcome from the Programme Director

Do you want to improve people’s lives through your research and evidence? Would you like to work for government or an international organisation? Perhaps you would like to undertake further study and need a firm methodological foundation on which to proceed? Perhaps  you already work as an analyst and would like to formalise your skills on a part or full-time basis? â€‹Whatever your subject or methodological background, the University of Edinburgh's MSc in Social Research is a flexible and comprehensive qualification that will make you a sought-after researcher with strong quantitative and qualitative research skills. Our graduates go on to:

  • work for national and international organisations;
  • work for the civil service;
  • work in the voluntary sector;
  • work in the commercial research sector;
  • work in policy development, analysis and evaluation;
  • undertake further academic study (PhDs);
  • have strong quantitative skills to undertake data analysis; and
  • have strong research methods training in qualitative methods.


The MSc in Social Research at the University of Edinburgh will offer you the intellectual and applied skills to conduct social research that aims to solve complex policy and governance problems in contemporary societies. The programme is unique in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh as it is cross-disciplinary and structured so that irrespective of academic background and aspirations, it allows students to customise their degree to combine in-depth research skills with substantive teaching according to preferred areas of study and future career plans. As part of the programme, students may have the opportunity to apply for a Work-based Placement (dependent on first semester grade average), which provides valuable links to employers and vital employment experience. The MSc in Social Research has high employability rates –for more information, please contact and/or

Further study

The University of Edinburgh is the hub for a Scotland-wide Doctoral Training Centre which is funded and accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This provides world-class postgraduate research and training in the social sciences across a wide range of disciplines, known as 'pathways'. The Scottish DTC offers, on average, 65 fully-funded ESRC studentships available for (UK and EU) students commencing their postgraduate studies each year. The MSc Social Research Methods is accredited for ESRC funding as part of a four-year award (see here). 

What our students say:

"Now that I have finished the program, what I value the most is the opportunity I had to think differently while conducting research, and the chance I got to constantly challenge myself while exploring new ways of thinking about my topic of interest: children affected by armed conflicts".  Nathalia Salamanca, MSc in Social Research (Distinction) 2012-13

"I have gained so much from the core modules and benefited so much from the learning environment provided by the school of social and political sciences. I have been impressed by the quality of lectures and support material provided to students which accommodate many different learning preferences and has enabled me to study part time around my work. In particular, I have been amazed at how easily the core quantitative data analysis module has transformed me from a person who avoids statistics like the plague into someone who is eager to use it in my own research – a turn around which after many years struggling with statistics I would have never foreseen! Indeed, although I initially enrolled on the postgraduate certificate course I have just transferred on to the full MSc in Social Research. The learning opportunities provided by this MSc, being in the beautiful, friendly city of Edinburgh and the friendly, helpful approach of the academic and non academic staff in the school has far exceeded my expectations". Esther Carmen, MSc in Social Research (part-time), 2013-15

Postgraduate Certificate in Social Research

There is also the option to undertake a Postgraduate Certificate in Social Research which consists of three taught research training courses only. It combines compulsory training in a combination of quantitative and qualitative social research skills, as well as the essentials of research design.

Have a look at our programme web pages and if you have further questions, please get in touch.  I would be more than happy to have an informal chat with you to discuss if the MSc is the right one for you. Dr Alan Marshall, email:  phone +44 (0) 131 651 1462

How to Apply

Further guidance on how to apply and entry requirements, etc. is available on the Graduate School website. Please feel free to contact the Programme Director with any further queries.

Fees and Scholarships

Student Awards Agency for Scotland's Postgraduate Loans (SAAS) (Scotland and EU) scheme

Excitingly, our programme has been chosen for the Student Awards Agency for Scotland's Postgraduate Loans (SAAS) (Scotland and EU) scheme, which allows students to access postgraduate loans for tuition fees. Scottish domiciled full-time students are also eligible to apply for a living-cost loan of up to £4,500, in addition to the tuition fee loan. Please follow this link for more details:

Other fees and scholarships information:

  • Full fees information, including part time fees, is available here.
  • Information on how to pay is available here.
  • School information on funding and scholarships is here.
  • University information on funding and scholarships is here.
  • Information on the UK Masters Access Awards is available here.


Edinburgh4Learning offers an intuitive and easy to use funding information tool which allows students to search using a series of handy drop-down lists. Students can access the Edinburgh4Learning portal direct from the Scholarships and Student Funding Services website. Registration requires a valid university of Edinburgh e-mail address and in a matter of moments students can access numerous funding opportunities to help them during their studies.

Bologna Compatibility

Like all University of Edinburgh Masters programmes, the degree is fully Bologna compatible, and is recognised across Europe and beyond under the principles of the Bologna framework. The programme comprises 180 Edinburgh credits, which are equivalent to 90 ECTS credits.