Social Science Research Methods PG Dip

London, Bloomsbury

This Postgraduate Diploma is an intensive accelerated programme running over two terms offering training in social science research methods. It provides a pathway to doctoral study including MPhil/PhD programmes and, for suitable candidates, to year two of the EdD programme. It is aimed at professionals working in a wide range of disciplines who have an interest in developing research skills in social science.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
10 months
Programme starts
January 2024
January 2025
Applications accepted
January 2024 entry: 06 Feb – 17 Nov 2023

Applications closed

January 2025 entry: 06 Feb – 01 Nov 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

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.

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

Students on this programme develop an understanding of research in the social sciences and develop skills and understanding which will give them the confidence to progress to doctoral study, or to apply research skills in their own professional contexts. Students learn how to develop and critically evaluate research questions; gain an understanding of social science research methodologies and links between these methodologies and research questions; select appropriate social science research methods to explore identified research questions; enhance their knowledge of different forms of research proposals and the complexities of funding applications; and assess their own suitability for further research degree studies.

Who this course is for

The programme is suitable for those working in a wide range of professional contexts or with relevant work experience. Mature students are particularly welcome to apply for this programme. It is aimed primarily at those in work who wish to develop social science research skills and/or develop the confidence to apply for doctoral study and is a full-time intensive programme delivered in evening sessions.

For some students, the programme provides an opportunity to develop research skills at the same time as allowing them to assess and reflect on their suitability for an interest in progressing to doctoral study.

What this course will give you

This programme offers a unique opportunity to gain social science research methods training in an accelerated two term programme.

It facilitates progression to the MPhil/PhD at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society or other institutions. At IOE it offers exemptions for suitable candidates from both taught year one methods modules on the EdD. Successful students will be allowed to commence year two of the EdD on completion of just one taught year one module: Foundations of Professionalism (this will be simultaneous to starting year two).

It also allows students to develop the skills to apply social science research skills in their professional contexts.

Placements offer opportunities to become engaged with real world research projects and access experienced research teams. Placement providers often become students' PhD or EdD supervisors.

The foundation of your career

Students will gain the skills to progress to postgraduate research, potentially leading to careers in academia or as researchers working in the public or private sectors.


Students from a wide range of professions have undertaken the programme, including, but not limited to school teachers and leaders, professionals working in a range of roles in further and higher education, people working in the charity sector and those working in medicine and health.

The aims of the programme are to familiarise students with social science research, to enhance the prospects of those wishing to go on to doctoral study and to allow others to further their careers by developing their capacity to apply research skills within their professional contexts.


There are networking opportunities within this course. We will have a session from academics in charge of the EdD to talk about how you can transfer from the PG Dip to an EdD. You will also have access to talks and seminars that are being held in a range of topics alongside dissemination events on a wide range of UCL research.

Teaching and learning

The programme will be delivered through a series of online lectures, student led discussion groups, pre-recorded lectures and asynchronous online discussion groups. There will be an opportunity to take part in UCL research and to develop a research project.

The programme is delivered through a combination of face-to-face seminars and synchronous (virtual real-time classroom) and asynchronous sessions. Students also learn about the practicalities of social science research through engagement in a research project. Discussion with peers and study informed by adult learning theory are particular forms of learning on this programme.

Assessment is through the equivalent of a 5,000-word assignment for each module.

There are 10 notional learning hours per IOE credit; a 30 credit module would therefore equate to 300 learning hours. These are split between preparation (30 hours), background reading (100 hours), engagement in discussions (38 hours), self-directed study (100 hours), seminars (30 hours) and tutorial time (2 hours).


You will undertake four compulsory modules. The programme runs intensively with teaching from January through to July with assessments following until October. The programme is delivered through a combination of face-to-face seminars and synchronous (virtual real-time classroom) and asynchronous sessions. Students also learn about the practicalities of social science research through engagement in a research project. Discussion with peers and study informed by adult learning theory are particular forms of learning on this programme. The programme runs usually on consecutive Wednesday evenings.

There are two terms of teaching (January - July) followed by an independent practice-based research project and assignments in terms 2 and 3 (May - October). Taught sessions run weekly from January - July. The programme is full-time, however sessions are scheduled in the evening (90 minute sessions) and many students complete the programme whilst working.

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 120 credits. Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in Social Science Research Methods.


For module three, students undertake a small-scale research project which may involve fieldwork (some students elect to analyse policy documents or undertake systematic reviews).


Students complete a research placement for module two of the programme. This placement is with a live research project under the supervision of a placement supervisor who will be a researcher at UCL. The placement is where possible closely aligned to students' own areas of research interest. However, this alignment will depend on what live projects are currently underway at the specified time. The placement may involve fieldwork but equally could involve the reviewing of literature, a research proposal or data analysis. The placement allows students to gain an insight into what is involved in 'real-world' research.


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
Tuition fees (2024/25) £5,050
Tuition fees (2024/25) £11,500

Programme is 10 months duration.

Additional costs

It is unlikely that there will be costs for this aspect of the programme as it is envisaged that students will undertake fieldwork in their place of work, or within the locale of UCL or their home.

Any participants who are intending to conduct empirical research in schools or other settings involving children and young people need to be aware that they may need to arrange to get DBS clearance before gaining access to such institutions. The DBS application cost will be covered by UCL, but offer holders will also need to have their ID checked and verified at a Post Office, for which they will incur a charge of £15. The offer holder is also required to arrange and pay for any overseas police check that may be necessary; costs vary by country. For more information about the DBS application process, please contact the Admissions team.

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

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.

For programmes commencing in the 2020/21 academic session, e.g. before 1 August 2021, there is an application processing fee of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. For programmes commencing from 1 August 2021 (in the 2021/22 academic session), there is an application processing fee of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

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

To apply for this programme please select IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society in the 'select department' option of the application portal, then, in `programme type' select postgraduate taught.  Leave all other fields including the keyword search blank - you can then select the PgDip Programme from the list.

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

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