School of Social and Political Science

Choosing courses


PhD students wishing to register for courses must discuss and agree their course choices with their Principal Supervisor (PhD). 

Course Choices, Changes and Audit requests are now closed. Audit requests and the Course Change form for selecting Semester 2 courses opens again in January 2024.

The Course Choice Form for 2023/24 has now closed. Please use the Postgraduate Course Change Request Form 2023/2024 which will open on 3rd January until 26th January 2024.

Your choices are reviewed and enrolled before the end of Week 2 of Semester 2.

Course Changes and audit requests are available until the end of Week 2 in the "Course changes or courses in other schools" section.

Please allow processing time and log in to your MyEd account to check your record just prior to Week 1. You will have access to the courses you have been registered on via your Learn pages. If there are any issues with your elective courses, we will be in touch.

Please see information on changing, auditing, or withdrawing from courses below.

MSc by Research students

For MSc by Research students, your particular degree programme will require that certain courses are taken. If your programme has optional courses, these are discussed with your subject Programme Director and, where appropriate, your supervisor bearing in mind any Research Council requirements, and any particular training needs raised by your anticipated research. Details of your MScR  programme can be found in the Degree Programme Tables.

See available courses in Path

Questions about the suitability of a course for a particular student are decided by the Course Organiser, in consultation if necessary with the Director of Postgraduate Research.

PhD students

For PhD students, course choices are discussed with your supervisor/s (and your subject area Postgraduate Advisor if required) bearing in mind the requirements of your particular degree programme, Research Council requirements, and any particular training needs raised by your anticipated research. You can have a look at available courses in Path and should consult the core and specialist training courses for postgraduate research students here.

Details of your PhD programme can be found in the Degree Programme Tables.

In general, you should bear in mind:

  • Students with practical command of particular research skills should not take courses which reproduce what they have already learned; exemption from the core courses is available for students who can demonstrate proficiency in that area (through previous qualifications and/or work experience).
  • The Graduate School's training in research methods assumes existing qualifications or experience in social sciences; courses are not generally suitable for students with no prior knowledge.
Students from other schools

If your degree is in another School, but you need to register for an SSPS Research Training course, you must:

  • Check with your Supervisor/Programme Director that the courses you wish to take are appropriate;
  • Seek approval from the Course Organiser (named on the individual course webpage);
  • Contact your own School's Graduate School Office, who will register you on the course.
Course changes or courses in other schools

You may be able to change courses if places on the course you wish to change into are available.

  • You may request a change of course once per semester for up to three courses
  • You should complete a new form for each course change required
  • Course changes are subject to availability and Course Organiser approval
  • If you would like to take a course that is not in SPS, listed on your programme or here, approval from your Programme Director (MScR) / PhD Supervisor, the Course Organiser, and Course Administrator is required.  See which courses are listed on your programme. All three approvals should be sent be uploaded to the Course Change Form.
  • Course change requests can be made up to the end of Week 2 of the semester in which the course is taught. The course change form below for Semester 1 will be available here shortly.

Important: ESRC-funded students with specific courses noted in their award letter, cannot substitute these courses.

Postgraduate Course Change Request Form 2023/2024

Auditing courses

It may be possible for students to audit a course. Auditing means that students sit in on a course they are interested in without being formally assessed for their performance. Students still need to register for the course.

Please note that not all courses accept auditing students. The decision of whether or not to accept auditing students is at the Course Organiser's discretion. Some may only allow auditing students to attend lectures, while others may expect them to play a full role in seminar discussions. It is each student’s own responsibility to contact Course Organisers before signing up for their course to clarify whether auditing is possible and under what circumstances.

If you wish to audit a course you must email the Course Organiser to obtain permission. Course Organisers can be found at the bottom of the selected course page here.

Please note that we typically do not permit a student to audit more than one course in any semester. If you wish to audit more than one course per semester you will need to email your MScR Programme Director or PhD Supervisor to obtain permission.

For students from outside SSPS who wish to audit an SSPS course, your own Graduate School Office will need to register you. However, you still need to ask the Course Organiser's permission, and the SSPS PG Support Team still needs to be informed.

Students wanting to audit a course must follow this process:

  1. Student sends email to relevant Course Organiser requesting permission to audit course
  2. Student sends email to their Programme Director (MScR) or PhD Supervisor requesting permission to audit course
  3. Once approval has been received via email from both the Course Organiser and the Programme Director/PhD Supervisor, the student must request to Audit and forward the approvals to  
  4. Once received and if space is available, the PG Support team will update the student record accordingly.
  5. The course will appear on student record as 'class only'.

Important: ESRC-funded students with specific courses noted in their award letter, cannot substitute these courses.

Please note, it is students’ own responsibility to check their course record on MyEd to ensure that they are signed up in the correct study mode for each course.

Please also note, a request to audit a course may be accepted provisionally, but may be withdrawn if that place is needed by a student taking the course for credit.

We aim to process course auditing requests within 3 working days. From Week 1, please check your EUCLID record – if the course is not listed on your record after 3 working days from your request, you have been placed on the waiting list. If a space becomes available, we will notify you.


It may be possible for you to withdraw from an elective course, provided there is a valid reason for the withdrawal. 

Please note, any withdrawals made after week 6 each semester remain visible on your record.

Student category
MSc by Research