Social Research MRes

London, Bloomsbury

The MRes programme is tailored to provide the critical capacity and methodological training for advanced research in social sciences. It is designed to develop advanced skills in research methods as well as a critical understanding of contemporary debates in social research methodology. The MRes equips 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 (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 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 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.

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.

The MRes programme provides a holistic educational experience to foster student reflection on ontological and epistemological paradigms behind the choice of any methodology and theoretical framework. The MRes programme invites students to learn through reflection, metacognition, and practical engagement in the distinctive practices of social research. At the same time, the activities and programme assessments allow the students to connect abstract methodological and theoretical debates with real-world research.

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 MRes Social Research programme allows you to study fully online (distance learning mode) or attend face-to-face seminars in combination with online activities (blended learning mode). 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 skills applicable to 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 or any other area of their interest.

The foundation of your career

The unique and versatile skill set acquired by our students through our MRes programme opens up a wide variety of career opportunities. Our graduates are equipped with skills that make them highly sought after in the international job market. Around one-third of our graduates embark on further doctoral studies, such as PhD or EdD. Others start new rewarding careers or often receive promotions in their existing positions. Graduates from our program are well-prepared for roles in research and data analysis.  They can work as research analysts, data scientists, or research associates in academia and many other non-academic organisations, such as international organisations, business consulting, think tanks, NGOs or government institutions. Our graduates can serve in various roles at local, national, or international levels that require making informed decisions and solving complex problems to help shape public policy and address critical societal issues.


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.


MRes Social Research programme provides a rich and diverse range of networking opportunities for our students at IOE and UCL. These opportunities can be highly beneficial for their personal and professional development. Working in small groups within modules and also outside more formal activities allows students to collaborate closely with their peers. Collaborating with a dissertation supervisor on a larger independent research project provides students with the chance to build strong mentorship relationships and gain insights from experienced academics. Participating in events hosted by UCL exposes students to a broader academic community. These events could include lectures, workshops, or panel discussions. They allow students to engage with experts in their fields and learn about the latest developments in education and related disciplines. MRes students are offered additional training opportunities within the IOE and UCL giving them a chance to broaden their knowledge and skills. It also enables them to interact with other postgraduate and doctoral students who share similar academic interests. Seminars and conferences organised by UCL provide an excellent platform for students to network, present their research findings, and engage in discussions with peers and experts in the social research field. Overall, these networking opportunities create a well-rounded educational experience for your students at IOE and UCL, helping them not only to excel academically but also to develop essential interpersonal and research skills while building valuable connections in the social research field.

Teaching and learning

The programme is based on a flipped classroom model and students will be provided with online resources for all content hosted on Moodle. Students will use this content as the basis for collaborative work. Each module will be divided into a number of activities which will run consecutively within specified dates. A substantial component of collaboration for all students will be in the online forums. The kinds of activities that students will undertake include aspects such as:

  • Working in online forums to write a report which defines and evaluates the basic principles of a particular methodology.
  • Collaboratively reviewing a published article according to specific criteria.
  • Individually analysing a data set, and then comparing their analysis with their peers.
  • Finding and sharing examples of research projects in a particular topic area.
  • Producing and delivering together a PowerPoint presentation on a given piece of work.

MRes students from both pathways will be part of a group following the course together and communicating with each other and with the tutor. They will be working predominantly in discussion forums where the students will be able to exchange and develop ideas and share documents.  There will also be seminars held every two weeks, which will run online and in-person (depending on the chosen pathway). These may take the form of formal lectures, tutor-led seminars discussions or student–led workshops.

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 longer written essay or a research proposal and a shorter portfolio consisting of online posts and short reports from ongoing activities), 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 for all students. 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.

Whatever module you are taking, you should aim to study for at least seven hours per week. Of course, this is only an approximate guide because each person’s individual study needs and availability are different. This study time should include reading, writing, research and activity participation. The exact amount of time you need to spend on these will change from one activity to the next and some weeks may be much more demanding than others. Because this is an interactive programme, it is much better to spread your time across the week rather than concentrating it all in one day. One hour a day would be much more productive than seven hours in one day.


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 and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £12,700 £6,350
Tuition fees (2024/25) £25,900 £12,950

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

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

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. 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-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

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: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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