UCL Graduate degrees


Social Research MRes

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 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.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Distance learning: available

Part-time students will be expected to take two modules in Autumn and Spring terms of Year 1 and two modules and a dissertation in Spring and Summer terms of Year 2.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£9,530 (FT)
£4,920 (PT)
£20,710 (FT)
£10,550 (PT)

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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Accreditation: This degree has ESRC 1+3 training recognition
Location: London, Bloomsbury

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.

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: Advanced

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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.

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.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

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 analysis techniques. Students will learn and practice the skills necessary to interpret and critique existing research and to develop, conduct and disseminate their own projects.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four compulsory modules (120 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MRes in Social Research.

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.

Compulsory modules

All modules are mandatory.

  • Understanding Research Practice
  • Undertaking and Disseminating Research
  • Analysing Research Data
  • Advanced Research Theory and Practice

At the start of the programme students will choose either a distance learning pathway (study fully online) or blended learning pathway (online with some face-to-face elements). Those who select a blended learning option will attend a 2-hour face-to-face seminar once every two weeks. Online students will take their seminars online, and these will also last for 2-hours and run once every two weeks. The distance learning path does not require attendance on campus, providing greater flexibility for students combining study with work.

Optional modules

The are no optional modules on this programme.

Visit the UCL Institute of Education website for more information, including module descriptions, which can be seen by clicking on the module title.


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 20,000 words. You will be allocated a supervisor to support you with your dissertation.


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

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 (held face-to-face or online). Students will be required to register their preferred mode of attendance and will be expected to attend at least 3 seminars per term.

Each module will 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.

Additional costs

If research is conducted for the dissertation, this is at 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.


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


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: https://ubel-dtp.ac.uk/

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Centenary Masters Scholarships

Full tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Tuition fees, stipend, flights (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE Windle Trust Scholarship

Deadline: 31 December 2020
Full tuition fees and some allowances (Up to 3yrs)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

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


This interdisciplinary 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 degree.

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.


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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The research culture at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) 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 Lecturecast and/or Blackboard Collaborate.

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 in 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 also equips students with the necessary skills to undertake further doctoral study offering an opportunity to develop your skills applicable across any of the social science disciplines. All tutors on the programme are active researchers involved in various studies at the 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 a research project. If students are working, they can tailor research to their workplace.

Department: Institute of Education

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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.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Who can apply?

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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 July 2021

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.

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 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 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.

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021