Institute of Education


Social Science Research Methods PG Dip

This Postgraduate Diploma is an intensive accelerated pre-doctoral programme for those requiring training in social science research methods. It provides entry to either the MPhil/PhD or, for suitable candidates, to year two of the EdD programme. It is aimed at professionals who have an interest in developing research skills in any of the social science disciplinary areas covered by the UCL Doctoral Training Partnership.


Key information

Please note

Unless otherwise indicated, the information on this page relates to September 2019 entry. The information for September 2020 entry will be launching in the online Graduate Prospectus shortly. Applications for most postgraduate taught programmes will open 1 November 2019.

Programme starts

January 2019, January 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year

Sessions run weekly from January - July with no mid-term or end of term breaks

Application dates

January 2019 entry
Open: 17 February 2018
Close: 1 November 2018
January 2020 entry
Open: 18 February 2019
Close: 1 November 2019

Tuition fees (2019/20)

£3,650 (FT)
£7,900 (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 2020 will pay fees at the 2019/20 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

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 Tier 4 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 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 proposal 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).

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.

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.


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. The placement is as closely aligned to students' own areas of research interest as possible. 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.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of: face-to-face seminars; online asynchronous discussion forums, and synchronous Collaborate (virtual real-time classroom) sessions. Students also learn about the practicalities of social science research through participation in a research project. Peer review and andragogy 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 be necessary to travel into London to meet with your placement supervisor or to another venue if your placement involves fieldwork.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline is 5 April 2019
Accommodation plus tuition fees (1 year)


Full Fees (Duration of programme)

IOE Fulbright

Now closed for 2019/20

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


The aims of the programme are to familiarise students with social science research, to enhance their prospects of becoming a social science researcher in a professional capacity, or to gain direct access to PhD or EdD study. It supports students in writing ESRC studentship proposals, and alumni from the programme have secured such funding.


Students will gain the skills to become social science researchers and research assistants, or to progress to postgraduate research.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme offers a unique opportunity to gain social science research methods training applicable across any of the UCL Doctoral Training Partnership social science disciplines.

It allows access to the MPhil/PhD at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and gives exemptions 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).

Placements offer opportunities to become engaged with live research projects and access experienced research teams. Placement providers often become students' PhD or EdD supervisors. Previous students have been successful in securing ESRC funding for postgraduate research and have enhanced their professional roles as researchers.

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

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for those working in 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 (despite it being a full-time intensive programme) who wish to 'dip their toes in the water' to self-evaluate their suitability for postgraduate research. International students are also encouraged to apply.

Application deadlines

January 2019 entry
1 November 2018
January 2020 entry
1 November 2019

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.

Page last modified on 18 October 2019