MA Sociology

Start date
1 year
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

£10,530 f/t (UKs)
£23,310 f/t (International)
More Fees and funding details.

Why study Sociology?

The 21st Century has witnessed rapid social changes in terms of our personal relationships, communities, politics and the technology we use. Our MA Sociology degree offers the tools to understand the drivers of this change as well as the challenges these present to our societies.

Sociology provides distinct insights into the contested character of contemporary processes of global, national and local transformations, and how these transformations are driven by and reflected in the complexity of individual identities and allegiances.

The MA Sociology programme has a strong theoretical core, which critically examines the major sociological traditions as tools for understanding contemporary social transformations. We will take these traditions and combine them with cutting-edge theoretical frameworks to explain social phenomena that are reshaping our societies: the rise of new technologies and social media, the rise of new forms of populist politics, widening socio economic inequalities, and increasing forms of individualisation.

The programme will appeal to those who want to better understand complex shifts and transformations within our societies. Alongside social theory, the MA Sociology programme offers a suite of optional modules that examine a range of social issues and divisions such as crime, migration, poverty and inequality, race and ethnicity. You will approach these issues by pursuing distinctively sociological questions of the relationships between individuals, groups, institutions and wider social processes, the dynamics of stability and change and the distribution of power. This will be paralleled by training in the analysis of empirical sociological research, the design of research programmes and the methods for collecting, interpreting and presenting sociological data.


Unless indicated otherwise the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2024.

Core Modules

  • Transforming Identities (20 credits)
  • Transforming Societies (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits) 

Optional Modules* (80 credits from the list below)

  • The Third Sector and Social Policy (20 credits)
  • Migration, Super diversity, Policy and Practice (20 credits)
  • Policy Futures: Theories and Concepts in International Policymaking (20 credits)
  • Globalisation, International Migration & Citizenship (20 credits)
  • Crime and Social Harm (20 credits)
  • Sociology of Race and Racism (20 credits)
  • Applied Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis (20 credits)
  • Global Policy Institutions and Networks  (20 credits)
  • Policy Evaluation (20 credits)
  • Philosophies of Welfare: creating new societies? (20 credits)
  • Poverty, Wealth and Inequality (20 credits) 
  • Climate Justice and Social Policy (20 credits)
  • Crime and Justice in a Globalised World (20 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 2024 - 2025

Code: 571D Full-time: £10,530 (UK)
Code: 571D Full-time: £23,310 (International)

Learn more about fees

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

A postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will provide up to £12,167 (after August 2023) for UK and EU students (with settled or pre-settled status) for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas including part-time and distance learning.

Scholarships and studentships

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the Department directly or contact the Student Funding Office via the online enquiries system.

How To Apply

30 June 2024 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 2024 made after this date. The deadline for Home students is 30 August 2024.

Personal Statement

Entry to this programme is highly competitive and as a result your application and personal statement will be closely scrutinised by our Admissions Tutors. Please ensure that you spend some time familiarising yourself with the programme modules and outcomes. Personal Statements should be relevant to the programme and how you believe it will enable you to achieve your career goals.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

For entry onto this programme you will normally have an undergraduate degree of at least a 2:1. Applicants with a 2:2 degree classification will be considered on a case by case basis, if you have extensive related work experience.

International applicants will be required to hold an IELTs of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each band or equivalent qualification.

Applicants are required to offer a relevant degree subject, and we will consider the following subjects: social policy, sociology, criminology, cultural studies, politics, international relations, generic social science degrees (but excluding Business related degrees), human/social geography, media studies, art history, history and philosophy. 

Learn more about entry requirements

International Requirements

The Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology is based in the School of Social Policy. Our mission is not just to ‘understand the world’, but to also ‘change it.’

Our achievements

In turning this mission into practice, we are proud of our many achievements.  Our academics are recognised leaders in their field, working alongside UK government departments and supra-national organisations, such as the European Commission and United Nations to bring about positive social change.  Research in the School of Social Policy was ranked in the top 10 in terms of its rigour, significance and originality in REF 2021, and we have extensive international links with like-minded partners at Harvard, Melbourne, Peking University, Vancouver, Seoul and beyond.

Why choose to study in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology?

  • Our postgraduate degrees are delivered by experts in each field and offer students a wide range of optional modules, so that you can personalise your degree to your needs and interests.
  • The Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology at the University of Birmingham is an internationally leading centre of research drawing together academic expertise in theory, empirical research and policy.

The Department has over 50 academic staff who contribute to a vibrant research culture. We have experts across 6 departmental research themes:

  • Civil Society and Volunteering
  • Crime & Social Harm
  • Poverty, Wealth & Inequality
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Social Theory and Transformation
  • Migration, Diversity and Religion

The Department also hosts three leading research centres: 

You will be part of a dynamic academic department that hosts a range of external speakers and lunchtime seminars and will have access to a dedicated study space located in the department working alongside the academics who teach you.

In the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology, we believe that our research should inform the delivery of our teaching.  This means that are you will be taught by those who are involved in cutting-edge research and who write the publications that you will study. You will be taught primarily by academic experts from the Department’s ‘Social Theory and Social Transformation’ research theme, which carries out high quality research to make sense of societal change. Our research investigates global, national and local transformations, the patterns of social relationships and interactions and the culture of everyday life. 

Teaching and learning takes place across a variety of forms, including traditional lecture, interactive lectures, small group seminars, and computer lab based sessions. We also believe that our teaching should be delivered not only through the classroom but through the social world itself. Being located in the city of Birmingham, one of the most diverse cities in the UK and the youngest city in Europe (largest percentage of the population under 24), the MA Sociology offers access to a ‘social laboratory’, that brings the issues that you study to life. We offer extra-curricular field trips to Birmingham City Council and the Houses of Parliament. 

Your degree will predominantly be assessed through a range of coursework, such as traditional essay, policy reports and dissertation; currently two of our modules utilise written examination as a mode of assessment. You will be offered the opportunity across core modules to complete formative assessments and to receive feedback which can be used to develop your writing style, structuring and critical reasoning, without the mark carrying into your degree classification. 

This programme will equip you with critical reasoning and analytical skills that are valued across a range of careers, including social and market research, policy and campaigns, the media, charities and the voluntary sector as well as providing a basis for doctoral study.

Career support

Find out more about the career support we offer for postgraduate students at the University of Birmingham.