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The University of Edinburgh: Social Research

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of Social and Political Science
Study type Taught


This programme will provide you with a rigorous introduction to the key issues, approaches and techniques in research methods and design in the social sciences. Our programme instils key skills in qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. It also offers additional study in research methods from the computational social sciences. This qualification will enable you to become an independent researcher who can engage and tackle pressing social issues through the application of rigorous social science research.

This programme is for you if want to:

  • improve people’s lives using research and evidence

  • work for a government, company or an international organisation involved in social research

  • undertake further study and build a firm methodological foundation on which to proceed

  • build a solid foundation for a PhD

  • formalise your existing skills as an analyst on a part-time or full-time basis

You can take it as either a free-standing degree, or during the first year of doctoral study.

SPS Research Training Centre

The MSc Social Research is the flagship postgraduate degree of the SPS Research Training Centre (RTC).

The RTC applies expertise in a diverse set of social science methods through teaching and research to contribute new insights to the key challenges in society.

It is a hub for additional resources and workshops that MSc Social Research students can access to supplement their programme training, for example, in preparation for their dissertations.

Social Research with Quantitative Methods pathway

Within this programme we offer a specialist pathway - Social Research with Quantitative Methods.

You can join this pathway subject to an assessment of prior training (determined during welcome week).

Closely linked to Edinburgh Q-Step Centre, you will undertake training in advanced social statistics and data science, always including hands-on opportunities to tackle social research questions using data from a variety of sources.

You will be embedded within the wider research environment of quantitative social science within Edinburgh Q-Step Centre, one of the largest collections of quantitative social scientists in the UK, and will be welcome to attend our thriving seminar series.

The rise of Big Data and the increasing linkages that are being made between social, administrative and biomedical data-sets make this an exciting time to study quantitative social science.


Postgraduate Certificate - PgCert

Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 22nd in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.

Our position as one of Britain’s leading research universities was reaffirmed by the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, ranked 4th in the UK for research power (Times Higher Education, Overall Ranking of Institutions), with 90% of our research activity classified as world leading or internationally excellent in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

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