Social Research Methods MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This MSc offers advanced training in social research methods, designed to be flexible to accommodate students arriving with a range of previous methodological training. The core modules provide a good grounding in the research process and in data science and qualitative methods. The optional modules allow students to build on these and develop more advanced skills in particular methods of interest. This degree has ESRC 1+3 training recognition, meaning that it stands alone as an MSc but can also prepare students for doctoral research.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a social science discipline.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

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.

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

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

Equivalent qualifications

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

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

This degree is designed to cover the research methods and data science used in collating evidence for the design, critique and evaluation of substantive issues in the social sciences. Students will gain hands-on experience in a range of methods used to study issues of interest in the real world. Students will be expected to apply their understanding of methodology to critique existing research, design their own research, carry out their own analysis and communicate clearly with academic specialists and non-specialists. 

Who this course is for

This programme is aimed at students interested in studying the world around them. It is suitable for those looking to lay the groundwork for further work at PhD level as well as those wishing to seek employment with enhanced knowledge and skills.

Applications are invited from anyone with a suitable undergraduate degree in a social science subject or relevant experience in a related field.

What this course will give you

The UCL Social Research Institute is a research-intensive department with world-leading experts in data science, qualitative methods, and systematic reviews - as well as a broad range of social science substantive subjects. We have a lively community of staff, PhD, MSc, and undergraduate students involved in seminars, workshops, and reading groups in addition to formal teaching.

Our department specialises in applying research methods to inform policy in areas such as education, health, labour markets, human development, and child/adult wellbeing.

The department’s staff have a broad range of interests, which includes expertise in economics, sociology, psychology, social statistics, survey methods and data collection, mixed-methods research, and the techniques of policy evaluation.

The foundation of your career

Graduates with skills in social data science and in qualitative research methods are in demand from a wide range of emplyers government departments, academic institutions, the media, finance and marketing. 


Graduates of this programme are currently working as:

  • university and college lecturers and researchers
  • civil servants
  • third sector employees
  • teachers
  • journalists
  • social researchers
  • market researchers.


MSc SRM candidates study alongside students from other postgraduate programmes at the UCL Social Research Institute. They have the opportunity to collaborate on research projects led by world-leading experts. Furthermore, they can link with an external organisation for the dissertation.

Teaching and learning

The modules are delivered via weekly lectures and seminars. The seminars can be discussion-based, PC based, etc. depending on the module.

When taking this MSc programme, you will normally be assessed by coursework (such as practical assignments and essays), exams, and a 12,000-word dissertation.

Students are expected to work up 150 hours per each 15-credit module. This includes all taught sessions plus office hours.


The first term of the programme introduces a broad range of methodologies. You will study regression techniques, qualitative analysis, systematic review and survey design.

The second term allows you to develop your research interests with a range of advanced optional modules for you to choose both from areas in social data science such as impact evaluation, longitudinal data and analysis, advanced quantitative methods, data management, and from areas based on qualitative methods such as ethnography,  thematic/narrative/discourse analysis, advanced methods and applications of systematic reviews. You will also begin work on your final research project - the dissertation.

In the summer term, you will continue work on the dissertation, with a submission date in early September.

The first year of the part-time programme will ask you to choose some of your compulsory modules, followed by some of your optional modules in year 1. In year 2 you must complete your compulsory and optional modules across Terms 1 and 2.  And carry out your dissertation in Year 2.

You will have between two and five years in which to complete the programme. The modules are taken in generally the same order as on the part-time route. Following approval by the Programme Leader, module order can be varied.

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 are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Social Research Methods.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100 £7,550
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

All full-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £1,000 for this programme. All part-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £500.

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their report or dissertation.

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

Funding your studies

Applicants may be eligible to apply for funding from the Economic and Social Research Council via the UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership. The MSc provides master's-level postgraduate training which can constitute the first year of ESRC 1+3 postgraduate PhD studentships. Further information:

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

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline: 3 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees, return flights and stipend (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: 3 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

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 £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Social Research Methods at graduate level
  • why you want to study Social 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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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