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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


MSc in Sociology and Global Change

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The application deadline for this programme is 5 July 2021.

Applying for MSc in Sociology and Global Change

The MSc Sociology and Global Change welcomes students from all backgrounds and subject areas, and with diverse topics of interest. The most important aspects of the application to the programme are your academic record and your research interest. When considering to apply, it is important that you have an interest in exploring a topic - a particular aspect of the social world - with a sociological lens. In your application, write a supporting statement that discusses why Sociology and our Programme are relevant for pursuing your personal and research interests. Any relevant work or volunteering experience should also be mentioned in your personal statement. The strict entry requirements for the programme are a 2:1 for a UK Bachelor Honours degree (or its international equivalent) and a minimum English test score. More details can be found here.

Work-Based Project Dissertations

The MSc in Sociology and Global Change Programme will offer the possibility of undertaking 8-week work-based projects with local, national and international organizations, as part of the MSc dissertation project research. The work-based dissertations offer a unique opportunity to partner with organisations worldwide as part of the MSc dissertation. They enabling students to apply academic training to real-world problems, and placements feature eight weeks of on-location research with a host organisation. Our extensive network of partners includes NGOs, charities, social enterprise, think-tanks and government bodies, ensuring a rewarding student experience. More information can be found here.

A Message from the Directors

This intensive one-year programme gives you the opportunity to study with leading specialists in the field. Based at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, the degree offers a Masters Degree, including a supervised dissertation project over the summer on a topic of interest to you.

Our dedicated and diverse team covers a huge range of sociology interests. Our areas of expertise are:

  • Migration, refugees and displacement
  • Environment and sustainable development
  • The sociology of globalization
  • Genocide and ethnic conflict
  • Gender, emotions, intimate and family life, transnational families
  • Big Data and digital labour
  • Global financial markets, economic sociology and global capitalism
  • Human rights and citizenship
  • Social movements and global inequalities
  • Cultural sociology, world and global popular cultures
  • Digital labour, big data and social networks
  • China, India and Latin America

The MSc in Sociology and Global Change is highly customizable, so you can choose from a suite of courses in these areas, within Sociology, across the School of Social and Political Science and more widely across the University.

The core teaching of our programme is delivered as joint teaching by Sociology staff. You will be introduced to key sociological debates in the context of globalization and global capitalism and you will critically engage with conceptual and research design issues that will allow you to better understand some of the most pressing global issues of our time in a sociological perspective. These core courses will also help you set your own sociological research agenda in relation to global and international issues. Lectures do not cover methods for collecting and analysing data. Research methods courses can be chosen as optional courses.

We welcome students from all backgrounds and subject areas. At Edinburgh you will be joining a community of internationally recognised and world leading experts in one of the world’s great cities. The global reach of our academic research, from the Americas to Europe, Africa and South Asia, makes Sociology at Edinburgh truly unique and international. The University of Edinburgh is among the world's top ranked universities.

Edinburgh Sociology is also host to a vibrant intellectual and postgraduate student life. There are regular seminars with international scholars, and postgraduates present their work at an annual conference, New Directions in Sociology. In previous years, students in this programme have organized events such as a Global Ethnographies showcase and an NGO called LIVED focusing on experiences of displaced children and young people.

Please explore these pages, and get in touch if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Dr. Sophia Woodman, Programme Director

Dr. M. Angélica Thumala O, Programme Director 

You can contact Programme Directors at:

For more information please also see the Programme Handbook.

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.

Interested in Nationalism or the Digital World?

If you are interested in studying nations and nationalism or the digital world in a sociological perspective, we encourage you to consider applying for our specialist MSc programmes in Nationalism Studies or Digital Society.

Fees and Scholarships

  • Full fees information, including part time fees, is available here.
  • Information on how to pay is available here.
  • Information on funding and scholarships is here.

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.


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.

Summer Reading for Incoming Students

For those of you who want to do some preliminary readings before the programme starts, we suggest that you read a few chapters (they are short!) of the following book:

Lechner, F. J. Boli, J. (Eds.). (2014). The Globalization Reader. 5th Edition. Wiley & Sons.

Chapter 1 (Micklethwait and Wooldridge), Chapter 6 (Wallerstein), Chapter 7 (Sklair), Chapter 8 (Harvey) and Chapter 11 (Appadurai) would be an excellent start (although any chapter from the first two parts would be relevant) and pick 2-3 other chapters in a subarea you are particularly interested in.

But if you are looking for some reading to get yourself in a sociological frame of mind, novels and fiction related to your research interests would also be very useful by providing some context and insights.

We included here some suggestions from our Sociology staff, ranging from introductions to the field, to accessible studies, to fiction with sociological insights.

Finally, if you have specific areas you want to investigate, feel free to drop an email to the Programme Directors and we can put you in touch with members of Sociology staff who share similar research interests to yours and who can offer further references.

And if you don’t feel you have time for more reading, don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of sociology waiting for you when you arrive! 

All the best in the meantime.

global change