Sociology & Research Methods MRes

Hardback sociology books

This programme provides extensive training in social research methods and is recognised as postgraduate research training by the Economic & Social Research Council.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • You will develop your knowledge of sociology, including a critical understanding of social theory and a knowledge of empirical research studies.
  • The programme provides an advanced education in sociology, but can also serve as preparation for further sociological research in a PhD, to which many of our students successfully progress.

Programme structure

You will take 4 core and 2 optional courses and complete a dissertation. 

Core courses

  • Social science statistics 1
  • Qualitative methods
  • Current issues in social theory
  • Advanced qualitative methods.

Optional courses

  • Religion and society
  • Sexualities and society
  • The disabling society
  • Gender and society
  • Racism and modernity
  • Introduction to social theory
  • Class and stratification
  • Social science statistics 2.

Background and aims

There are two reasons for studying sociology in Glasgow. First, Glasgow as a city was at the hub of the social relations that made up modernity –the masses of migrants from the country who descended on the city’s tenements after the Highland Clearances and   the 1840s Irish Famine were the labour-power of the new industries based on shipbuilding, iron works and textiles: it was these great industries that made Glasgow the Second City of the Empire. Glasgow in recent years has become increasingly divorced from its industrial manufacturing origins and is now a city of peculiarly sharp inequalities.  On the one hand, it is a city of call-centres and the workless poor; on the other, it is flourishing as a “City of Culture”, with an art-world second only to London. 

The second reason for coming here to study sociology is that Glasgow, along with Edinburgh, was the site of the Scottish Enlightenment. You will study in the Adam Smith Building – named after the well-known 18th Century theorist of the division of labour and - less well-known - of “moral sentiments”. The Scottish Enlightenment (David Hume, Adam Ferguson, John Millar, Mary Somerville and their circle) was in fact an enquiry not just into economics and philosophy but also into sociology, well before the name was invented by Comte in the 19th Century. Moreover by the Scottish Enlightenment, the old Scottish universities had become more advanced than English universities. Not only did they offer an intellectual base for new forms of social enquiry, they also pioneered by offering a cheap university education. The university was held to be open to all (the idea of “the lad of pairts”): whilst in the 19th and 20th Centuries Scottish universities increasingly offered extramural extension classes for manual workers and, belatedly, opportunities for women. The Scottish Enlightenment introduced one other innovation: until recently, all university courses were based on a common first year of philosophy, a subject which was close to the social theory we teach in our MRes in Sociology.   

The MRes in Sociology and Research Methods offers either a stand-alone one-year  course developing further students' undergraduate sociological study or it offers a preparation for sociological research by doctoral thesis.  It aims to provide a critical understanding of the discipline of sociology, including a profound knowledge of current methods, an understanding of the philosophy of social science and a greater sophistication in the use of theoretical skills.  It also enables students to focus in depth upon a particular area of sociology for their dissertation at Masters’ level.  Within the context of their chosen dissertation subject, they are given the resources to produce a sustained account of their research, thereby developing their ability to present research results clearly and coherently. 

 The outcome of the Masters should be an enhancement of students' reading and writing skills and an increased capacity to utilise library and archival materials - critically, where appropriate. They will therefore be able to make an informed contribution to debate about social issues within the public domain.

Our aim is to combine high quality research with high quality teaching.  The Sociology subject- area was highly rated in the last grading of research output: 75% of its assessed research was rated as being of internationally recognized quality.  Teaching was also awarded an ‘Excellent’ rating the last time it was externally assessed. These standards will be maintained so that your degree will be well regarded in the world outside University. The subject-area members of staff look forward to meeting you and we all hope that you will find your courses both interesting and enjoyable.

What our students say

Anna-Kaisa Terje (2010-11)

'I chose this Masters because I thought it would prepare me well to do the PhD in terms of basic skills; also that it would increase my chances of being accepted to do a PhD, and to get the funding to do that.

I came from Finland to Glasgow to do my first degree in another subject. I had visited Manchester and Birmingham as well as Glasgow. I liked the city itself and when I visited the University everyone was very friendly and showed me round. I had taken sociology as a third choice, but by the second year I discovered that this was really the subject for me.

When I came to take the Masters in Sociology I liked Social Theory the most. A lot of the basic social theory things I had almost forgotten: when you start specialising in subjects in Honours, it’s there but in the background. So I felt that I was learning new things; I discovered the subject all over again by going back to the basics.


I think that doing the Masters benefitted me when I applied for funding. It demonstrates that I have the skills to do research. It has refreshed my memory and deepened my knowledge of research methods. As well as the Social Theory, I got a lot from Advanced Qualitative Methods, which gave you a chance to actually practice research methods. For example, we learnt how to interview by practicing on each other, and how to complete an application for ethical acceptance of a research project.

I would also emphasise the attraction of Glasgow itself as a place. It’s a very vibrant city and there is a lot that you can do culturally. As someone coming from abroad, I’ve generally felt very welcomed by the people.'

Poppy Kohner (2009-10)

'The MRes in Sociology and Social Research Methods caters for students with a multitude of interests.  As well as the core courses, there is a selection of additional classes which I found extremely helpful.  This meant I could tailor my Masters to suit my interests and gave me a good foundation on which to embark on my PhD.  The core course of Current Issues in Social Theory was especially rewarding, providing a variety of topics, arguments and perspectives in which to develop a ‘sociological imagination'.'

Joe Buckle (2009-10)

'The MRes provided me with the ideal platform for postgraduate study and prepared me extremely well for PhD research. The course affords extensive training in research methods, along with an in-depth understanding of the different theoretical and analytical approaches in sociology. Current Issues in Social Theory provides an opportunity to explore key trends in contemporary social theory by engaging with the work of major sociologists and the many intellectual problems that are still debated today. Although challenging, the MRes programme was richly rewarding and was a major factor in helping me to secure a scholarship for PhD study.'

Entry requirements

for entry in 2016

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2016-17


Home and EU
Full time fee£6950
Part time 20 credits£772
Full time fee£15250

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

This programme enhances employability in a range of public and private sector organisations, which increasingly value skills in conducting and interpreting social research.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 22 July 2016 
  • UK and EU applications: 26 August 2016

Classes start September 2016 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now