MA Social Research (Business)

Start date
2 years PT; 1 year FT
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

For 2023/24:
£10,170 (UK students)
£21,960 (International students)


On the MA Social Research (Business) programme you will gain a solid foundation in a broad range of social science research methods as well as basic research skills.

You will acquire a general overview of the philosophy of social research, and understand how this informs research design, methods of data collection and analysis. You will also develop an ability to use a range of research methods, to communicate research findings effectively and an understanding of the potential use of and impact of your research within and beyond academia.

Why study this course?

  • You will study at one of the handful of business schools in the UK that holds the prestigious ‘triple-crown’ accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS).
  • Your employability options are vast and varied, our strong links with industry mean that rigorous undergraduate academic study is combined with a real practical focus, leading to excellent job opportunities.
  • We are ranked the 4th most targeted university of top UK employers (High Fliers Research 2022)


Unless indicated otherwise the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2023.

Core modules

Philosophy of Social Science Research

This module will consider fundamental philosophical debates about what counts as ‘knowledge’ across the social sciences. These will include the debates around structure/agency, individualism/holism, and explanation/ interpretation. The module will consider (natural) science as a method of obtaining knowledge, and the strengths and critiques of science, as well as thinking about whether the natural sciences can (or should) be a model for the social sciences. 

Research Design, Practice and Ethics

The module will introduce you to the theory and practice of social science research design. The purpose of research design is to prepare you for doing research by providing focus and guidance for practice and reflection. The module is centred on your projects and experiences to help you develop your research designs and strengthen your ability to conduct research in a productive and confident manner.

Fundamentals in Quantitative Research Methods

This module will focus on concepts, methods and skills central to quantitative social research, including data collection approaches and concept operationalization. Building on a grounding in ideas relating to probability sampling, sampling error and statistical inference, coverage of techniques will extend from comparisons of means and simple cross-tabular analyses to a discussion of multivariate analysis approaches, focusing on linear regression.

Foundations in Qualitative Research

By the end of this module you will be able to: critically evaluate the range and content of different qualitative methods as applied to textual, visual and aural data; explain their theoretical underpinnings and potential applications; demonstrate an understanding of how qualitative approaches can be used within mixed methods frameworks; understand the utility of appropriate software packages for analysing qualitative data; and appreciate how qualitative methods might be used both within your own discipline/research area and by other social science disciplines.

Optional modules

Choose 40 credits from the following. Each module is worth 10 credits:

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Fees 2023 - 2024


  • 8650 - full time - £10,170 (UK)
  • 8650 - full time - £21,960 (International)
  • 8651 - part time - £5,085 (UK)
  • 8651 - part time - £10,980

PG Diploma

  • 8671 - part time £3,390 (UK)
  • 8671 - part time £7,320 (International)

PG Certificate

  • 8673 - part time - £3,390 (UK)
  • 8673 - part time - £7,320 (International)

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available. Students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. Explore our funding database.

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

UK and EU students (with settled or pre-settled status) looking to pursue a Masters programme in the UK can apply for a non-means-tested loan from the British government via the Student Loans Company (SLC). Find out more.

How To Apply

1 July 2023 is the application deadline for international students applying through the student route who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2023 made after this date. The deadline for Home students is 31 August 2023.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply online

Our Standard Requirements

Learn more about entry requirements. 


International Requirements

International Students

Standard English language requirements apply.

Many core elements of the programme are delivered by the College of Social Sciences, so you will be undertaking the modules with other students from across the College. However, your dissertation will be undertaken and supervised within the Business School. In addition, there is an induction programme during the first two weeks of the term, which is compulsory, but non-assessed and a programme of skills training which is delivered at University-level, mainly by the Staff Development Unit, throughout the year. You are encouraged to attend all the modules in the programme which are appropriate to you. You must discuss your skills training needs with your designated supervisor in the first week of the first term.

This MA is recognised by the ESRC for the provision of research methods training as Year 1 of a '1+3' programme of doctoral study. It is also available as a stand-alone Masters. Home/EU students may enter into a departmental competition to be nominated for the ESRC open competition for '1+3' or '+3' funding (the '1+3' award covers the MA and provides three years' further funding for PhD research; for '+3' funding you must already have an ESRC-recognised research methods MA degree or equivalent).

We enjoy active and close links with industry and the financial community. Many of our programmes have input from organisations such as GE, Biersdorf and Accenture. Companies such as HSBC, BP, Unilever and Deloitte visit the School to run workshops and business games, ensuring that you have the opportunity to put the theory you have learned into practice.

Particular programmes also offer the ability to obtain first-hand experience in the form of either work placements abroad or UK based consultancy projects with companies such as Jaguar, Aston Villa Football Club and Cadbury.

BBS Careers and Careers Network

As a Birmingham Business School student, you will benefit from two award-winning Careers teams.  

Careers Network is the University of Birmingham careers and employability team offering: career fairs, employer events with top firms across the UK, start-up and entrepreneurial activities, and support. Internships and bursaries are also available exclusively to University of Birmingham students.   

BBS Careers is a dedicated service for Birmingham Business School students. The team provides guidance, support, and work experience opportunities, tailored to business school students, to help you succeed during and after university. We offer workshops, alumni and employer events, and 1-to-1 consultations. These will help you to develop your skills and learn how to submit high-quality internship and graduate applications.  

BBS Careers is one of a few, if not the only business school career service to offer life-long support.  

We are here to support you! Whether you are applying for postgraduate end-of-study internship, a graduate job, or applying for a management role five years after graduation.  

Visit the BBS website for more details

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