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.
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.
January 2020, January 2021
Modes and duration
Ten months. Two terms of teaching (January - July) followed by an independent practice-based research project and assignments in term 3 (August - October). Taught sessions run weekly from January - July. The programme is full-time, however sessions are scheduled in the evening and many students complete the programme whilst working.
Tuition fees (2020/21)
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. Please note: students starting study in January 2021 will pay fees at the 2020/21 rate.
A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
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: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
This programme is suitable for international students on a Tier 4 visa - study must be full-time, face-to-face.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
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.
Students undertake modules to the value of 120 credits.
The programme consists of four core modules (each 30 credits).
Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in Social Science Research Methods.
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.
All modules are mandatory.
- Developing Research Questions
- Methods of Investigation
- Designing a Research Study
- Developing a Research Proposal
There are no optional modules for 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.
Students are not expected to submit a dissertation for this programme.
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 as closely aligned to students' own areas of research interest as possible. 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.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of face-to-face seminars and synchronous (virtual real-time classroom) and asynchronus sessions. Students also learn about the practicalities of social science research through participation in a research project. Peer review 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.
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. It may well be necessary to travel into London to meet with your placement supervisor or to another venue if your placement involves fieldwork.
Three fees-only bursaries are available to support groups who are underrepresented at this level of study. For further information please contact the programme leader Joe Mintz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- Deadline Monday 25 May 2020 (5pm London time).
- Tuition fees, stipend, flights (1 year)
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
- 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.
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.
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.
Why study this degree at UCL?
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 the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) or other institutions. At the 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 live research projects and access experienced research teams. Placement providers often become students' PhD or EdD supervisors.
Department: Institute of Education
What our students and staff say
"The quality of the SSRM has been fantastic. It has set me up for research by giving me the resources I need to research effectively as well as helping me to establish links to professors through the research placement."
James CannifordSocial Science Research Methods PG Dip
"I have had amazing learning experiences through this programme and many reasons account for it. I loved its thematic approach in how the content has been organised and the richness of its pedagogic approach. Student participants were enabled to interact, debate, take ownership and share learning experiences through a variety of ways. It was skilfully facilitated through extremely competent and passionate academics and very well managed. There is individualised attention through a well thought out tutoring system. What I have personally valued the most was the how the learning journey was optimised through its assessment. Each assessment was a building block towards formulating a complete research narrative by taking each participant through the full cycle of doing research."
Maria CharalambousSocial Science Research Methods PG Dip
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.
There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
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.
- January 2020 entry
- 1 November 2019
- January 2021 entry
- 1 November 2020
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 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. Applicants who have a portfolio are strongly recommended to submit it when they apply.
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