Institute of Education


Social Science Research Methods PG Dip

This Postgraduate Diploma is an intensive accelerated programme running over two terms offering training in social science research methods. It provides a pathway to doctoral study including MPhil/PhD programmes and, for suitable candidates, to year two of the EdD programme. It is aimed at professionals working in a wide range of disciplines who have an interest in developing research skills in social science.

Key information

Programme starts

January 2022

Modes and duration

Full time: 10 months

Ten months. Two terms of teaching (January - July) followed by an independent practice-based research project and assignments in term 3 (August - October). Taught sessions run weekly from January - July. The programme is full-time, however sessions are scheduled in the evening and many students complete the programme whilst working.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 March 2021
Close: 1 November 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£4,170 (FT)
£9,530 (FT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website. Please note: students starting study in January 2021 will pay fees at the 2020/21 rate.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

Visa information

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

Students on this programme develop an understanding of research in the social sciences and develop skills and understanding which will give them the confidence to progress to doctoral study, or to apply research skills in their own professional contexts. Students learn how to develop and critically evaluate research questions; gain an understanding of social science research methodologies and links between these methodologies and research questions; select appropriate social science research methods to explore identified research questions; enhance their knowledge of different forms of research proposals and the complexities of funding applications; and assess their own suitability for further research degree studies.

Students undertake modules to the value of 120 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (each 30 credits).

Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in Social Science Research Methods.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

All modules are mandatory.

Developing Research Questions
Methods of Investigation
Designing a Research Study
Developing a Research Proposal

Optional modules

There are no optional modules for this programme.


Students are not expected to submit a dissertation for this programme.


For module three, students undertake a small-scale research project which may involve fieldwork (some students elect to analyse policy documents or undertake systematic reviews).


Students complete a research placement for module two of the programme. This placement is with a live research project under the supervision of a placement supervisor who will be a researcher at UCL. The placement is where possible closely aligned to students' own areas of research interest. However, this alignment will depend on what live projects are currently underway at the specified time. The placement may involve fieldwork but equally could involve the reviewing of literature, a research proposal or data analysis. The placement allows students to gain an insight into what is involved in 'real-world' research.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of face-to-face seminars and synchronous (virtual real-time classroom) and asynchronous sessions. Students also learn about the practicalities of social science research through participation in a research project. Peer review and study informed by adult learning theory are particular forms of learning on this programme.

Assessment is through the equivalent of a 5,000-word assignment for each module.

Additional costs

It is unlikely that there will be costs for this aspect of the programme as it is envisaged that students will undertake fieldwork in their place of work, or within the locale of UCL or their home. It may well be necessary to travel into London to meet with your placement supervisor or to another venue if your placement involves fieldwork.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Three fees-only bursaries are available to support groups who are underrepresented at this level of study.  For further information please contact the programme leader Joe Mintz: j.mintz@ucl.ac.uk  

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Centenary Masters Scholarships

Full tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Tuition fees, stipend, flights (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE Windle Trust Scholarship

Deadline: 31 December 2020
Full tuition fees and some allowances (Up to 3yrs)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Students from a wide range of professions have undertaken the programme, including, but not limited to school teachers and leaders, professionals working in a range of roles in further and higher education, people working in the charity sector and those working in medicine and health.

The aims of the programme are to familiarise students with social science research, to enhance the prospects of those wishing to go on to doctoral study and to allow others to further their careers by developing their capacity to apply research skills within their professional contexts.


Students will gain the skills to progress to postgraduate research, potentially leading to careers in academia or as researchers working in the public or private sectors.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme offers a unique opportunity to gain social science research methods training in an accelerated two term programme.

It facilitates progression to the MPhil/PhD at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) or other institutions. At the IOE it offers exemptions for suitable candidates from both taught year one methods modules on the EdD. Successful students will be allowed to commence year two of the EdD on completion of just one taught year one module: Foundations of Professionalism (this will be simultaneous to starting year two).

It also allows students to develop the skills to apply social science research skills in their professional contexts.

Placements offer opportunities to become engaged with live research projects and access experienced research teams. Placement providers often become students' PhD or EdD supervisors.

Department: Institute of Education

What our students and staff say

Student view

"The quality of the SSRM has been fantastic. It has set me up for research by giving me the resources I need to research effectively as well as helping me to establish links to professors through the research placement."

James Canniford

Social Science Research Methods PG Dip
Student view

"I have had amazing learning experiences through this programme and many reasons account for it. I loved its thematic approach in how the content has been organised and the richness of its pedagogic approach. Student participants were enabled to interact, debate, take ownership and share learning experiences through a variety of ways. It was skilfully facilitated through extremely competent and passionate academics and very well managed. There is individualised attention through a well thought out tutoring system. What I have personally valued the most was the how the learning journey was optimised through its assessment. Each assessment was a building block towards formulating a complete research narrative by taking each participant through the full cycle of doing research."

Maria Charalambous

Social Science Research Methods PG Dip
Student view

"What I found most fascinating about this PG Dip, was having the freedom to think critically about a research idea, as this allowed me to conduct research on what interests me the most."

Zeinab El-Khateeb

Social Science Research Methods PG Dip

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme only requires one reference in support of your application. Your reference should be academic unless you have been out of university education for more than four years. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

For programmes commencing in the 2020/21 academic session, e.g. before 1 August 2021, there is an application processing fee of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. For programmes commencing from 1 August 2021 (in the 2021/22 academic session), there is an application processing fee of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for those working in a wide range of professional contexts or with relevant work experience. Mature students are particularly welcome to apply for this programme. It is aimed primarily at those in work who wish to develop social science research skills and/or develop the confidence to apply for doctoral study and is a full-time intensive programme delivered in evening sessions.

For some students, the programme provides an opportunity to develop research skills at the same time as allowing them to assess and reflect on their suitability for an interest in progressing to doctoral study.

Application deadlines

All applicants
1 November 2021

To apply for this programme please select UCL Institute of Education in the 'select department' option of the application portal, then, in ‘programme type’  select postgraduate taught.  Leave all other fields including the keyword search blank - you can then select the PgDip Programme from the list.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Social Science Research Methods at graduate level
  • why you want to study Social Science Research Methods at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver. Applicants who have a portfolio are strongly recommended to submit it when they apply.

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021