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Durham University


L3KF09 Sociology MSc Postgraduate Taught 2021


Please note: 2021-22 courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.

Degree MSc
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time) 2 years (part-time)
Location Durham City
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Course Summary


The MSc Sociology will enable you to gain an advanced and critical understanding of how to apply sociological theories and perspectives to contemporary issues and social transformations. Through a range of engaging learning approaches, you will be invited to explore the interrelationships of power, social divisions, social diversity and social inequality and their application to social action and public sociology. To do this, the course draws directly on active research specialisms in the Department of Sociology (gender, violence and abuse; health and social theory; education and inequalities; and communities and social justice).  This is supported by developing your own advanced understanding and application of approaches to researching these topics, including the methodological, epistemological and ethical issues inherent in sociological research, activism and public engagement in contemporary societies. 

Course Structure 

Core modules: 

You will take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Starting from the first term, you will undertake a module on research design which will enable you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation.  The MSc is underpinned by three core modules as follows: 

  • Public Sociology: Theory and Practice (30 credits) 
  • Researching Society, Policy and Practice (15 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits) - 15,000 word dissertation based on a supervised research project.  

The MSc Sociology is grounded in the core research themes associated with the Department of Sociology.  The following indicative optional modules are listed below and you will be required to take at least one of them during your study, out of those available in that year: 

  • Gender Violence and Abuse (30 credits) 
  • Social Policy and Society (30 credits) 
  • Communities, Civil Society and Social Justice (30 credits) 
  • Education and Social Inequality (30 credits) 
  • Sociology of Health, Illness and Medicine (30 credits)  

Depending on the number of these options taken, you may also choose from a range of optional modules available within the department, which have included in the past those covering topics such as:  

  • Participatory Action Research (15 credits) 
  • Intermediate Statistics for Social Science Research (15 credits) 
  • Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits) 
  • Quantitative Data Analysis (15 credits) 
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Science (15 credits) 
  • Prisons Crime and Justice (30 credits) 


The MSc also offers you the option to undertake a 15 credit placement module. 

 Academic learning is assessed through a range of summative essays, statistical/computer-based projects, research proposals, and a dissertation. 

Course Learning and Teaching

These MA Research Methods courses are full-time, starting in early October and continuing over 12 months following university terms.

The main teaching methods include lectures, seminars, and computer practical sessions. Lectures introduce the key concepts, theories, current debates and other issues critical for understanding the topics. Seminars are opportunities for you to discuss any questions arising from the readings, to share experience of conducting research and to present your own work for comments. Modules that teach the use of computer software packages have practical sessions in computer rooms so that you can carry out hands-on exercises under supervision and further assistance.

Modules are usually assessed through coursework. Statistics modules may require you to complete specific analyses with more structured instructions. Some module conveners may allow you to submit formative assignments in order for you to obtain a sense of how well you understand the subject. Some modules’ assessment may contain a proportion of presentations and group projects.

Further academic support is available. You will have the opportunity to learn from your dissertation supervisors at individual tutoring meetings, dissertation workshops and forums. Every member of teaching staff has two hours of office hours each week where you can access additional support for your modules, assignments and so forth. In addition, both the University and the Department host seminars for external speakers that are open to all students.

You will have access to a variety of learning resources, including learning spaces in libraries and teaching rooms, readings and textbooks, computers, databases, etc.


Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

Normally an upper second class honours degree (2:1) or equivalent.

Additional requirements

When submitting your online application, you will also need to provide:

  1. Current Transcript and Certificate (if possible)
  2. Two academic references (it is the applicant's responsibility to obtain their references from their referees).

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £21,360.00 per year
Home Student £8,700.00 per year
Island Student £8,700.00 per year
International non-EU Student £21,360.00 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Department Information

Department of Sociology


The Department of Sociology is an interdisciplinary department with over 50 years’ experience in teaching and research in sociology and social policy, expanding over time to provide a focus for collaboration across the related academic disciplines of criminology, social work, and community development. We are a leading international centre of excellence in interdisciplinary applied social research that shapes and informs social policy and practice, enhances individual, community and social wellbeing, promotes social inclusion, and forms the foundations of research-led education.


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