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  1. Postgraduate
    1. 2020
Study at City

MSc Research Methods

Entry Year:
Empower yourself as a producer and user of empirical research by developing a methodological toolkit of knowledge and skills.

Key information

Start date

September 2020

Academic year dates


Full-time: one year; Part-time: two years


Full-time: £6,760

Part-time: £3,380 per year


Full-time: £13,530

Part-time: £6,765 per year


Northampton Square

Who is it for?

This programme is for students who wish to develop their knowledge and skills as a professional researcher in academia, private or public sectors. It is suitable for those seeking to undertake foundational training for doctoral level research, as well as those planning to work in an environment where they might need to commission, undertake, or otherwise critically engage with empirical social research.

Students will typically have a first degree in an arts or social sciences subject. Some students come to us with prior experience of conducting empirical research, or using it, while some are new to the field – the programme thrives on the diversity of experiences and interests of its students.


The aim of the course is to boost your understanding, appreciation and practice of qualitative and quantitative research methods. It is taught by academics in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, so whatever your academic or professional background, you will achieve a broad perspective on the production and consumption of empirical research across a range of disciplines. At the same time, you will be able to pursue your own subject specialism through elective module choices and by conducting your own original research for your dissertation.

In the course we aim to equip you with an overview of key issues in research design and philosophical foundations of social research. We offer several modules in applied quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. These equip you with a set of practical skills to enable you to conduct and critically read research using these methods, and provide a firm foundation from which you can pursue further specialist training.

Requirements and how to apply

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in a social science discipline, but other relevant subjects will be considered. Applications are also welcome from those with experience of working in a relevant area. An equivalent qualification from an overseas institution will be considered.

Students are required to have a grade C or above in Mathematics at GCSE or equivalent.

All students are expected to be computer literate

INTO City, University of London

Don’t meet the entry requirements? INTO City, University of London offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare you for study at City, University of London. You’ll learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry. To prepare for this degree course, learn more about the Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences and the Arts.

English requirements

For students whose first language is not English, the following qualifications will meet the English language requirement for entry to the programme:

  • A first degree from a UK Institution
  • A first degree from an overseas institution on the UKVI list of approved majority-English speaking countries
  • A national of a country on the UKVI list of approved majority-English speaking countries
  • GCE O Level/GCSE English language or English literature, grade C minimum.
  • Cambridge ESOL CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) at grade C or above.
  • An overall score of 7 in the English Language Testing System (IELTS) with at least 7.0 in the writing component

Visa requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

Applications for 2020 are now open:

Apply for MSc Research Methods (Full Time)

Apply for MSc Research Methods (Part Time)

If you require assistance regarding your application or have any queries then please contact:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7040 0249, +44 (0)20 7040 3721

When applications open, you will need to submit:

  • A completed application form (either electronically or by post)
  • A certified copy of your undergraduate academic results and degree certificate
  • Proof of English proficiency (if you are not a native English speaker, or someone who has not been taught in English for their first degree subject)
  • Personal statement of up to 500 words on your academic and/or relevant professional experience to date and how it informs your intentions to undertake this course. In addition, you may wish to outline your vision for how the degree will feed into your research or professional career.

The admissions tutor may request academic references at a later date to help make a decision on your application.

We place equal emphasis on qualitative and quantitative methods.
You can choose from 37 elective modules offered in a wide range of subjects, from criminology to culture and creative industries.
You can opt to study our elective Survey Methods module taught by world-leading specialists in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, which houses the award-winning European Social Survey.
During your course

More about fees

Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study (where applicable).


Explore up-to-date information about funding options, available financial support and typical living costs.

We also have more information about loans available for US students and Canadian student.

Q-Step Bursary

City Q-Step Centre is offering four fee bursaries worth £6,630 each for suitably qualified applicants wishing to enrol on the MSc in Research Methods in 2019-20. The bursaries are available in the first instance to those who have graduated with an upper second or from an accredited Q-Step undergraduate programme provided by one of the 15 Centres and 3 Affiliates. Consideration will also be given to candidates from other institutions who have a solid background in quantification at undergraduate level. Recipients of bursaries will be expected to pursue at least one advanced level module in quantitative methods and undertake a primarily quantitative dissertation. The closing date for applications is 30th June.

Informal enquiries about the bursaries, or the MSc more generally (available both full and part-time) can call Dr Eric Harrison on 0207 040 8510, or email


Find out more about British Council scholarships and financial support

Find out more about scholarships for German students wishing to study in the UK

Find out more about the International directory of scholarships.


Find out more about the Postgraduate Solutions Study Bursary

Academic facilities

You will have the opportunity to learn a range of statistical software applications to aid data collection and analysis, such as SPSS, Stata, MatLab and R.


We offer a variety of accommodation options and support services for postgraduate students.

Read more about our postgraduate halls.

Our Accommodation Service can also help you find private accommodation.

Find out more about private accommodation.

Learn a language for free

We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.

Find out how to apply


Course timetables are normally available from July and can be accessed from our timetabling pages. These pages also provide timetables for the current academic year, though this information should be viewed as indicative and details may vary from year to year.

