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School of Social Sciences

A sociology seminar
MA Sociology
Gain detailed knowledge of social life alongside the skills needed to develop new ideas.

MA Sociology / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course description

  • Would you like to learn from leading innovators in research methods?
  • Do you want to benefit from an outstanding team of educators and well-resourced teaching support materials?
  • Would you like the opportunity to study with internationally respected scholars?

Sociology at Manchester is one of the UK's largest and most prestigious centres for the subject, with over 30 academic staff and 60 postgraduate students forming a diverse and rigorous academic community.

The MA programme aims to provide students who have an interest in sociology, the opportunity to extend and deepen their knowledge of the discipline. Our teaching includes all areas of contemporary sociology but we have particular expertise in the fields of socio-cultural change, gender and sexuality, and consumption and sustainability.

We are consistently highly ranked for research, coming first in the UK for the percentage of our research outputs that are judged as `world-leading', and second nationally based on our research power in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Our research feeds into all of our postgraduate teaching.

The Sociology MA is the perfect course to develop your analytical and investigative skills, training you in methods of social investigation in order to equip you with the ability for independent thinking, research and analysis, setting you up perfectly for the world of employment.


Course Director: Dr Nick Thoburn


Tel: +44 (0)161 275 2496

Teaching and learning

Part-time study

Part-time students complete the full-time programme over two years.  There are NO evening or weekend course units available on the part-time programme.  

You must first check the schedule of the compulsory modules and then select your optional modules to suit your requirements.  

Updated timetable information will be available from mid-August and you will have the opportunity to discuss your module choices during induction week with your Course Director

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is normally by a 3,000 word assessed essay for each unit and, for the MA students, a dissertation of between 12,000 and 15,000 words.

Course unit details

You take four core compulsory course units: Social Theory and Cultural Identity; Culture, Modernity and Media; Research Design I and II, together with four options chosen from a wide range of specialist units. Examples of optional course units include: Politics and Culture; Protest and Progress: Understanding Movements for Social and Political Change; Cultures of Digital Play; New Developments in Theories of Gender and Sexuality; Qualitative Research Methods; Introduction to Quantitative Methods; Methodological Issues in Social Research. Students may also negotiate an Independent Studies course unit, linked to their particular research interests, subject to a suitable academic supervisor being available. Students registered for the MA (or who upgrade from the PG Diploma) complete a 12,000 word dissertation, on a research topic of their choice, in addition to the eight taught course units.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Social Theory & Cultural Identity SOCY60331 15 Mandatory
Culture, Modernity & Media SOCY60342 15 Mandatory
Research Design I SOCY60401 15 Mandatory
Research Design II SOCY60412 15 Mandatory
Archival Research POLI60251 5 Optional
Biography & Life History in the Social Sciences POLI60331 5 Optional
Interviewing Activists POLI70021 5 Optional
Doing Interviews SOAN60201 5 Optional
Practising Participant Observation SOAN60892 5 Optional
Sociology of Art SOCY60182 15 Optional
Creative Methods SOCY60192 5 Optional
Gender, Time & Change SOCY60211 15 Optional
Identity, Power and Modernity SOCY60221 15 Optional
Foundational and advanced perspectives on qualitative research SOCY60231 10 Optional
Secrets, Lies and Mass Deception SOCY60241 15 Optional
Human-Animal Relations SOCY60251 15 Optional
Methodological Issues in Social Research SOCY60432 15 Optional
Independent Studies I SOCY60531 15 Optional
Sociology of Consumption SOCY60552 15 Optional
Independent Studies II SOCY60592 15 Optional
New Developments in Theories of Gender and Sexuality SOCY60991 15 Optional
Postcolonial Theory and Methods in the Social Sciences SOCY70112 15 Optional
Narrative Analysis SOCY70722 5 Optional
Social Capital and Social Change SOCY71012 15 Optional
Understanding Big Data For Social Research SOST60512 5 Optional
Introduction to Quantitative Methods SOST70511 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 26 course units

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: