School of Social and Political Science

MSc Sociology and Global Change

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The application deadline for this programme is 5 July 2021.

Take your place at one of the leading international centres of excellence for postgraduate study in Sociology

Edinburgh is one of the leading international centres of excellence for postgraduate study in Sociology. This intensive one-year Masters programme gives you the opportunity to study with leading specialists in a range of research areas with a global reach. The research of our faculty covers Europe, the Americas (including Latin America), Africa, the Middle East, and South and East Asia (including India and China).

Our areas of expertise include:

  • migration, refugees and displacement
  • environment and sustainable development
  • the sociology of globalization
  • genocide and ethnic conflict
  • gender, emotions, intimate and family life, and transnational families
  • global financial markets, economic sociology and global capitalism
  • human rights and citizenship
  • social movements and global inequalities
  • cultural sociology and global popular culture
  • digital labour, big data and social networks

The study of sociology is highly relevant to those seeking to effect social change, whether in personal life or on a wider scale as activists, managers, practitioners or policy makers. It also offers a more specialist education to those seeking to pursue social research and routes to PhD programmes.

The MSc in Sociology and Global Change programme offers the possibility of undertaking eight-week work-based projects with local, national and international organisations, as part of the dissertation research. Work-based dissertations offer a unique opportunity to partner with organisations worldwide, enabling students to apply academic training to real-world problems. Our extensive network of partners includes NGOs, charities, social enterprise, think-tanks and government bodies.

Edinburgh Sociology is 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 work of students on the programme. 


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 from a sociological perspective. You will be able to set your own sociological research agenda in relation to global and international issues.

This MSc programme also provides a conversion course for those from a variety of academic backgrounds, and we welcome students from all subject areas, and with diverse topics of interest. The degree gives an overview of Sociology, and offers training in the core elements of the discipline, social theory and social research, as well as access to a suite of more specialist courses and an opportunity to conduct your own independent research on a topic of your choosing.



You will take two core courses. You will also choose four elective courses from a range of options.


Your dissertation offers you the chance to choose and explore a topic in-depth, working with the guidance of an academic supervisor. It is an ideal chance to get to grips with an issue that fascinates you, and excellent preparation for further graduate level study.

Career opportunities

This programme is extremely relevant if you are seeking employment in consultancy, the public sector, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, the private sector or think-tanks, or as an academic, practitioner or policy maker.

Past students have gone on to undertake roles in:

  • development and international aid
  • the public sector
  • academia/think-tanks
  • migration
  • NGOs
  • environment and conservation law 
  • journalism
How to apply

Apply for September 2021 entry

Award Title Duration Study mode  
MSc   1 Year Full-time Tuition fees
MSc   2 Years Part-time Tuition fees
Reading recommendations

Pre-arrival reading

It's always good to lay groundwork. You might want to read some books from this list to help get ready for the programme:

  • Bronfenbrenner, Kate. 2007. Global Unions. Challenging Transnational Capital Through Cross-Border Campaigns. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  • Cowen, Tyler. 2002. Creative Destruction. How Globalization Is Changing the World’s Cultures. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Harvey, David. 2006. Spaces of Global Capitalism. Toward a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development. London: Verso.
  • Hironaka, Ann. 2008. Neverending War. The International Community, Weak States, and the Perpetuation of Civil War. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Jensen, Nathan. 2006. Nation-States and the Multnational Corporation. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Kreiger, Joel (ed.) 2006. Globalization and State Power: A Reader. New York: Routledge.
  • Livi-Bachi, Massimo. 2006. A Concise History of World Population. Wiley.
  • Mann, Michael. 2012. The Sources of Social Power, Volume 3: Global Empires and Revolution, 1890-1945, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mann, Michael. 2013. The Sources of Social Power, Volume 4: Globalizations, 1945-2011. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Osterhammel, Juergen and Nils Petersson. 2005. Globalization. A Short History. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Pieterse, Jan Niederveen. 2009. Globalization and Culture. The Global Mélange. Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
  • Ray, Larry. 2007. Globalization and Everyday Life. Routledge.
  • Ritzer, George. 2011.  Globalization: The Essentials. Wiley-Blackwell. Sassen, Saskia. 2001. The Global City. New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Sassen, Saskia. 2008. Territory, Authority, Rights. From Medieval to Global Assemblages. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Stiglitz, Joseph E. 2003. Globalization and Its Discontents. New York: W.W. Norton.
  • Therborn, Goran. 2011. The World: A Beginner's Guide. Polity Press.
  • Wallerstein, Immanuel. 2004. World Systems Analysis. An Introduction. Durham NC: Duke University Press.
  • Waters, Malcolm. 2001. Globalization. Routledge.