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MA Soc archive

Programme Director: Professor Roger Penn

Masters in Sociology (MA)
Postgraduate Diploma in Sociology



This programme provides advanced training in sociological analysis and practice by introducing students to cutting-edge social theories and research methods. There is an emphasis upon how theories and methods can be applied to develop our understanding of contemporary issues and the opportunity to focus on Northern Ireland society.



The School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work at Queen’s University, Belfast offers postgraduate training leading to a Masters or Diploma in Sociology (MA(Soc)/Dip(Soc)).  The course is designed to provide a fundamental grounding in sociological concepts along with a high quality introduction to both quantitative and qualitative research skills. The degree includes a range of elective modules that enable students to engage deeply with contemporary sociological concepts, theories and research in topics of particular interest.  These option modules also offer the opportunity to specialise in more advanced training in quantitative research, qualitative research or in practical applications of research techniques.  Graduates can use their qualification as high-level preparation for a doctoral research (PhD) degree or for a career in social research.


The programme consists of taught modules usually given during evenings but also, on occasions, in intensive sessions on Fridays/Saturdays, in a variety of formats.  Masters and Diploma students take taught modules amounting to 120 CATS.[1]  In addition, Masters students do a research dissertation that counts as 60 CATS.  The courses can be done in one year on a full-time basis or over two years part-time. 

[1] CATS = Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme points.  120 CATS points are needed for a Diploma degree and 180 CATS points for a Master degree.  CATS points are also used to assess the amount of fees that will be charged.


The modules that are anticipated to be offered this coming year (2014/15) are listed below:



    • SOC9024    Theory & Debates in Social Research (Autumn semester)
    • SOC9012    Approaches to Social Research (Autumn semester)
    • SOC9053    The Sources and Construction of Qualitative Data (Autumn semester)
    • SOC9054    The Sources & Construction of Quantitative Data (Autumn semester)
    • SOC9055    Qualitative Data Analysis (Spring semester)
    • SOC9056    Quantitative Data Analysis: Foundational (Spring semester)
    • SOC9026    Dissertation (for Masters students)


Elective modules all run during the Spring semester and are offered subject to sufficient student demand and staff availability. Students will be able to choose a maximum of four option modules, at least three of which must be on the theme of sociological research (see below).


Options in Sociological Research:

    • SOC9062    Conflict & Change in Northern Ireland: New Sociological Research
    • SOC9063    Social Research in a Divided City
    • SOC9025    Researching Religious Transformations
    • SOC9027    Social Constructionism & Social Research
    • SOC9058    Researching Emotions & Social Life
    • SOC9064    Researching Environmental Issues

Options in Social Research Methods:

    • SOC9057    Quantitative Data Analysis: Intermediate (Spring semester)
    • SOC9060    Advanced Quantitative Research Methods
    • SOC9052    Longitudinal Analysis
    • SOC9061    Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
    • SOC9023    Social Science Research Online
    • SOC9059    New Visual Research Methods
    • SOC9049    Qualitative Research in Childhood & Youth

Special Features

This programme provides advanced training in sociological analysis and research and is an excellent stepping stone for Doctoral research.


Entrance requirements

For entrance requirements, please refer to the online Coursefinder


Further Information

Those wishing to discuss the course or an application are invited to contact the MA(Soc) Programme Director: 

Professor Roger Penn


Telephone:  +44 (0)28 9097 3484


or contact the 


School Postgraduate Office
School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5117



The closing date for applications is the 15th August 2014.


Scholarship opportunities

Click here for more information on potential scholarship opportunities including the Patrick McCrystal Scholarship. 

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