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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 6 July 2020.

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.

MSc Sociology Global Change flyer 2016/17

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.

Sociology and Global Change Bursaries

For 2017-18 up to five bursaries of £500 each will be awarded to incoming students to the MSc in Sociology and Global Change on the basis of academic merit. All applicants to the programme by 14 July 2017  will automatically be considered.

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 vibrant 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 a world class institution, ranked 19th in the world and 7th in Europe by the Times Higher Education Supplement.

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 addition to our bi-annual Global Ethnographies showcase of the Programme students' and other PG student research (see below). And a new Edinburgh University-based NGO called LIVED, is open to participation from new students in the MSc Programme.

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

Best wishes,

Dr. Gil Viry, Programme Director

Dr. Sophia Woodman, Programme Director

You can contact Programme Directors at:

Sociology and Global Change Projects

LIVED, a University of Edinburgh-based NGO on refugee children and displacement


This Sociology and Global Change- inspired project seeks to shed an ethnographic light on, and work to improve, the lived experiences of school-aged refugee children across the globe. Four projects are currently underway: 'Lived Za'atari', involving Syrian children in the Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan; 'Lived Scotland', involving refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland; 'Lived Bogota', involving displaced and local underprivileged youth living in Soacha, a suburb of Bogota, Colombia; and 'Lived Beirut', involving creative workshops (rap/hip hop, mural painting/grafitti, and photography/documentary filmmaking) with displaced and at-risk local urban youth in Beirut, Lebanon.

The goal of LIVED's initiatives are to ethnographically capture the stories of school children living in  forced displacement globally in a way that is meaningful and that resonates, both for those living in displacement and for those outside looking in, hoping to make a difference, and to provide creative workshops enabling displaced and local at-risk youth to articulate their own needs and experiences while gaining hard/soft educational skills.  LIVED's first documentary on Za'atari, Learning to Swim, was released through public screenings and film festivals, and it won a Special Prize Award at the Saratov Suffering Film Festival.

LIVED's work has been supported by the University of Edinburgh Sociology / School of Social and Political Science, the United Nations Association Edinburgh, United Nations Scotland, UNHCR, British Academy / Leverhulme, and it is partnering with a variety of organizations and creative communities. You can find more on this evolving project here:, and you can follow LIVED on twitter, @LIVEDprojects.

Semi-annual 'Global Ethnographies' showcases

The MSc Sociology and Global Change also hosts a week-long exhibition series entitled Global Ethnographies every February and October. Each year, two selected graduated students from the MSc programme are asked to showcase their dissertation project work for a week in the form of exhibits, film, visuals and texts, and this is accompanied by a related series of panel discussions. These excellent examples of global ethnography are designed to allow a visual glimpse into parts of the world that may not be familiar, and to enable discussion and reflection on wider global processes through the lens of specific social locations.

GE poster 1