School of Social and Political Science

MSc Research in Social and Political Science

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The deadline to apply for September 2024 entry is Monday 1 July 2024.

We warmly invite candidates to apply for a MSc by Research in Social and Political Science

For students looking to undertake doctoral-level research in social and political science subject areas, this Master's by Research degree will give you the necessary skills through a structured programme of research training.

The MSc by Research (MScR) is different from our other programmes in that, typically, taught masters have more focus on subject-relevant substantive topics rather than acquiring the skills to undertake advanced research, which is the focus of this degree. You will have the opportunity to undertake research training alongside an independent research project, supported by a supervisor.

Our expertise and interests range across the following subject areas:

  • African studies
  • global health policy
  • international development
  • medical anthropology
  • politics and international relations
  • social and public policy
  • social anthropology
  • social work
  • sociology
  • socio-cultural studies
  • South Asian studies

Your application must clearly state the subject area you are interested in and/or the potential supervisor you have contacted.

Programme overview

The MSc by Research includes compulsory courses that cover core research training skills around data collection, data analysis and research design.

It also offers the opportunity to develop your own interests within the framework of workshops and courses offered by subject areas, as well as the professional skills workshops offered by our Student Development Office. These also cover the dissertation that forms a key part of the degree.


Research library and archive facilities in Edinburgh are outstanding. All research students are members of the Graduate School of Social & Political Science, with full access to the Graduate School’s facilities in the Chrystal Macmillan Building.

Other library and archive facilities include the University’s Main Library, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Records Office. Proximity to the Scottish Parliament and other institutions of national government provides further research opportunities.

Postgraduate community

You will join the lively research community and participate in regular seminars and workshops.

Frequent seminars and lectures by visiting scholars provide opportunities for contacts beyond the University.

By the end of this year, you will have completed a full research proposal.


Applying for this PhD

  1. Identify potential supervisors suited to your research interests
  2. Write a draft research proposal
  3. Contact the Postgraduate Advisor with your research proposal and list of potential supervisors
  4. Once discussed with the Postgraduate Advisor, formally submit your application on EUCLID

Postgraduate Advisor

Programme advisor: Director of PGR