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School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study


MA Sociology with Quantitative Methods


Sociologists are interested in how we interact and relate to one another, in short, how we create ‘society’. Human beings form social relationships in astonishingly varied ways, and all of these can provide the focus for sociological investigations. Sociologists explore questions such as: How do people organise collectively around common goals? How do people come to share knowledge and beliefs about the world around them? How do societies and social groups distribute and manage power among their members? How do they form common collective identities? How do individual actions contribute to large social trends - and vice versa? And perhaps the most fundamental question of all - how much do we create society, versus how much does society create us?

One quarter of your study time will be devoted to quantitative methods. This will teach you how to use and interpret data to answer questions in Sociology and other areas of Social Science.

Who is this degree for?

This degree allows you to develop your skills in Sociology and as well as ensuring you will be statistically savvy. Quantitative skills underpin effective evidence-based planning in Government, in the private sector and in international NGOs, so your combined skills set will be in demand.

Programme structure

Year 1

You take Sociology and two other subjects in first year. Sociology 1 is compulsory and comprises two half courses. The first half

(Individuals and Society) explores answers to core questions of the discipline: How does social order emerge out of social interactions? What makes societies change? Do we really choose our tastes and values? Why are modern societies so often organised as nation-states? The second half (Private Troubles, Public Problems) introduces sociological approaches with regard to several contemporary issues: shifting religious beliefs, deviance and intoxication, the causes of violence, and the sources of social identities. In addition, you will take a core course designed specifically for those whose degree subject is Sociology: Fundamentals: Developing Sociological Imagination. This encourages students to take enjoyment in sociological ideas and apply them in everyday life, and helps develop the sociological study skills required at university level.

For the quantitative methods component you will take Mathematics for Social Science and Introduction to Statistics for Social Science. You will also take an optional course or two of your choice.

Year 2

In second year there are two compulsory half courses, Sociology 2A: Thinking Sociologically and Sociology 2B: Researching Social Life. The first of these introduces key theoretical debates and ideas in sociology, relating these to core topics such as social inequalities and social change. The second course introduces the various ways in which sociological research is done at local, national and global levels. This prepares you for the group and individual research project work you will do in the third and fourth years. You will also take a further course in Fundamentals: Developing Sociological Imagination, designed to complement the other core courses by supporting your learnin about theory and research.

For quantitative methods you will take Doing Social Research with Statistics. This leaves you with three optional courses of your choice.

Year 3

You will study Designing and Doing Social Research and Social Theory. You will also have two optional courses in Sociology. For quantitative methods, you will take Statistical Modelling for Social Scientists and one optional quantitative methods course, for example, multi-level modelling. It is also possible to study abroad in year 3. If you decide to do an internship, it would be between April - August in year 3.

Year 4

The only compulsory course this year is the Sociology Project. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate the research skills you have learnt so far. You will have four optional courses, allowing you to specialise in an area of particular interest both methodologically and substantively.

Skills & Careers

There is currently a deficit of graduates with advanced quantitative skills in the UK, with many employers reporting widespread QM weakness amongst their employees.

It is estimated that by 2018 there will be a shortage of 15k-20K data scientists and up to 1.5m data savvy managers and professional in the US alone (McKinsey).

These degrees equip you with the skills employers tell us they need you to have, opening doors to a wide range of exciting and well remunerated careers

Further Information is available via the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder.
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