This programme is ideal for individuals from a wider sociological background, working in education, social services, development and other interdisciplinary settings. The programme provides grounding in applied knowledge and skills for undertaking independent research. It provides valuable preparation for a PhD, a research career or development institutions. Participants will be enabled to develop their empirical research projects, collect and analyse data, and share their research findings.

This programme is studied on campus.

Students on the MSc(Educational and Social Research) Programme will be expected to generate a research based approach to identifying and solving problems, a systematic approach to collecting evidence, an independent, critical, and analytical mind to interpretation and reporting of research. The MSc (Educational and Social Research) aims to assist enable students to become:

  • skilled in the rigorous formulation of research projects, research questions and their translation into practical research designs;
  • skilled and knowledgeable about the epistemological and ontological principles that underpin educational and social research;
  • knowledgeable about and skilled in collecting data by means of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods;
  • Knowledgeable about and skilled in the techniques of data analysis and their appropriate application to educational and social research.

The structure of the MSc (Educational and Social Research) Programme is designed to develop progressively an understanding of the design, implementation, analysis and interpretation of research, and the issues that currently inform research, policy and practice, in order that the student is equipped to undertake the dissertation.Students on the programme will develop knowledge, skills and relevant practical research experience by undertaking various research courses. They will apply the knowledge, skills and values developed on the programme to undertake an independent empirical research project on their chosen topic of interest. Students will be assigned a research supervisor to support them during the dissertation phase of the programme.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month

What You'll Study

Stage 1

Stage 1

Compulsory Courses

Introduction to Research: Policy and Practice (ED503S) - 15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to key issues integral to educational research (such as the nature of practitioner enquiry in educational research, the relationship amongst: research, policy and practice, critical reading of texts, research and policy, and different views of knowledge). The course aims to explore the links between educational research, policy and practice and to develop the skills associated with the critical reading and evaluation of policy documentation and research texts.

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Introduction to Educational Research Design (ED503V) - 15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to all aspects of the educational research design process, main research methods and terminologies. It will briefly introduce students to educational research resources including textual and digital resources. The course aims to engage students in the process of critical analysis of published research literature of relevance to various educational audiences, in particular the evaluation of design approaches.

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Research Methods and Data Analysis (ED503K) - 15 Credit Points

This course addresses a number of the key methodological strands in the programme (such as the nature of educational research, the relationship amongst: research, policy and practice, critical reading of texts, research and policy, and different views of knowledge).

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Stage 2

Stage 2

Compulsory Courses

Research Methodologies and Perspectives (ED55G2) - 15 Credit Points

The course aims to develop a deepening understanding of philosophical and methodological perspectives that underpin social/educational research; and the relationship between the research question, design and method. It also aims to further develop an awareness of the researcher’s responsibility with respect to the complex issues surrounding the ethics of social/educational research, especially in relation to working with children and young people.

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Advanced Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis and Interpretation (ED553T) - 30 Credit Points

The course provides students with an opportunity to develop a specific understanding of issues in the design and implementation of research, and the analysis and interpretation of research, within a social/educational context. A variety of methodological orientations are studied: mixed methods analysis; narrative enquiry; phenomenology, advanced quantitative research design and multivariate analysis. It aims to provide the knowledge, skills and understanding required for the dissertation stage of the programme.

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Research Dissemination (ED54G1) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides an overview of the different purposes and characteristics of academic writing, academic reports and presentations. Critical review and analysis of examples of academic writing is undertaken to identify the structure and organisation of academic papers, reports and presentations. The course aims to broaden understanding of research dissemination principles and processes by applying a critical analytical approach; and to develop the academic conventions associated with research reporting and presentation, viz. interpretation, selection, summarising, sequencing and communication skills.

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Stage 3

Stage 3

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation (ED50GI) - 60 Credit Points

The dissertation forms the final part of the Master of Research degree. This course aims to support participants as they frame, specify, plan, carry out and report on a research-based investigation. For students who plan to complete their studies with the MRes, the dissertation will report on a completed piece of independent and original research. Other students, with prior agreement from the Director of Postgraduate Research Degrees, who plan to proceed to doctoral studies, may use their MRes dissertation as part of the preparation for subsequent PhD study.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

Assessment Methods

Courses on the programme are assessed through individual research papers. Students are also assessed through oral presentation of research proposals at student-led seminars.

Students engage in formative peer assessment, while tutors provide them with formative tutor feedback. Students are encouraged to attend seminars led by their tutors to enhance their skills and knowledge. They are also encouraged to attend PhD seminars, at which, they can share their research ideas to get peer feedback.

Why Study Social and Educational Research?

The overall purpose of the MSc (Educational and Social Research) is to prepare students to be able to undertake independent empirical research in diverse contexts. Students will develop enhanced research knowledge and skills that can be used in different contexts and applied to a variety of problems. Successful students on this programme can reasonably be expected to generate a research based approach to solving problems, a systematic way of collecting evidence and independent and open mind for the analysis an interpretation of evidence.

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Prospective MSc (Educational and Social Research) students should hold an honours degree or equivalent (1st Class or Upper Second or equivalent) in education or a related discipline. It is an essential requirement that entrants possess the necessary English language skills.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 54; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme.

Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
a reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employer, or another professional person

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,300
Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £15,000
Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


Graduates from this programme have a range of career opportunities. They could establish themselves as independent research, or work for market research organisations. They could work as researchers in education, health and social services. There are also opportunities for graduate to proceed and do a PhD and working as academics or research fellows in higher education. Some of the previous graduates on the programme have become university lecturers and social researchers.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Education
University of Aberdeen
MacRobert Building
King's College
AB24 5UA