The University of Edinburgh - School of Social and Political Science

Introduction

The School of Social and Political Science is one of the largest Schools within the University of Edinburghg. Our international community of students and staff undertake a wide variety of learning, teaching, research and engagement activities. Our interdisciplinary focus cuts across traditional social scientific boundaries, creating a vibrant and stimulating environment in which to work and study.

Our Structure

The School of Social and Political Science is one of the leading schools of social science in the UK, our success reflects excellence across teaching, research and impact.

Our member subjects include Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, Social Policy, Social Work, Sociology and Science, Technology & Innovation Studies. We also host a number of centres and units as well as the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science.

We have over 1000 UG students, over 500 PGT students, and over 300 PGR students currently on our programmes of study. We provide an outstanding educational environment and support the highest quality research. In REF 2014, 77% of our research performance was categorised as 4 or 3.

Our academic staff profile is cross-disciplinary, with a strong and growing international orientation. Building upon established strengths in International Development, we are centrally involved in the University's Global Development Academy, and work closely with the Global Justice Academy, the Global Health Academy and the Global Environment & Society Academy.

Our Policies

Our policies are in place to help us function cohesively as a school whilst ensuring that all students, employees and visitors receive the highest possible standard of service.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

View MScs »

Programs

This school also offers:

MSc

MSc Energy, Society and Sustainability

Campus Full time 1 year August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh

This masters programme enables students to choose or combine theoretical and practical analysis, quantitative and qualitative assessments, scenario studies or comparative approaches at multiple scales, from individual and household level through to international cooperation. [+]

Trans-disciplinary collaborations have a growing academic consensus that we should not think of machines and human activities as separate, but rather, we should study the (evolving) socio-technical nature of our energy system. Significant academic efforts have been expended on historical studies of socio-technical transitions, seeking to understand why some technologies became mainstream and others were sidelined. At the more critical end of the academic spectrum, some have argued that it is the nature of our (capitalist) economic system which is driving the evolution of our energy systems, citing the processes of globalization and the acceleration of capitalist accumulation by corporate entities premised on externalisation. Others are more engaged in finding potential solutions, devoting intellectual energy and creativity to identifying the most promising pathways to a lower carbon future. This masters programme enables students to choose or combine theoretical and practical analysis, quantitative and qualitative assessments, scenario studies or comparative approaches at multiple scales, from individual and household level through to international cooperation. Transition to fairer & cleaner energy Often invisible and intangible, energy drives the availability and affordability of all material resources. It is thus key to human development and lies at the heart of any sustainability debate. Traditionally, energy use has largely been studied from a technological perspective: how can we extract fuel and convert it into ‘useful energy’? In recent decades, this techno-centric view has been supplemented with an environmental perspective that our current energy use produces many externalities, that is, negative impacts on other people and future... [-]

MSc in Africa and International Development

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

International Development is concerned with the idea of good change, but who decides what constitutes ‘good change’? How should such change happen? What unintended consequences might the pursuit of change create? The MSc in Africa and International Development encourages you to critically explore these questions, in the context of Africa. [+]

International Development is concerned with the idea of good change, but who decides what constitutes ‘good change’? How should such change happen? What unintended consequences might the pursuit of change create? The MSc in Africa and International Development encourages you to critically explore these questions, in the context of Africa. Our course offers you a unique opportunity to acquire a combination of interdisciplinary, regional expertise with a critical knowledge of international development theory and practice. With this grounding, many of our students have gone on to work in development for charities, government agencies, international organisations, think-tanks or advocacy groups. Our degree can also serve as a stepping-stone for a career in research or academia. Structure and Courses The programme is available on a full-time basis over one year or on a part-time basis over two years. Our programme is incredibly flexible to allow you to pursue the knowledge and skills most relevant to you. Courses and options Over the course of two teaching semesters you will take a total of 6 taught courses. You will take following two core courses: Politics and Theories of International Development Governance, Development and Politics in Africa We also run a compulsory non-credit course titled 'International Development: Reserach Design and Practice'. This bespoke course provides you with the research, analysis, and writing skills that you need to thrive in a post-graduate environment. In addition, you will have the opportunity to choose 4 optional courses from those taught in the School of Social and Political Sciences... [-]

MSc in Childhood Studies

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

The MSc/Diploma in Childhood Studies is an intensive interdisciplinary degree, designed to explore issues such as child law and how it is implemented through policy and practice, and the implications of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) for child welfare, disability, education, family studies, juvenile justice, social policy and social work. [+]

