Social Research MRes

London, Bloomsbury

The MRes programme is tailored to provide the critical capacity and methodological training for advanced research in social science. It is designed to develop advanced skills in research methods as well as critical understanding of contemporary debates in social research methodology. The MRes will equip participants with social research skills that can be used in public, private or third sectors, and provides ideal preparation for doctoral study.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelors' degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in a social science subject, such as sociology, psychology, social policy or economics. If you do not meet these requirements, other considerations, such as relevant work experience or relevant social science training, may be taken into account.

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. International Preparation Courses

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

Through this course students will learn how to plan and conduct social research using a variety of methods and research designs, and gain hands on experience in qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method methodological approaches . Students will learn and practice the skills necessary to interpret and critique existing research and to develop, conduct and disseminate their own social research projects.

Who this course is for

The MRes Social Research is aimed at students interested in studying the social world around them. This programme is suitable for those aiming to lay the foundation for further work at PhD level and/or an academic career as well as for those working with research in their professional lives, or simply for those interested in understanding social research better. We welcome students from diverse backgrounds, including international students.

What this course will give you

The research culture at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society is vibrant and active, with a wide variety of research seminars and events available for students each week. As a part of the IOE Centre for Doctoral Education (CDE), MRes students will have access to the wide range of research meetings, reading groups, presentations and seminars that are on offer. Students who are taking the MRes face-to-face will be able to attend any of these events in person. For online students, many events are available online through Teams or Zoom .

This mixed-mode MRes Social Research programme allows you to study fully online (distance learning pathway) or attend face-to-face seminars in combination with online activities (blended learning pathway). This approach means students can study flexibly, enabling them to fit their study around work and personal commitments. The course is designed around a 'flipped classroom' model, where module content is delivered online through video, readings and written lectures. Seminar time is spent actively applying and analysing lecture content by, for example, using criteria to evaluate research projects, analysing research papers, or presenting group work that students have undertaken outside of the class.

The MRes Social Research programme provides students with an excellent range of intellectual and practical research skills, along with the ability to analyse and communicate complex ideas and to creatively plan and manage an independent research project. These skills are in high demand in many fields of employment.

The course equips students with the necessary skills to undertake further doctoral study offering an opportunity to develop your skills applicable in any of the social science disciplines. All tutors on the programme are active researchers involved in various studies at UCL IOE, a world-leading centre for research and teaching in education and social science.

This flexible course will deepen research knowledge through four compulsory modules and undertaking an independent research project. If students are working, they can tailor research to their workplace.

The foundation of your career

Through the programme, participants will gain critical thinking skills and advanced skills in research design and evaluation across a wide range of social research contexts and disciplines.

This programme enhances employability in a range of public, private and third sector national and international organisations, which increasingly value skills in conducting and interpreting social research. It also lays the foundation to undertake advanced doctoral studies.

The MRes curriculum provides detailed engagement with topics such as knowledge production, research ethics, and the role of theory in research. It also provides a range of researcher specialisations, including various forms of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches.


This interdisciplinary social research programme is designed to help you develop the skills required to be a professional researcher in private, public or third sector contexts, or to gain the necessary research skills for studying a PhD, a professional doctorate or other postgraduate degrees .

Graduates of the MRes Social Research programme will be equipped to pursue careers in social research as research officers/analysts working for national governments, local authorities, businesses, charities, NGOs as well as large international organisations. They may also work as research officers on funded projects in higher education or research institutes in many contexts, including think tanks and policy units.

Teaching and learning

The programme can be taken entirely at a distance, or as a combination of on campus fortnightly 2-hour seminars and online activities.

Assessment for each module is through the equivalent of a 5,000-word assignment (e.g. a combination of a written essay or a research proposal, online posts and short individual and/or group reports), and the dissertation is assessed through a 20,000-word research report.

Modules are taught on a 10-week basis per term. Each module will include five two-hour seminars that are held face-to-face or online depending on the chosen mode of attendance. Students will be required to register their preferred mode of attendance at the start of the programme and will be expected to attend at least 4 seminars per term.

Each module will also comprise a number of online activities. Students will have to participate in at least 80% of these. For example, students will be required to post a certain number of forum contributions of specified minimum lengths by a specific deadline.


Full-time students are expected to take all four compulsory modules and a dissertation in one year. There is one module in the Autumn term, two in the Spring term and one in the Summer term. The dissertation research runs throughout the year, with most of the research taking place between January and August.

Part-time students take one module in the Autumn term and one module in the Spring term of Year 1 and the remaining two modules in the Spring and Summer term of Year 2. The dissertation module runs between June in Year 1 and August in Year 2.

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 MRes in Social Research.


For their dissertation, students undertake a research project which may involve collecting and analysing primary data. Alternatively, students may choose to analyse policy documents or secondary data or to undertake systematic reviews.


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

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society Virtual Event series

Please note that there are 27 sessions across a range of subject areas. IOE is ranked number one for education for consecutive nine years and the world's leading centre for research and teaching in education, culture, psychology and social science. If you’re interested in enhancing and progressing your career in education and related social sciences, why not join our open events? You’ll get to meet the programme team, ask any questions you have and find out what it’s like studying at UCL.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £11,800 £5,900
Tuition fees (2023/24) £24,200 £12,100

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

If research that requires primary data collection is conducted for the dissertation, this is at the student's own expense and should be budgeted according to the type and length of research study proposed.Some fieldwork may require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check; these costs will be incurred by the student. Primary data collection is not compulsory to complete a 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 (UBEL) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). The MRes 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 Centenary-Windle Trust Scholarship

Value: Full tuition fees and stipend (online study only) (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE Windle Trust Scholarship

Value: Full tuition fees and stipend (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline: 2 May 2023
Value: Tuition fees and a stipend of £17,609 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: 2 May 2023
Value: Tuition fees and accommodation at International Students House (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK, EU, Overseas

Next steps

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • what social research project you would like to carry out while on the programme
  • why you want to study Social Research at graduate level
  • why you want to study Social Research 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.

The MRes is a research degree and you will be undertaking a research project as a part of your study. Applicants should include an outline of their research interests and a proposed study in their application which will be used to help identify an appropriate supervisor for their projects. Please contact programme leader with any queries about this.

Any Tier 4 students undertaking the Mixed mode MRes will be required to take the blended learning pathway that includes face-to-face engagement. Students will be required to meet the minimum attendance of seminars and of online activities. International students undertaking the MRes at a distance will take seminars online and will not be eligible for Tier 4 status.

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: 2023-2024

Got questions? Get in touch

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