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Postgraduate Social Research Programmes

The School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy (SSHP) is home to a family of interdisciplinary postgraduate certificate, diploma, and master's programmes. These programmes are designed for people who wish to develop a solid foundation of in social theorising and methods for the workplace. The programmes also help students prepare for doctoral study.

Programme highlights

  • We provide a diverse selection of modules in social science research.
  • We provide various full-time and part-time evening postgraduate studies that suit your schedule and career goals.
  • We provide the opportunity to work with world-class scholars across different social science disciplines.

Core research methods training

  • Our programmes provide six core modules in qualitative and quantitative methods. These satisfy Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) training requirements. Students can choose four of the following six qualitative and/or quantitative modules:
    • Our popular Qualitative Social Research Methods covers a broad range of approaches including case studies, depth interviews, focus groups, ethnography, document analysis, and discourse analysis.
    • Qualitative Research Design introduces general principles of research design and provides you with the necessary skills to plan and conduct independent research.
    • We offer three comprehensive quantitative modules that build upon each other. Introduction to Quantitative Social Research is designed for students who have little prior knowledge of quantitative methods; Applied Social Data Analysis in R is ideal for students with some prior exposure to quantitative research methods and will cover multiple regression in depth; Advanced Topics in Quantitative Social Research focuses on a selection of advanced techniques beyond multiple linear regression. These modules are delivered along with the use of R, one of the most widely used statistical programming languages within and outside academia.
    • Experiments in Social Science introduces students to a variety of cutting-edge experimental methods used to explore the social world. 

Theory and subjects options

Dissertation

  • MSc and MRes students work with supervisors who are leading experts in their field and write a dissertation on a topic of their own choice. 
  • Recent graduates have chosen topics including intersectional analyses of voter engagement, perceptions of LGBTQ+ Pride in London, ethical consumerism, internet memes as political activism, and the political independence of voluntary sector organisations.
  • To get an idea of possibilities, please explore staff profiles across the various SSHP departments. 

Frequently asked questions

  • Who studies on these programmes?
    • Our students have usually studied an undergraduate degree in a social science subject, such as sociology, politics, geography, or psychology when they apply for a seat. Many of them have gained some experiences working in social research in private firms, government departments, councils, charities, think tanks, and other non-governmental organisations, to name a few.
    • We welcome applicants from other disciplines, too. Please to discuss whether these programmes would be a good match for you before applying. 
  • What careers do the programmes lead to?
    • Our graduates go into a variety of research roles, for instance, in private firms, government departments, think tanks, NGOs, and political parties. The master's degrees also help students prepare for doctoral study and satisfy ESRC funding requirements.
  • What funding is available?
  • Can I study for the programme part time?
    • Postgraduate diploma and master's students can choose to finish the programme in one or two years. Full-time students finish the programme in one year; part-time students have two years to complete their study at Birkbeck. Read more about full- and part-time study.
    • The one-year part-time postgraduate certificate allows students to obtain a formal qualification for these qualitative and quantitative modules and is ideal for people who wish to concentrate on improving their analytical skills.
  • How many evenings a week will I need to attend?
    • Our teaching combines pre-recorded lecture videos and in-person tutorials/seminars. Students attend two to three evening classes a week at our Bloomsbury campus during the academic year.
  • Who should I contact if I need advice?
    • Please , the director and admissions tutor of Birkbeck’s Postgraduate Social Research Programmes.

List of our social research programmes