View academic timetables

Please note that all academic timetables are subject to change.

Student support

We offer an extensive support network during your time here at City, University of London – from Learning Support (including disability support) and counselling to financial and career advice – leaving you free to enjoy every opportunity campus life has to offer.

Find out more about the different types of student support available.

Course content and assessment

Teaching and learning

Teaching is delivered predominantly by lecturers and other academic staff across the School. You will experience a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and computer lab sessions. You will be expected to read in preparation for classes, and to participate in discussions, group work, presentations and other practical activities. You will be expected to take responsibility for your own learning and to engage in independent study. You will be guided by reading lists for each module, and teaching materials will be made available via the virtual learning environment Moodle. The dissertation is a major part of your MSc work, for which you will receive individual supervision.

Assessment is by means of coursework (written assignments, essays or reports), class tests, presentations, unseen written examinations, and the dissertation. The particular assessment details vary according to the module being studied. Your overall degree result is based on your performance in the taught modules and the dissertation.


The course consists of taught modules from interdisciplinary core subjects, plus department-specific elective modules, and a research dissertation.

In full-time study you will typically take four 15-credit modules in Term 1 and four in Term 2. The balance of teaching between the terms may vary according to your module choice. Most modules are worth 15 credits each, with a few elective modules worth 30 credits. Your dissertation is worth 60 credits.

As a general guide, a 15-credit module delivered over ten weeks of teaching will typically comprise an hour-long lecture and an hour-long seminar or workshop each week. We would notionally expect you to spend 150 hours in total studying for each 15-credit module (this time includes time spent attending lectures and seminars, reading, working through exercises, preparing for examinations, writing coursework, using online resources, navigating Library resources, and so on).

Core modules

You will take six core modules alongside your dissertation. Your taught core modules will be as below:

  • Research design, methods and methodology (15 credits)
  • Rationale and philosophical foundations of social research (15 credits)
  • Qualitative research methods (15 credits)
  • Applied qualitative research methods (15 credits)
  • Introduction to quantitative inference* (15 credits)
  • Research methods dissertation (60 credits)

You will choose one of the following core quantitative analysis modules (or two if you do not study Introduction to quantitative inference) with the guidance of the Programme Director:

  • Statistical models** (15 credits)
  • Applied econometric and psychological research methods (15 credits)
  • Multivariate data analysis (15 credits)
  • Statistical modelling ** (15 credits)

* May not be compulsory if you have prior training in quantitative methods.
** You may study Statistical models or Statistical modelling, but not both.

Elective modules

In addition, you take one or two elective modules (to the value of 30 credits) from the following list.*

Some modules have a stronger methodological element, while some are more substantively focused:

Culture and Creative Industries (Sociology Department)

  • Culture (15 credits)
  • Cultural policy (15 credits)

Department of Journalism

  • Storytelling (30 credits)

Department of Economics

  • Macroeconomics (15 credits)
  • Financial derivatives (15 credits)
  • Corporate finance (15 credits)
  • Asset pricing (15 credits)
  • Econometrics (15 credits)

Department of International Politics

  • Understanding security in the 21st century (15 credits)
  • International organisations in global politics (15 credits)
  • Development and world politics (15 credits)
  • Political economy of global finance (15 credits)
  • The politics of forced migration (15 credits)
  • Global governance (15 credits)
  • International politics of the Middle East (15 credits)
  • Economic diplomacy (15 credits)
  • Foreign policy analysis (15 credits)

Department of Psychology

  • Fundamental processes in cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology (15 credits)
  • Mental health, wellbeing & neuroscience (15 credits)
  • Research methods & programming (15 credits)

Department of Sociology

  • Survey research methods (15 credits)
  • Transnational media and communication (15 credits)
  • Developments in communications policy (15 credits)
  • Democratisation and networked communication (30 credits)
  • Communication, culture and development (30 credits)
  • Celebrity (15 credits)
  • Analysing crime (30 credits)
  • Criminal justice policy and practice (30 credits)
  • Criminal minds (15 credits)
  • Victims: policy and politics (15 credits)
  • Social networks online and offline (15 credits).

*Please note, elective modules are run subject to minimum enrolment numbers/availability and may vary slightly from year to year.

The programme specification contains more information on how the course is organised, the requirements for progression for each part and credits required for awards.

After you graduate

Career prospects

Graduates from the MSc in Research Methods should find themselves well equipped for careers which require critical engagement with empirical research, whether in commissioning, designing, conducting, or making use of its results. Likely destinations include local and central government, public and private sector research organisations, companies involved in marketing, charities and non-governmental organisations. Graduate destinations of students studying research methods include the UK Government’s Cabinet Office; Ministry of Defence; Department of Energy and Climate Change; National Health Service; London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham; Eurofound (EU agency); Rhetoric Solutions (market knowledge provider); Ipsos MORI (leading UK market research company); NatCen (leading social research organisation in the UK); and a range of charities and institutions.

The course is also an ideal foundation for students who wish to pursue doctoral research in social sciences.

Contact details

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