- Entry requirements: Related 2:1 degree (or equivalent)
- Full-time: 12 months
- Part-time: 24 months
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This MA provides research training with a specific focus on obtaining the skills needed to examine and analyse how societies, cultures, institutions and practices came into being, how they are currently organised and constituted and how they are changing.
You will join a department at the forefront of pursuing research-based knowledge supporting social justice. We aim to give our students an exciting study experience to understand better what it means to be social, where society might be heading and what we can do to contribute to our social futures.
World-leading experts within various fields teach our programmes, and a leading scholar in their field will closely supervise your independent research project. You’ll develop advanced research skills, communication skills and the ability to think analytically, which are essential for a successful career across a wide range of different occupations and provide an excellent foundation for further postgraduate study.
We’ll teach you the politics and practice of social research, exploring the different aspects of the research process, including the role of the social scientist and the constraints, benefits and limitations of social science. We’ll also introduce you to the historical debates about the relationship between method and knowledge and how they inform the development and transformation of the social sciences.
This master’s has an Economic and Social Research Council 1+3 Recognition status and has been specifically constructed for you if you intend to undertake professional and/or academic research in sociology, social policy and criminology.
This master’s is suitable for graduates in the Social Sciences or related areas. It will be an excellent step for those who want to undertake postgraduate study at MPhil and PhD level or become an independent/career social researcher.
Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.
International students may be able to study this course on a part-time basis but this is dependent on visa regulations. Please visit the Government website for more information about student visas.
If you're able to study part-time, you'll study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.
Studying part-time means you can study alongside work or any other life commitments. You will study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.
The MA programme consists of 120 credits of taught modules and a 15,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits.
In Semester 1, you are required to take two compulsory 15 credit modules and 30 credits of optional modules chosen from within the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and North West Social Science Doctoral Training Centre.
This module provides students with an introduction to the politics and practice of social research. It does so by exploring the following aspects of the research process: the context of the modern university; the role of the social scientist; power, critique and reflexivity in the social sciences; the constraints, benefits and limitations of social science. Those are explored in relation to practical dillemas and cases studies in social science research.
SOCI504 is a module that introduces students to academic debates about knowledge production and method within sociology and the social sciences. The module is structured to provide an insight into the historical debates about the relationship between method and knowledge and how they inform the development and transformation of the social sciences.
This module will provide you with a good understanding of ethical principles underpinning formal ethical review (process) and the complexity of considerations that arise in the field (practice). The module will be delivered through a workshop that will provide the opportunity for student-led discussions on specific ethical issues related to your research. It will be assessed through a short critical review of an ethical issue(s).
This module looks into the rationale and practice of analysing numerical data, largely derived from survey research, and the use of such data to understand the social world. It covers a range of skills from basic univariate and multivariate analysis techniques, to a consideration of the potential insights offered by longitudinal datasets and their analysis.
This 5 credit module is designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Students are introduced to a critical understanding of discourse, which in turn encourages the analysis of language use in relation to questions of power in society. The module seeks to enable students’ engagement in such analyses, introducing them to appropriate methods and techniques, and providing them the opportunity to put these into practice.
This module is organised around a review of the critical sociological literature on visual data and visual analysis. Drawing together existing research in this sub-field – which is growing rapidly in significance – the module focuses particularly on academic research that has sought to develop critical approaches to the production and deployment of visual data in specifically urban contexts.
This module on ‘interviewing’ gives participants an understanding of why, when, and how to use interviews in social research. The workshops will include opportunities for participants to understand when it is appropriate to use interviews in social research, to develop their own research questions, to learn how to prepare for and conduct interviews, as well as how to approach the analysis, and writing up of data. This learning on this module is underpinned by sociological theory and aims to provide an enhanced critical understanding of how different forms of interviews can be used to elicit different kinds of data, and how different ontological and epistemological positions in research impact on the data produced. The module is suitable for postgraduate students and research staff from all disciplines who require a period of additional supported study and reflection before they design and conduct their own interview based research project.
This 5 credit module will introduce students to observation and help them explore how they may draw on observational methods in their own research
In Semester 2, you chose up to 60 credits of social research methods training modules.
Michel Foucault’s work has been influential in a wide range of disciplines. SOCI515 is a module that introduces students to the uses of Foucault’s theory and method within the social sciences. The module is structured to provide an insight into the ways Foucault’s technique and method have been taken up in sociology and applied to social research. Focusing on discourse as the cornerstone of Foucault’s methods our aim is to reconsider the status of ‘reality’ in the social sciences.
This module will help students design, plan and carry out focus group discussions, and will cover both the theory, ethics and practice of focus group research. Particular attention will be paid to the analysis of verbal and non-verbal interaction.
Ethnomethodology and conversation analysis are radical approaches to social inquiry. While distinct, ethnomethodology – the study of practical methods of action and reasoning, i.e. ‘ethno-methods’ – and conversation analysis – the study of ‘talk-in-interaction’ – are grounded in detailed investigations of how people in all manner of ordinary and specialised sites and settings organise their activities from within. Although this module will chart the development of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis and situate them intellectually in wider fields of inquiry, its purpose is to provide an advanced, hands-on introduction to the unique way both approach the study of social practices via ‘tutorial problems’ centred on the analysis of interactional data collected as part of small-scale fieldwork exercises. Among others things, the module will look at how ethnographic research, observation and interviewing can be ‘repurposed’, that is, put to work in alternate ways when pursued ethnomethodologically.