The MSc/Diploma in Childhood Studies is an intensive interdisciplinary degree, designed to explore issues such as child law and how it is implemented through policy and practice, and the implications of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) for child welfare, disability, education, family studies, juvenile justice, social policy and social work. If the answer to one of the following questions is yes, then the MSc in Childhood Studies is the learning experience and degree qualification you are looking for. Do you want to learn about child law, and how it is implemented through policy and practice? Has your job been affected by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)? Have you an interest in child welfare, education, disability, family studies juvenile justice, social policy and/or social work? Are you concerned about the way children negotiate their local geography (e.g. spaces for play, sport and leisure) or the risks associated with childhood (e.g. child health, poverty, discrimination and development)? Does your job require you to gather children's views through research, evaluation, interviewing or participatory techniques (e.g. draw and write, drama, art, peer research, vignettes, etc)? Do you want to change to a career working with children? Have you an interest in how childhood is considered in: Acts of Law, Social or Cultural Anthropology, Kinship or Relationship Studies, History, International Development, Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology, or any other subject in the social and political sciences? We have recently developed these pages, and you can... [-]

MSc in Comparative Public Policy

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

The MSc in Comparative Public Policy provides intensive analytical training in the systematic comparison of social and public policies from an international perspective and develops substantive knowledge in a wide range of policy fields around topical issues such as policy evaluation, policy learning and policy transfer. [+]

The MSc in Comparative Public Policy provides intensive analytical training in the systematic comparison of social and public policies from an international perspective and develops substantive knowledge in a wide range of policy fields around topical issues such as policy evaluation, policy learning and policy transfer. In a context of growing interconnectedness between national governments and supranational organizations, alongside increased movement of people and globalized economic trade, advancing our understanding of the similarities and differences of social and public policies across national systems is becoming ever more important in academic and professional terms alike. This degree is highly relevant to anyone who works or intends to work in policy-relevant professions in the public, private or non-governmental sectors that operate in an increasingly international context of policy-making. We attract students from the UK and from across the world, including in recent years Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, the United States, Moldova and Russia. Past students of our degrees have gone on to doctoral programmes in the UK and overseas, and to occupy policy positions in the public sector and non-governmental organisations. Aims The MSc in Comparative Public Policy provides a cross-national analytical perspective on the activities of government and other social and political actors. We focus specifically, but not exclusively, on policies relating to the welfare state. Among the knowledge and skills it provides are: A thorough training in methods of comparative analysis Training in analyzing datasets and policy documents Knowledge of different forms and purposes of comparison Grounding... [-]

MSc in Digital Society

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

The MSc in Digital Society is intended for any student who wants to understand, as well as learn to study, analyze, and critique digital technologies and the complex ways in which they shape society, social institutions, and culture. [+]

The MSc in Digital Society is intended for any student who wants to understand, as well as learn to study, analyze, and critique digital technologies and the complex ways in which they shape society, social institutions, and culture. This intensive one-year programme gives you the opportunity to study with leading specialists in the emerging field of Digital Sociology. Based at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, the MSc in Digital Society offers you an opportunity to read deeply through current digital sociological literature and conduct independent research. The Masters Degree includes a supervised dissertation project, on a topic that you chose based on your interests and career plans. Our programme in Digital Society will introduce you to key issues that arise when sociologists investigate the increasing prevalence of digital and mobile technology, digital infrastructure, and data production, capture, and analysis in everyday life. You will study the very social conditions (economic, political, and cultural) that give rise to digital and mobile technologies and their circuits of power. Topics of study may include (but are not limited to) the sociological analysis of digital technology and new forms of data on the fields of contemporary culture, work and labour, leisure, finance, government and law, health, and education. Students will leave the programme with a digital project or digital portfolio of work and will learn, in the course of the programme, how to share digital sociological research with broader communities and publics. Programme and Aims The specific aims of the programme are as follows:... [-]

MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security (with the School of Law)

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

The MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security was launched as a joint, interdisciplinary project between the School of Law and the School of Social and Political Science in 2009. It attracts students from social science, law and relevant professional backgrounds. [+]

The MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security was launched as a joint, interdisciplinary project between the School of Law and the School of Social and Political Science in 2009. It attracts students from social science, law and relevant professional backgrounds. The MSc builds a knowledge and understanding of law, politics and the policy process, international relations, and various aspects of social science in order to make sense of the connected phenomena of crime, justice and security in a global context. The two schools share responsibility for delivering the core and optional course modules, and for supervision of students' dissertations. There are an increasing number of areas of research and practice which require a knowledge and understanding of law, politics and the policy process, international relations, and various aspects of social science. The connected phenomena of crime, justice and security, in a global context, represent such a growing field of interest for academic research and are a focus of a range of international and domestic governing and non-governmental organisations. This MSc brings together the Schools of Law and Social and Political Science to provide advanced level teaching in global crime, justice and security. Launched in 2008, the programme was designed to deliver and continuously develop an MSc that brings together scholars and their expertise in contemporary international developments in the field of crime, justice and security, in order to offer students a qualification which is very much more than the sum of its parts. Programme Overview The MSc in Global... [-]

