Department of Political Science


UCL and Institute of Education announce new Q-Step Centre

30 September 2013


UCL and the Institute of Education (IOE) have been chosen to host one of 15 Q-Step Centres to train undergraduates in quantitative social science.

Q-Step is a £19.5 million programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training over a five-year period from 2013. Fifteen universities across the UK are delivering specialist undergraduate programmes, including new courses, work placements and pathways to postgraduate study. Expertise and resources will be shared across the higher education sector through an accompanying support programme, which will also forge links with schools and employers.

Developed as a strategic response to the shortage of quantitatively-skilled social science graduates, Q-step is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The new UCL-IOE Centre will offer three new degree programmes in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE), Quantitative Human Geography, and Population Health Science, alongside offering existing undergraduates social science training. Dr Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson (UCL Political Science), Director of the new Centre, said: “The Q-Step Centre reflects our shared vision to expand rigorous undergraduate social science training. This £1.34 million award will enable us to offer three exciting new degrees, along with providing students with the skills to compete in a highly competitive job market.”

Students at the UCL – IOE Centre will be offered internationally recognised, research-led teaching. They will emerge from their degree programmes with a wide range and depth of skills obtained through a combination of core training, internships, short courses, dedicated workshops and seminars, and a personal mentoring scheme.

The centre will offer six new modules in core training in quantitative methods, including a ‘problem driven’ approach to teaching quantitative methods using current policy debates (for example obesity, migration, security, inequality, health).

Students will also be offered the opportunity to take optional modules with embedded quantitative methods, along with summer short courses led by the IOE’s Department of Quantitative Social Science. The Centre will also offer paid student internship opportunities within the two universities and with external employers.
Professor Anthony Smith (UCL Vice-Provost, Education), said: “This partnership represents a fantastic opportunity to build on the strengths of our respective organisations, and once open the centre will provide our students with the best possible education and training for the wider world. While this represents one of the first fruits of the new strategic partnership between UCL and the IOE, such close collaborative links will help us not only build on pre-existing efforts, but also open up new themes and opportunities in the future.”

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