Doctoral Training programme

The College of Social Sciences welcomes all doctoral researchers to the Doctoral Training programme, which continues to enjoy full research training recognition by the ESRC. This programme aims to provide students with a sound background in social research design and the most up-to-date training in methods of data collection and analysis.

The core elements of the programme are delivered by staff across the entire College, many of whom are engaged in cutting-edge research in their own fields. Researchers benefit by undertaking this training with colleagues from different departments in the Business School, Education, Government and Society, Institute of Applied Social Studies and Social Policy; and within the wider College. Students will also receive more discipline-specific research training, as well as thesis supervision, provided by individual departments.

Programme content

Term 1:

Introduction to Social Science Research (20 credits)

Research Design (20 credits)

Term 2:

Social Research Methods I (20 credits)

Social Research Methods II (20 credits)

Summer Term:

Advanced training courses (10 credits each course)

Advanced Training

Unless stated, all advanced training courses run as two-day intensive workshops from 10.00 to 16.00 with breaks. This list is updated regularly as new courses are approved so do check this website from time to time to see what is on offer.

These advanced training courses are open to all research students in the College of Social Science (and some departments in other Colleges, such as Geography, subject to the discretion of the Programme Team). These advanced training courses are also open to all staff in the University who may wish to attend without completing the assessments.

Those courses are also available for doctoral researchers from other institutions.

Advanced Training courses run in Semester 3, unless otherwise stated

  • From Multiple linear to Logistic regression
  • Narrative Research
  • Analyzing Hierarchical and Panel Data (Not running 2012-13)
  • Visual Research Methods
  • Linguistic Ethnography
  • Documentary Research in Education, History and the Social Sciences
  • Researching Disability
  • Approaches to Research on Discourse
  • Policy Evaluation
  • Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis (using NVivo)
  • Secondary Research Data Analysis in Social Research
  • Q Methodology – A Systematic Approach for Interpretive Research Design
  • Activity Theory and its research applications (Not running 2012-13)
  • Introduction to Time Series Regression
  • Introduction to Econometric Software (module runs in Semester One)
  • Randomised Controlled Trials (module runs in Semester Two)

New Modules awaiting approval

  • The Role of Thinking:  Philosophy of Social Science Research
  • Mixed methods in interdisciplinary research: a sports based focus
  • Biographical Research Methods
  • Designing Questionnaires

NB: Some courses have pre-requisites, e.g. to register on Multiple Linear and Logistic Regression, Factor Analysis, or Narrative Research, you will need to have passed Social Research Methods II (20 credits module), or equivalent. You will need to provide evidence that you have passed a similar course on quantitative/qualitative data analysis where appropriate.

To register for the above advanced training courses, please e-mail: specifying which courses you are interested in.

When registering for courses, please provide your name, student ID, department/programme you are affiliated to, and your e-mail address.

You will receive a confirmation e-mail, acknowledging your request, and advising you of availability.

Additional information

Skills and attributes gained

Students will have acquired a solid foundation of a broad range of research methods that are widely used in the social sciences and will have developed:

  • A sound understanding of the methodological debates
  • An overview of the philosophy of social science and how this informs research design, chosen methods of data collection and analysis
  • An ability to use a range of research techniques appropriate to their subject area
  • Competence in the representation and presentation of information and data
  • An ability to communicate research findings effectively to a wider range of audiences
  • An appreciation of the potential use and impact of their research within and beyond academia
  • An ability to engage with relevant users at all points in the research process, from devising and shaping research questions through to enhancing practice

Learning and teaching

Students are expected to engage in high-level discussion during all sessions. Teaching will be delivered by a combination of lectures, seminars and computer workshops. Some fieldwork involving primary data collection is required where appropriate.


All core modules are assessed by a 4000-word essay or report. On most advanced training courses, a 3000-report is usually required.

Alternative pathways