MSc in Global Environment, Politics and Society

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

This new degree is based on a simple premise: understanding global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, energy or biodiversity requires knowledge about the political, moral and societal dimensions of environmental problems and solutions. [+]

This new degree is based on a simple premise: understanding global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, energy or biodiversity requires knowledge about the political, moral and societal dimensions of environmental problems and solutions. The degree is distinct for several reasons: It's social science-based. While exploring the scientific basis of environmental issues, its main focus is on the political, moral and social dynamics shaping HOW that science is interpreted and applied. It's multi-disciplinary: students will be introduced to a range of perspectives (political, legal, ethical societal). They may choose to focus on one of these perspectives in more depth or may continue to combine these multiple perspectives through a wide and varied suite of courses. It's practice-oriented: the programme deals with current problems and proposed solutions. Courses will engage directly with primary sources and events, and incorporate guest speakers form the 'real world'. Students may also apply to complete a work-based project linked to a placement within an NGO, government department, political party, or business. It's taught in Edinburgh, one of the most vibrant intellectual centres of the world. The University was recently ranked 32nd in the world for its research and teaching; it features world class scientific and social science research on environmental issues, and is home to Institutes on governance, climate, and low carbon innovation. GEPS will be part of the University's Global Environment and Society Academy which features interdisciplinary events, teaching and collaboration. What will I learn? Students on this programme will develop a critical understanding... [-]

MSc in International and European Politics (incl. European Practitioner Pathway)

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

This one-year Master of Science programme combines key aspects of International Relations with European Politics for students seeking to develop their academic profile or build a career in these fields. The programme offers a foundation in European institutions, governance and public policy through its core courses and the opportunity to explore a range of subjects in IR and European studies through the course options. [+]

This one-year Master of Science programme combines key aspects of International Relations with European Politics for students seeking to develop their academic profile or build a career in these fields. The programme offers a foundation in European institutions, governance and public policy through its core courses and the opportunity to explore a range of subjects in IR and European studies through the course options. It also features the optional European Practitioner Pathway, which includes the option of a work-based placement and related research report and project diary in place of a traditional dissertation. All students on the programme also have a guaranteed place on our part-subsidised annual study trip to Brussels, which involves visits to EU institutions, NATO, political consultancies and career focused networking events. With our academic expertise, events and activities and student community all in the heart of Scotland’s capital, the University of Edinburgh is one of the most vibrant places to study European politics in an international and global context. Programme Structure Two 10-11 week terms of lectures and seminars (September to December and January to March-April), followed by a four month period of dissertation research. Three courses each term. Two compulsory courses on the Institutions and Policies of the European Union and Analysing European Governance and Public Policy. Four optional courses: normally one in term 1 and three in term 2. A 15,000 word dissertation or work-based placement report, prepared under the guidance of an academic member of staff. Credit weighting: Each course counts for 20... [-]

MSc in International Development

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

Our programme offers you an unparalleled opportunity to deepen your understanding and engagement with the most pressing challenges confronting people, communities and institutions in the Global South. Our taught courses and extra curricular activities are designed to help you acquire a critical knowledge of debates around poverty and growth, injustice and inequality, social and environmental change, and to foster your interdisciplinary, regional expertise. [+]

Our programme offers you an unparalleled opportunity to deepen your understanding and engagement with the most pressing challenges confronting people, communities and institutions in the Global South. Our taught courses and extra curricular activities are designed to help you acquire a critical knowledge of debates around poverty and growth, injustice and inequality, social and environmental change, and to foster your interdisciplinary, regional expertise. There is a long history of critical and applied engagement with international development at the University of Edinburgh, today exemplied by the work of the Global Development Academy. As a graduate student at Edinburgh you will have access to our full range of academic resources and opportunities - from specialised conferences and advanced seminars to practice based research projects and collaborative global exchanges. A Practical, Real World Experience We realise the value of practical, real world experience. We offer every student the opportunity to apply for a work based placement with an international development organisation. Our extensive network of partners includes NGOs and charities, social enterprises and business, to think-tanks, camaign groups and government bodies. We offer placements in Africa, South and South East Asia, Latin America and the UK and you can use these placements as the basis for dissertation research projects. New skills, critical reflection Our programme is designed to appeal equally to recent graduates of various disciplines, and professionals with more than two years work experience looking to change careers, upgrade their academic qualifications, or take a year out to reflect critically on their... [-]

