Social Research (Education) MA

Start date
September/October
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Fees

2020-2021
£9,250 f/t (Home/EU)
£3,083 p/t (Home/EU)
£19,170 f/t (Overseas)
More Fees and funding details.

The University of Birmingham’s School of Education is one of the best schools in the UK to study social research.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) more than 81 per cent of all the research in the School of Education was rated as internationally excellent (3*) or world leading (4*).

On this course 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.

The MA in Social Research will provide you with a solid foundation in a broad range of social science research methods as well as basic research skills.

Download information on all the postgraduate study programmes in the School of Education (PDF)

Modules

Core modules

Philosophy of Social Science Research

The module considers fundamental philosophical debates about what counts as ‘knowledge’ across the social sciences. Teaching addresses (natural) science as a method of obtaining knowledge and the interpretative tradition in the social sciences. Students explore fundamental philosophical debates about what counts as ‘knowledge’ across the social sciences and apply these discussions to their own disciplines and field of study.

Research Design, Practice and Ethics

The module introduces students to social science research designs and ethical issues in research practice. Learning supports students to be able to make strategic choices when developing their own projects, and to assess the design and research ethics decision making in others’ published research work.

Fundamentals in Quantitative Research Methods

Concepts, methods and skills central to quantitative research, including data collection approaches and concept operationalization, are core throughout this module. Building on a grounding in ideas relating to probability sampling, sampling error and statistical inference, coverage of techniques extends from comparisons of means and simple cross-tabular analyses to a discussion of multivariate analysis approaches, focusing on linear and logistic regression. 

Foundations in Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is examined across a range of topics, from different approaches and methods including ethnographic and observational research, discourse and conversation analysis, documentary and archival analysis, participatory research and the use of interviews. Ethics in qualitative research is specifically considered, as is the evaluation of qualitative research.

Elective modules

You will take a minimum of four elective modules from the following list (10 credits each)*:

Dissertation

In addition, you will write a 12,000-word dissertation (60 credits).

*The modules listed on our website may occasionally be subject to change. For example, as you will appreciate, key members of staff may leave the University and this might necessitate a review of the modules that are offered. Where a module is no longer available, we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Fees

Fees 2020-2021

Home/EU £9,250 full-time; £3,083 part-time

Overseas £19,170 full-time only

The fees shown above are the first year fees for students starting their courses September in 2020 and fees may change in subsequent years.

Please view our Fees for International Students page for further details. 

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and Loans

Scholarships may be available. please view the Scholarships webpage in the School of Education. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More details may be found on the international scholarships page

A postgraduate government-backed student loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will provide up to £10,906 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. 

For further information contact the School directly or visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to eligible financial support via the Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan for the duration of their course. For more information visit the gov.uk website.

You can also visit our EU Referendum information page for more information and updates.

How To Apply

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 now

Our Standard Requirements

A good Honours degree or equivalent is normally required or equivalent if you were educated outside the UK. Applications are also encouraged from those without an Honours degree who have five years or more relevant work experience.

English language support - before your course starts

The University offers Presessional English courses for students who wish to improve their knowledge of spoken and written English in preparation for academic study at the University of Birmingham. Students with conditional offers have the option of attending one of these courses instead of retaking IELTS 

English language support - during your studies

BIA provides free English language services to international students who are currently studying on undergraduate or postgraduate courses at the University of Birmingham.  Services include Open-access English classes, online self-assessment, online materials through CANVAS, email answers to quick questions and individual one to one tutorials.  For a small fee, BIA also offers classes for partners of international postgraduate students and staff, social events including day trips and HOST visits.   

International Requirements


Many core elements of the Social Research 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 School of Education.

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 will be 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).

In the latest QS World University rankings, the University of Birmingham was ranked 81st globally and 14th in the UK. In the Times and the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020, the School of Education has been ranked 5th in the UK. Over the last five years, an impressive 98.3 % of Education postgraduates have been in work and/or further study six months after graduation.

Birmingham’s Education graduates choose to work in variety of education roles in schools and administrative roles in public and private sector organisations. Work in retail, sales and administration are also popular options. Some chose to continue their education and apply for professional courses such as teacher training or undertake a PhD.

What type of career assistance is available to postgraduate researchers in Education?

The College of Social Sciences, to which the School of Education belongs, has specially designated careers advisors and careers consultants who can provide guidance for postgraduate researchers on career paths, CVs, training opportunities, application and interviews. The University’s central Careers’ Service also runs workshops and offers personally tailored advice and guidance including 1-1 careers advice and 1-1 CV advice. The Career’s Service runs CV writing workshops especially for postgraduates in the College of Social Sciences, giving advice on how to compile CVs for both employment and for academic roles.

The University also has dedicated careers advisors who run workshops and provide networking opportunities with potential employers. These are especially popular with international postgraduate researchers.