The MSc in Political Research is fully recognised and meets the research training requirements for the award of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 1+3 research studentships. It also constitutes a stand-alone programme for those wishing to extend their understanding of political research.
An important feature of the course is the exploration of different theoretical and methodological approaches and their connections to the real world of politics.
The course provides an understanding of:
* Basic principles of research design and strategy
* A range of research methods and their application
* The management of different types of data and the practical conduct of research
* Subject-specific knowledge appropriate to targeted PhD research.
The MSc is organised into Core and Optional classes. Students also complete a dissertation.
The core courses are:
* Philosophy of Social Science - introduces questions of the intellectual status of social science, and debates about whether social science is a positivist, interpretative or critical discipline.
* Qualitative Methods - introduces the issues of qualitative research design and the range of qualitative techniques available for research. Both computer-based and other approaches are analysed.
Quantitative Methods: Survey Methods - introduces the principles and practice of using survey methodology.
* Quantitative Methods: Statistics and Analysis - introduces some of the statistical tools which are available for the analysis of quantitative data and enables students to develop the ability to interpret social scientific data sensitively and sensibly.
Optional units are taught in both Semester 1 and 2 to provide students with a balanced and more specialised curriculum in parallel with the development of knowledge and skills accumulated in the core units.
Students choose two from a range of optional classes. Options may vary from year to year but normally include:
The European Policy Process
Perspectives on British Governance
Territorial Politics in Comparative Perspective
Feminism and Politics
International Relations Theory In A Global Age
Difference and Democracy
The Welfare State In Comparative Public Policy
European Political Economy
Comparative Public Policy.
Classes average 20 contact hours, with additional computer laboratory sessions for some methods classes. The course is designed not only to give students research skills, but also to enhance their ability to choose appropriate research methods and confront the issues of research design. Personal transferable skills are developed in the context of Principles and Practice of Research Design.
Core and optional classes are assessed by a variety of methods including essays, options papers, and group projects and account for half the total assessment. The dissertation of 15,000 words also accounts for half the total assessment.
Duration of Course
12 months full-time; 24 months part-time.
Applicants should normally possess a first or upper second-class Honours degree in social science from a UK university, or equivalent qualification.