MSc in International Relations

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

The Graduate School of Social and Political Science is an exciting place to study an exciting topic. We are passionate about international relations and the pressing problems humanity faces in the international realm. Our staff and students are concerned with war, terrorism, power, diplomacy, climate change, trade, poverty, migration and international cooperation, but also what to do about them, how to understand them, and how to study them. [+]

The Graduate School of Social and Political Science is an exciting place to study an exciting topic. We are passionate about international relations and the pressing problems humanity faces in the international realm. Our staff and students are concerned with war, terrorism, power, diplomacy, climate change, trade, poverty, migration and international cooperation, but also what to do about them, how to understand them, and how to study them. Our International Relations programme is for anyone who shares these passions and concerns. It offers intensive training in the theory and practice of international relations, and preparation for a diverse range of international careers or further research. Our approach to international relations combines innovative research with creative and inspirational teaching. Together, our staff combine intricate working knowledge of the great international institutions with a deep appreciation of historical change and the most important ideas in international thought. Through our research at the cutting edge of the discipline we hope to inspire our students to a world of possibilities, from the sociology of the financial crisis to state survival in the Middle East and the social construction of security. Courses The MSc Programme is taken over twelve months of full-time study (part-time candidates normally fulfil the requirements of the degree in 24 months). It consists of two parts. Part I comprises a programme of six courses; Part II consists of the Dissertation. A student must pass Part I in order to proceed to Part II. Core courses International Relations Theory and at least... [-]

MSc in Management of Bioeconomy, Innovation and Governance

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

MSc BIG enables its graduates to take an active role in the workforce, contributing to development of the bioeconomy in industry, policy, regulatory, not-for-profit or academic capacities. Students learn how to respond to globally important challenges by contributing to innovative developments in, for example, healthcare, agriculture and other land uses, energy, industrial biotechnology, and environmental remediation, in developed and developing economies. [+]

MSc BIG enables its graduates to take an active role in the workforce, contributing to development of the bioeconomy in industry, policy, regulatory, not-for-profit or academic capacities. Students learn how to respond to globally important challenges by contributing to innovative developments in, for example, healthcare, agriculture and other land uses, energy, industrial biotechnology, and environmental remediation, in developed and developing economies. They are taught how to use customized methods to deal with complex issues ranging from foresight and innovation systems analysis, strategic decision making in companies, value chain analysis and business model development, product and process regulation, to ensuring ‘responsibility’ in research and innovation. Students also have the opportunity to write their dissertations on collaborations through work-based placements with organizations or companies involved in the bioeconomy. Specific areas covered by the programme include: agricultural biotechnology sustainable food and animal production synthetic biology pharmaceuticals and antimicrobial resistance regenerative medicine and cell therapies stratified medicine industrial biotechnology genetic databases biofuels and energy-related developments Students benefit from the programme's unique position within the University. MSc BIG benefits from its strong association with the Innogen Institute - a research institute renowned for its interdiciplinary study of the life sciences, proximity to world-leading science and medicine, government, and key policymakers; and long-standing collaborations with commercial and not-for-profit sectors within the bioeconomy. The programme is delivered by the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) subject group within the University of Edinburgh's School of Social and Political Science, allowing students to take full advantage of the vibrant... [-]

MSc in Policy Studies

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

The MSc in Policy Studies is an established and successful degree programme that is highly relevant to a wide range of policy-related professions in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Past students of the MSc in Policy Studies have gone on to doctoral programmes in the UK and overseas, and to occupy policy positions in the public sector and non-governmental organisations. [+]

The MSc in Policy Studies is an established and successful degree programme that is highly relevant to a wide range of policy-related professions in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Past students of the MSc in Policy Studies have gone on to doctoral programmes in the UK and overseas, and to occupy policy positions in the public sector and non-governmental organisations. The programme is available both on a full and part time basis. Aims The MSc in Policy Studies focuses on analysing the activities of government, especially those policies relating to the welfare state. Among the questions addressed are the following: How are priorities chosen? How are policies paid for? How do citizens make their views known? Do policies work? Can they be made more effective? Are those who implement policies sufficiently accountable? At the end of the course, students should have the critical skills necessary to assess different policy options, and to understand the origins of policy. Structure and Courses The programme can be taken on a full or part-time basis (see below) and consists of two main elements. Firstly students must complete a taught element made up of six courses (or an equivalent number of credits). All students on the MSc in Policy Studies take the two core courses, Political Issues in Public Policy and Economic Issues in Public Policy. In addition students take at least one research training course, the school offers ESRC recognised basic training courses in data collection and quantitative data analysis, evaluation research methods,... [-]

