University of Sussex

University of Sussex

Social Research Methods (Law)

If you are interested in studying for a research degree in the social sciences, or want to learn about research methods, you might want to consider our innovative MSc in social research methods, run by the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Centre. If you want to study for a PhD, and are seeking ESRC funding, you will be required to take this or one of our other ESRC-recognised research-training Masters degrees, unless you have already achieved a similar level of research training at a university elsewhere. 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 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 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 one-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 1st or upper 2nd 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 3 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

Core modules: advanced methods in social research; dissertation (MSc Social Research Methods); introduction to qualitative methods; introduction to quantitative methods; philosophy of science and social science research practice; research design and ethics. Options: action research; comparative method; discourse analysis; ethnographic methods of data collection; evidence for policy and practice: a critical stance; gender politics and social research; international relations theory; migrants and society: global transformations; participatory research in cross-cultural contexts; policy and programme evaluation research; research, professions and power; researching childhood and youth; self, voice and creativity in research writing; socio-legal research methods; theories of development and underdevelopment; understanding processes of social change.

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 GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (Wales) 1 years
MSc Full-time GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (England) 1 years
MSc Full-time GBP 14,450 per Year 1 (International) 1 years
MSc Full-time GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 1 years
MSc Full-time GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (Scotland) 1 years
MSc Part-time - 2 years

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