This module gives you the opportunity to plan a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project in preparation for your dissertation. Students will be given the opportunity to do this through Interchange, a charity that links students to 3rd sector organisations working in social welfare, social policy or criminal justice contexts. Students will not be encouraged to undertake a PAR dissertation unless they have completed this module.
This module encourages students to consider strategies and approaches when conducting research on sensitive subjects in the field of social scientific investigation. Students will engage with empirical, theoretical and methodological literature in relation to researching sensitive subjects. Case studies of research projects will be identified to demonstrate how practical, ethical and methodological obstacles can be negotiated and overcome. Students will identify specific sensitive topics for research and suggest approaches on how those projects might be undertaken. Students will also be encouraged to identify specific aspects of topics not to be researched and reflect on how and why such decisions might be taken.
This module will consider how data can be visualized to reveal, or conceal, patterns in the social world. Students will be introduced to principles which are deemed to characterise successful visualization, and will learn how to implement such principles using the programming language R.
Narrative Inquiry represents an innovation in social research methodologies. It has proven particularly important for advancing how social scientists seek to understand constructions of meaning, the role of memory and the importance of temporality and identity. This module will introduce the student to key theoretical and methodological principles in conducting narrative research focusing primarily on interviewing. This module is an option for the Masters in Social Research Methods, and is also open for non-credited attendance to all postgraduate students in the university.
Your dissertation is normally submitted in the September ending the year of the MA programme and carries 60 of a total of 180 credits.
In this module students formulate a research question and develop a research proposal, including a clear research strategy. Students will work independently to conduct library based or original empirical, social–scientific research aimed at answering a research question, applying methodological principles and research techniques. The dissertation requires students to creatively use theoretical insights and concepts relevant to the research question at hand, to generate new knowledge about the issue addressed in the thesis and report about the research and the results in a clear and systematic way.
You’ll be taught through a mixture of large group seminars/tutorials, small group workshops, one to one tutorials and research supervision meetings. You’ll also carry out project work and private study.
Teaching is delivered in an interactive, participatory and inclusive way, with extensive support of small group teaching and online learning platforms.
Each of the taught modules are formally assessed by coursework on a semester basis. Depending on the learning objective of the module, this may include essays, project work, fieldwork analysis, research strategy document, report of research observation, book review or the completion and analysis of interviews.
We have a distinctive approach to education, the Liverpool Curriculum Framework, which focuses on research-connected teaching, active learning, and authentic assessment to ensure our students graduate as digitally fluent and confident global citizens.
The Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology is one of the UK’s leading centres for sociology, social policy and criminology and has been for over 100 years. Our shared pursuit of research-based knowledge supporting social justice sets this department apart from most of its contemporaries in the UK and beyond.
Students will have access to the state-of-the-art facilities of the School of Law and Social Justice Building, as well as excellent library and IT facilities just one minute’s walk away.
From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:
This MA is recognised nationally by the Economic and Social Research Council for providing quality methods training for those seeking a career in social science. It will give you the required skills to progress directly onto doctoral level social research or to take up employment in a wide variety of careers within the government, charitable and private sectors. National and local government and Regional Development Agencies have noted the rapid demand for graduates qualified in the full spectrum of research design and analysis techniques.
The Social Research Methods MA is designed to meet pre-employment training and post-career development needs.
Potential career pathways include, but are not limited to, roles within:
This MA also equips you with the skills and knowledge needed for an academic career or a university research career in the Social Sciences (Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology) or in a related discipline.
Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.
|UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)|
|Full-time place, per year||£10,800|
|Part-time place, per year||£5,400|
|Full-time place, per year||£22,400|
|Part-time place, per year||£11,200|
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support.
If you're a UK national, or have settled status in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan worth up to £12,167 to help with course fees and living costs. Learn more about paying for your studies..
We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.
Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to provide tuition fee discounts and help with living expenses while at university.
The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.
My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.
|Postgraduate entry requirements||
For entry to our MA either a first degree or a Masters degree in the Social Sciences or related areas is required, although experience and/or strong supporting references may justify entry with a lower grade. Those with non-social science back grounds may also be considered if their experience and references suggest support for this.
If you hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, but don’t meet our entry requirements, a Pre-Master’s can help you gain a place. This specialist preparation course for postgraduate study is offered on campus at the University of Liverpool International College, in partnership with Kaplan International Pathways. Although there’s no direct Pre-Master’s route to this MA, completing a Pre-Master’s pathway can guarantee you a place on many other postgraduate courses at The University of Liverpool.
You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language. International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.
|English language qualification||Requirements|
View our IELTS academic requirements key.
Standard Level (Grade 5)
|TOEFL iBT||88 or above with minimum scores in components as follows: Listening and Writing 21, Reading 22, Speaking 23.|
|INDIA Standard XII||National Curriculum (CBSE/ISC) - 75% and above in English. Accepted State Boards - 80% and above in English.|
|Hong Kong use of English AS level||C|
Last updated 17 October 2023 / / Programme terms and conditions