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 research skills that can be used in public, private or third sectors, and provides ideal preparation for doctoral study.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

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: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

£9,250 (FT)
£4,775 (PT)
£20,110 (FT)
£10,240 (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.

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

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 to either study online or face-to-face. Those who select a face-to-face 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 online path does not require attendance on campus, providing greater flexibility for students combining study with work, particularly those taking the programme over two years.

Optional modules

The are no optional modules on this programme.

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 20,000 words. You will have a named 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. written essay or research proposal, online posts and short reports), and the dissertation is assessed through a 20,000-word dissertation.

Modules are taught on a 10-week basis per term. The mixed mode delivery involves a combination of seminars and online forum collaboration. Each module will be comprised of 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.

Further, 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.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

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. 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 Doctoral Training Partnership. 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-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline Monday 25 May 2020 (5pm London time).
Tuition fees, stipend, flights (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: Monday 18 May 2020 (5pm London time).
Full tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
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 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 or attend face-to-face seminars in combination with online activities. 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 social science disciplines. All tutors on the programme are active researchers involved in various studies at the UCL Institute of Education that is 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

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.

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 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
11 August 2020

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

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

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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Page last modified on 13 August 2020