Sociology MA

New course, subject to validation

Overview

Course facts

  • Name: Sociology
  • Qualification: MA in Sociology; Postgraduate Diploma in Sociology; Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Social Sciences
  • Duration: 12 months full-time; 2-3 years part-time. This course can be started in September or January.

This degree is intended for students with a general interest in sociology who wish to update, extend and deepen their knowledge and understand current developments in the field.

The programme aims to provide students with opportunities to expand their knowledge of the discipline by engaging with contemporary research and by undertaking historical and comparative study.

 

 

 

 

Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.

Course Content

Compulsory modules:

Research Design and Strategy: The module is organized in terms of (a) principles of research design, (b) issues of data collection and (c) data analysis. Topics covered include, e.g., the definition and formulation of research problems and hypotheses, the relationships between and the rationale for using particular research methods, the relationships between empirical research and theory generation and theory testing, different forms of sampling, and potential bias in the interpretation of research findings. Students are taught how to access and use secondary data, construct and critique questionnaires and interviews, how to interpret measurement error and missing data, and how to record data from experimental and quasi-experimental research. Training in the use of SPSS is an integral part of the module and takes place alongside the sessions dealing with surveys, questionnaire design, structured interviews and data analysis.

Research Process and Meaning: The module provides postgraduate level training in the main varieties of qualitative and mixed methods research in the social sciences, including basic literacy in qualitative data analysis. Locating the research process in debates about situated knowledge, reflexivity and subjectivity, show how research design is unavoidably grounded in assumptions about the nature of the phenomena to be investigated and how researchers are implicated in the things they describe.

Students are taught how to generate qualitative data and how to apply a variety of analysis techniques. The use of ‘mixed’ methods is addressed through examples of text analysis, visual interpretation and online social research. Training in the use of NVivo qualitative data analysis software is an integral part of the module and takes place alongside the sessions dealing with analysing conversation, interviews, observations, ethnographic accounts, texts and visuals.

Social Science in Action: This module provides training in social science research with a focus on the specialist degree studied. It draws upon generic social science research skills and knowledge and applies them to an empirical group project. The module begins with a consideration of some general issues underlying social science research in action (including the relation between theories and hypothesis, research ethics, field access). Students specify the topic for a joint research project in which they will develop their skills as empirical researchers. Students engage in hypothesis development, research design, data gathering, data analysis and interpretation of the results.

Students have the option to continue their studies on the related module: Social Science in Action 2, in which the focus is on the use of interviews and questionnaires.

Optional modules:

  • Researching Community: This module examines the developments in the field of community research and related theoretical and policy debates surrounding the application of ideas of ‘community’ to current economic and social changes. The module focuses on four main themes: 1) Conceptual issues: the meaning of ‘community’ and its use as a concept in social scientific and popular discourse. This will be considered in relation to different theoretical approaches such as social constructionism, realism, and post-structuralism. 2) Empirical applications: an examination of classic and contemporary examples of community research and relevant case studies dealing with different forms of ‘community’. 3) Policy issues: relating to contemporary forms of intervention in relation to community development, regeneration, mobilisation, participation, leadership and power. This will be considered in the context of frameworks such as communitarianism, social capital, and the ‘third way’. 4) Community methodology: examines how ‘community’ has been researched and the tools and methods available for empirical investigation. These include ethnographic studies, large-scale surveys, ‘community profiling’ and auditing, and action research.
  • Nationalism and Minorities: This module will examine key issues and debates concerning the growing claims by ethnic and national minorities and indigenous peoples for distinct language, territorial and other minority rights and recognition within nation-states and beyond. The relationships between nationalism, citizenship and minority rights will be considered with reference to empirical examples. Debates and policies concerned with the management of cultural and ethnic diversity by the state will also be considered. The approach is interdisciplinary drawing on sociology, political theory, anthropology, law and education, with case study examples provided from Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania. It aims to provide students with a global and comparative understanding of individual cases, of their historical antecedents, and of the key similarities and differences between them.
  • Sociology of Everyday Life: The module deals with different theories of everyday life, for example those focusing on face-to face communication. Other theories emphasize how social life is “performed” in everyday contexts and its “dramaturgy”. It is discussed how individuals construct meaning out of their social lives. Some approaches reflect on the constraints of society, especially of powerful institutions, and how they affect the “lifeworld”. Empirical studies of everyday life will also be part of the module. From airports to zoos, human behaviour in different settings has been described and placed in theoretical context. The creation of social stigmas, or of social spaces can be studied. Students will be introduced to the use of different methodologies, like observation and listening to individuals telling their story.
  • Culture, Race and Civilization: The module explores normative and descriptive concepts of culture, the dichotomy of culture and civilization, and the dialectical tension between all of these. Culture appears in a number of different contexts: for example as promise of Enlightenment, or as social reality of the everyday. The relation between “multiculturalism” and ideas of “nation” and “race” will be part of the discussion. What is the role of the idea of “civilization” for racism and racialization? Another aspect to be covered is the relation between wealth and culture. “Cultural critique” and globalization theories provide different answers. Finally, the role of violence in relation to culture, race and civilization will be discussed.

MA Dissertation

The dissertation is undertaken on completion of the taught modules. It is valued at 60 credits (one-third of the MA degree) and will be around 20,000 words in length.

Part-time students in employment may choose a topic related to their profession and an area in which they wish to develop further expertise and specialisation. Under guidance of a dissertation tutor, students will undertake their MA dissertation work independently on a topic of their choice. This may be a piece of empirical research including primary or secondary data analysis or a theoretical dissertation.

Modules for the current academic year

Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Sociology Modules page.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in Sociology or a related subject (e.g. Social Policy, Sociolinguistics, Political Science, Social Anthropology, etc). An upper second class degree (or equivalent) is desirable but applications from candidates with a lower second class degree and professional qualifications and/or appropriate experience will also be considered.

International Students

For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.

Ask the IEC for assistance...

If you want advice or a general chat about what’s available contact the International Education Centre on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email international@bangor.ac.uk

Apply

How to Apply

Home/EU students

Home/EU students: apply online yourself with the help of our Guidance Notes on online application for Home/EU students. We strongly recommend you read these before you start to apply online.

Apply online

Once you have read the Guidance Notes you should apply using our Online Application form.

Need help applying? Home/EU students please contact:

Postgraduate Admissions: postgraduate@bangor.ac.uk or write to:

Admissions Office
Bangor University
Gwynedd
LL57 2TF

Telephone: +44 (0)1248 383717.

International students

  • Agents: if you are an agent applying on behalf of the student, then you can Apply here.  For further guidance click here

Need help applying? International students please contact:

International Education Office: international@bangor.ac.uk or write to

International Education Centre
Bangor University
Gwynedd
LL57 2DG

Telephone: +44 (0) 1248 382028

When to apply

The University will accept applications throughout the year, but we would generally advise that you send in your application form by the end of June (for September intake) or the end of October (for January intake) to ensure that you have time to make any funding and/or accommodation arrangements, and for documents such as transcripts and references to be obtained if not submitted with the application. This will also give you more time to meet any conditions we may potentially attach to an offer.

Careers and Employability

Graduates will find employment in a range of sectors valuing critical theoretical, analytical and methods skills. Further studies form another avenue, including PhD and subsequent jobs in teaching and research. An MA in Sociology can lead to working in politics and the media, or for business and social enterprises.

Further information

Next steps