University of Sussex

University of Sussex

Social Research Methods (Legal Studies)

At the end of your 1st year, you graduate with a Masters degree before proceeding to the PhD (this is called 1+3 study). In the fields of economics, psychology and science, technology and innovation, our specialist Masters degrees are recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as providing research training suitable for 1+3 study. All the other social sciences at Sussex offer research training through the MSc in social research methods. This is for students in the fields of anthropology, contemporary European studies, development studies, education, gender studies, human geography, international relations, politics, law, migration studies, social work and social care, and sociology. The course follows a standard model in which you study the philosophical underpinnings of research, research design, research ethics, and both quantitative and qualitative methods. Following on from these core elements, you undertake a series of options on advanced research methods, which provide the key skills necessary for carrying out doctoral-level research. Throughout the year, you also undertake a research option in your chosen discipline or interdisciplinary area, which comprises independent reading, attendance at research seminars, and regular individual supervisions with a dedicated member of academic faculty. The degree is specifically designed to provide research training for those intending to move directly to doctoral study. It can also be taken as a stand-alone 1 year degree by those who wish to apply advanced research methodologies to an area of academic or policy interest without continuing to a doctorate.

Entry requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in a relevant social sciences subject, but applicants with other backgrounds may be considered.

All applicants must supply a research proposal of at least three pages. The research proposal should indicate the areas of research you are interested in, summarise what you intend to do, give an indication of the research methodology you propose to use and a brief literature review. Please state at the top of your research proposal document the School and Department you wish to be affiliated to. Please note that this requirement applies to all applicants irrespective of whether they intend to progress to the PhD afterwards.

Course modules

Autumn term: introductory quantitative and qualitative methods; philosophy of science and social scientific research practice or a theoretical core module within your chosen discipline. Spring term: research design and ethics and either 3 intermediate methods modules or 1 intermediate methods module and a subject-specific module. Intermediate methods modules include: action research; comparative method; discourse analysis; ethnographic methods; evidence for policy and practice; participatory methods; policy and programme evaluation research; researching childhood and youth. Summer term: you take a series of advanced methods options and undertake supervised work on a dissertation focused on research methods. This dissertation can be the full research outline for doctoral study.

Assessment methods

Taught modules are variously assessed by term papers of 3000-5000 words or equivalent coursework portfolios. The research option is assessed by a dissertation of 10000 words.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MSc Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (England) 12 months
MSc Full-time October 2016 GBP 14,450 per Year 1 (International) 12 months
MSc Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 12 months
MSc Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (Scotland) 12 months
MSc Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (Wales) 12 months
MSc Part-time October 2016 - 24 months

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Sussex House Brighton BN1 9RH South East

Key information

Telephone number: 
01273 87107