MSc in Science and Technology in Society

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

The MSc in Science and Technology in Society examines the social, political and cultural aspects of science, technology and innovation. This MSc programme provides a comprehensive introduction to the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies. [+]

The MSc in Science and Technology in Society examines the social, political and cultural aspects of science, technology and innovation. This MSc programme provides a comprehensive introduction to the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies. It is intended for students wanting to develop a critical understanding of the role of science, technology and innovation in society. In addition, students develop their skills in research, analysis, writing and communication. Who should take this programme? This programme is ideally suited to students looking to enter a career in academia, science communication, policy and government, social research and analysis, and non-governmental organisations. Programme Aims As a graduate of the MSc in Science and Technology in Society you will be expected to: possess a theoretical grounding in the interdisciplinary field of science, technology and innovation studies; display the ability to critically employ theories and concepts from science, technology and innovation studies to analyse a range of empirical examples; understand the methodological and epistemological underpinnings of a range of social science approaches for understanding science, technology and innovation; have a critical awareness of current issues in the area of science, technology and innovation studies along with an understanding of how this area intersects with other disciplinary domains; be able to communicate your acquired methodological and analytical insights to academic and non-academic audiences; be capable of translating academic findings from science, technology and innovation studies into practical suggestions for public and policy contexts. During your year with us, students are encouraged to be active members... [-]

MSc in Social Research

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

Do you want to improve people’s lives through your research and evidence? Would you like to work for government or an international organisation? Perhaps you would like to undertake further study and need a firm methodological foundation on which to proceed? Perhaps you already work as an analyst and would like to formalise your skills on a part or full-time basis? ​Whatever your subject or methodological background, the University of Edinburgh's MSc in Social Research is a flexible and comprehensive qualification that will make you a sought-after researcher with strong quantitative and qualitative research skills. [+]

Do you want to improve people’s lives through your research and evidence? Would you like to work for government or an international organisation? Perhaps you would like to undertake further study and need a firm methodological foundation on which to proceed? Perhaps you already work as an analyst and would like to formalise your skills on a part or full-time basis? ​Whatever your subject or methodological background, the University of Edinburgh's MSc in Social Research is a flexible and comprehensive qualification that will make you a sought-after researcher with strong quantitative and qualitative research skills. Our graduates go on to: work for national and international organisations; work for the civil service; work in the voluntary sector; work in the commercial research sector; work in policy development, analysis and evaluation; undertake further academic study (PhDs); have strong quantitative skills to undertake data analysis; and have strong research methods training in qualitative methods. Employability The MSc in Social Research at the University of Edinburgh will offer you the intellectual and applied skills to conduct social research that aims to solve complex policy and governance problems in contemporary societies. The programme is unique in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh as it is cross-disciplinary and structured so that irrespective of academic background and aspirations, it allows students to customise their degree to combine in-depth research skills with substantive teaching according to preferred areas of study and future career plans. As part of the programme, students may have... [-]

MSc in Sociology and Global Change

Campus Full time Part time 1 - 2 years August 2018 United Kingdom Edinburgh + 1 more

This one year full time/two year part-time taught MSc programme provides a conversion course which gives an overview of Sociology, and offers training in the core elements of the discipline, social theory and social research, as well as access to a suite of more specialist courses. [+]

Sociology is focused on the social world of human action. As a discipline, Sociology provides the keys to understanding social change and to systematically and critical assessing claims about causes, consequences and solutions to contemporary social issues. The study of Sociology is therefore a highly relevant general education to all seeking to effect social change, whether in personal life or on a wider scale as activists, managers, practitioners or policy makers. It is also offers a more specialist education to those seeking to pursue social research and routes to PhD programmes. The core elements of the discipline are social theory, capturing the social world in ways that are illuminating and can be matched to the evidence, and social research, purposeful gathering of appropriate evidence about the world. While many of its concepts and tool are shared with other social science disciplines, the breadth of sociology and its links with Geography, History, Psychology, Philosophy, Social Anthropology, Social Policy are an aspect of its depth and strength. The student of sociology attends both to the local and global, present, past and future. This one year full time/two year part-time taught MSc programme provides a conversion course which gives an overview of Sociology, and offers training in the core elements of the discipline, social theory and social research, as well as access to a suite of more specialist courses. Through core courses, students are provided with the theoretical and research tools for understanding social change through critical engagement with and investigation of the... [-]

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